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12 January 2007 @ 02:28 am
Help: Hard Drive Advice, Anyone?  
This household was recently the epicenter of a small but potent technical disaster shockwave. Or I suppose it would be more accurate to say I was the epicenter. For 24 hours, everything I touched broke. Everything. Even the Wonderfalls disc we got from Netflix wouldn't play, and all I did to that was open the envelope.

Among the major casualties was my external hard drive. The problem appears to be the connector. When I insert a cable (I've switched out cables, so I know it isn't the cable itself), it goes in at an angle, and the tongue-thing inside the port-thing (um, my technical vocabulary is limited) is visibly bent. (My suspicion is that someone at some point dropped the drive or whacked it and I just discovered it yesterday, which is good in that it would make me feel less like the Technological Typhoid Mary, and bad in that if someone dropped it, the drive may be internally fucked, too. But I'm clinging to hope.)

The thing is, almost everything I have on this drive I also have elsewhere, except one important thing. Or set of things. It contains all my saved vids, about 30 GBs of them. I could never re-create the collection, even if I remembered what all was on there, because some of those vids aren't available anymore. So I would like to save or recover the hard drive contents, if I can. (No, I don't have a backup of the vids. This is in fact my backup drive, which is making me nervous, because, well, a Technological Typhoid Mary should have lots of backups.)

Does anyone have any suggestions? Any specialized knowledge or hints or anything? If you do, I would so very much love to hear about it.

Help. Please. I don't want to lose all my vids. They are precious to me!

*pathetic snuffling noises*
 
 
 
aly Says \ ألينramble_corner on January 12th, 2007 10:41 am (UTC)
random commenter here..
but i think if it's just the connector, you could change the casing for your hard disk drive..
i mean you obviously didn't open the casing when you saw the bent connector right? If so changing the should enable you to get your data again.. ^_^. Although you may want to confirm first on that diagnosis before you forked out money to change the casing XD
Qqe2 on January 12th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
Uff da, what a mess.

FWIW, I think ramble_corner's right. I had precisely this problem with my External Brain at the beginning of last year. I took it to the IT people at TLSTMNBN, who very kindly (1) diagnosed the problem, (2) imaged my hard drive onto one of their spare computers so that I wouldn't have to worry about the contents going kaboom, and (3) told me what to buy to replace the fritzled bit. When I duly did that and brought it back to them, they (4) installed the drive itself in the new case, and I was, hey presto, good to go.

Do either you or the BB have access to a handy school- or work-related IT company?
~eledhwenlin on January 12th, 2007 11:00 am (UTC)
If the connector is bent, it should do to just exchange that part (might have to exchange the whole casing).

I can't think adhoc of any scenario including falling down that would damage the connector.
lilacsigillilacsigil on January 12th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
My boss. With a butter knife. "Fixing" the fax. That'll do it! We had to replace a $260 fax, because he damaged it so badly - when poking the connectors out of shape didn't work, he went to work on the paper feeds and the slots where the ink cartridges go!
~eledhwenlin on January 14th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
... okay. I guess I learned that "don't poke with sharp things into electrical things" lesson early on in my life. Other than your boss.
lilacsigillilacsigil on January 12th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
Most computer repair shops should be able to at least get the data off, or just replace the connector (or the case, depending on the type of case you have - some are built in). And hard drives are much tougher than they used to be - have hope!
jamjarjamjar on January 12th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
Randomly, I like your icon. Where's it from?
can't find my drink or pantsgeeklite on January 12th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
It's entirely possible that you could just get a new case for your hard drive. They're pretty easy to find - I picked up one for around $20 - it's a powered USB case, and I just dropped in the hard drive out of my old computer - quite easy to do. If you don't feel confident in doing that, or feel it might be a bit more complicated, best to get a professional geek to look at it.
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on January 12th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
Eeep! *hugs*
(Anonymous) on January 12th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
All I know is that nothing is lost. I have aquainances who work with data retrieval and have seen burned, melted wet harddrives at their place that they managed to save all data from. In the worst case scenario you could probably get the same service close to where you live.
Elke Tanzer: HP geek girl Hermione from Snapleselke_tanzer on January 12th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it's quite possible it's just the connector, in which case the data is there, you just can't get to it until you fix or replace the connector. Depending on what case style you have, you may have to replace to whole case, or just the connector. If you've never done anything like that before it might be a good idea to bribe a friend with dinner or take it to a professional geek to have the drive put into a new case.
Pun: zenpun on January 12th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
I had the same problem with my external hard drive, and my brother-in-law got me this type of hard drive enclosure to put it into. It works very well.
like using semaphore at the drive thru: Clicky-clickyprettyshiny on January 12th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
I can offer a bit of Radio Electronics Snack employee advice...

Until you can replace the case/have the techs at CompUSA/Geek Squad/your local computer place do it, you can try taking a pair of needle-nose pliers and very carefully bending it back. Go slowly, so you'll be less likely to break it. And remember, you and those pliers will easily generate more torque than that little connector thingie can resist. If you break it, no biggie, because that's only part of the case, and even if you manage to bend it back, I'd still suggest looking into replacing the connector or case anyhow, because it will be notably weaker and more prone to breaking off entirely now that the stress has been put on it.
JackieKjonojackiekjono on January 12th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
You know, I was just going to express condolences at the dead hard drive but, Dang!

You know some smart people.
Vass: Computer Lovevassilissa on January 13th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
I've dropped my laptop on its arse, multiple times, and damaged the power adaptor port without damaging the poor thing's innards, so it's quite possible. I hope your external hard drive will be OK too.