Question External hard drive damaged (stops running suddenly) and I want to recover my files

Aug 4, 2019
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Hi, the title is pretty much self-explanatory for the general problem. I have a WD Elements external hard drive that I was using one year ago and it stopped working. And by that I mean:

- It was working fine until one day it took reeaally long for the files to open or move from one place to another. The windows File Explorer just kept loading and loading, and explorer.exe would eventually crash.

- Then I performed chkdsk /r /f on the drive to try and fix it, but the command hanged up in the middle of the process. Unfortunately, I am a very impatient person so I forced the command prompt to close. Then I couldn't even access the drive anymore, its icon appeared at half opacity in the file explorer.

- then I supposed that it was a hardware problem when I noticed that, every 30 seconds or so, the hard drive would stop rumbling and it would make a "beep" noise, only to start rumbling again. It suggested that the drive had problems initializing, as if it was trying to work but couldn't.

So I thought, "yep, it's broken" and I tossed it into the cupboard. Please don't ask me why I didn't bring it to a hardware store or something so they could do something about it, or why I didn't really care back then, because I honestly have no idea.

So, fast forward to this day, when I remember that I indeed had this hard drive where I had kinda important information that I just noticed it was there and now I need it. I recovered it from the cupboard and plugged it in the computer. Windows detects it, fine, it shows in the Device Manager without any problem, but I can't access it, just like one year ago: the icon keeps showing at half opacity. It doesn't show up in the partition manager and it is also not detected by common data recovery software (EaseUs, Wondershare...). I change the USB cable from the hard drive that I use now, and tada! Now I can access it and see the files inside. It is a relief to see that the files are actually there and not corrupted, the damn problem is that I can't get them out of there, because every file transfer I try freezes or goes unbearably slow. Then I try to perform chkdsk again, but it gives me some sector errors and the icon goes half visible again.

That's my odyssey with the damaged hard drive, now my question is: is there anything else I can do to try to recover the files by myself? Something like using a bootable recovery disk to access it, or Window's secure mode? I honestly don't know anymore. If you tell me that there's nothing else I can do, I will bring it to a hardware store or something so they can help me. Has anyone got any ideas?
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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"sector errors "
"it is also not detected by common data recovery software "

This looks like a physically bad drive.
And the more you mess with it with chkdsk, the worse it will get.


When you "see the files inside", you're not seeing the actual files, but rather just the file names.
 
Aug 4, 2019
2
0
10
0
"sector errors "
"it is also not detected by common data recovery software "

This looks like a physically bad drive.
And the more you mess with it with chkdsk, the worse it will get.


When you "see the files inside", you're not seeing the actual files, but rather just the file names.

Yeah, I haven't tried to do something with it since, in case I ** it up more.

Also fyi, today I tried to extract some image files from the hard drive because I really needed them, and I was able to. I can actually open them, they're not corrupt. So maybe there's a chance that the files I see are the actual files, and not just the file names. God I hope so.
 

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