Desert Data Recovery are Certified Data Recovery Professionals and we specialize in external hard drive data recovery. Recovery issues can encompass everything from deleted files to reformatting to electrical issues (circuit board) and corruption of data because of a power surge or failure.

By their very nature, External Hard Drives can be prone to damage as they are moved around. Most external drives are exactly the same as the hard drives in a desktop or laptop, enclosed in a protective case, with an adapted circuit board, or bridge board, to convert the SATA connection into a USB connection for convenience. External drives are prone to the same failures as laptops and the average life is about 3 years.

External drives can suffer from issues associated with overheating. Since the enclosure contains a standard hard drive, which would be cooled by a fan if it were inside a computer, an external rarely has a fan for cooling and can therefore overheat and cause electrical problems.

Another issue specific to External Hard Drives is corruption of firmware which is used to operate the drive (like a mini operating system within the drive) or the user data itself. This can be caused by either a power surge or power failure, or by the drive not being ‘ejected’ correctly from the system. It is important to eject the drive and wait for the system to tell you its safe to disconnect as this ensures that the read-write heads park off the platters and prevents damage to the platter surface if the drive is dropped or knocked.

Some External Hard Drives are encrypted through the USB circuit board (e.g. WD MyBook), so it’s important to bring the USB board with you if you have a failed external hard drive in order that the data can be decrypted.

Common reasons external hard drives fail:

  • Overheating
  • Impact (dropped or knocked over)
  • Electrical Failure / Surge
  • Poor Manufacturing
  • Bad Parts in the Manufacturing Process
  • Corruption
  • Viruses
  • Fire / Water Damage
  • Operator Error
  • Older than the average life of 3 years

If you have (or think you have) a failing external drive, we suggest to:

  • Immediately turn off your external drive
  • Disconnect it from your computer and power supply
  • Do not to try any type of recovery or check disk on your failed external hard drive
  • If it was dropped, knocked over or is making unusual sounds, DO NOT turn it on!
  • Call a professional data recovery company


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