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SaysWho?

PC Tech My external hard drive has a fatal error =(

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I've only had it for 1 1/2 years, it worked perfectly fine yesterday when I was transferring stuff to my computer, but it suddenly could not be accessed on any computer. Every computer recognizes it when it's plugged in, but you can't access the actual drive. A local shop looked at it and said there was a fatal [something I forget] error, so I started looking into local places that did data recovery.

 

Has anyone had this experience? I have pictures from 2006 on there and they're not saved anywhere else because my current laptop is a solid state and doesn't have a ton of memory for it. There's so much importance, and I wasn't expecting this to happen so quickly (I figured I could get a second drive this year and have two backups since I've saved so much important stuff).

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4 minutes ago, SaysWho? said:

so I started looking into local places that did data recovery.

This is your best option, there is some software out there but how well they can work can be iffy. 

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10 minutes ago, SimpleG said:

This is your best option, there is some software out there but how well they can work can be iffy. 

 

Yeah, I'd be worried to do it myself because this is important info. I got my first digital camera in 2006 and have 14 years of pictures stored on it. The only reason they're not also on this computer is that's a damned ton of space on a small SSD on my computer. I figured if I got a good raise this year, I could buy a second hard drive or cloud service to be safe because at no point did 1 1/2 years seem like a normal time for this to go kaput (my last one lasted years and was the same WD brand). My coworker had the same issue with his WD My Passport, so.... yeah, not getting that ever again. =\

 

The price for doing this is so bloody high.

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13 minutes ago, SaysWho? said:

 

Yeah, I'd be worried to do it myself because this is important info. I got my first digital camera in 2006 and have 14 years of pictures stored on it. The only reason they're not also on this computer is that's a damned ton of space on a small SSD on my computer. I figured if I got a good raise this year, I could buy a second hard drive or cloud service to be safe because at no point did 1 1/2 years seem like a normal time for this to go kaput (my last one lasted years and was the same WD brand). My coworker had the same issue with his WD My Passport, so.... yeah, not getting that ever again. =\

 

The price for doing this is so bloody high.

Id also suggest moving over strictly to cloud storage. Google has 100GB for 20 bucks a year. 

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1 minute ago, SimpleG said:

Id also suggest moving over strictly to cloud storage. Google has 100GB for 20 bucks a year. 

 

Wonder how affordable 2tb is, then, because I already have over 1tb.

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Better option than cloud storage is simply buy a couple more 8TB HDD's (don't need SSD for storage) and create backups. That's what I do, especially when my second external HDD had a fatal error as well.

 

Strangely, sometimes when I plugged the fatal error one in, it mysteriously worked (a few files were corrupted) and while it took over a week to transfer everything (since a fatal error HDD doesn't work as quickly with transfers as a perfectly working one) I eventually was able to move everything over. But backups ever since haha. 

 

Local place to do data recovery is your best bet if plugging it in and it working sometimes isn't happening. I didn't have much luck trying to do it myself with online help and free online software, it's a rabbit hole that bears no fruit, at least in my case.

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When you say that it is recognized but not accessible do you mean that it shows up as a drive in the file explorer but when you to try access it you can't get in or do you just mean that the computer recognizes that a USB device was connected but no drive appears? If it's the second, open up disk management (create and format hard disk partitions) and see if it shows up there (if it tells you that you need to initialize the disk don't do it). If it doesn't show up anywhere you're unlikely to have any luck with recovery software whereas if it does show up you can try getting stuff off the drive if you have somewhere to copy it to.

 

If it sort of works sometimes you can try copying as much as you can off it but it can be a real pain. If it never works at all you need to ask yourself how much your data is worth because the recovery service won't be cheap.

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I have had to resort to paying for restoration of hard drives a few times for work (users keep saving 'vital' files in folders they know aren't backed up) and it has cost up to a couple thousand bucks per drive.  So yea very expensive.  But - it has worked every time.  It all depends how bad you want that data back.

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I just had a 1TB Western Digital Black start to die on me, ironically it was a warranty replacement for another one that did the same thing. I had my drive in an external enclosure and only powered it on and connected it when needed, but I've had that drive for a while now, so I guess age + wear and tear finally caught up.

 

This may sound like bro-science but all I did was keep it plugged in, lay the enclosure flat instead of standing it up on its side, and eventually the drive was recognized. I used Western Digital's diagnostic tools and of course everything came back fine. I bought the cheapest/biggest SSD I could find and simply created an image of that hard drive onto the SSD.

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As mentioned by others, paying to have your HD restored is probably your best option.

 

The strategy I employ to try to protect my data:

1)  Main storage is on an HDD in my desktop computer

2)  Computer does daily backups to a WD USB drive that is plugged permanently into the computer

 

Therefore, I have two drives that always have copies of my photos.  So far, I haven't had a failure.

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I really need to do a better job of backing up my stuff. If everything went away today, I'd have all of my most important stuff in the cloud, but most of my raw images would be gone. I always just get discouraged when I look at cloud backup pricing for 7-10TB. Especially when it's all in a RAID array, which I know is not a backup, but it makes a real backup feel less necessary.

 

I could spend a few hundred dollars a year backing up everything to a cheap cloud service, or I  could setup a secondary backup NAS in another location for >$1000. The latter feels like a better option, I just never get around to it.

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7 hours ago, dualhunter said:

When you say that it is recognized but not accessible do you mean that it shows up as a drive in the file explorer but when you to try access it you can't get in or do you just mean that the computer recognizes that a USB device was connected but no drive appears? If it's the second, open up disk management (create and format hard disk partitions) and see if it shows up there (if it tells you that you need to initialize the disk don't do it). If it doesn't show up anywhere you're unlikely to have any luck with recovery software whereas if it does show up you can try getting stuff off the drive if you have somewhere to copy it to.

 

If it sort of works sometimes you can try copying as much as you can off it but it can be a real pain. If it never works at all you need to ask yourself how much your data is worth because the recovery service won't be cheap.

 

The latter, yeah. What's strange is that I can go to the bottom right corner and safely eject the drive, and it's named and everything.

 

7 hours ago, number305 said:

I have had to resort to paying for restoration of hard drives a few times for work (users keep saving 'vital' files in folders they know aren't backed up) and it has cost up to a couple thousand bucks per drive.  So yea very expensive.  But - it has worked every time.  It all depends how bad you want that data back.

 

I've got a ton of personal stuff saved since 06 on that thing. I actually thought after a raise or new job opportunity this year, I'd just get another hard drive so I have two backups at all times. I really didn't think this drive would screw up this quickly. :( 

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51 minutes ago, SaysWho? said:

 

The latter, yeah. What's strange is that I can go to the bottom right corner and safely eject the drive, and it's named and everything.

 

 

Did you check in disk management? If the drive shows up there as uninitialized it won't show up in the file explorer but recovery software might be able to get stuff off it. Just make sure you don't try to initialize it or format it.

 

It would be ideal if you knew the exact error to have an idea of what specifically went wrong with the drive.

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