How to Recover Data from Dead External Hard Drive | Fixes Included

Tracy King updated on Oct 12, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

The possibility to recover data from a dead or failed external hard drive varies based on the specific situation of your storage device. If it is still recognizable, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to rescue the data from your dead external hard drive. If not, you can try to fix your dead external hard drive and then try to retrieve your data.

"How many of you guys have ever met such a problem that the memory card is dead and there is no access to data stored in the card. I'm now having such a problem that my camera SD card is not working on my camera. I tried to connect it to my computer to see whether the computer can read it. It seemed that the card was dead and nothing was checked or detected. Does anyone of you know how to fix this issue?"

Can You Recover Data from Dead/Failed External Hard Drive

Before specifying the chance to recover files from a dead external hard drive, you need to identify the status of your external hard disk in Disk Management. Go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Disk Management" and check its status. Generally, you will find the dead USB drive in one of the following situations:

  • The USB drive is not recognized/detected by Windows at all 
  • The external hard drive shows "Online" in Disk Management but you cannot access its files since the partition shows RAW or is lost
  • The external hard drive shows "Missing", "Not Initialized", or "No Media" in Disk Management

If your external hard drive is not showing in Windows at all after you check the connection and update the device driver, or there are mechanical or electrical corruptions on your device, your external hard drive is probably truly dead and the data stored on a truly dead or failed external hard drive can only be recovered by professionals via manual data recovery services. 

However, if your device can still be recognized or detected by your computer like in the last two situations or external hard drive light blinking but not working, you still have a chance to recover data from the dead USB drive and fix the failed device by yourself. 

How to Recover Data from Dead External Hard Drive

Depending on your situation, the time to perform failed external hard drive recovery varies.

Method 1. Retrieve Data from Dead External Hard Drive and Format It

If your dead external hard drive shows RAW file system or shows partition lost, recover files from your external hard drive and then format it directly.

When your external hard drive is detectable but inaccessible, the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help you rescue data from your dead external hard drive. This software supports deleted/formatted/lost data recovery from local/external hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards, and other conventional storage devices.

To recover data from your external hard drive:

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and under the External Devices tab, choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

Now you have retrieved all your files successfully, you can format your external hard drive to make it usable again.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive your computer.

Step 2. Open "This PC". Right-click your hard drive and choose "Format".

Step 3. In the new window, set a file system and click "Start".

Step 4. In the Warning window, click "OK" to start formatting your device.

How to format external hard drive

Method 2. Fix the Dead External Hard Drive and Then Recover Data

If your external hard drive shows "Missing", "Not Initialized", or "No Media" in Disk Management, you need to first try to fix the dead external hard drive first and then get back the files from the device using EaseUS data recovery software.

When your external hard drive shows "Missing" in Disk Management, it's probably because your USB device is damaged or disconnected. In this case, reconnect your USB flash drive or USB hard drive and reactivate it (right-click the USB in Disk Management and choose "Reactivated Disk"). If this tip doesn't work, apply EaseUS data recovery software to rescue your data as much as possible.

You can refer to the detailed articles to fix your dead external hard drive if it shows "Not Initialized" or "No Media" in Windows 10. If the tips bring your dead external hard drive back to a normal state, you can then recover files from the external hard drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. If not, send your dead external hard drive for manual repair.

The Bottom Line

Recovering data from a dead external hard drive can be both easy and difficult, depending on the situation of your device. If your external hard drive is still recognizable, don't hesitate to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and then try to fix the dead USB drive. If not, you still have lots of tips to try referring to the related articles.

External hard drives or other storage devices may go corrupted, damaged, or dead due to many reasons. If you don't want to lose your precious files, it's a good choice to back up your file regularly.

Also Applies To: USB Flash Drive, Memory Card, and Other External Storage Devices

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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