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Thread: Need geek help!

  1. #1
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Default Need geek help!

    My roommate has an external hard drive, and she unplugged it from her computer, but left it plugged into the wall (she didn't realize she'd left it plugged in) for probably about a week or so. Now when she hooks it up to her computer, the computer doesn't recognize it, and it sometimes makes a whirring sound. Is it a lost cause? Is there a way to salvage the data?

    Thanks in advance!
    Something Witty

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    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    Is it a windows machine? If so, try this:

    Goto control panel. Goto system, and click the hardware tab. Goto device manager. Under view, check "show all devices." Then expand the hard drives hierarchy, double click the USB hard drive, goto the driver tab, and click uninstall driver. Restart the computer. Then try the hard drive again.
    You lose.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    My roommate has an external hard drive, and she unplugged it from her computer, but left it plugged into the wall (she didn't realize she'd left it plugged in) for probably about a week or so. Now when she hooks it up to her computer, the computer doesn't recognize it, and it sometimes makes a whirring sound. Is it a lost cause? Is there a way to salvage the data?

    Thanks in advance!
    I don't know how much help this is, but I had an external hard drive I used with my PC that just up and didn't work one day. I heard it whirring and working, but the PC wouldn't recognize it. I can't be sure, but I think it may have been plugged in for a while. When I plugged the drive into my Mac, it showed up right away. I recommend you try plugging the drive into another computer (maybe yours?) and see if it shows up. If it does, then at the very least you can salvage the data.
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    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Thank you both! Will report back.
    Something Witty

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    If it's a magnetic drive, it should work if it sounds like it works properly (a stable turning noise). Unless it starts clicking or keep restarting the spin, then its busted.

    If it's not a magnetic drive but digital, there should not be any sound and if it makes a sound now, it's a bad sign.

    Either way, keeping it plugged in should not be a problem, even if its plugged in constantly to power, unless there's a computer hooked to it keeping it at 100% max capacity, it's unlikely it would die, and even then, the hardware should have been made to even withstand max capacity for a long period of time, or it's just bad hardware. If it experienced an electrical surge whilest plugged in however, it could obviously result in a utter destruction. Usually, there are breakers in your house preventing such surges to reach your appliances though. :P

    Plugging it in to other computers is a good way to find out how the drive is doing, if there is no luck and there is very important data on it, you could always send it off to a data retrieval specialist who have quite a lot of ways of getting a lot of information from broken down harddisks.. But they are costly, so if there's nothing interesting on it, that wouldn't be worth it.
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    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone...she just tried uninstalling the driver, and she tried it on another computer. I think it's busted. It's making kind of a spinning/restarting the spin sound. I'm thinking she might try getting someone to retrieve the data, since she has tons of music and video on it.

    Thank you for your help!!!
    Something Witty

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    Thanks, everyone...she just tried uninstalling the driver, and she tried it on another computer. I think it's busted. It's making kind of a spinning/restarting the spin sound. I'm thinking she might try getting someone to retrieve the data, since she has tons of music and video on it. Thank you for your help!!!
    Yeah, it sounds like if it's got info on she wants to save, she needs to go to the next level.

    I was wondering if a surge fried it...
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah, it sounds like if it's got info on she wants to save, she needs to go to the next level.

    I was wondering if a surge fried it...
    This is what I'm wondering, too. We have a surge protector on our tv/dvr/Blu-ray, etc., but not on the outlets in which we unplug our computers, which are close to the sitting areas. I've had an HP cord fry, too, and I think it might be that. Need to look into surge protectors, I guess. :-(
    Something Witty

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    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    There are a few more possibilities here, although if it keeps spinning up repeatedly that's a pretty bad sign. Remaining possibilities include:

    • The power adapter isn't working right, but everything else is fine. This is a real long shot, but the only reason I bring it up is because it happened to me. I once had an external drive's power adapter die in such a way that it still gave power, but not enough power for the drive to function properly. Getting a replacement AC adapter fixed the problem (although it wasn't much cheaper than getting a whole new external drive enclosure).
    • The electronics in the external hard drive case died, but the hard drive itself is fine. Removing the drive and putting it directly into a desktop machine is one cheap way to try to diagnose the problem (but requires a certain amount of expertise). There are also devices like this, which let you use an internal drive externally.


    Still, I think the most likely possibility is that the drive itself is dead, and you are mostly out of luck. If that's the case, you might be able to buy a new internal hard drive of the same kind as the dead one, and swap it into the external hard drive case... but it wouldn't make sense to do so unless you knew the other components still work fine.

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    Member OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    There are a few more possibilities here, although if it keeps spinning up repeatedly that's a pretty bad sign. Remaining possibilities include:

    • The power adapter isn't working right, but everything else is fine. This is a real long shot, but the only reason I bring it up is because it happened to me. I once had an external drive's power adapter die in such a way that it still gave power, but not enough power for the drive to function properly. Getting a replacement AC adapter fixed the problem (although it wasn't much cheaper than getting a whole new external drive enclosure).
    • The electronics in the external hard drive case died, but the hard drive itself is fine. Removing the drive and putting it directly into a desktop machine is one cheap way to try to diagnose the problem (but requires a certain amount of expertise). There are also devices like this, which let you use an internal drive externally.


    Still, I think the most likely possibility is that the drive itself is dead, and you are mostly out of luck. If that's the case, you might be able to buy a new internal hard drive of the same kind as the dead one, and swap it into the external hard drive case... but it wouldn't make sense to do so unless you knew the other components still work fine.
    Excellent advice. I have attempted option 2 in the past.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    This is what I'm wondering, too. We have a surge protector on our tv/dvr/Blu-ray, etc., but not on the outlets in which we unplug our computers, which are close to the sitting areas. I've had an HP cord fry, too, and I think it might be that. Need to look into surge protectors, I guess. :-(
    If you have a computer hardware geek in your circle of friends or family, it wouldn't take them 10 minutes to try Seymour's option 2.

    Surge protectors on your computer equipment makes more sense than having it on the entertainment center. (Because it is not just the loss of hardware, but you also risk the loss of your data.)

    SPs are especially important if you notice your lights dim on occasion.
    A small power feed in an old house or a power company with stressed demand issues, can cause little variations in power that you note by the dimming bulbs. Over the course of time, these mini spikes can be just as bad as a lightning strike.

    Best of Luck.
    "The only real valuable thing is intuition." Albert Einstein
    "My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts." Charles Darwin

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