Is your computer not recognizing your hard drive, or the BIOS not detecting the disks at all? Is your computer, or the cables, or something else behind your external hard drive not showing up anymore? Is it a hard drive problem, or are you not sure what’s going on?
When you have an internal or external hard drive not recognized anymore, the most important thing you must do is correctly diagnose the problem. If you do not know how to do this, then you want to look up an expert like SERT Data Recovery, someone who specializes in data recovery ONLY.
Client reported their external Western Digital My Passport was working fine the other day, but one day it was not recognized by the computer anymore. She unplugged and plugged it back in, and the computer acknowledged something was plugged in the USB, but the drive was not showing up. The light was blinking and the drive seemed fine otherwise. Client had all her kids pictures and her home business financial information on the drive, so she called us for a complimentary phone consultation. We provided her with a shipping label and instructions on how to package the drive safely. When we received the drive our engineer was able to determine it in fact had a bad read/write head, and a firmware problem. This case required a head stack assembly change from a donor and a few procedures on our hard drive repair device. We were able to get the drive to function properly again, long enough to get a full recovery!
Who ever is the first responder on your emergency will ultimately determine the fate of your data. Spending too much time guessing, or performing incorrect procedures can harm the hard drive, and make your situation much worse.
We’re going to try to help guide you and provide a basic foundation which you can understand the error messages you might be getting, but most of all to know if you need an expert or not. This applies to drives like a USB My Passport or My Book – Western Digital external hard drive, or any other manufacturer internal/external, laptop/desktop hard disks that are having a problem detecting.
Learn the difference, and similarities, between common errors, messages, and symptoms of an unrecognized hard drive:
Perhaps you might have experienced one of these errors on your computer when you plugged in your external hard drive.
This information will help you (if the data is important it is highly recommended) when you contact a certified data recovery company to avoid your drive’s condition getting worse. This will cost you more money for hard drive recovery, and the drive can eventually reach an unrecoverable stage.
This is mostly a common error that you’re going to receive during the normal function of plugging in an extra hard drive to your computer, or laptop, from within the operating system. This applies to both Apple and Windows operating platforms.
This error message is produced by one of the interface ports whether USB, firewire, thunderbolt, etc, and means: your computer has detected something is plugged in, but cannot recognize any details about the device. This is one of the most common errors, because 90% of data recovery of external drives will produce this same error, as long as the drive can receive power.
Many hard drive malfunctions can produce this error, so it can be next to impossible to properly diagnose it at this point. Failed or failing heads, too many bad sectors, media(platter) damage, file system corruption, faulty mechanical or electrical parts could all be the culprit.
What you do next can be a determining factor in whether your data is ever going to be successfully recovered.
A common symptom we help our clients overcome when discussing their situation is “My WD external drive not recognized”. Western Digital is notorious for having these kinds of issues. Most of the time the drive requires advanced technology to temporarily get past the error, and be able to see the drive’s data.
HOWEVER the data is normally retrievable!
Sometimes the drive’s firmware must be temporarily repaired in order to get access to the data, even though the drive can be detected. (There is only one piece of equipment on the planet that can do this, and it’s very expensive.)
Basically when your external hard drive wont show up, it may start to spin up, and then possibly appear to load the driver, but then it fails. The drive still spins and the light continues to blink.
A few other types of symptoms and sounds you may experience are: clicking, beeping, scraping, knocking, whirring, grinding.
In device manager/computer management/disk manager you may find an error saying:
This is quite different than other types of hard drive problems. An example is when the hard drive is not being detected, or found, by the operating system during boot up. Simply the hard drive is not showing up anywhere, no matter what you do.
Have you ever gotten the dreaded “no hard drive detected” error? You computer produces an alert that the hdd not recognized, now what? This means you have an internal hard disk drive not found by the bios to look for an operating system to boot from. Now you need data recovery!
When you boot up your computer and it can’t find the hard drive, that means it has failed. Sometimes it will also say cannot find the operating system, select another disk in the computer. This is a classic case of hard disk drive failure.
When you have an internal hard disk or other type of SCSI, SAS SATA hard drive not detected in the BIOS means there is a serious issue with the hard drive. The drive must be diagnosed to determine the cause behind the failure to detect.
It could be a cable, or it could be a head crash (when the heads actually make contact with the platters). Most of the time when the hard drive wont show up, it is hard drive related, and NOT the computer or a cable.
The answer can be a multitude of reasons. This is why it is absolutely vital to choose a data recovery company that has the right equipment, and expertise, to determine the reason for hd failure.
This single most important step, one that many computer and IT professionals overlook, can be the determining factor in recovering your files in this situation.
Special equipment, that is very expensive and requires a highly skilled technician to operate it effectively, is required in most of these types of data recovery cases.
Common causes are:
Do you have common symptoms? These are real descriptions of requests we receive on a daily basis via our online quote form: