Retrieve and Recovery

I have a Western Digital 'My Passport' external hard-drive that is constantly clicking and is not being detected by my MacBook Pro anymore. I usually use this for Time Machine Backups, but there are also home movies and music files on there as I have no space left on my MacBook hard-drive. I checked the WD website and it is no longer under-warranty. The guidance on the website suggested that it may be that the USB cable is faulty; however, the attachment to the hard-drive is not a type that I have seen before and I cannot find anyone with this cable. Are you able to give guidance/support and a quote for repair please?

Harddisk was run over by a tractor ! Very little damage externally…opened files successfully twice since…now light comes on when you plug it in & it 'fires up' but it is not recognised / does not open on laptops.

I have a Transcend Storejet 1 TB hard drive. Been working perfectly but after removing it from PC yesterday and going out with it, it now fails to be recognised by PC. A window just comes up saying need to format the drive. Previously it was listed in the storage as Transcend, not it is just listed as drive J. How much would it cost to recover the data. I am based in Huddersfield

Do you have any physical office in London where I can bring my hard drive to recover deleted information? Thank you in advance.

Seagate back up plus 1TB. The devise registers when plugged in but no icon appears and unable to access data on it. Funny ticks and noises and feels very warm when plugged it. I have a load or word files for university that inneed to recover if possible.

My WD external drive has failed in typical way, light is blinking, clicking sound, disk doesn't appear.

Drive won't connect to PC, had a quick check up (no attempted data recovery yet, drive hasn't been opened) and was told it is probably an issue with the power?

Hard Drive Dilemma

Enquiry: My Hard Drive recently packed in. It was running ok the night before (although in retrospect after being asked about it, I'd heard it click a couple of times), but when I booted it up I kept getting an error message saying windows couldn't be found.
So on boot up I went to the BIOS menu to see if something had reordered the drives and discovered the hard drive couldn't be read. I then took it to a repair shop and they attempted to diagnose the problem (it was them who asked about the clicking). They left it over night for a diagnostic and said that on a couple of occasions the Hard Drive was picked up but the only info they could get off it was garbled nonsense. They said that they thought that the heads may have failed on the Hard Drive and that wasn't something they could fix and recommended someone else. The 2nd person came to the same conclusion and said he didn't want to tamper with the heads either as it wasn't something he could fix and so he recommended you.

The only other note I can think of is that the laptop seemed to be running quite hot leading up to the failure, but as I've replaced the hard drive this doesn't seem to be the problem. For reference, I live in Liverpool, just in case you need to refer me to that office.

My Response: What you have described there is a hard drive that is about to completely fail. It probably didn't help that the first repair shop you took it to kept it switched on last night. If a hard drive is running hot and slowly then my recommendation is to switch the hard drive quickly and wait a while for it to cool down - don't put it in a fridge or freezer and this will put unnecessary stress on the hard drive, instead let is cool naturally.

When it's completely cooled you can attach it again and attempt to copy your files off of it asap. If you are successful at this then you've had a lucky escape. If the hard drive begins to run slowly or is not recognised then I'm afraid it's too late for you to do anything - the hard drive is already badly damaged. If you need to remove the data from it you'll need to contact a data recovery company.

Finding a Data Recovery Company

You can look for a local data recovery company but my experience is that good data recovery companies a few and far between. Make a distinction between a data recovery specialist and a PC repair shop. They are not the same beast at all. Even though the shop may claim to perform data recovery, it's capabilities will be no where approaching what the data recovery company can do. The best way I've found is to do a countrywide internet search and then look at the reviews of the company. Another useful method is to look for bloggers who write about data recovery and hard drive issues - if you are in the UK you can visit the Recover Deleted Data web site. It deals in answering questions about all types of data recovery, not just retrieving deleted data.

Hard Drive Helpline

I'm getting an increasing number of enquiries for assistance with hard drives that have gone faulty. With this in mind, I'm thinking of logging these to a forum where people can offer advice to enquiriers. Here are two:

1. Sonnics 250GB external hard drive has stopped responding when plugged in – light does not come on as usual and does not show up on desktop. Used it this morning and it was fine, has not been dropped or damaged that I know of, just seems completely random. Does not make any noise or seem alive at all.

2. We have a 1TB Seagate Expansion external HD that has suddenly stopped being recognised on our laptop and TV. The white LED flashes but nothing happens. The HD doesn't click, but makes a whirring sound. Not sure how much is on there, but all we want are any documents and pictures back. Please advise costs.

At the moment I am directing people to local data recovery service providers who are located near to them such as and the sites listed on, who then pick up the enquiry and contact the user direct.

An established data recovery blog run by Clive Naylor highlights data recovery issues and recommends companies from time to time. Clive's blog can be found at and and example company at

Data Clinic Blog Post Round-Up

There's been some interesting blog posts on the Data Clinic web site lately at

For those of you who like techie information relating to computer disks, data and what to do if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of losing data, the Data Clinic blog is the place to go as it's full of real world examples of data loss situations and tells you how to go about getting your data back. This information isn't just confined to hard drives, but also includes mobile devices like tablets and smart phones.

First of all I didn't know that it's not possible to repair and damaged hard drives. Although we make not think they look very complex. hard drives are very clever devices that are difficult to fix if they go wrong. Here's a great post about why it's not possible to repair a damaged hard drive.

The blog posts aren't confined to hard drive problems and how to resolve them though, there are other related articles. Hacking is a big problem these days and most often the weak point in the chain is the simple password that is used to protect a system's data. Use of weak passwords renders systems highly vulnerable to attacks, so this guide shows you how to construct a strong and secure password that's easy to remember and very difficult for hackers to break.

Finally, there's a typical cross section of the various different types of enquiry that Data Clinic receive - in this example you can read people's enquiries about recovering information from mobile phones, external hard drives, PC's and Macs.

So go and have a look at this site - as I say, it's crammed with information about hard drives and getting data back from damaged devices.