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External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Having problems with your External Hard Drive?Having problems with your External Hard Drive?

If you are experiencing issues with your hard drive, it’s best to seek an Experienced Data Recovery Professional immediately. You only get one “Good” chance at recovering the data when it comes to data recovery. Taking the wrong approach to recovering files from an external drive may cause the data to be unrecoverable.

Many customers will ask us what the difference is between bringing the drive to us or a Computer Repair shop. The most important difference is that Data Recovery Companies like ourselves have specialized tools and more importantly the knowledge and experience to work with these drives. The type of care and attention we provide to each and every case is on a completely different level.

Most Common External Hard Drives

  • Western Digital
  • Seagate
  • Toshiba
  • Lacie
  • G-Drive

What is the different between External HDD and SSD?

Hard Drive vs Solid State DriveThe different between HDD and SSD is that HDD is a Hard Disk Drive with movable parts.

When you power on HDD, if you put your ear to the drive, you can hear the platters spinning, the read/write heads moving back and forth, and reading from the platters.

When you power on an SSD, you won’t hear anything at all. Inside the SSD, there aren’t any movable parts. Data is stored on NAND chips.

Common External Hard Drives Issues

  • Drive mounts on the computer, but very slow to respond – This is one of the most common issues with external drives. This can be caused by bad sectors, light media damage, or developing file system corruption.
  • Drive spins up normally, but is not recognized at all by the computer – This is a very common issue with External Hard Drives. This is almost always caused by firmware issues, which are caused by a more serious problem such as media damage, weak read/write heads, or bad sectors. The true underlying problem would be revealed after we repair/bypass the firmware issue. Almost always, the chances of recovery from external drives with this issue are very high.
  • Drive is clicking – Unfortunately this the most severe issue with External Hard Drives. The clicking sound is a mechanical problem with the drive. Basically, what’s happening is the read/write heads are damaged and unable to read from the surface of the platters. As a result, they are moving uncontrollably and hitting the center part of the disk, thus causing that clicking-like sound. If this is the problem with your drive, PLEASE POWER DOWN the drive immediately. Constant attempts to power on the drive will only decrease your chances of recovery.
  • Drive is beeping – This is also a mechanical issue with the drive. The beeping issue is almost always caused by either the drive taking a drop OR the drive being ejected from the computer improperly. What’s happening here is the read/write heads that are supposed to be parked on parking ramps (off of the platters) have actually crashed on top of the platters, pinching down on the platters and not allowing them to spin, thus causing that beeping like sound when the drive is powered on. Many attempts to power on the drive in this condition can cause the heads to break free of the platters, causing serious damage to the platters and heads. It’s best to power down the drive as soon as possible if you hear a beeping-like sound.
  • Deleted File Recovery – If you are trying to recover lost files due to them being deleted or the drive being formatted, your chances of recovery are higher IF; the data was deleted from an HDD (mechanical hard drive) and IF more data wasn’t put back on the drive after it was deleted. Chances of recovery would be slimmer if your drive is an SSD or Flash drive and if more data was put back on the drive after files were deleted.

Should I attempt External Hard Drive Recovery on my own using Data Recovery Software?

Software - Data Recovery

No. Please make sure to avoid attempting DIY data recovery. Avoid using terminal and running command prompts. Any attempts to recover files using Data Recovery Software or online DIY guides could make data recovery even more difficult and if not impossible by professionals later.

DIY Data Recovery Software should only be attempted IF the issue with your drive is not severe and usually only if you are trying to recover deleted files (even then, we would recommend you allow professionals to do the recovery, to avoid overwriting deleted data).

My External Hard Drive has experienced physical damage. I can still see all of the files and folders on the drive, but they are corrupt.

This is a very common issue with external drives. This can be caused by media damage, bad sectors, or damage to the file system of the drive.

When experiencing this issue after some sort of physical damage, it’s best to power down the drive immediately. The longer you keep the drive running in this condition, the higher the chances of spreading the damage and corrupting the file system more than it already is.

I need files recovered from an External Hard Drive, but I’m worried about the security of the data? Do you offer an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)?

Security of Data

Yes of course. We have NDAs available on hand. Rest assured that your data is 100% secure at Five Star Data Recovery.

How much does External Hard Drive Data Recovery Cost

Our External Hard Drive Data Recovery fees are flat rate, depending on the issue with your drive, storage capacity, and drive model.

The base fee is $300.00 for drives up to 2TB in capacity (not the amount of data, but the total capacity of the drive). A $100.00 Surcharge applies to drives larger than 2TB, drives that have USB 3.0 connectors, and drives that are encrypted.

The great news is, that ONLY 1 Surcharge Applies. So if your external hard drive is a USB 3.0 Western Digital My Passport and 4TB in size, your total cost of recovery would be only $400.00 ($300.00 base fee + 1 Surcharge of $100.00).

If the issue with your External Hard Disk is mechanical and requires repairs in a Clean Room; our flat-rate fee for these types of recoveries is $950.00. This includes the recovery cost, Clean Room Fees, and donor parts. There is nothing paid upfront and you would ONLY pay if the recovery is successful and you are satisfied with the results.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for a price quote. Our prices are 100% transparent and flat rate, depending on the specific issue.

How long will it take to recover the lost data from my external drive?

This all depends on the exact issue with your external drive. If the issue with your drive is corrupted files, the recovery will take much less time than if the issue with your drive was mechanical.

On average, recovering data from a 1TB external hard drive that is 50% full will take 1-3 business days. We always provide a Free Diagnosis the same day the drive is dropped off (by midnight). At this time, we will be able to tell you pretty accurately how long the recovery will take.

If your case is time-sensitive, we would encourage you to take advantage of our Expedited Service. Our Expediited Service entails our Engineers start working on your case almost immediately and will work on the case as a “Priority” during regular business hours. For customers who are on an extremely tight deadline and need the data back within hours, you can take advantage of our Expedited Plus Recovery Service. With this service, you will have 2 dedicated Engineers working on your case around the clock until the case is solved. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about our Expedited Services.

Do I get a discount if you are not able to recover all of my data?

All of our External Hard Drive Data Recovery fees are Flat Rate, regardless of how much data is recovered. The great news is that your satisfaction is GUARANTEED!. IF we don’t recover enough data and you are not satisfied with the results, you can decline the recovery and pay nothing. IF you decide to accept the recovery results, then the flat-rate fee will apply.

Typically cases where only a “partial” recovery is possible are the most complicated and time-consuming cases. These cases should theoretically cost more, but we still charge the same flat rate fee, regardless of how much time and resources are spent on the case.

Do I have to provide a new drive to put the data onto once the recovery is complete?

Yes, we will need an empty drive (transfer drive) to put the data onto once the recovery is complete. We only repair/patch/bypass issues with the drive in order to recover the data. The drive will still be in the same non-functional condition when you pick it up as it was when you dropped it off.

Which model External Hard Drive does Five Star Data Recovery recommend?

Seagate HD or Lacie HDWe would recommend any portable Seagate or Lacie External Hard Drive. This recommendation is as of May 2022 (our recommendations will change as hard drive manufacturers to redesign their drives. Many years ago, our recommendation was Western Digital External Hard drives, but things have changed). We recommend these External Hard Drives NOT because they are fail-proof, but because the chances of recovering the data from these specific model drives are much higher.

At the end of the day, all of these drives are today being manufactured with less quality than they were before. Manufacturers of external hard disks are squeezing more data in less space, thus increasing the chances of media damage if the drive experiences any physical damage (Example: Compare a 1TB External drive from 5 years ago, to an external drive from today. The thickness of the drive is 2 times what it is today).

When deciding on what external drive to get, the most important factor is “How likely is it to able to recover the data IF the drive fails.”