Windows 10: Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good!

Discus and support Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good! in Windows 10 Drivers and Hardware to solve the problem; So, I have this WD 2gb external USB drive that would not power up. I checked the power supply and it was fine. Decided to open it up and low and behold... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Drivers and Hardware' started by Gramps, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. Gramps Win User

    Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good!

    So, I have this WD 2gb external USB drive that would not power up. I checked the power supply and it was fine. Decided to open it up and low and behold (I should have known this) an internal drive with a little circuit board attached for the USB/power connections.

    Removed the drive from the enclosure, removed the circuit board, and installed the drive in an open bay in my PC, attached the cables, booted up, and I now have an internal 2GB drive working flawlessly. I going to assume, not always a good thing, that the circuit board went bad somehow.

    Gramps, Oct 24, 2015

  2. How Do I Run a Backup Onto My Flash Drive on Windows 10??

    Microsoft's reply:

    I would like to inform you that you will not be able to backup using USB Flash drive. You may try backing up on USB external hard drive or CD/DVD’s. If you've larger size files, then considering External Hard disk/ DVD would be a good option.

    You have got to be kidding - no USB thumb drive, whos brilliant idea was that.
    shazam2454, Oct 24, 2015
  3. Rebootable hard drive images ( I may be using incorrect terminology here, I will explain below)

    I want complete restore ability for my three computers but I don't want to have to buy three 128 or 256 GB USB Drives. Could I store all three images on one large external hard drive which I already have and transfer whichever is needed at the time to
    a bootable USB drive to restore whichever computer needs it?
    ArtCompton, Oct 24, 2015
  4. spapakons Win User

    Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good!

    As a Technician I have seen that many times. Due to probably some power surge the controller dies and cannot recognize the disk or not even switch on as in your case. Fortunately most of the times the protection circuit saves the disk from dying as well, so you can just disconnect the disk and install it inside a computer or inside a third-party USB enclosure, if you want an external disk. Cases are cheap, for 2.5" are about 10€, so it is a good idea to also recycle old notebook disks as external when one upgrades the notebook's disk with an SSD or larger disk.
    spapakons, Oct 24, 2015
  5. bobkn Win User

    I suppose that you mean 2TB.

    My first PC clone had a 1.6 GB drive - back in 1995.

    (I used a 45MB external SCSI drive with a Mac back in 1985.)
    bobkn, Oct 24, 2015
  6. Gramps Win User
    Oops, yes, it's 2TB.
    Gramps, Oct 24, 2015
  7. All I had was a 420MB *Biggrin I remember doubling the 4MB of Ram for £125 = £170 today. Must have been nuts .

    This is a must read. A walk down computer memory lane . I think I had a Cirrus Logic video card (didn't know they were still in business)
    Torquemada, Oct 24, 2015
  8. spapakons Win User

    Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good!

    I beat you! My first computer was an PC clone by Hyundai with 8088 10MHz CPU, 640KB RAM soldered to the motherboard (no SIMMs or DIMMs back then), 256KB VGA card (max resolution 320x200x256 or 640x400x256 or 640x480x16 or 800x600x2), two floppy drives (one 5.25" and one 3.5") and a 40MB hard disk running MS-DOS 3.3, not Windows yet. These numbers are ridiculous by today's standards but in 1991 is was a typical average computer, just like a Core-i3 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD of today!
    spapakons, Oct 25, 2015
  9. Gramps Win User
    I can go one better: Atari 400, 8k memory, cassette tape storage, and eventually 5 1/4 disk drive. Circa 1983.
    Gramps, Oct 25, 2015
  10. Word Man Win User
    OK... War stories -
    Sinclair ZX80 was my first: equipped with 1 KB of RAM and 4 KB of ROM. Cassette tapes of course. 1981-2 or so.

    Still have it in a box down in my basement and it's off limits during the periodic cleaning rampages.
    Word Man, Oct 25, 2015
  11. strollin Win User
    My first was an IBM PC with 256MB of RAM, 4.77Mhz 8088 cpu, 2 360K floppy disk drives running PC-DOS 2.1. It had a CGA (Color Graphics Array) video card that could do a whopping 4 colors @ 320x200 resolution. Very few people had color graphics capability back then, most went with monochrome text only since it was significantly less expensive. Even with my IBM employee discount it cost me $2500 in 1984.

    As far as the OP's discovery that his external drive's enclosure was the problem, I guess I think differently than others as the first thing I would have done would have been to open the enclosure to determine if the drive was still good.
    strollin, Oct 25, 2015
  12. Lucifia Win User
    If this kind of thing would work for 3.5" externals, it'd win my most awesome post of the year award.... -sigh-
    Lucifia, Oct 25, 2015
  13. Gramps Win User

    Got a dead external USB drive? Drive may still be good!

    I'm a born tinkerer, I don't really know why it took me so long to get it done. I had put it away (I had a spare I was using), and just forgot about it.
    Gramps, Oct 25, 2015
  14. spapakons Win User
    Why not open it? If after some attempts there is no way to make it work, the next step is to open and try connecting the disk inside the computer. If the warranty has expired, as I guess it is, then there is nothing to keep him from opening the enclosure. Then, he can buy a new USB enclosure, if he wants to use the disk as external. But I would thoroughly test the disk first to see if it is damaged or not. The Seagate tool to test a hard disk and even attempt to fix some bad sectors, is SeaTools. I have Western Digital Lifeguard Diagnostics which I use for quick or thorough test (sector-by-sector) of any brand drive. However it is recommended to use manufacturer's own utility (in his case Seagate) because a foreign software won't attempt to fix bad sectors, it will only test the drive.

    After finding out that the drive's health is OK or is fixed, then he can buy a USB enclosure to make it an external disk again. Otherwise, he can keep it for temporary use (transfer files between computers) as I explained in my previous post.

    PS: Some bad sectors can be fixed by writing zeros to the drive (low level format). This of course means that he must first backup all data to another drive and then let it several hours to complete. If writing zeros completes successfully, then the drive should be in the factory unformatted state. So he can format it again and use it.
    spapakons, Oct 25, 2015
  15. strollin Win User
    Even though it seems to be a widely used term, writing zeros to the drive is NOT the same as low level formatting. Low level formatting requires special equipment and cannot be done on modern drives. Older MFM drives used to have a low level format program built-in to the firmware on the controller, had to boot to a DOS prompt and use the DOS debug command to do it, at the Debug prompt you had to enter something like: G=C800:5 to start the format.
    strollin, Oct 25, 2015

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