Dropped External Hard Drive Recovery and Repair Guide

With data security issues at stake, you need to perform a dropped external hard drive recovery using a reliable way. And here are two. Moreover, repair and prevention methods are included.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

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What Happens to Dropped External Hard Drive?

Dropped External Hard Drive

External hard drives are not as tough as you might think. With multiple moving parts, they are fragile devices. Even a short drop can cause physical damage, whether on a soft surface, especially if the drive is still attached to a computer when it is dropped.

  • When a disk is dropped, the read/write head and the platter storing the data can make contact if it is being used, resulting in irreversible data loss.
  • Conversely, the read/write head will park away from the platter, causing less damage.
  • Regarding older hard drives with parking or landing zone at the inner edge of the platter, strong shocks can damage the platter, even if it is not in use.
  • In addition, severe falls may cause additional issues like bent platters, seized spindle motors, and cable and connector port damage.

Symptoms of a Dropped External Hard Drive

You may not have a clear idea of the symptoms of a dropped external hard drive. We've collected some common symptoms you may experience below.

  • Consistent and loud clicking sounds: indicate damage to the actuator, actuator arm, or actuator axis, preventing proper read/write head movement or the read/write head from having problems reading data on the disk.
  • Whirring sounds: suggest a spindle or read/write head crash. The read/write head may be scraping on the platter. 
  • Beeping noise: often points to a malfunctioning or damaged spindle motor hub. The drop may affect the power supply of the spindle motor, making the platter not spin properly or fail completely now. 
  • Bad sectors: not only data loss, but a dropped drive may also cause bad sectors. Some files may randomly disappear and reappear while the drive becomes sluggish.
  • Drive not recognized: fail to detect the drive by Windows and is not booting at all. The external disk may not have any sound. Even if it’s recognized, you may experience performance issues, such as running slower, requent hanging, etc.

In some cases, your hard drive seems to be fine, without any unusual behavior. However, you may find some of the above symptoms become apparent later. Thus, even so, it is still suggested to copy all the files on the dropped disk to another storage device.

Start a Dropped External Hard Drive Recovery Immediately 

After dropping external hard drive, you may want to repair it in the first place. But the problem is any operation on this disk may cause further data loss. Considering this, it’s suggested to recover data from a dropped hard drive.

In general, you cannot use data recovery software to get your data back in this scenario, because it is physical damage instead of logical damage. But in some cases, it is capable.

  • The drive is detected and available in Disk Management.
  • Don’t hear abnormal clicking, whirring, or beeping sounds.

If your drive meets the above conditions, you can still recover data from dropped external hard drive yourself with the software. If not, it is advisable to disconnect your drive and contact a professional data recovery service.

Way 1: Recover Data from Dropped External Hard Drive with Software

When it comes to data recovery software, MyRecover is highly recommended for its quick scanning methods, high success rate, and wide compatibility.

  • Two advanced scanning methods: Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It will scan and search for deleted or lost data in the dropped external disk quickly and deeply.
  • 200+ file types: recover deleted or lost documents, images, videos, audio, mails, webpages, and compressed files in different formats. For example, you can recover deleted Word documents, Excel files, PPT, PDF, X3F, 3FR, HEIF, WMV, and more.
  • Complete recovery: recover all the files in external disk completely without losing quality.
  • Multiple external disk compatibilityrecover data from Seagate external hard drive as well as other disk brands, such as WD, Samsung, Sandisk, etc.
  • Different systems: Support Windows 7, 9, 10, 11, etc and Windows Server.

Now please download and install this professional data recovery software. You can then follow the steps below to start a dropped hard drive recovery.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Connect the external hard disk using SATA to USB adapter or enclosure. Then, Launch this external hard drive recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

External Hard Drive Start Scan

Step 2. It will run two advanced scanning methods automatically and display all the files stored on the external disk. It can be documents, images, videos, mails, etc.

External Hard Drive Scanning

Note: To recover only specific files, you can filter and select them for immediate recovery. Or expand the Other Missing Files tab and go to the folder containing your files. So you don’t need to wait until the scanning process to complete.

Step 3. Select all the found files on the external disk and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location to prevent potential data overwriting.

External Hard Drive Recover Files


  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • You can perform dropped hard drive recovery for free, up to 500MB. To recover all files, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • In addition, you still can use this software to recover data from a flash drive or SD card, recover deleted WMV files, for example.

Way 2: Seek Assistant from Professional Data Recovery Service

In most cases, seeking help from a professional data recovery service is the best choice to recover data from a dropped external hard drive. Although expensive, the success rate is higher. They usually offer highly skilled technicians with professional expertise and advanced recovery equipment for data recovery.

Step 1. Find a professional data recovery service (eg: Geek Squad) and contact them for dropped hard drive recovery. You need to claim the disk problems and offer some basic information, such as email address, phone, etc.

Geek Squad Recovery

Step 2. Ship your drive to the service center for evaluation. If the service is available nearby, you can choose to submit it for evaluation at the drop-off location.

Step 3. After evaluation, the data recovery service will contact you with a quote and the recoverable data volume. Now you need to make a decision. If you agree, they will start to recover your data and return them back with a specified device.


  • If you do not have additional disks to store the recovered files, some data recovery services require additional fees.
  • Unlike traditional services, modern services also offer cloud storage or NAS system to return your data.
  • The price of data recovery varies, depending on the severity of the damage and the recovery time.

Repair a Dropped External Hard Drive After Recovery

After dropping external hard drive recovery, you can try to check this disk cable or USB port. If either of them is damage, replace with a new one. Also, try other methods in the following.

Way 1: Perform a Disk Checker

Windows comes along with multiple commands, such as CHKDSK, which is able to detect and fix bad sectors on the disk. You may be at risk of erasing your data from the dropped external hard drive. So be sure you start a dropped hard drive recovery first.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the command prompt window, type chkdsk *: /f /r /x and press Enter. It will start the scanning process and mark bad sectors as unusable. Please replace * with the drive letter of your external disk.


Way 2: Replace the External Disk Controller Board

You could also consider disassembling the casing and swapping out the controller board if it's the only damaged component in the external hard drive. Usually, it consists of a regular HDD and a PCB (acting as the controller) and is attached to the SATA port.

Replace Disk Controller Board

Then, connect this external drive internally to the motherboard or use a SATA to USB cable to connect it as an external storage device.

Effective External Hard Drive Data Protection Solution

To ensure your data on external disk are always safe, you can also consider using reliable Windows backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to backup them regularly. 

  • With its Schedule Backup feature, you are able to create automatic backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis as well as specific events and devices.
  • By default, it will enable incremental backup in a scheduled task that backup only changed files after the first full backup.
  • You can save your data on another external disk, or other devices like network or NAS drive, cloud drive, USB drive, etc.

Step 1. Download and install this reliable backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Launch it, select Backup and File Backup.

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File Backup

Step 2. Click Add Folder or Add File and select your data on the external disk. Please be sure your disk is connected.  

Add Files or Folders

Step 3. Click the dropdown and select a local path, share or NAS, or cloud drive. Then, specify an available device, such as another external disk.

Select Destination

Step 4. Click Schedule Backup > Enable Schedule Backup and select Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger, or USB Plug in.

  • Daily, weekly, monthly: Choose them based on how often your external hard drive data changes. In general, the more frequently data is modified, the shorter the backup interval.
  • Event trigger: support system startup, system shutdown, user logon and user logoff. Select them based on your working habit.
  • USB Plug in: a plug-and-pull feature and require a USB as destination drive. It will start the backup process automatically when the source drive is plugged in.

Schedule Backup

Step 5. Finally, confirm you select all the important data and click Start Backup to backup them completely.


Dropping external hard drive may cause severe consequences, even for a short time, but with the right method, you are able to start a dropped external hard drive recovery and get your data back as soon as poossible.

Don’t try to recover data on your own with software unless you are sure it’s recognized and there is no clicking, whirring, or beeping sounds. If either of them are not sastisfied, the best choice is to consider using professional data recovery services.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.