external drive locked to run chkdsk, can't access it now


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was having some problems with some files/folders after 3yo daughter sent the external HDD for a tumble to the hardwood floor. ran chkdsk r/ to fix it. it ran for 2 days and was only 1% complete. seemed to be stuck on one particular jpg for quite a few hours. figured it was frozen so closed dos window. rebooted several times but drive will not come up and cannot restart chkdsk. it says "unable to open drive" (or similar). it does appear in the taskbar as a drive to "safely remove" but can't see/read it otherwise. any thoughts/help would be appreciated.
 
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TrainableMan

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It's very possible the moving parts have been damaged. The seek arm needs to be able to move freely just above the platter surface; if it cannot move in and out then the drive will not function.

What you might try is to put the hard drive in a water-proof zipper bag and put it in the freezer over night. This can sometimes cause enough shrinkage in the metal to free the arm if that is the problem. Once when that didn't work I was able to drill off the cover and just touching the arm snapped it back into place and I was able to use it long enough to recover the data. If you have reached this point then, of course, the drive is strictly for data recovery as it will have to be replaced.

There are companies that actually recover data & what they do is basically take your HD platters out and put them into the same type but working hardware so as to recover the data. This is extremely costly so for most people it's the above solution or nothing.
 
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additional info

i should have probably mentioned that the drive was working (kind of - it was a little noisy) after the tumble, just had trouble opening some folders. so i ran chkdsk f/ which did say that some folders were unreadable. at that point I ran the chkdsk r/ and closed/canceled the dos window when the process seemed to freeze. it was at that point that the drive no longer shows up. still think it would be the arm or does it just need to be somehow "unlocked" to make it available/readable?
 
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TrainableMan

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Well you did mention the 1% complete so I did figure it worked a bit and I thought it may have jammed into a place and gotten stuck. You could wait for other replies but it definitely won't hurt it to throw it in the freezer tonight when you go to bed.

Another thing that happens to drives is the File allocation table gets damaged and then recovery software may be able to find and reconstruct the data. Over 5 years ago I used Stellar Phoenix Disk Restore and it was nice because it would show you what it could recover before you had to actually buy the software. I don't know how their newer software works but you could try it HERE.

But since it took a fall it is more likely the heads came in contact with the platter (this can actually wipe out data) and then if the arm gets jammed then it cannot even change cylinders to access any data still intact. So if the arm is no longer moving then the software will definitely not help but I suppose you could try it and see. On the other hand if the software can see things then the arm IS moving so then freezing it won't help.
 

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