Recover Files From Dead External Hard Drive With Actionable Way

One of the biggest advantages of external hard drive when compared to internal hard drive lies in its portability. Users can carry an external hard drive with them whenever and wherever they want. In this way, data and applications saved in this removable hard drive are always available as long as users can access computer.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 1

However, the portability and easy access also increase the possibility of damage occurred on external hard drive. For, instance, external hard drive is not showing up, files don't appear on external hard drive or external hard drive is corrupted.

When you are in face of a dead external hard drive, you may easily get into panic. How to recover files from dead external hard drive would be the thing that you'll think of when you have important files stored here. Otherwise, you may choose to just reformat the hard drive to try to make it working right.

This is right. We mean if important files are included in the dead external hard drive, you are strongly suggested to recover data firstly with MiniTool Power Data Recovery (a wonderful hard drive recovery tool that enjoys high reputation). We'll tell you how to recover files from external hard drive without formatting in following content. When hard drive data recovery is completed and you get all the data you want to recover, you can try all sorts of ways to fix the dead drive for further data storage.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 1

Besides, we'll tell you the following things:
  • Some external hard drive becoming dead phenomena and corresponding tips for fixing them;
  • Common causes which are "responsible for" turning a good external hard drive into a dead one;
  • Things to notice to decrease the possibility of dead external hard drive;
  • Basic characteristics of external hard drive.

Be relax, all the steps to recover data from dead/corrupted/crashed hard drive and all the related information are easy to master.

How to Recover Files from Dead External Hard Drive

Here are the actionable steps on how to recover data from broken external hard drive.

1. You need to download MiniTool Power Data Recovery and then install it to computer local drive. At the end of installation, connect your external hard drive to computer and run the software to see its main interface.

2. Two things to do in this step:
a). check whether the partition which keeps your lost files is still existing or not.
b). choose the suitable module from main interface of external hard drive recovery software
note Choose "Damaged Partition Recovery" to recover files from existing partitions.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 7

note Or choose "Lost Partition Recovery" to recover files from deleted/lost partitions.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 8

If your device can't be detected in software, you need to unplug the external hard drive and connect it again to computer and then click "Refresh" button in lower left corner to refresh the list.

3. Select the correct drive as required and then click on "Full Scan" button to detect files here.

4. Look through the found files at the end of scan and pick out the useful ones to recover by clicking on "Save" button.

This is the end of recovery.

Tweet New Skills

  • If you find the size of your files you plan to recover in the last step exceeds 1GB, please buy a license to upgrade your free software and then finish the recovery.

  • If you would like to recover data from external hard drive on Mac, please turn to MiniTool Mac Data Recovery instead. The using skills of this Mac recovery tool are similar.

recommend Top Recommendation

Hard drive may become dead easily sometimes, so we need to be careful enough when using the hard drive in which significant data are saved. 10 Signs That May Drive Disk To Die & Recover Files From Dead Hard Disk tells more in this aspect.

Can't See External Hard Drive in Computer

It is a common case that users can't see their external hard drive after connecting it to computer. And at this time, most people will think that their external hard drive is dead. But please don't rush to put aside your external hard drive. The following tips in different situations may be able to help fix the problem.

There are 5 possible causes for such problem.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 2

Cause 1: System or System Built-in Drivers Problem

Problems occurred in system or system built-in drivers may be the reason why removable drive is not shown in computer after connection. If you're entering this, please try the following steps:

1. Boot into safe mode by pressing F8 (or other buttons) while starting the computer; exit the safe mode and choose to restart or shutdown the system and now users can enter the normal mode. In this process, the registry may be repaired.

2. If the problem persists, please use the built-in system restoration function to restore system to the last known good configuration.

3. If the problem also persists, please adopt the system repair disc: open a command prompt, input "SFC /SCANNOW" and press Enter, and then insert the original system disk repair disc. After that, the system will automatically compare and repair.

4. If the problem still persists, please enter the BIOS and set CD-ROM as the first boot device. Afterwards, insert system setup disk and press R to select repair install function.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 6

recommend Top Recommendation

If you find your computer is broken at any time, please follow the suggestions mentioned in Meet The Best Way To Recover Files From Broken Computer to rescue your data.

Cause 2: Improper CMOS Parameter Settings

CMOS parameter settings may need to be changed in your computer. For users who never used USB external devices, even if they have properly installed the driver, the problem – system does not detect USB hard drive may also appear.

This direct reason for causing this problem is that the motherboard's CMOS default port is closed. To fix it, users need to reboot, enter the CMOS settings window and set "Assign IRQ For USB" as "Enable" in "PNP / PCI CONFIGURATION" column.

Cause 3: Power Shortage Problem

The unstable or insufficient power supply is also a possible cause. If the external power supply is not enough for normal working of external hard drive, it may easily become inaccessible in computer due to power shortage. In this case, users had better choose the device which is powered directly by Alternating Current.

Cause 4: USB Data Line Failure

USB data line failure is a commonly seen problem. If the USB data line used to connect external hard drive with computer is broken inside, there's no way users can access it in computer.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 3

Besides, if the standard of computer USB interface is different from that of external hard drive interface, the drive is also can't be recognized. So please try to replace the failed data line with a new one to fix this problem permanently.

Cause 5: Drive Letter Conflict

Drive letter conflict could be a mysterious reason that most users are not aware of. To put it in a more simple way, this means the driver letter that belongs to external hard drive has already been taken by one of the computer local drives. Under this circumstance, users are supposed to make use of Disk Management or third-party tools like MiniTool Partition Wizard to change the drive letter of external hard drive.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 4

In addition to above cases, there's also possibility for an external hard drive to become really dead. For instance:
a). physical damage like bad sector and scratches;
b). logical damage like accidental formatting and virus attack.
They can let an external hard drive fail to work normally.

Protect Your External Hard Drive

Here are some things that you should pay much attention to in order to protect your external hard drive well. Otherwise, measures must be taken to recover files from dead external hard drive as soon as possible. So, you are suggested to notice the following aspects.

Hard Drive Cable Issue

The first thing you should notice is the cable issue of external hard drive. The USB cable connected to hard drive is both used as the data transmission line and the power supply line. There will be an obvious increase in resistance and data interference if the cable is too long, and thus letting hard drive fail to work properly. So we may say that the USB cable should be as short as possible. In addition to the original configuration of the cable, no extension cord should be connected.

What's more, users should choose the USB interfaces on the back side of the chassis, which are fixed directly on the motherboard, rather than the ones on the front side of it, which are connected to the front panel by motherboard through a section of a wire.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 5

Power Supply Issue

The second thing that should be noticed is the power supply. For an external hard drive, whose capacity is over 10GB, the mere power supply provided through USB cable is far from enough and hard drive failures may be caused by insufficient power supply. At this time, an external auxiliary power supply (DC stabilized power supply) becomes very necessary.

Hot Swap Capability

The last thing we'd like to mention here is the Hot Swap capability. Though the external hard drive adopted USB interface gives support for Hot Swap, you need to be careful when using this function.

In the using process, especially when you're running Windows Me/2000/XP, you need to make sure that the USB interface has been properly closed and the USB hard drive has been properly unplugged from the computer before they take action to unplug the USB cable (they can click on the USB interface flag next to date mouse to disable it). Otherwise, serious damage may be brought to the external hard drive running at an extremely fast speed due to sudden power outage.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 6

5 Basic Characteristics of External Hard Drive

As a convenient and widely used mobile data storage device, external hard drive has its own features that may be similar to or different from other drives. Here, we're going to talk about 5 obvious characteristics of external hard drive.

Feature 1 – Large Capacity

Large in capacity: equipped with a capacity which is larger than that of common flash drives, external hard drives is a high cost-effective mobile storage product. When the price of large-capacity flash drive was only preliminary accepted by users, the price of external hard drive is within the acceptable price range since it provides them with greater storage capacity and convenience.

Hence, external hard drive is regarded as an upgraded version of flash memory products like USB flash drive.

Feature 2 – Small Size

Small in size: in general, the external hard drive dimension can be divided into three types – 1.8 inch, 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch. Among them, the 2.5-inch removable drive can be used as notebook hard drive. It is featured with small volume and light weight, so it is easy to carry around and this is especially convenient for users who need to use big business files frequently but want to guarantee security at the same time. In addition, there is often no external power supply for 2.5-inch external hard drive.

Recover files from dead external hard drive 2

However, the 3.5-inch external hard drive's volume is relatively large and the portability is limited, so it is often used as desktop computer hard drive. Besides, the 3.5-inch external hard drive generally comes with an external power supply and cooling fan.

Feature 3 – Fast Speed

Fast in speed: according to statistics, most external hard drives are using USB, IEEE1394 or eSATA interface, which can provide fast data transmission speed. However, the disk data transfer speed is still subject to interface speed limit to a certain extent.

In particular, when users try to transfer large amounts of data on USB1.1 interface specification products, they must be patient enough. Compared to USB1.1 interface, USB2.0, USB3.0, IEEE1394 and eSATA interface are much better.

Feature 4 – Convenient Usage

Convenient to use: as far as we know, mainstream PC is basically equipped with USB function; the motherboard usually offers 2 to 8 USB ports and some monitors will also provide USB adapter. In short, USB interface has become an essential on in PC using.

In most versions of Windows OS, users do not need to install a driver in order to use USB interface. This "plug and play" feature is really fascinating. Yet, for external hard drives whose capacity is over 160GB, an external power supply is needed and this restricts its portability greatly.

Feature 5 – Great Reliability

Enhancement in reliability: data security has always been the thing that mobile hard drive users are most concerned about, and it is also regarded as an important criterion for people to measure the performance of such products. Similar to laptop hard drive, external hard drive often adopts silica platter.

Compared to aluminum platter, silica platter is believed to be more durable and have larger capacity and better reliability. And the integrity of data saved on it has been greatly improved. Besides, the silica platter is equipped with a shock-proof function, so that when severe vibration is detected, the platter will be stopped automatically and the magnetic head will be reset to safe area to avoid platter damage.

Share On Twitter


Reading here, you must know the exact way to deal with dead external hard drive problemrecover data from it and fix the drive not detect problem. We hope you'll never meet such problem. But when accident occurs all of a sudden, please apply the skills you've learned here to actual situation immediate.

Common problems related to partition recovery and our solutions: