When External Drives Fail

Just the thought of an external drive, containing thousands of photos, going down is enough to make most photographers have a freak fit! But all may not be lost. It might just be the controller inside the housing that has gone bad. I wish I knew that several years ago when a drive went down and I lost thousands of photos. An inexpensive way to find out is to purchase a new housing, usually about $20, that fits the offending drive. Break the drive out of the old housing and put it in the new one and see if it works. A new housing costs much less than sending it off somewhere to see if the data can be recovered.

I have a friend’s 500gb hard drive that her computer was not recognizing. When I tried it on my computer, using the Firewire port and not the USB port like she was using, the drive showed up on the desktop. I had access to all the files and everything looked ok. After ejecting the drive and trying to remount it, the drive was not recognized by my computer. That gave me a hint that the controller was bad. I took the housing apart and removed the drive. Breaking plastic can be great therapy! Once the drive was out and I was able to check it in a new housing, everything was right where it should be and the drive is working great.

This is the offending part. I saved it for my friend so she can get a little “smash” therapy out of it.

Controller for external hard drive.

Controller for external hard drive.

This is a two day drive dock that I have with the 500gb drive in place.

Two bay SATA hard drive dock.

Two bay SATA hard drive dock.

So if you have a drive that seems to be going bad get a new housing, break some plastic, and see if the drive still works. If you are in the Fredericksburg, VA area and want to let me get a little “smash” therapy working on a drive that is not working for you, send me a note!

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