how to recover data from a dropped external hard drive
January 14, 2018 Jon 17 Comments
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HDD Recovery Services Head Replacement
Often times when a external hard drive is dropped, it seems to be alright. It’s not until you actually try to access files that you realize how much damage has been done. In this case, you typically hear a clicking drive every time you attempt to explore files or open them. However, you computer still boots fine. The key is to stop using the drive immediately and seek hard drive recovery services.
At HDD Recovery Services, we see this problem often. The hard drive is recognized, but then it hangs or starts clicking the moment we try to access any files on it. This happens when only certain heads within the hard drive are damaged but not others. Most of today’s hard drives use multiple heads. This makes them more efficient, but it might seem confusing when you’re trying to diagnose the problem yourself.
Number Of Heads
Modern laptop drives and any other modern 2.5” drives have anywhere from 1-8 heads. Desktop drives, which are the larger 3.5” varieties, have 1-10 heads. On average, laptops usually have four heads and desktops have 4-6. This leaves a lot of room for damage to one or more heads depending on the severity of the physical jolt to the drive. It may only damage one head to begin with, but the more you use it, the more likely the rest of the heads could be damaged as well. This is what leads to lost data.
Recognizing The Drive
The first two heads contain most of the hard drive’s firmware which is required for the initialization process when you first boot your system. Plus, the file systems that structure the data use indexing files. These are stored at the beginning of the drive and are usually fairly compact, ranging from 100-300 MB. If these heads are damaged, you’ll receive a drive not recognized error or the drive might just click when you try to boot. As long as these heads aren’t damaged initially, your system will still boot fine.
Often times, you might not even realize you need data recovery because the hard drive seems to work just fine. You can even access your files. The problem is, a fall might not cause the heads to die instantly. If it’s not a hard fall, the heads might only slightly contact the platter, leading to contamination.
Much like a cold, it starts off with little to no symptoms. We see people all the time who thought their hard drive was fine only to notice increasing problems within a few days to several weeks. It’s not until they start losing access to their valuable data that they panic and start trying to find ways to recover files.
Contamination grows over time. The damage might only spread to one head at a time, making you feel secure until the day when you finally can’t access the files you need. Initially, only one or two heads might be affected. The more you use the drive, the worse the contamination gets.
We experience this problem often. We’ll start by getting the first few heads to work right only to boot the drive and discover more heads are damaged. This means more further hard drive recovery steps are necessary.
It’s important to remember that even though the heads are contaminated, the quicker you seek recovery services, the better the chances are of a full recovery. Even if you think you’ve lost data, we may still be able to retrieve it from the damaged heads and get back priceless photos, important documents and more.
If you’ve dropped your hard drive and everything seems to work fine after rebooting, perform a full backup of your files immediately. You don’t know how long the drive might last after the fall. It’s rare to drop a drive and not experience some problems.
To reduce contamination, contact us the moment you notice anything wrong. Stop using the drive if you hear a clicking sound or you suddenly can’t access files. If the drive’s not recognized, you should seek help quickly. The longer you try to use a hard drive with damaged heads, the worse the damage becomes. The worse the damage is, the higher the odds of losing your data forever.
HDD Recovery Services can help rescue your data from your external drive. We understand damaged heads and we’ll do everything we can to recover your files. Our expert technicians are always ready to take on any brand and model of hard drive, both old and new.