Unresponsive hard drives and phones

In this post we look at two topics: Recovering the data from a hard drive that has stopped working and recovering data from a phone that is unresponsive.

External Hard Drive Has Stopped Working

Question: “My external hard drive has stopped working (Samsung 750gb). I visited a local pc repair service who informed me that the whirring/clicking noise when connected suggests that the motor has failed and that I need to get the data recovered. Can you please get back in touch with me to discuss this as I would like to get it resolved as soon as possible.”

Reply: Hi, thanks for your enquiry – it’s not the motor of the hard drive that has failed, as if it was you wouldn’t hear any noise at all (the whirring/clicking noise will only be produced if the motor is still working). The whirring/clicking noise is most often heard when there is a problem with the hard drive’s read/write heads. They are failing to read any data and the clicking noise you describe is the hard drive resetting itself to try and read data again. This is illustrated in a video on our page here, where you can see what is going on.

To recover the information it will be necessary to swap out the faulty components with working ones. This involves sourcing an identical hard drive and then replacing the heads and rebuilding the hard drive. It’s a tricky task, but one that we’ve been doing successfully for 15 years. The average cost for this is approximately £500, plus the cost of the donor hard drive.

The above answer also applies to these questions:

  • “I have a hard drive which requires head change out (+particle cleaning on HD disk surface).
    Model: wd10tmvv 11bg7s0 dcmebbvjbbb western digital 1tb
    Can you please advise total cost of the service including donor HDD?”
  • “Beeping noise, clicking noise, seems as though readers are not operating. im looking for a quote for an Seagate external hard drive with 1tb of storage space to be recovered.”
  • “It [the hard drive] dropped while it was on. Need to recover the data. I am no longer able to access the stored files on my external harddrive. I asked the IT dept in work to look at it and they advised the following: You have a 1TB Sata hard drive housed in a Freecom Caddy. It is partially recognised by the Operating system and can be assigned a drive letter but never fully mounts. The hard drive will power up and the disk appears to spin but there is a perceptible light clicking/tapping in the first few seconds of powering up suggesting a read/write arm failure. Can you please advise of costs of a recovery for something of this nature and if you undertake an initial review/check free of charge?”

Unresponsive Phones Needing Data Recovery

“As my phone memory was full, I began deleting photos which remained on the phone. I decided to switch off the phone and then turn it on but it was stuck on the apple logo. I then connected it to my iTunes but it said I would have to restore the phone back to the factory settings, which I do not want to do.”

“I have a Galaxy S6 Edge turned itself off during an overnight, halfway through a charge cycle and I have not been able to turn it back on since. It has been unresponsive to wired and wireless charging, all combinations of soft resets, and a battery replacement. I am not sure what else to try, other than to replace the daughterboard, however I do not know if even that would do anything.
The phone has constantly suffered bootloops after it was sent away for a repair to a malfunctioning fast charge facility.”

Reply: As long as you haven’t factory reset your phone and it’s not got some serious physical damage like being run over then it’s usually possible to recover the information that was on it. Visit our main phone data recovery page at https://www.dataclinic.co.uk/data-recovery-from-mobile-devices-phones-tablets-etc/, which will give you a good understanding of what’s possible. From that page you’ll be able to drill down to find further information about your particular brand of phone.