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External Hard Drive Data Recovery

External Hard Drive Data Recovery Services

Since the early 2000s, computer owners have used external hard drives as a quick secondary form of storage and as a reliable method of data backup. External hard drives typically consist of a standard 2.5" or 3.5" hard drive in a simple enclosure with an external port that connects to a desktop or laptop computer (usually via USB).

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Hard Drive Failure Sounds: Typical noises of a failed hard disk drives.

Clicking Heads
HGST 320 GB Hard Drive - Clicking Heads
  • Clicking Heads
    HGST 320 GB Hard Drive - Clicking Heads
  • Dead Heads
    HGST 320 GB Hard Drive - Dead Heads
  • Torn Heads
    Hitachi 1 TB Hard Drive - Torn Heads
  • Scratched
    Hitachi 2 TB Hard Drive - Scratch
  • Stuck Motor
    Seagate 500 GB Hard Drive

At Secure Data Recovery Services, we handle hundreds of external HDD recovery and repair cases each year, including drives from brands like Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Western Digital, Iomega, Dell, IBM and more. Our engineers are familiar with the various factors that can affect the recovery process on these devices.

When an external hard drive fails, you need to work with a qualified company that understands the potential challenges of external HDD data recovery. Dozens of companies manufacture the devices, however, so many have unique features that can complicate professional data recovery services.

For instance, many newer hard drives are designed specifically for backup and come with software that automatically copies the user's selected files to the external drive on a set schedule. Other external hard drives have setup disks that allow users to choose from several formatting options, including RAID options if the external enclosure contains two or more internal HDDs.

Reasons for External Hard Drive Data Loss

There are three basic types of external hard drive failure that can result in data loss:

  • Physical Failures - Because hard drives have high-speed moving parts, they can become less reliable as they age. A hard drive's read/write float just above the surface of the platters, which store your data, and under the right circumstances, the heads might come into contact with the platters. This is often accompanied by a clicking or whirring sound, but users may not hear these sounds if their external hard drives have large or well-insulated enclosures.

    The platters of a hard drive also spin, and the spindle that controls this action can lock up, preventing the drive from reading properly. Hard drives can also have problems with the actuator arms that hold the read/write heads, and due to the extreme precision of modern HDD technology, even a slight error can completely prevent a computer user from accessing any data.

    At Secure Data Recovery Services, we treat all physical data recovery issues in certified Class 10 ISO 4 Clean room, which is a specialized environment that prevents particles from coming into contact with your external HDD. By working in Cleanroom, we can repair physical damage without any risk to your media.

  • Electronic Failures - Some external hard drives have faulty fans, or computer users simply forget to plug their power cords into grounded, surge-protected outlets. If an external hard drive has an electronic issue, it may stop working entirely or it may report an error message, depending on which of its components have failed.

    Electronic failures are potentially as serious as physical hard drive failures and should only be handled by experienced data recovery professionals.

  • Logical Failures - External hard drives can also lose data due to corruption, accidental deletion or other non-physical errors, which are considered logical errors in our classification system.

Recoverability varies greatly for logically damaged external hard drives. If you notice missing files or you see data corruption messages that might indicate a logical error, immediately shut down your external hard drive to avoid overwriting your data.

Free Evaluations for Portable Hard Drive Data Recovery

Regardless of your hard drive's failure scenario, our engineers will take a measured, planned approach to evaluate the failure. We will provide you with a free media diagnostic report before starting our work on your case. You can view your external hard drive's chances of recovery, a list of recoverable files, a likely case completion time frame and an accurate price quote. We offer free diagnoses through our network of more than 30 locations across the United States.

In addition to our external and portable hard drive recovery services, we offer repair and recovery for other external devices including micro drives, USB drives and flash cards. Call us for more information about any of our services or to schedule a media diagnosis.

The Challenges of External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Some of the factors that can affect your chances of a successful data recovery on an external hard drive include:

  • File System - Depending on the operating system you use on your computer, you may have formatted your external hard drive in a number of different file systems, including FAT, NTFS, HFS+, EFS and XFS. Our engineers have extensive experience with all of these file systems and with various operating environments such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Unix.

    We have specialized file utilities designed for virtually every file system and file type, and as a result, we offer high success rates across-the-board for external hard drives.

  • Hard Drive Size - Some newer external hard drives hold 2TB of data or more, and data recovery is often difficult on larger drives. Our engineers use a careful approach and always create full clones of repaired external hard drives before using our proprietary software, and we can recover hard drives of all sizes without risking media damage.

    We also have capable physical recovery tools for all physical hard drive sizes, including standard 3.5" desktop drives, 2.5" laptop drives and 1" micro drives.

  • Failure Symptoms - As mentioned above, failure scenario affects the chances of recovery. All physically damaged external drives need to be treated in a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom to prevent any danger of media contamination.

Secure Data Recovery Services also uses experienced engineering teams to treat each case, so whether your external drive has logical data issues or a severe spindle failure, we have the capabilities, experience and tools to give you the best possible chances of a successful recovery.

Certified, Secure External Hard Drive Data Recovery Services

Secure Data Recovery Services has more relevant certifications than any external HDD recovery or repair business in the United States. We offer the most reliable security and the highest chances of a fast, complete recovery in every case.

Our certifications include:

  • Security Certifications - Secure Data Recovery Services was the first data recovery provider to earn a SSAE 18 Type II Certification. We also have an SAS 70 certification and post all of our certification reports online.

  • Compliance Certifications - In addition to the aforementioned security certifications, we have compliance certifications for PCI-DSS, FERPA and HIPAA. Call for more information about federal and state legal compliance.

  • Green Business Certification - Our laboratories use sustainable practices. As a member of the Green Business program, we regularly look for new ways to improve our facilities' ecological impact.

  • GSA Certification - We are a member of the General Services Administration schedule and offer all of our external drive services to government and military offices through this program.

Secure Data Recovery Services also offers 24/7/365 emergency data recovery services for external hard drives. We complete most of our emergency recovery cases within a single business day.

Whether you need speed, security, reliability or all three, Secure Data Recovery Services is your best option for professional external drive recovery.

Customer Reviews (38)

Average Rating:

This service was rated 5.0 out of 5.0 based on 38 review(s)

  • Reviewed on May 28 2019  |  Atlanta, GA

    Awesome Service!

    We had a hard drive crash on us with vital video files. Secure Data was able to recover everything we needed! Scott was our representative and he was professional, informative and friendly. He responded to all my emails quickly and was able to answer all my questions. I couldn''t have asked for a better experience. Thanks Scott!

  • Reviewed on May 14 2019  |  Houston, TX

    Othon Guillen

    I am an instructor at the local community college and keep all my class materials on a portable hard drive, 1.5 TB. I had dropped my portable hard drive one day which made it inaccessible, I was freaking out because I had ten (10) years worth of data, class assignments, presentations, grades, & projects; and thought it had been lost forever. Found & called Secure Data Recovery Services to discover that they had an office locally. Scott & Paul were my technicians that were assigned to my case and were able to completely recover my drive & all the files. They both were extremely helpful & very professional. The price may be a little steep, but it was worth it. Now I keep two (2) drives of everything.

    Scott & Paul - Thanks for all of your efforts and the team''s as well.

    Recommend Secure Data Recovery Services if you have any lost data recovery needs.

  • Reviewed on May 7 2019  |  Louisville, KY


    Scott was my representative. I can’t say enough good things for him. He was very professional, reliable and prompt. I will definitely refer secure date recovery to my friends and also will tell them to deal with Scott Moses. He made this entire process so easy for me. Thank you Scott. You deserve all the best your job company can offer you and more. It was an excellent service and the best.

  • Reviewed on May 6 2019  |  Hyattsville, MD

    Exactly what we needed

    Thank you, SDR, for the amazing work and doing exactly what we needed and with great turnaround! Scott was very prompt and attentive to the situation we were in and got it fixed pronto! Thanks again!

  • Reviewed on Apr 21 2019  |  Minneapolis, MN

    Found the solution to fit my situation

    Rob was great in working with me to find the best solution to recovering my daughter''s hard drive that failed. Thanks to his efforts, we were able to recover nearly 14,000 photos she had taken.

  • Reviewed on Apr 5 2019  |  Chicago, IL

    Excellent Communication

    From the first phone call I made to the confirmation email sending back my recovered hard drive, there was consistent and reassuring communication between me and my representative Scott. I would recommend this service to anyone that needs to retrieve files from a corrupted hard drive.

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