Due to increasing capacity and decreasing cost, external hard drives are more widespread in everyday use. With the need for more and more storage, you may have multiple external hard drives at your disposal. Unfortunately, external hard drives have a higher failure rate.
Did you drop your external hard drive? Your device is most likely clicking, grinding, beeping or won’t initialize. This happens when the heads are damaged and, generally, drives in this condition need parts replaced. These failure types fall under a Level 2 or a Level 3 recovery as the drive must normally be rebuilt.
External Hard Drive – Head Failure
If your drive is not clicking or beeping, or failing to initialize, your drive may be recovered under a Level 1 Recovery.
We recommend shutting down your external hard drive immediately if you have dropped it and believe you may have caused damage. When the drive is knocked over while it is working, the heads often knock the surface of the platters. This generally causes permanent data loss to some extent.
The heads (as shown in the first picture) are very small and extremely delicate. When the heads hit the platter, we often see bent or broken components which prevent your drive from reading or writing data.
Even if the heads look undamaged when we open the drive in the lab, it is still possible failed heads are the culprit. This is due to the sensitivity of the magnetic heads. Minor contact with the platters will cause micro scratches in the head surface. This will quickly degrade the head stack until the point that data can no longer read or write.
In order to recover your data, it is strongly recommended to stop running drive immediately. Do not attempt do-it-yourself techniques. The reason for this is that the more the heads contact the platters, the more data you lose. So, the smaller your chance of recovery becomes.