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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 16 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 (31)

Average Rating:

This service was rated 5.0 out of 5.0 based on 31 review(s)

  • Reviewed on Aug 29 2018  |  Miami, FL

    Excellent Service

    My agent Fred was very helpful and informative every step of the way. Always assisted me whenever I had obstacles during the process and provided me with multiple solutions. Would refer to anyone!

  • Reviewed on Apr 26 2018  |  STOKE ON TREENT,

    Excellent service.

    My hard drive failed and I contacted SDR. The service I received was first class. Alec Sakenes helped me through all the procedures and kept me up to date with progress. Whilst it is expensive my data was recovered so I suppose it's all about how much you value your data. I was provided with a list of all the data that was recoverable before I paid. A special mention for Alec who took customer service to a new level with a combination of friendliness, professionalism and patience. Thank you Alec and SDR.

  • Reviewed on Apr 16 2018  |  Portsmouth, NH

    Wow, thank you Alec and SDR!

    Last year I lost my 3Tb drive and thought along with it I had lost my pictures from childhood, software I’d developed, and my wedding video. So much gone in an instant. My backup drive didn’t work either, and I was devastated.

    SDR managed to recover absolutely everything, not just what I had hoped for, and now I’m sorting through old memories and am amazed. Thank you Alec and SDR, this was a dream come true.

  • Reviewed on Apr 6 2018  |  San Juan, PR

    Excellent Service - Great Recovery

    Great communication through all the process. I'm very satisfied with Alec Sakenes for his service and professionalism. They were able to recover over 97% of my files. Highly recommended! If you need this service, this is the company you should trust!

  • Reviewed on Mar 28 2018  |  Hamburg, PA

    Great Company & Customer Service!!!!

    The day I found out there was a major issue with my work hard-drive I was in a panic. All of my design files were on that drive and I had no access to them anymore. After a recommendation from a close friend, we decided to contact Secure Data Recovery. Todd was my representative and he was just amazing. Answered any and all of my questions, and he was accommodating to any and all of our needs. He even adjusted our payment to be scheduled into a simple and easy payment plan that made it easier to pay for the hard work by their tech guys. (those guys are super amazing as well!) After the initial review of the hard drive, they determined the problem in a very short time and contacted me to make sure that we were ok moving forward with the recovery. Then in a short time afterward, Todd contacted me again letting me know that they had recovered 100% of my files! I have since received my files (they were even overnighted so I got the files next day after finishing our payments) and sure enough, all my files are there! The professionalism and overall concern with making sure that my questions and concerns were covered and answered were just outstanding. Todd and Secure Data Recovery are amazing and I couldn't be more thrilled with their work and customer service!

  • Reviewed on Dec 22 2017  |  Scarsdale, NY


    I don’t trust anyone else with my data and encourage you to do the same. I am so pleased with their service as they were by far cheaper and faster than anyone else! If it were not for Secure Data Recovery I would have been set back months and would have had to start my project over from scratch.

    Trust me and leave it to the pros at Secure Data Recovery. Their worth every penny.

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