Recovering hard drive?

So I archived a bunch of work on an external hard drive. Just like a regular 4tb usb external drive. I dropped it very lightly! Woops, and then when I went to plug it in it was making a funny noise bjt still mounted and I could see my archive segments.
It was going really slow so I unplugged it and remounted. The next time it would mount but the files don’t really show up in the finder.

Am I totally screwed? Is there any way to recover my work? Someone out there must be as dumb as me and will have a nice story with a happy ending? Please help!

If the drive is mounting just wait a long time and hopefully the contents will show up. I’ve seen this on large usb external drives. An indication that the drive is reading is if you see the light blinking.

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It’s telling you to dump spindle drives and use SSD.

Yes :woozy_face: I am re-evaluating all my life’s choices. The question is, if I send this out to a data recovery place for like $1000 will they even be able to recover it for me?

So I waited a LONG time and the files did eventually pop up. I tried to drag one small file to the desktop and it’s stalling. But the data is there! Sure there is a way to extract it, right?

The data may likely(!) be there still, recoverable via tools or by a service. Before you pay someone, you can try several of the software yourself. Google them. DiskDrill may work, there are others too.

Possibly not.
I have a drive that went on me containing all the early digital photos of my kids, I’ve tried everything, even freezing it and swapping the logic board to no avail, just hoping that one day it will be cheap enough to get it done professionally.

SSD is less susceptible to mechanical mis-treatment. But every drive, regardless of technology, can fail. The only way to keep important data safe is not so much the drive you use, but keeping backups.

3-2-1 is worth to remember. For the most important data keep three copies - at least two on separate systems / drives, and at least 1 at a different location.

When we had to do this a decade ago with a drive that had a bunch of archives on it, it was like $10K. We paid per GB or something. Might be cheaper now but I kinda doubt it.

Try disk first aid from the diskutility app in Applications/Utilities

Hi there. Is this mac formatted or exfat/ntfs? If exfat/ntfs, then you can plugin to Windows machine, and in properties>tools>Error checking - this will scan disk and repair headers (one of few microsoft tools that really works, saved my bacon couple of times, it happens when you unplug drive from machine when it is copying metadata and can work some magic in different situations). If you are on linux then there is fsck utility.
When you see data, it does not mean they are there, it could be only headers with corrupted bytes (specially on mac which index files before you can access them). I do not recommend shareware tools that will popup when you type in Google “disk recovery”, most of them are only different GUI for system tools that are already part of OS, and add lot of their bullshit stuff which can destroy what can be restored. I would definitely recommend to check data restore company, they have very specialized (and expensive) tools and knowledge, and it is not that expensive (of course it depands on how many and how big those files are).
HDD have needle (part that make noise) that can physically damage platter, and it this case you are phucked. When HDD is off this needle is parked in safe position. One of those lessons that are learned hard way, sorry my man :frowning:

If the drive has popped up and you can see the data, it may be worth trying a data recovery software solution. I have used several over the years, eg EaseUS Data Recovery, they are slow but way cheaper than a data recovery service.

Is the drive built in a way that you can open up the enclosure and safely unplug the HDD inside? It’s possible that you’ve damaged a lane on the SATA connector inside or something and the HDD is in okay shape. In these circumstances you may have luck with a drive cloner?

If you can’t take the drive out and put it back without breaking the enclosure, a data recovery place may be your only option. There is no guarantee you’ll get every file back and there’s no guarantee that the files you get back will be whole.

If the data on the drive can be regenerated, do that instead. You may want to consider changing your data protection strategy.