An external hard drive is incredibly useful for many people because this particular type of hard drive provides portability and a high amount of storage space for everything from pictures to documents and business information. An external hard drive is typically classified as an IDE or SATA hard drive that is stored within a type of case. The hard drive is connected to a computer through the use of a USB or Firewall adapter.
Despite the usefulness of external hard drives, just like standard hard drives, they are subject to failure for any number of reasons. An external hard drive can fail for any of the reasons that an internal hard drive fails, but they are also susceptible to unique failures because of the portability aspect.
Why External Hard Drives Fail
Just as is the case with internal hard drives, there is not one solid answer as to why all external hard drives fail, but there are a number of common reasons that lead to the majority of most failures. While an external hard drive is portable, making it very convenient, it also makes it more likely that the device will be dropped or mishandled during transportation. If an external hard drive is dropped, bumped or experiences any other type of trauma while it’s being transported, you’ll likely hear a ticking noise when you connect it to your computer. This could mean either the motor is damaged, the read/write head are damaged, or in some cases, both components are damaged.
If an external hard drive experiences a less severe impact, such as a slight bumping, the sound when the device is connected will likely be more similar to a buzzing, rather than a ticking.
Overheating is another common cause of external hard drive failure. Due to the particular structure of these devices, there is relatively little ventilation that occurs, which means overheating can occur relatively quickly in many instances. Some types of external hard drives will have a small, built-in ventilation fan to prevent overheating, but many devices don’t have any type of safeguard against the problem. Symptoms of overheating within an external hard drive include buzzing and ticking sounds, unrecognizability by the BIOS and seizure.
Just as with internal hard drives, external hard drives can also be damaged due to factors such as viruses, corruption, file deletion or even natural disasters.
How to Care for an External Hard Drive and Handle a Failure.
Most people utilize external hard drives because of their portability and convenience, and while all failures can’t be avoided, there are steps that can be taken to care for this particular type of device. The first important step to take is to always back up information stored on an external hard drive, and never rely on it as your primary source of data storage. The second important thing to remember is that if you hear a clicking or buzzing sound when you connect your external hard drive to your computer, remove it immediately and never attempt to connect it again, either to the same computer or a different computer.
At the first sign that an external hard drive failure is occurring, it’s important to contact a professional. In many instances, if a data recovery service is contacted immediately, the data from an external hard drive can be recovered, even in extreme instances, such as the hard drive becoming submerged in water.