How to Recover Data from An Unresponsive External Hard Drive

If you want to learn how to recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive, this post will give you 3 effective methods for it.


By Zoey / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive?

My friend’s hard drive is Xbox started making weird noises, went dumb and it stopped working. Best Buy is charging $500 to fix it and recover all the data, but that’s just not worth it. Any suggestions? Can we recover data from such an unresponsive external hard drive?

- Question from Reddit

Request for help such as the one in the user case above is common. The user is experiencing problems with the external drive not responding but wants to recover data from the external drive, so wants to know how to recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive effectively.

Don’t worry, this post covers 4 useful ways for external hard drive data recovery.

How to fix an unresponsive external hard drive

Before we discuss how to recover data from an external drive, we can address the issue of unresponsive external drives. Most methods of recovering data from an external drive will only work with normal drives, so you need to get the external drive back to normal first. There are some solutions to it and you can try according to the situation you meet:

First, you can check the external hard drive connection cable. If there is nothing wrong with your cable, you can change a USB port or connect external hard drive to another computer. Maybe the unresponsive external hard drive is caused by a problematic connection.

If it is not caused by a connection issue, you can refer to the steps as follow to fix it:

1. Press the Windows and R keys to input devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

2. Open Device Manager, then expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.

Open Device Manager

3. Right-click on USB Root Hub > Properties > Power Management, then uncheck the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.

Allow Computer Turn Off Device

3 ways to recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive

So how to recover data from corrupted external hard drive or unresponsive external hard drive? Please repair your external hard drive first, then go to recover your data from the normal external hard drive in the ways following.

Way 1. Recover hidden data from external hard  disk using Command Prompt

You can also consider recovering data from hard disk using Command Prompt. But this method works only for the situation where your data is hidden or unchangeable so the recovery rate is low. And Command Prompt is not an easy tool. It is not advisable for those who do not know computers very well. Here are the steps to recover data using Command Prompt:

1. Find Command Prompt in Windows menu and select Run as administrator.

Run As Administrator

2. Enter chkdsk x:/f. (x refers to the drive letter of the disk in which your lost data was stored).

Attrib Cmd

3. Enter the drive letter again. Then input attrib –h –r –s /s /d diver-letter: \*.*.

The command line attrib can let users view or change the attributes of files:

“-”: Clearing the attribute;
 “/s”: Process matching files in the current folder and all subfolders.
“/d”: Process folders as well.
“r”: Read-only file attribute;
“s”: System file attribute.


Way 2. Recover data from external hard drive by unhiding

If you want to recover data from a dead external hard drive, your data is likely to be changed into hidden or read-only. For this, you can use this method and remember to use antivirus software to detect viruses before.

1. Connect your external hard drive to PC, and go to This PC.

2. Go to the external hard drive, and select view > Options > View> Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Show Hidden Files

3. Now, your hidden files will appear. If not, you can turn to a professional data recovery tool in Way 4.

Way 3. Recover data with a professional data recovery tool (Easiest)

How to recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive? If you have fixed it properly, you can switch to a professional and easy-to-use data recovery tool - MyRecover.

MyRecover is an easy tool for data recovery. Compared with other ways to recover data, it has many highlights like:

Support all Windows operating systems including Windows 11/10/8/7/Server.
Retrieve 200+ types of data at a high speed.
Keep recovered data in original format/path/name.
Recover the deleted/lost files from SSD/HDD. And it supports NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows.

Now, click the Download Software button to download and install MyRecover. Then follow the 3-step guideline to recover data from external hard drive easily.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

1. Choose your external hard drive where your data are lost. Hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.

Select Partition To Scan

2. Then you can see your deleted files and other missing files after Quick Scan/Deep Scan automatically.

Scan Lost Data

3. Next, check the scanning result. Select a new location to store your recovered data. After that, click on the Recover X files button to begin the recovery task for external hard drive data.

Recover Lost Data

Final thoughts

We believe you have known how to recover data from an unresponsive external hard drive. You can choose to use command-line tool but it can be very complex for non-technical users. We highly recommend you to use a professional data recovery tool - MyRecover. You can recover many types of data with the help of it.

Zoey · Editor
Zoey works as an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She provides tech information about backup and restore, mobile data transfer, and so on for AOMEI. She hopes that her articles will be greatly helpful for users. She is fond of music, film, and photography.