External Hard Drive with clicking sound

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  1. nIGHTmAYOR's Avatar
    Posts : 1,190
    Windows 10
       #1

    External Hard Drive with clicking sound


    A relative with toddlers just gave me his "Western Digital Passport Ultimate" external HDD that he saves all his family videos on , that was tossed by one of his tods to the ground while playing a video .

    Yes its a crises , and for the first time in my life I meet a drive that acts like that .

    In the early few times I plugged it , it was detected by "Device Manager" , but never showed in explorer , but in "Windows Management Console" it showed the drive with (Bad Media) black bar with a suggestion to re-initialize , there were no clicking sound up to this point .

    All recovery programs wouldn't even detect there was a hard drive installed of which I recall "Easeus" , "Recoverit" and "Diskgenius" .

    The only program that sensed there was a drive installed was "Minitool Partition Wizard Pro" , that still showed (Bad Media) bar with no options enabled what so ever to deal with it .

    The final thing I tried was installing "Western Digital Diagnostic" tool that had 2 tests and an erase option and report option , all tests were rendered successful that the device is detectable and working fine however it detects its size as 0 capacity .

    This was when the device started clicking , and now "Management Console" stopped detecting (Bad Media) bar and would now show no space at all suggesting "Western Digital Diagnostic" did some merciful kill on which or something , where now even "Minitool Partition Wizard Pro" stopped detecting it .

    I managed to acquire a drive with same specs and switched boards , surprisingly the clicking sound increased in intervals but with same symptoms : only "Device Manager" sees it with no media shown in "Management Console" and no detection by any recovery tool .

    On the other hand on installing the board of the drive in question on the working drive acquired , it was not detected at all by "Device Manager" surprisingly .

    On a side notice the relative stated that professional media recovery is out of question since it may require shipping to another country that has those services , paying a fortune , then the probability of bad handling on shipping back or being lost .

    So any further suggestions other then giving it a proper burial ?

    P.S

    1 - I had few mixed up theories from "Youtubes" that "Ultimate series of WD" drive had an encryption chip so the board can never be replaced since this chip becomes the media pass key .

    2 - That the no clicking sound initially was due to heads being stuck , then they finally got loose and hence the sounds started being heard , so probably the "Western Digital Diagnostic" just helped resetting them .
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  2. idgat's Avatar
    Posts : 1,000
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    I suspect things is grim .....

    But you could try booting from a Linux distro (Mint or Puppy). Sometimes Windows can be a bit over-precious, if things aren't perfect then it (Windows) doesn't want to know about it.

    On the other hand, Linux sometimes can be a bit more robust and forgiving.
    Last edited by idgat; 25 Jun 2020 at 22:43. Reason: spelling
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  3. nIGHTmAYOR's Avatar
    Posts : 1,190
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    idgat said:
    I suspect things is grim .....

    But you could try booting from a Linux distro (Mint or Puppy). Sometimes Windows can be a bit over-precious, if things aren't perfect then it (Windows) doesn't want to know about it.

    On the other hand, Linux sometimes can be a bit more robust and forgiving.
    Problem with that is I dont know much about Linux recovery , any suggested reads or tools to download ?
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  4. idgat's Avatar
    Posts : 1,000
    Windows 10 Pro
       #4

    nIGHTmAYOR said:
    Problem with that is I dont know much about Linux recovery , any suggested reads or tools to download ?
    It's not a "recovery", per se.

    Download Linux Mint (or Puppy) ISO and create a boot USB (use Rufus). Boot from that USB (DO NOT CHOOSE THE INSTALL OPTION), it loads Linux into the memory and runs off that.

    Then check the (failed) drive to see if it can be accessed. If so, you can copy > paste whatever contents you want to another external drive.
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  5. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 3,901
    Win 10 X64 Pro 21H1 19043.1052
       #5

    I can't speak to encryption on commercial external drives.

    I once dropped a 750GB SATA drive in an external enclosure while it was spinning. Maybe a 20" (0.5m) fall. That was the end for it.

    Your friend may be luckier, but my bet is that it's dead.

    Does anyone ever pay a commercial recovery service to retrieve family videos?
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  6. Steve C's Avatar
    Posts : 6,657
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
       #6

    I accidentally knocked a Seagate Exapansion drive while spinning off the armrest of my chair which was only a drop of about 8". That killed the drive. You are lucky there are any signs of life in your drive. I'd prefer to use external SSD drives but they are still relatively expensive.
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  7. jumanji's Avatar
    Posts : 6,670
    Windows 10 Home 64bit Version 21H1
       #7

    There is absolutely no chance of recovering the data - Windows or Linux. The HDD is physically damaged.

    All WD external HDDs except the elements model are hardware encrypted. The encrypt/ decrypt chip is in the SATA to USB bridge circuit in the enclosure. Each board will have its own key to decrypt. So swapping the boards is meaningless even assuming the HDD is good - which is not.

    Please restore the original board from the second new drive and check whether the second new drive atleast works. Copy some useless data and check whether it can be read.

    Always have a backup. It is all the more essential with WD hardware encrypted HDDs. If the interface circuit fails, you won't be able to get the data out even if the HDD is good. Hmmm... you can get the data out but it will be the encrypted data which will be useless.
    Last edited by jumanji; 26 Jun 2020 at 02:09.
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  8. nIGHTmAYOR's Avatar
    Posts : 1,190
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    jumanji said:
    There is absolutely no chance of recovering the data - Windows or Linux. The HDD is physically damaged.

    All WD external HDDs except the elements model are hardware encrypted. The encrypt/ decrypt chip is in the SATA to USB bridge circuit in the enclosure. Each board will have its own key to decrypt. So swapping the boards is meaningless even assuming the HDD is good - which is not.

    Please restore the original board from the second new drive and check whether the second new drive atleast works. Copy some useless data and check whether it can be read.

    Always have a backup. It is all the more essential with WD hardware encrypted HDDs. If the interface circuit fails, you won't be able to get the data out even if the HDD is good. Hmmm... you can get the data out but it will be the encrypted data which will be useless.

    The other drive works after putting it together . And yes I was lead to that tip of encryption chip on Youtubes , which in particular makes most WD drives riskier than other drives as you can lose your data on both , media or board failures ...

    Are Seagates , Samsung's and Toshibas like that too ?
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  9. jumanji's Avatar
    Posts : 6,670
    Windows 10 Home 64bit Version 21H1
       #9

    Recently I bought one Seagate 1.5TB Expansion portable and one Seagate 5TB Backup plus portable HDDs and these are not self-encrypting drives. But Seagate, I understand, does have some self encrypting drives.
    Protect your Data with Seagate Secure Self-Encrypting Drives | Seagate US

    So always check and double check the specifications from the manufacturer's website before you buy. I have no idea about Samsung and Toshiba HDDs. Those were never on my radar. I had never bought one.

    ( The high capacity portable externals are cheaper than the non-externals of the same capacity. So I bought those portables . pried those out of the casing and use those in my Orio dock for system and data backup. The dock is switched on only during the backups. Two 500GB Samsung SSDs are now housed in those Seagate casings with their SATA to USB bridge circuit..)
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  10. Megahertz's Avatar
    Posts : 2,855
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu
       #10

    HDDs one day will fail. A external drive is even more susceptible be damaged by shocks.
    Don't understand why people store their precious data on fragile external HDD without a backup.

    With the SSD prices going down, you can find external SSDs drives for a reasonable price. They are almost shock proof, but it can also fail. You must always have a backup.

    960GB - 1.2TB, External SSDs, SSDs, Components - Newegg.com
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