Question External Hard Drive Malfunctioning

May 20, 2019
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System: MSI GL63 8RD
Drive in question: Seagate 2TB BUP Slim SL

For whatever reason, my external drive has malfunctioned. It shows up under devices in the Control Panel as well as Device Manager, but it doesn't show up in File Explorer or the Disk Manager. It lights up and the disk is spinning when plugged in, however. Occassionally I hear a few clicks coming from it (perhaps a R/W head problem?).

I've tried uninstalling the drivers, re-inserting it in Safe Mode, troubleshooting, and have nothing to show for it.

Scanning for any hardware changes in device managerwhile the drive is plugged in causes the "scanning for plug and play compliant devices" dialog box to stick around forever/until the drive is disconnected. Attempting to use Seagate's SeaTool to find and recover the data on the drive causes it to stop responding, after which it automatically disconnects the drive.

Leaving it plugged in for around a bit causes Windows to disconnect the drive automatically (maybe something that checks for drive activity timed-out?), though the laptop still provides it with power despite the "disconnection" sound playing (lights still on and disks still spinning).

Curiously enough if I plug in the drive first, followed by my mouse, Windows fails to detect my mouse. It sends power to it for about 10 seconds before cutting it. Upon disconnecting the drive and reconnecting my mouse, the mouse starts working again. Don't know if this info helps any.

I believe it somehow sustained physical damage preventing Windows from being able to read anything from it. Assuming the platters are intact, is there ANYTHING I can do to recover the data from this drive? If not, is it possible for a technician to potentially recover it? Any and all suggestions appreciated.

Edit: For whatever reason, I'm unable to disconnect it now. Using the "Safely remove hardware..." option doesn't disconnect it, unplugging it doesn't play the disconnection sound, and it shows up as connected on Device Manager. Disabling it caused Device Manager to stop responding. I tried uninstalling it and Device Manager has been "uninstalling" it for the last twenty minutes. Can a faulty external drive be capable of screwing with Windows to this extent?
 
Last edited:

Satan-IR

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Apr 18, 2014
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For future reference take at least one backup on other media before it's too late.

If the drive spindle and platters are actually intact and the problem is with the board trained experts might be able to replace the board and retrieve the data or actually revive the drive.

If the data is necessary leave it to specialists and I wouldn't stress the drive further with testing and trial and error to see if it would work or not.
 
May 20, 2019
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I quit experimenting right after posting since I realised I may have just been worsening any physical issues it might have. I'll weigh my options for now - either I find a technician that can repair the drive, or turn to a specialist to recover the data. Apparently recovery costs can get quite ridiculous, and as much as the data on the drive means to me, it sure as hell isn't worth $400+.

Given the ease of dissassembly the former shouldn't be too difficult. I assume it means replacing the R/W head or moving the arm if either is malfunctioning or simply misaligned, which would really be the best outcome I can hope for since the platters should largely be intact.
 

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