Expert Guide to Recovering an External Hard Drive

This article outlines steps to recover data from a dropped WD My Passport Ultra external hard drive.
Expert Guide to Recovering an External Hard Drive

Table of Contents

Hello everyone, today I restored a WD MY PASSPORT ULTRA 1T external hard drive from our customer that was dropped and no longer recognized by the system.

This is a 1TB Western Digital (WD) external hard drive.

After opening it up, I found that the USB interface and the hard drive circuit board were integrated. Due to the fragile nature of the read/write heads of mechanical hard drives, they are more prone to failure.


To recover this type of hard drive, the process can be broken down into several steps

1. Replace the hard drive’s circuit board with a SATA board. This is because recovery tools have better compatibility with SATA and provide better functionality and features during the recovery process.

2. Replace the damaged read/write heads with new ones.

3. Create an image of the hard drive. This is the most time-consuming step, and for a 1TB drive with fewer bad sectors, it can take up to three to four hours. If there are more bad sectors, the time required can be longer or shorter.

4. Analyze the file system and extract the data. If the disk surface is in good condition, the data can be extracted directly. Otherwise, scanning may be required.

Specific steps of Data Recovery

Step 1: Involves replacing the circuit board. The circuit board has an octagonal chip (ROM) that stores some initialization parameters of the hard drive boot. Therefore, it is necessary to transplant this small chip to the SATA circuit board.

ROM Chip
Replace the ROM on PCBA

Step 2: Involves replacing the damaged read/write heads with new ones in a clean environment.

Replace the heads

Step 3: Involves installing the SATA circuit board back into the faulty hard drive, connecting it to PC3000, entering the factory program, backing up the firmware, and then entering the imaging tool to begin the image creation process.

Image creation of hard drive

Step 4: involves opening the created image in the recovery software and extracting the data based on the actual situation. Common software tools used for this include R-STUDIO, WINHEX, and others.

Extract the data

This is the process I used to recover this external hard drive. If you find it useful, please feel free to follow us. Comments and private messages are welcome.

The End
DiskMFR Field Sales Manager - Leo

It’s Leo Zhi. He was born on August 1987. Major in Electronic Engineering & Business English, He is an Enthusiastic professional, a responsible person, and computer hardware & software literate. Proficient in NAND flash products for more than 10 years, critical thinking skills, outstanding leadership, excellent Teamwork, and interpersonal skills.  Understanding customer technical queries and issues, providing initial analysis and solutions. If you have any queries, Please feel free to let me know, Thanks

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