Computer Help forum


Hard drive not loading in to Win Explorer

by collectoons / May 31, 2012 11:26 PM PDT

It is a Seagate GoFlex external hard drive. Out of nowhere my pc stopped recognizing it when plugging it in through the USB. No SMART warnings beforehand, no issues, whatsoever, and then poof...gone. I tried different usb cords, unplugging and letting it rest awhile, using it on diff pcs, and still nothing. Well, actually, the pc does load the 'safely remove hardware' icon in the task bar. And if I try and do anything the computer gets extremely slow; pretty much freezes and then after several minutes begins to work again only to start freezing again.

Ive opened the case the external came in, plugged it in to a SATA port and during boot the pc does see the drive. This is the first time it has ever given the SMART BAD Backup and Replace message. Reading up on that I went in to BIOS and disabled it for that drive. After doing that, the pc wont even boot to windows. This is a slave drive now, not the boot drive, so I dont know why it wont boot all the way and just ignore the fact that SMART has been disabled.

The only way I have gotten windows to load all the way is by selecting F9 at the SMART error msg during boot and specifically selecting the boot drive. Even in this list it shows the drive that is giving me issues. I went out last night and bought a new external so the moment I got this damn thing showing again in explorer I can copy all my files from it to the new one. I absolutely refuse to lose all my files from the external, since this was my data warehouse and was supposed to be my way to not have to worry about failing internal drives. I didnt think I needed a backup of a backup.

What other methods can I do to try and get this thing to appear and be usable long enough for me to get my files? Thanks in advance for your help.

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All Answers

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You will find that
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 31, 2012 11:51 PM PDT

all the regulars in these forums will say, "Backup, backup, backup". That is, backup 3 times to different media.

Why? You just found out. External drives are no different to internal drives in that they fail, and limiting your backup to just one media means that you risk losing everything.

Another reason for 3 backups. Let's say you have one internal drive with the original of all your personal or business data and one backup with the same data. If that internal drive fails, suddenly you have no backup. The external immediately becomes the original source of your data and is at risk.

You asked what other methods you can use but I would suggest that disabling SMART is not a good idea, and neither is connecting this failed/failing drive to a SATA port. You say you are getting your files off it, but if it does fail finally then it could bring down your OS.

Why are you using this drive at all? Since it is a backup you still have the originals on the boot drive that you can copy off, don't you?

Or are you saying this is not a backup but is the only copy you have?


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by collectoons / June 1, 2012 12:47 AM PDT
In reply to: You will find that

The files I have on my pc are older copies of most of what I have on the external, and there are also plenty of files on the external that were so large I didnt want to fill up the much smaller hard drives I had on my pc with them. Also, the external was my "jukebox" since all of my cds were ripped to it and computers on my home network could access it to play whatever they wanted. Its a backup of many files, but not all and probably not some of the most important. I need to pull everything off of there

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data recovery
by collectoons / June 1, 2012 12:54 AM PDT
In reply to: cont.
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by collectoons / June 1, 2012 2:18 AM PDT
In reply to: You will find that

and if that cord is bogus, is there a software that actually works? would I be able to have my new external and data recovery software on my stable pc and be able to access the recognized, but unaccessable, hard drive on the 2nd pc and just copy the files to the new external?

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On a side note
by Jimmy Greystone / June 1, 2012 4:25 AM PDT

On a side note, SMART is kind of worthless. In three or so years as a hardware tech, I probably still have more fingers than times I replaced a HDD because of a SMART failure. At least one that came up without having to use a diagnostic program to probe the drive first. That's out of probably hundreds of HDD replacements.

That being said, it's still better than nothing, and you might just get lucky with a warning that a drive is on its way out so you can make sure your backups are in order before it does die. External drives tend to be far more prone to premature death than internal, simply because they are subject to much more in the way of little bumps and jostles which have a cumulative effect on wearing out the drive. This effectively makes external HDDs one of the least reliable backup methods, not that it stops people from making the same mistake you did.

You can try some of the software based recovery programs, but you may have to consider recovery services and decide if that data is worth a few grand to get back.

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Re: corrupted drive
by Kees_B Forum moderator / June 1, 2012 5:52 AM PDT

1. You write about "failing internal drives". If you read through the posts in this forum, you'll note that practically none are about failing internal drives (which everybody has) and quite a lot are about failing external drives (which not everybody has). I would guess an external drive is at least 10 times as likely to fail as an internal drive.
I usually describe an external disk as an excellent way to move files between locations and PC's that aren't in a LAN, a good device for a backup (although you need a second one also) and absolutely unsuitable for permanent storage.

2. If you 'absolutely refuse to lose all your files' you absolutely need to find a data recovery company (like or or any other trusted one). Western Digital publishes a list of data recovery partners all over the world that you can trust. Their service isn't free, of course, but they should be able to recover most - if not all - of your data.

Of course, you can try the DIY programs mentioned in but be sure to try read-only mode first. If you let them write to the disk, that only makes life difficult for the next program and the data recovery company.

Best of luck,


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