External Hard Drive Repairs

by Rod Dunne on January 18, 2011

in Hardware

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Performing an external hard drive repair requires focusing on the hardware and software faults that can lead to problems. In this article I’ll show you how to check these two main areas and what repairs you can do for yourself.


One of the most critical things with any external hard drive repairs is to begin by checking for mechanical faults. If these are left unattended then they could actually lead to more damage. For example, misaligned disk reading heads could actually continually cause physical damage to the disk platters.

The key to identifying mechanical faults with hard drives is to listen for strange sounds as the system is running. If the motor is beginning to fail then it will repeatedly make clicking noises. Likewise, if internal components are starting to seize up (e.g. the bearings or spindle) then you hear grinding or scratching sounds. In reality, you should not attempt to fix these yourself. Instead, shut down the system and seek the help of a computer repair technician.


If mechanical faults are not a concern then you can do some other hardware checks. Make sure the cabling is all securely connected to the drive and computer. Use a secondary USB cable and a different course to make sure these are not at fault. You could also try connecting it to a second system to discount the possibility of your computer having a problem.


As regards software checks, any external hard drive repair should begin with opening the BIOS menu as the system is starting up. Check that the drive is being detected by the system. Use the computer documentation to establish how to resolve this problem if the disk is not being picked up.

Problems with hard drive sectors (e.g. corruption or bad sectors) can be fixed using the error checking utility in Windows. However, this tool is quite basic so is also recommended to try using a product like HDD Regenerator which provides more analysis of boot sector damage and other types of faults.

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