What to Do When Your External Hard Drive Fails

External hard drives have become an essential part of our digital lives, offering convenience and additional storage for our valuable data. However, like any technology, external hard drives are not immune to failures. Whether it's due to physical damage, logical errors, or human error, a failing external hard drive can be a cause for concern. In this blog post, we will explore the steps you can take when faced with a failing external hard drive, helping you maximise the chances of data recovery and minimise potential loss.

1. Identify the Signs of a Failing External Hard Drive:

Before taking any action, it's crucial to recognize the signs that indicate your external hard drive may be failing. These signs may include unusual noises (such as clicking or grinding), the drive not being recognized by the computer, slow or intermittent performance, or files becoming corrupted. Identifying these signs early on can help you take appropriate measures to prevent further damage or data loss.

2. Disconnect and Reconnect the Drive:

Sometimes, the issue with your external hard drive may be temporary and caused by a loose connection. Start by safely disconnecting the drive from your computer and then reconnecting it to a different USB port or using a different USB cable. If the drive is still not recognized, proceed to the next steps.

3. Avoid DIY Fixes and Software Utilities:

While it may be tempting to attempt do-it-yourself fixes or use software utilities found online, it's important to exercise caution. These methods can potentially worsen the situation, causing permanent data loss. It's best to rely on professional data recovery services to handle the recovery process.

4. Contact a Professional Data Recovery Service:

Contacting a professional data recovery service like Fields Data Recovery is crucial when your external hard drive fails. They have the expertise, tools, and cleanroom facilities to safely recover your data. Fields Data Recovery offers diagnostic assessments, customised recovery solutions, and ensures the security and confidentiality of your data. With a high success rate and excellent customer support, they are a reliable choice for retrieving data from failed drives.

5. Backup Your Data Regularly:

Prevention is always better than cure. Regularly backing up your data can save you from the anguish of data loss caused by a failing external hard drive. Consider using a combination of local backups (such as an additional external hard drive) and cloud storage to ensure the safety and accessibility of your valuable files.

6. Learn from the Experience:

A failed external hard drive can be a learning opportunity. Reflect on the incident and consider what measures you can take in the future to prevent or minimise the impact of such failures. This may include investing in more reliable storage solutions, maintaining backup strategies, and practising safe data handling habits.


Dealing with a failing external hard drive can be a stressful experience, but taking the right steps can help you navigate through the situation and increase the chances of data recovery. By promptly identifying the signs, contacting a professional data recovery service such as Fields Data Recovery, and learning from the experience, you can safeguard your valuable data and ensure its longevity. Remember, prevention and preparedness are key when it comes to preserving your digital assets, so always make regular backups and stay informed about data recovery best practices.