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DrKlahn
DrKlahn, Computer Engineer
Category: Computer Hardware
Satisfied Customers: 2014
Experience:  BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.
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I have a Simpletech by fabrik external hard drive 1.0 tb Drive

Customer Question

I have a Simpletech by fabrik external hard drive 1.0 tb Drive R1000U that my computer will not recognize at all when I plug it in. The light just blinks and I can't access any of the files. This happened when I unplugged it from my desktop that has Windows Vista and carefully transported and plugged it into my laptop that has Windows 7. I really would like to access the files as my online backup also failed and does not have the files available. Sigh...How can you help if there are no buttons or ways to physically access the external harddrive and the computer doesn't even acknowledge that it exists?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Computer Hardware
Expert:  computerguru86 replied 3 years ago.

computerguru86 :

Welcome to Justanswer

computerguru86 :

Let me confirm what is going on, so neither your laptop nor your desktop will recognize you external hard drive is that correct?

computerguru86 :

Also has the laptop or the desktop ever been able to see the external hard drive

JACUSTOMER-l6z4nt3q- :

Here's a synopsis of what happened:

JACUSTOMER-l6z4nt3q- :

I safely removed the hard drive from my desktop and attached it to my laptop (Windows 7) temporarily so that I may access some data. My laptop was unable to read the drive and I immediately noticed that something was wrong. The blue light on the front of the drive, when attached to a computer, either remains on or flashes quickly and intermittently when working (i.e. retrieving or writing data). I noticed the light was flashing at a regular pace. I immediately re-attached the hard drive to my desktop and the problem remained. My desktop would not read the drive and the flashing light remained.

I have tried rebooting my computer hoping that it would resolve with no success. I have also tried to find a similar problem at SimpleTech forums with no resolve.

*** NOTE: I am seeking estimates from three other companies in the Las Vegas area that do data recovery. My decision will be based on a combination of price, turn-around time, customer service excellence, and convenience (you are the closest to our location). We are able to drop-off the product to you.

The drive is almost full with mostly video files and sub-folders under the main folder 'Video' or 'Media'.
All files and folders need to be recovered.

JACUSTOMER-l6z4nt3q- :

The hard drive was working perfectly with the desktop until I made the change. The hard drive was never used with the laptop until this first attempt.

computerguru86 :

So your pc is able to see the drive though correct?

JACUSTOMER-l6z4nt3q- :

Not any more. The hard drive light flashes regularly (similar to a warning light on a stop sign). This is unusual behavior for the drive. The desktop does not detect the drive.

computerguru86 :

Weird, this sounds like there may be something wrong with the hard drive and I am not sure I know what so I am actually going to opt out and see if there is another expert you is more experienced with hard drives, I don't want to mess anything up.

JACUSTOMER-l6z4nt3q- :

OK

computerguru86 :

so just hold tight and the next expert will be able to help you

Expert:  DrKlahn replied 3 years ago.

Some additional information will be helpful.

 

When the drive is attached to a computer's USB port, does the computer recognize that something has been attached? If so, does it see the drive as an external hard drive?

 

Does the drive show in Device Manager, either as a hard drive or as an unrecognized device?

 

Are there entries in the Event Log related to connecting or disconnecting the device?

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Nothing. The drive justs blinks after being attached to the USB port. Does not recognize at all that there is an external drive. Can't access the drive at all.
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 3 years ago.

The symptoms indicate either a failure in the enclosure's USB interface, or a failure in the drive itself. Since the system does not recognize that there is a device attached, the probability is that the USB interface has failed. This seems to be the usual failure mode of external hard drives, in my own experience.

 

There are two major options available to you at this point. How you decide to proceed depends on how comfortable you are with computer hardware.

 

The first option is simplest. Take the unit to a local computer shop, explain what happened, and ask them to extract the hard drive and check it in a new USB drive enclosure. They will crack open the case, extract the drive, and put it into a new case. They will then test the drive to see if it can be seen by a computer. If so, you have the same drive back in a new case. If not, they can proceed to diagnose the drive for problems and advise you on how to proceed from there.

 

The second option is cheapest. Purchase a universal IDE/SATA to USB kit on ebay. For about $10, you get a drive-to-USB converter cable, a power supply, and SATA cables to connect to a SATA drive. Carefully open the case, extract the drive, and attach the converter cable and power supply. Plug the cable into your computer, and if the drive is still functional, it will appear as an external hard drive. You can then decide whether to install it in a new case, or purchase a new external drive and copy the data from the old one to the new one. If the drive is not functional, then it is time to call the data recovery professionals.

 

Regarding taking the unit directly to a data recovery house ... They will gladly extract the drive from the case and check it out, but if the drive has not failed this will be an expensive way to find that out. Their services are necessary if the drive itself has failed, but the other options are less expensive and should be tried first.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do not see any indication on the packaging of the drive that indicates that it is a SATA drive. Would you check to confirm this? The drive is a SimpleTech by Fabrik [re]drive 1.0 tb r1000u.
Also, how do I extract the hard drive when there doesn't appear to be any screws? It seems to be a sealed unit consisted of aluminum and bamboo (eco-friendly but not user-friendly).
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 3 years ago.

What is inside your specific enclosure is a guess, but if it was purchased in the last year it is probably SATA. IDE drives are becoming a legacy item. External enclosures usually are designed to handle IDE or SATA, though many can handle both. The universal drive attachment kits sold on ebay can handle either IDE or SATA interface:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/120711932292

 

As to how to open the enclosure, I can't vouch for the following instructions, not having a similar unit here in front of me. However, this page reports that the way to open it is to remove two stickers, and there are screws underneath:

 

"... it appears to be a simple task. There are two rounded square stickers that says "Warranty void if labeled removed--warning." Behind these are the screws that hold the whole thing together."

 

http://gdgt.com/question/how-to-open-the-enclosure-5n7/

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The specs for the hard drive indicate:

1 x Hi-Speed USB - Mini-USB Type B

Would the universal drive attachment kit work for this type?

If so, is there an online instruction manual on how to perform the check?
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 3 years ago.

1 x Hi-Speed USB - Mini-USB Type B

 

These are the specifications for the enclosure's USB interface, unfortunately, not for the drive inside. To determine whether the drive in the enclosure is SATA or IDE, it will be necessary to extract it from the enclosure. The universal drive cable kits work with either SATA or IDE, so the kit will work with whatever is in the enclosure.

 

No manual should be necessary to check the drive. Proceed as follows:

 

Carefully extract the drive from the enclosure. Put it on a non-conductive surface near the computer. A piece of cardboard would be ideal.

 

Connect the adapter end of the cable to the drive. If it is 2.5" or 3.5" IDE, the socket on the adapter end will fit the drive's connector exactly. If the drive is SATA, the SATA cable should be plugged onto the drive's data connector, and the other end of the SATA cable onto the matching connector on the adapter.

 

Attach the power supply to the drive. If the drive is SATA, the enclosed Molex to SATA power adapter must be used.

 

The drive is now ready to be attached to a computer. Plug the IDE end of the adapter cable into the computer. If the drive is still functional, the computer will recognize it as a USB removable hard drive, it will appear in the drive list in My Computer, and the data can be recovered from the drive. If the drive is not functional, the computer will not see it at all, and a data recovery facility is the best option to recover the data from it.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I would like to try this option first to attempt recovery of the data. I will order the universal drive kit from eBay and follow the instructions you provided. Should this option work, I will be very satisfied and happy to Accept this advice. Data recovery services are very expensive and I would prefer to exhaust all possibilities before going down that path.

Thank you for the detailed instructions.
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 3 years ago.

I fully agree with your choice and your analysis of the situation. Best of luck. If you need further assistance, I will be happy to help.

 

One addendum. I assume you want to get this situation dealt with promptly. Confirm that the vendor who sells you the drive attachment kit is based in or shipping from within the U.S. Most of the low-priced vendors in this category are outside the U.S., meaning that the product will be shipped from Hong Kong or China. At this time of year, that will be at least a three week delay.

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