Recover Files From Your Failed External

If your external hard drive has failed you can still get your valuable documents, photographs, movies and music back (even if it has been condemned as “dead” by your computer support people) using our specialist hardware recovery service. Our experienced engineers rescue your files from all makes and models including Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital, Toshiba and LaCie.

We offer collection from your door then professional assessment of your external, all FREE of charge.

Standard Service analysis is completed within around 2 working days meaning you will know the results quickly.

We have an outstanding track record of happy customers.

You only pay for recovery when you are sure the files you need have been recovered.

Portables (in both desktop and pocket-sized versions) have become the de facto device for back ups for home users and small to medium businesses. Our experience in many cases is that there can be confusion about the term “back up”.

Often, users feel that moving a file to a portable from their computer is a “back up”, but this is simply moving a critical file from one vulnerable place to a different, more vulnerable place.

A file is not backed up until it exists in at least two places.

Amazing as it seems, we are asked to help companies that have lost mission-critical files after both the main computer and the portable disk have failed at the same time. When that happens, we analyse the disks from both devices.

Why They Fail

It is distressing when your external suddenly stops working. By their nature, this secondary storage tends to contain the most recent meaningful documents or pictures.

Over months or years, they gradually build more and more sentimental (or financial) value as the sole location for your unique versions of precious documents, photographs, movies or music.

They are extremely prone to sudden impact while powered up and spinning – either from being yanked off a height onto the floor, or (unbelievably) falling to a horizontal position from a vertical position.

This latter issue is surprisingly widespread and is encouraged by manufacturers designing them to function while “standing up”. This is an inherently dangerous position for a device which is so vulnerable to the effects of movement while in operation.

Examples of models Examples of vulnerable upright models

All externals are vulnerable to loss, even more than internal disks, due to the potential for movement and the inherent possibility of changes in environmental conditions. Once simple access attempts have failed and your back ups have let you down, professional retrieval is the single best and safest way forward.

Common symptoms of internal hardware breakdown include:

  • clicking
  • not seen in BIOS
  • does not spin up
  • spins but makes unusual noises

Whatever symptoms you detect, we possess the specialist knowledge and equipment to carry out the appropriate type of recovery. Of course, sometimes we are called in too late and the key documents have already been destroyed permanently – we will identify this for you as quickly as possible.

Portables are essentially protective sleeves for quite ordinary desktop or laptop disk drives inside. Disk manufacturers sell devices with their own brand drive inside (such as Seagate or Western Digital), but everybody else has to buy in disks made by somebody else (e.g. Iomega, Freecom, LaCie, Buffalo and most others). Typically, there is an additional PCB (electronic circuit board) added by the third-party assembler, for driving the various lights, logos and other indicators.

Do You Really Need A Professional?

We are sometimes asked how far an end-user should go in testing a portable before calling us in to help. The difficulty is in determining that there is a fault within the hard disk inside rather than the enclosure.

You now know that there is an ordinary drive inside the enclosure, so the test that your local computer shop or IT maintenance staff will perform is to remove it and install it into a simple USB enclosure (you can get these from PC World for around £35, or here’s an example from Amazon).

The test is simple.

If the test PC can recognise that there is a USB device attached, but cannot see the storage inside it, there is a physical problem with the disk and you need our help. If the drive can be accessed, they can transfer your documents off – you do not need our help. If they cannot see your files and documents, you need our help – you may have a partial physical issue. Get in touch with us using the contact sheet or call us now on 0800 999 4447 or 0131 215 1282.

Some newer pocket-sized models cut manufacturing costs by omitting the use of an additional PCB (and subsequent light show). These are lighter, simpler and tend to be more reliable as there are fewer parts to go wrong. The clever bit is that the internal drive has an alternative interface connector built in – instead of a conventional PATA or SATA interface, it has a direct micro-USB interface.

We have developed techniques for working with these types of hard disk. There is no point in you putting these into an caddy for a test – in this instance, the enclosure does nothing more than a sweet-wrapper would. If a computer does not recognise it when connected, it has a physical problem and you need our help.

Western Digital My Passport with USB interface on drive PCB Western Digital My Passport with USB interface on PCB


We Recover From The Following Externals

Here is a partial list of models we can recover data from:

  • Buffalo
  • Formac
  • Freecom
  • G-Tech
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Hitachi
  • Hypertec
  • i-nique
  • IBM
  • Icybox
  • iGadgitz
  • Integral
  • Intenso
  • Iomega
  • iStorage
  • LaCie
  • Lenovo
  • Linksys
  • LUPO
  • Maxell
  • Maxtor
  • MyVolts
  • Netac
  • Platinum
  • Plextor
  • Samsung
  • Seagate
  • Startech
  • Stor-Right
  • Storage Appliance Corporation
  • Sumvision Apex
  • TeckNet
  • Toshiba
  • Trekstor GmbH
  • Verbatim

We have years of experience in recovering from failed externals. Don’t risk your precious data anywhere else, give us a call on 0800 999 4447 or 0131 215 1282.