External drive clicking, not recognized


Jul 18, 2011
Preparing to blast my face: SATA/IDE 500 gb external drive ive had for 3 or 4 years suddenly not being recognized. Installed an air conditioner in my apartment yesterday, and soon after it was set up and running the external drive kicked off. When I turned it back on, it clicked a few times and failed to be recognized. I touched the drive and it was almost too hot to hold for more than 10 seconds at a time (I had it running continuously for a long time up until now) so I unplugged it and let it cool off completely.

Once it was cool, I turned off the AC, plugged the drive into a different usb port and it still made the clicking noise and wasnt recognized. Noticed my computer desk was sitting on top of the drive power cord from when I was rearranging it earlier so pulled it off, still clicks. Plugged the drive power directly into an outlet without the data connector, still clicks.

Reading around, apparently the only 2 viable options other than a frisbee throw juke, are freezing the drive (which is supposed to have only 1 chance to temporarily restore the functionality for 2min?-2hrs and if it doesnt work the data is unrecoverable) and raining cash on a data recovery service which isnt guaranteed. The power light stays on, and the drive is detected by the remove hardware prompt when its turned on, but the data not being read the drive (J:\) doesnt appear in the drive/removable storage list in my computer. Although the drive was hot, its coincidental that the day I install an air con and a desk lands on the cord, it decides to catastrophically fail from overheating. I replaced the power adapter>outlet cord but I think the part that was smashed under the desk was the drive>power adapter portion so I'll look for a replacement. Any suggestions outside of that? The intact state of my head rests in your hands


Feb 21, 2010
Well it seems that there are two potential causes. One is the heat which does seem a tad excessive and the other is the smashed power adapter which in its damaged state may have fed the drive all sorts of weird voltage. One option would be to remove the drive from its enclosure and connect it internally into the PC. It may be the enclosure itself that suffered the damage thus preventing the drive from functioning. If the drive does not work internally then you have major issues. I would suspect the platters may be ok making data recovery possible but that of course leads to the expense element of your situation. It may be you have lost the data. Sadly in these cases prevention through backups is often the only real way to avoid this issue. As you have discovered already the cure is expensive and not guaranteed.