04-13-2012 12:50 AM
I had what appeared to be a dead hard drive. The model is a WD 2TB Elements external hard drive, part number WDBAAU0020HBK-01.
HOWEVER, my fix is definitely worth trying for ANYONE's external hard drive problems.
Why? Because it doesn't matter what type of harddrive you have... this solution is possible to work for anyone's external hard drive unless the drive is 100% dead completely. I thought my hard drive was dead, but I found a fix and so apparently it wasn't as dead as the symptoms were suggesting and leading me on to believe it was dead.
Blinking Blue Light
Spin, Clicking, Silent harddrive; Plugged into direct outlet --with ear to harddrive enclosure, I could hear it spin and then click and then go silent
Not recognized by PC
Not recognized by Win XP Disk Management... i.e. go to "Run" and type in compmgmt.msc
PROBLEM SOLVING ATTEMPTS:
Checked cables, tried different cables
Tried on several different computers
Put power into direct outlet versus surge protector
Researched fixes and saw numerous people with same problem
Everything I read and was experiencing was that this was a hard drive that had completely failed. The data was not retrievable and doubtful if a data recovery could work since it wasn't being recognized as a drive anywhere.
SOLUTION I FOUND:
Warning: Please be cautious of static electricity. Please be grounded and careful when handling.
So I carefully took a screwdriver (a butter knife would probably work too) and pried open the external hard drive enclosure.
I unscrewed the 4 screws holding two thin metal plates on either side that hold a "converter" to make a standard internal hard drive into a USB plug and play external hard drive.
I was now holding a standard SATA INTERNAL hard drive.
I now could do one of the following:
Plug my internal hard drive (i.e. WD external hard drive) into a $30 external hard drive enclosure that is coincidentally also a plug and play USB
Plug my internal hard drive (i.e. WD external hard drive) into my desktop PC and hook it up as a "slave" drive and access my data that way
I first tried my $30 external hard drive enclosure that I had available; I own one. It is simple-- plug the SATA cord from external hard drive enclosure into the slot on the hd and plug the power cord into the slot on the hd. It is hard to miss and figure out. Power up the external hard drive enclosure and plug in the USB. Let the computer find the new harddrive.
At first my computer went through the process of finding new hardware, etc., and gave me an error message. But then it repeated the process and it successfully installed the new hardware.
I checked and my PC recognized my WD Elements hd AND all of my data that I had saved on there was now accessible.
SOooooo before you despair and give up fully, consider this fix. It worked for me and I was sure I had lost all of my data.
I don't guarantee that this will work for you but it most definitely is worth trying before giving up. It's possible the hard drive is still working but the connection adapter piece that makes your harddrive an "external hard drive plug and play USB" is the piece that is broken and useless. I can only surmise that is what is wrong with my WD external hard drive or otherwise the connections between the two had become disconnected or loose and thus it was giving me symptoms of a dead hard drive when it fact the internal connections for the "usb plug and play adapter piece" were loose.
BTW, I also recommend buying another external hard drive ASAP and backing up your data onto another source as well as onto DVD's. I do not trust this hard drive fully and I'm aware that I need at least 2 unique sources, if not 3 or 4 unique sources of back-ups in order to ensure safety of my precious data. However, this works now and I can still use the drive until I have some additional money to buy another external hard drive and have time to backup my data onto DVD's as well.
I hope this helps you! I felt compelled to explain the fix I found as I had not read it on this board as a possible solution. I came up with the idea out of desperation and after trying other things that didn't work for me.
04-13-2012 06:02 AM
Well I'm glad this solution work for you. However, you need to keep in mind that this action will void the warranty of the unit so if you wanna replace your drive you won't be able to do it.....
04-13-2012 01:13 PM
Glad it worked. Besides voiding the warranty this will not work with drives that came with Smartware. They are hardware encrypted.
05-01-2012 07:59 PM - edited 05-01-2012 08:01 PM
I did a fix very similar! But had to go a few steps further.
I did everything you did, more or less. And got to the point where the drive was working, about half the time.
I tried those USB-to-SATA cables, and that didn't work reliably either. So this told me it was the bare drive that was failing. Wiggling stuff *seemed* to work, sometimes. So that eliminated the housing/enclosure electronics & power adapter stuff.
I took off the controller board from the drive itself, not the usb thing, the one containing the drive servo control chips, cpu, cache.. and so on and so forth.
And I reflowed all the parts on it with my little butane torch set on low. As soon as I saw the solder turn color, go shiny, and settle, I moved on to the next area. Used plenty of flux and was careful to not burn the board. I think I got everything, but since I worked quickly, again, so as not to burn anything, I'm sure there are connections that might not have gotten reflowed.
And now.. AND NOW!! The drive is working again. I did this a long time ago, about 2 years ago. Screw the warranty, it's so short anyways. It is working today, and passess a variety of tests. I feel it reliable enough, now, to use as a backup.