External (USB & Portable) Hard Disk Drive Data Recovery.
Cheadle Data Recovery has a very high rate of success of repair and recovery in all circumstances of external / portable HDD failure. Get a fixed price quotation BEFORE you send in your HDD.
Two of the most frequently seen failures seen in external hard disk drives relate to physical shock (being dropped) leading to a mechanical failure, and electrical surge (over-voltage due to power surge or incorrect power supply) which results in a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) failure.
Failure of the electronic components is more common in the ‘desktop’ external HDDs. Portable, USB powered HDDs, using a 2.5″ disk, are more prone to motor seizure due to the read-write heads becoming stuck on the platter surface. This phenomenon is referred to as ‘stiction‘.
Symptoms of disk failure
- Clicking, buzzing or beeping noises – a failure of the read-write heads or motor seizure.
- No flashing external lights – a failure of the PCB.
- Drive not spinning up – a failure of the PCB or spindle motor.
- Slow transfer speeds, hanging or no file access – Bad sectors are the most common form of failure in a hard disk drive.
- Request from the computer to ‘format’ or ‘initialise’ the HDD – Indicates a corrupt or unreadable Master Boot Record (MBR) or other metadata.
For detailed information about hard disk drives fail, and the associated symptoms, please see our “How do HDDs work?” page.
HDD manufacturers we recover data from include:
- Seagate (Backup Plus, FreeAgent, Expansion)
- Western Digital (WD) (My Passport, Elements, My Book, My Cloud)
- Toshiba (Canvio, STOR.E)
- LaCie (Rugged, Big Disk, Bigger Disk Extreme, Quadra)
- G-Tech (USB, RAID, Thunderbolt)
- Buffalo (including disks using Buffalo encryption)
Integrated USB connector
On many portable HDDs, the USB connector is directly integrated into the main PCB of the HDD. This includes all HDDs in the Western Digital My Passport or Elements disks, as well Toshiba Canvio, and Seagate manufactured HDDs which are branded with Samsung or Maxtor labels. The USB interface limits the functionality of the data recovery equipment. Consequently, it is necessary to refit these HDDs with the equivalent SATA based PCB. Please do not attempt to do this yourself, as it is also necessary to re-program the donor PCB with the contents of the ROM chip to allow for functionality. Moreover, on certain models of HDD (e.g. WD My Passport) the disks use a self-encrypting disk (SED) mechanism. It is necessary for this to be unlocked and decrypted using specialist equipment.
Correct Diagnosis and Recovery
Due to the integrated USB, it is harder to diagnose the fault with the hard disk drive. Please contact us on 0161 408 4857 for assistance. Over the phone, it should be possible to give you an accurate diagnosis of the type of disk failure and the next step to take in order to recover the data from the hard disk drive.
DIY Data Recovery?
Do not attempt to run a repair utility on the drive like Scandisk / Chkdsk / FSCK / Disk Warrior or Disk Utility. These utilities put additional strain on the drive and can cause additional and irreparable damage. Moreover, alterations to the metadata (Master File Table or Catalog file) are often irreversible and can cause data loss.
All data recovery work undertaken by CDR is on a free diagnosis and a “No-recovery, “No-fee” policy.