Author Options:

Seagate Freeagent GoFlex ultra-portable drive fail - Data recovery? Answered

My 500GB Seagate Freeagent GoFlex ultra-portable drive seems to have failed under two weeks of using the product. The USB device was not being recognized. It states a Code 43 error by Windows. After another attempts to see if it would work on other ports or laptop devices, it began to make a noise with 3 beeps or clicks, and would still not be recognized. About half the drive is full but wasn't heavily used. It was dropped once but it did function properly after this drop.

Is physical damage most likely the problem? What should I do to recover the data?




5 years ago

Buzz, click, buzz , click--- they used to call it the click of death.
With external drives it could be from several things. I have had some make strange noises because there was not enough power being supplied by the USB. If you get a cable that has the extra USB plug for more power it could help. They used to be the standard for older external drives because they had higher power demands. So it could be a power issue.

External drives tend to overheat because they often have no airflow. This is one of the reasons the freezing thing sometimes works, it keeps the chips from heating up while you get your data back. You can actually keep the drive in the freezer while its running a use a long cable, especially if its USB. Stick it down there with the frozen chicken and run the cable out of the door.

Drive savers, a data recovery company says that every drive will fail, its only a matter of when. For you it sounds like when came early.
If you get desperate and you really want the data and are willing to sacrifice your warranty there is another thing that might work. You have to disassemble the enclosure and remove the drive. Then using the information on the drive case, order an exact duplicate. When that one comes you swap the electronics board and hope it works. This used to be pretty easy with the older drives. I have heard that the new ones have smarter chips and often complain or just don't work. But it is something to try if you really want the data but can't pay for the expensive recovery. If it is the platters and/or the drive heads then its beyond to scope of a home repair. But those usually go bad from wear and since its a new drive they might be OK.


5 years ago

A code 43 error is a generic Windows hardware problem warning. The problem could be bad HDD in the external drive, a fault in the enclosure device circuitry or a damaged cable or port. Sometimes Windows will even misdiagnose a driver problem as a hardware issue.
To trouble shoot, I would start with the easy things first, try a different USB device that you know is working properly, in the same port that you used to connect the external drive. If that works, check the ext-HDD cable for integrity.
Pull the HDD out and put it in another enclosure that you know is good and see if it works there. If it doesn't work then, either the disk failed or you have a driver problem.
You can try re-installing the driver but if that fails it would be a good bet that the HDD is toast.

I've tried using a different USB device (another similar 1TB Seagate external hard drive) and it has worked and swapping the cable hasn't worked.

Also tried uninstalling the driver but as you can guess, to no avail. :(

he's saying swap the internal drive - involving disassembling both externals and using the usb>sata interface from the known working drive on the maybe working dead drive.

I agree it could be a simple enclosure issue, but the clicking tells me the hdd mobo itself pooped the bed... :(

Clicks = physically broken; usually game over without EXTREME data recovery methods involving a clean room reassembling the drive with new parts.
Dropped = physically broken; game over.

Long story short, if it's 3 weeks old try to get a warranty replacement (RMA). Hopefully there isn't phsyical damage or they will deny the claim.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Last ditch effort (I've had SOME success) - put the drive in a ziplock style bag, and freeze it for a few hours in a deep freeze (colder is better). In a low humidity environment, open the bag and plug the cable in, then RESEAL THE BAG AROUND THE CABLE to prevent condensation forming on the drive. Plug it in to the computer and cross your fingers. It might mount the drive long enough for you to get some data back off.

Remember, external drives are NOT perfect and WILL fail given time and abuse - only ever use them for redundant storage of stuff you are willing to lose. They are great for backups, not primary copies.

There is a limited 2-year warranty on the product but I don't want to send it off without any backup of the information stored on it. But as I have seen over and again, any recovery of the information would be costly...

I've read about freezing it but definitely not willing to risk condensation or any further damage to the hdd. Might just be a last resort though. Thank you!

last thought: if its 2 weeks old take it back to the store and plead ignorance.

The only reason I purchased this external was because my laptop crashed and it was the where the data recovery of my hard drive was backed up... (Yeh I paid for this, $80CDN at Staples). And so it was to contain all my info temporarily. I was to put into a new laptop but I didn't even get the chance!

Somebody should REALLY warn you about how incredibly fragile these things are. Clearly not meant to be portable...

portable and droppable not really the same thing ;)

I've heard the freezer thing too but have never, thankfully, been able to try it.