Instructables

Repair crashed external WD hard drive

I dopped a 500 GB WD My book and was told by Geek Squad that the drive had crashed (heads on platters) and would take $800 to $2000 to repair. Would you have a cheaper way of doing this or would you know of someone who can do this cheaply. I am in Phoenix AZ

twrauch4 years ago
OK - I know this is an old thread, but this may be valuable to somebody desperately searching 'hd data recovery'.

That 'kerlunk... kerlunk' sound is not necessarily physical 'head' damage.  It may also be simply a transistor or chip going out on the green circuit board that is part of the hard drive.  I had the same problem (kerlunk...kerlunk...kerlunk - computer not recognizing WD hard drive).  Numerous inquiries to 'data recovery' specialists quoted me anywhere from $1800 to $2400 (US) to recover the data.  Swallowing hard, I figured the digital photos still on the hard drive (yeah, I know it was stoooopid for not backing up the last couple years of data) were worth saving up to get them recovered.  But I sure didn't have the bucks on hand to do it immediately, and from what I could tell none of the 'data recovery' experts could say with certainty that they could recover anything.

I started searched high and wide on the internet and eventually found the same hard drive on eBay.  It had the same MDL number, same DCM number, and same number printed on the circuit board.  It was like a needle in the haystack from the number of close but not exact hard drives I saw on numerous other sites.  But it IS POSSIBLE!  I bought the hard drive immediately for $55 (US - shipping included), and when I received it 4 days later I undid the 4 torx screws on my defunct HD's circuit board and switched it with the circuit board from the HD I just purchased off eBay.  4 torx screws later, popping the drive in an external HD enclosure, powering up and plugging the USB into a laptop and WAH-LAH!!  My hard drive was working again and I IMMEDIATELY backed up all my digital photographs to the laptop.

Not saying that this is the norm - I don't know, all I know is it saved me at least $1,745 and a LOT of stress.  I can't remember yelling as loud or celebrating as loudly as I did when that HD spun up and showed up on Windows Explorer.  I was celebrating like I had won the mega-lottery when that WD hard drive spun up and was recognized.....  Hopefully this works for somebody else someday.  I've learned my BACKUP lesson well and thankfully it didn't cost me upwards of $2000 US to learn it.
dilandou5 years ago
They want to charge how much?! Sounds to me like they make a habit of ripping people off, and i'd advise against going to them again. o_O Anyway, a head crash on a hard disk is pretty much fatal for the drive. Sure it may work, mostly, but you'll find that the data will corrupt over time of use of the drive and you'll get data loss etc. The only real solution is to buy a replacement disk for it and stick that in your MyBook. If you're desperate for the data on the old drive then there are various ways to try to get it off. For one just try installing the drive internally in your computer. If the drive is detected, get that data off the drive pronto before it stops. If not, try mounting it in linux, which seems to do a better job of finding data on dying drives (it's a little more persistant in trying, it seems). If that doesn't work then there are a few data recovery freeware programs around, but they're not so hot. Worth a try, however. And finally there's the paid solution of payware data recovery software, or send your disk off to a professional solution to recover the contents of the drive.
I think its only a bit overpriced but not a ripoff. To fix hardrives they have to firstly, know how to do it without wrecking the drive. Be complety sterile. Eg, clean rooms, body suits, face masks.
AndyGadget5 years ago
If the data on the drive is not critical, put this one down to experience and plug a new drive into the old case.

If you need to get at the data, things are a bit more difficult :-

This may sound strange, but put the HDD inside a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for an hour. You will have a much better chance of getting the data off if the drive is cold. Believe me . . . it works!

If the drive makes a 'kerlunk . . . kerlunk . . . kerlunk' sound when you turn it on you've probably got physical head damage and will have to take drastic steps. Have a look at the discussion HERE for ideas on how to change the head mechanism, but whether it works or not will be down to luck. If it does initialise, you'll probably have to follow the steps below too.

If the drive isn't making any unpleasant noises and it's just a case of Windows failing to 'see' it, plug it into a Linux based system. Linux is a lot more understanding when talking to 'not quite perfect' drives.
If no Linux to hand, download something like Damn Small Linux and boot from CD. You may be able to read files from the damaged drive using that.
If this gives no joy, get yourself a copy of SpinRite. This can take AGES to run, but has worked wonders for me in the past. I'm not too sure if it will be able to access a USB drive so you may need to take the drive out of the case and plug it into your PC. Try and keep it as cool as possible while it's running.

You may then be able to read the data from Windows, but again, you'll have a better chance using Linux.

Best of luck.
Is that American?!?! We have one of those and a 1tb, and if we drop them (with that pricing range), we're looking at AUD $982.86 to $2,457.15.
gmxx5 years ago
if the drive heads crashed, your data is pretty much toast. DO NOT TURN ON THE DRIVE, AND DO NOT RUN ANY DATA RECOVERY PROGRAMS. If you do run the drive anymore, you will be destroying data on the disk. The issue you have is not fixable by you, and if someone os offering to do the job cheap, it probably won't work. If you have to have the data back, i would have a company like drivesavers do it. If you have an iphone or ipod touch, you can download an app that will show you what happens when disk heads crash, and other dying drive problems. you can find it if you search for drivesavers. Disclaimer.... i do not work for, and i have never used drivesavers. It was the only drive recovery name i could remember.