Hard Drives Not Recognised – Humming & Beeping

Several problems this week with beeping and humming Western Digital hard drives:

  • “Hi its a western digital my ultra passport 3tb external hard drive the problem is it beeps when I put it into the computer or the laptop it sounds like the heads are stuck and not able to read the plates to read the files on the 3tb drive I am only guessing at this from what I’ve read from other people with the same problem the device it’s self has not been damaged by this I’m dropped or broken and it happened on Thursday last week. Are you able to fix this and how much am I looking at for cost wise as I do want the files and the device repaired please thank you.”
  • “I accidentally dropped my WD My Passport Ultra earlier and can no longer access any of the folders. WD external hard drive not picked up by computer. I would like the address of a partner of WD to take the hard drive to and recover the data. I’m live close to Baker Street London, UK
  • “The Portable Hard drive (WD My Passport 2tb). fell to the floor approximately 2 feet. At the time the HDD was turned off and not plugged in. Since the fall upon plugging in the drive make a quiet hum/electrical sound before being punctuated by a slighlty louder beep. The drive never “spins up”, and is not recognised on a Win7 PC. I am hoping to either get the drive repaired or more importantly recover the file from it (1.5tb approx), is there a cost per mb for recovered data?”

The symptoms you describe tell me that this drive has a problem with it’s spindle motor assembly. A quick history lesson: Your data is stored on several magnetic disks inside the hard drive that are rotated very quickly around a central spindle by a motor. The impact of the fall has resulted in the spindle / motor seizing and the disks are now unable to rotate. The beeping / hum sounds you hear tell me this, as does your drive not being recognised on your PC. It’s not possible to repair a hard drive with this problem, the best a data recovery company can usually do is get the hard drive into a barely working state for long enough to extract the data.

This is classed as a mechanical type of fault, which is really the worst type of problem your hard drive can have. As the hard drive has a physical problem, retrieving the files from it involves us replacing the spindle motor assembly and rebuilding the drive in a clean room.

There is no software you can use to fix problem like this. Remember the drive has physically damaged components that must be replaced before and data recovery can be attempted. Similarly this isn’t a problem with the drive’s PCB either – so any suggestions about replacing the PCB with a new one will also not work.


Recovering data from hard drives with these faults is not guaranteed. Replacement parts from a suitable donor hard drive will have to be found before being used to replace the damaged components. The cost of a donor drive can vary considerably between £80 for common models to £350 for the more rare ones which often have to be sourced worldwide.

Typical data recovery costs for these cases is between £500 and £1000. Usually no data recovery charge is payable if the data is unrecoverable, but this is not always the case with other data recovery providers – so be sure to check should you decide to use a company other than Data Clinic.

UK Locations

Data Clinic have data recovery drop off points around the UK. You can either call in with your hard drive or as an alternative, call us to book a free collection of you hard drive – we will collect free of charge from anywhere in the UK.