One of the biggest advantages of an external hard drive, when compared to the internal hard drive, lies in its portability. You can carry an external hard drive with you whenever and wherever you want. In this way, data and applications saved in this removable hard drive are always available. Yet, do you know how to recover data from a dead hard drive?

When you enjoy the portability and easy access brought by external hard drives, you must understand that they also increase the possibility of hard drive damage.

Imagine that you are in the face of a dead external hard drive; you may easily get into a panic, right? How to recover files from dead external hard drive would be the thing that you’ll think of when you have important files stored here. Otherwise, you may choose to just reformat the hard drive to try to make it work again easily.

This is right. I mean, if important files are included in the dead external hard drive, you are strongly suggested to recover files from a broken external hard drive firstly.

But do you know how to recover data from hard drive? Here, I introduce MiniTool Power Data Recovery, which is a wonderful hard drive recovery tool that enjoys a high reputation. By using it, you can finish HDD file recovery in a few easy steps. (The Seagate external hard drive recovery is quite simple.)

powerful hard drive recovery tool

I’ll tell you how to recover data from damaged external hard disk without formatting in the following content. When hard drive data recovery is completed (you get all the data you want to recover), I’ll tell you how to repair external hard disk not detected.

Besides, I’ll tell you the following things:

  • Possible causes for the external hard drive to become dead and how to fix an external hard drive in different cases.
  • The hard drive recovery cost.
  • Basic characteristics of the external hard drive.

Be relax, all the steps to recover from the crashed disk and the solutions to fix the external hard drive are easy to master.

How to Recover Files from Dead External Hard Drive

How can I recover files from a dead hard drive? Actually, here are the actionable steps telling you how to recover data from damaged external hard drive.

One: you need to get MiniTool Power Data Recovery and then install it to computer local drive. At the end of the installation, connect your external hard drive to the computer and run the software to see its main interface.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Two: you need to do 2 things in this step:

  1. Check whether the partition which keeps your lost files still exists or not.
  2. Select a suitable option from the main interface of the external hard drive recovery software.

You can select This PC to recover files from existing partitions on the damaged external hard drive. In contrast, if the partitions get lost from the crashed disk, you should select Hard Disk Drive. (I’ll take the latter situation as an example.)

select This PC or Hard Disk Drive


If your device can’t be detected in software, you need to unplug the external hard drive and connect it again to the computer and then wait for the software to refresh the list.

If this still failed, you should read the next part of this article or go to this post to discover more workarounds:

Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized
Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized

External hard drive not showing up or recognized in computers is a common problem. This article puts forward several ways to fix it.

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Three: select the crashed hard drive from the right side of the software interface and then click on the Scan button to detect files inside.

select the correct hard drive

Four: look through the found files during or at the end of the scan and pick out the files you need to recover from the damaged hard disk by clicking on the Save button & setting a storage path.

pick out the files you need

This is the end of how to recover data from crashed external hard disk. As for how to recover data from a dead/crashed/corrupted internal hard disk, you should find answers here:

How To Recover Data From Corrupted Internal Hard Drive | Guide
How To Recover Data From Corrupted Internal Hard Drive | Guide

If you’re stuck in the data recovery from corrupted internal hard disk, the solutions and software provided here will be of great help.

Read More

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Note: You’ll see the following prompt window after clicking on the Save button when you’re using the trial edition to recover data from damaged external hard drive. Please buy a license of a full edition to recover your data found by this software.

trial edition prompt

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The hard drive may become dead easily sometimes, so you need to be careful enough when using the hard drive in which significant data are saved. When you hear a clicking noise coming from the hard drive, please be alert and read this to know how to rescue data.

How to Recover Data from Hard Disk Which Is Not Detecting

What’s more troublesome than files not showing in external hard drive? Actually, it lies in that you can’t see the external hard drive in the computer. That is to say, the external disk is not recognized by the computer.

To recover data from external hard drive not recognized, you must make it appear on the computer.

Change Drive Letter

I suggest you go to Windows Disk Management to have a look at first. Why? Sometimes, an external hard drive doesn’t show up due to a missing drive letter or drive letter conflict.

Drive letter conflict could be a mysterious reason that most users are not aware of. To put it in a more simple way, this means the driver letter that belongs to external hard drive has already been taken by one of the computer local drives.

Under this circumstance, you are supposed to make use of Disk Management or third-party tools like MiniTool Partition Wizard to assign a drive letter or change letter of the external hard drive.

Change Drive Letter and Paths…

Change Letter

Then, you can follow the steps introduced in the previous part to restore files from the damaged external drive.

It is a common case that you can’t see your external hard drive after connecting it to the computer. At this time, some of you will think that your external hard drive is dead. But please don’t rush to put aside your external hard drive. I’ll show you the possible causes and tips in different situations that may be able to help you fix the problem.

Cause 1: system or system built-in drivers went wrong.

Problems occurred in system or system built-in drivers may be the reason why the removable drive is not shown in the computer after connection. If you’re in face of this situation, please try the following methods for fixing it.

Method one: boot into safe mode to repair registry.

  1. Boot into safe mode by pressing F8 or another button (this varies from computer to computer) while starting the computer.
  2. Exit the safe mode and choose to restart or shutdown the system.
  3. Now, you can enter the normal mode to check whether the registry has been repaired or not.

Method two: use System Restore.

If the problem persists, please use the built-in system restore function to restore system to the last known good configuration.

  1. Press the F8 key on the Windows splash screen.
  2. Select Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) from the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Press Enter and wait for Windows to start.

Last Known Good Configuration

Method three: run System File Checker.

If the problem also persists, please adopt the system repair disc.

  1. Click on the search box in taskbar and type command prompt. (Click here if your Windows taskbar is not working)
  2. Right click on Command Prompt under best match and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Input sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  4. Insert the original system disk repair disc. After that, the system will automatically compare and repair.

System File Checker

Method four: modify the boot sequence.

  1. Start your computer and press ESC, F1, F2, F8, F10 or another button to enter the BIOS.
  2. Select the BOOT tab by using arrow keys.
  3. Move CD or DVD drive to the first option in the list (shown as below).
  4. Exit the BIOS Setup Utility after saving changes.
  5. Afterwards, insert system setup disk and press R to select repair install function.

CD-ROM Drive

This post tells how to change the boot order in Windows 10 (change Firmware Settings).

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If you find your computer is broken at any time, please follow the suggestions mentioned in Meet The Best Way To Recover Files From Broken Computer to rescue your data at once.

Cause 2: improper CMOS parameter settings.

CMOS parameter settings may need to be changed on your computer. If you have never used USB external devices, the problem – the system does not detect USB hard drive – may also appear even after you have properly installed the driver.

This direct reason for causing this problem is that the motherboard’s CMOS default port is closed. To fix it, you need to do the following things:

  1. Reboot.
  2. Enter the CMOS settings window.
  3. Set Assign IRQ For USB as Enabled in PNP / PCI CONFIGURATION column.

Cause 3: USB data line failure.

  • USB data line failure is a commonly seen problem. If the USB data line used to connect the external hard drive with a computer is broken inside, there’s no way you can access it in the computer.
  • Besides, if the standard of the computer USB interface is different from that of the external hard drive interface, the drive is also can’t be recognized.

So please try to replace the failed data line with a new one to fix this problem permanently.

The USB 4 Standard Is Announced: It’s A Big Upgrade.

Cause 4: power shortage problem.

The unstable or insufficient power supply is also a possible cause. If the external power supply is not enough for normal working of the external hard drive, it may easily become inaccessible in the computer due to power shortage.

In this case, you had better choose the device which is powered directly by Alternating Current.

In addition to the cases mentioned above, there are also possibilities for an external hard drive to become really dead. For instance: the physical damage like a bad sector or scratch is detected. Of course, you may find many other factors that can make an external hard drive crashed, failing to work normally.

After making the external hard drive appear on the computer properly, you should follow the steps mentioned in previous How to Recover Files from Dead External Hard Drive part carefully to get back the files you need.

How Much Does It Cost to Recover Data from a Damaged Hard Drive

You may be wondering: how much does it cost to retrieve data from a broken hard drive. Certainly, there is no exact answer to this question. Many factors are found to have an impact on the prices of data recovery:

  • The method you have chosen for crashed external hard drive recovery
  • The tool you have used for recovering files from the damaged external drive
  • The amount of data you’d like to recover from the external hard drive
  • The difficulty of data recovery on dead external hard drive
  • And so on

That is to say, if you only need to recover a small file lost from an external hard drive that is damaged slightly and logically, you can do it just for free. In contrast, if you want to recover a large amount of data from a hard drive that is broken terribly, this may require extensive efforts from lots of professionals; naturally, the data recovery can be costly.

What can a Personal edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery do for you?

  • It will enable you to recover unlimited data from commonly seen storage devices (including hard drive, flash drive, SD card, and optical disc).
  • It has good compatibility: support various operating systems (Windows XP/7/8/10 and Windows Server OS), file systems (FAT, NTFS, ext2/3/4, extFAT and HFS+), and file types (document, picture, video, email, and other types).
  • It offers a bootable builder which can help you create USB/CD/DVD bootable disk & use it to recover data from hard disk without OS.
  • You can always get the latest version of this data recovery software for free.

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While using the external hard drive on a computer or other devices, you tend to meet data loss caused by common reasons like accidental deletion/formatting. In the meantime, you may lose data without knowing the exact reasons.

No matter which is the actual case, you need to remember only one thing – please stop using the device immediately and start to recover files from dead external hard drive ASAP.

Please don’t get panic when you find external hard drive nor showing up on the computer; I have provided you with some useful methods for fixing the drive not recognized problem effectively.

Always keep this in mind: when an accident occurs all of a sudden, please apply the skills you’ve learned here to the actual situation to rescue your data immediately.

Recover Files from Dead External Hard Drive FAQ

Can external hard drives die?
There are a lot of people said their external hard drives become dead. The reasons for causing such situation are different: bad sectors, read/write head damage, and so on. You should be aware of the signs of hard drive failure (such as the clicking sound).
How long do external drives last?
It’s hard to say exactly how long an external drive can be used. However, the average lifespan is around 3-5 years according to search. And the service life is affected by many factors: the make, model & conditions it is stored in and how people use it.
Is it OK to leave external hard drive plugged in all the time?
Of course, you can keep your external hard drive plugging in and working 7×24 hours. However, it’s a waste of energy to leave the drive powered on when it’s not needed. And this will definitely influence the lifespan of that external hard drive.
How do I recover data from a dead Seagate external hard drive?
  1. Connect the Seagate external hard drive to computer.
  2. Make it show up in at least Disk Management.
  3. Run MiniTool Power Data Recovery and select Hard Disk Drive.
  4. Scan the Seagate drive and choose needed files to recover.
  5. Wait for the Seagate drive recovery to complete.
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