How to Repair Shock Damaged External Hard Drive

hard drive data recovery

Thanks to external hard drives, we can now carry a large amount of data from one place to another, or use it to make backup copies to our computer and store it somewhere other than where it is, or go on vacation and take some movies.

This is a great advance in computing, and despite the fact that there are more and more storage services in the cloud, being able to have your data without being shared with anyone or vulnerable to cyber-attacks is a great advantage.

However, the big disadvantage is that shocks and falls can cause hard drives to be damaged and we cannot recover our files.

Hard drives are delicate

Mechanical hard drives are made up of numerous parts, which for their correct operation must be perfectly aligned. The read / write head with the disc on which the data is recorded, the arm, the needle and many other parts that, being mobile, can make different parts rub against each other after having suffered a blow or scratch the disc.

As you can see in this photo of an external hard drive inside, it is made up of many moving and delicate parts.

One of the most critical parts of our hard drive is the alignment between the read head and the disk. A loss of this alignment could cause a malfunction, as well as friction and strange noises.

What damage has the fall caused

As the failure of the external hard drive has been due to a blow, we have to hope that the failure is mechanical, rather than software or logical.

Depending on the files you have saved and the importance of them, you may consider contacting a company specialized of hard drive data recovery service provider that recovers your damaged hard drives. It is not a cheap service, but if data is important, it would be the most recommended option.

Although the solutions that we are going to propose can help you recover your files, success is not guaranteed, since the failures could be irrecoverable for someone who does not understand the subject.

To know if we will be able to repair our hard drive and recover the data, we have to make a first diagnosis to find possible solutions.

We must bear in mind that at the moment in which we think that our external hard drive is damaged, we must use it just enough to make the checks, since each time we use it it will be degraded more and more. And if your data is very valuable, think twice, because if we plug in a hard drive that has the arm misaligned, and the disc starts spinning, we can scratch it.

Some of the common problems that we can find when the hard drive fell off the table for example, are these:

  • The arm came off the stationary ramp and hit the plates
  • The heads are damaged.
  • The heads hit the platters and jammed
  • The arm has been misaligned
  • The shaft was damaged by the impact
  • Write head sliders come off

With this power adapter we could also test if plugging it into the hard drive rotates or not.

Perhaps it is not the best solution to have it plugged in once fixed, since it means that the case with the ports that it brings we cannot use it, and in such a case the most interesting thing would be to buy a 2.5 hard drive case directly. ″ Or 3.5 ″ like this:

The disk read / write head has been damaged

If the disk spins when connected, but makes strange noises like clack, we can think that the failure comes from the read / write system.

It is not bad news, since it would be to change the piece and voila, what happens is that it is easy to do for someone who has experience fixing hard drives, but not for someone who has never done it before.

Also, with the special tools needed to change the hard drive head and get it aligned properly that you will have to buy, you may not want to try to fix it on your own.

The disc where the data is written has been scratched in critical sectors

In this case, there is no solution. Not even a specialized company will be able to guarantee you that it will be able to recover the files, and if it does, it is staying with you. And the reality is that if you sent the hard drive to a company of this type, the repair would be above € 200, which is not so much if the data you have is crucial, but the problem is that they cannot guarantee the recovery of all files, and probably none of them.

Tricks to fix hard drives that are discussed on the internet

These are some of the comments we have read and heard about it. They may be myths such as the girl on the curve, or they may work, but here and to everyone who does what they think they have to do, we neither recommend nor stop recommending.

Give the hard drive a hard hit to get it fixed

The theory is that the failure of the hard disk could be because the arm has been misaligned, and that a blow can put it back in place.

Well, as you will understand, you have the same chances of winning the lottery. But it is also true that if it is already broken, little else will you break it.

Put the hard drive in a freezer for a few hours

In this case we are talking about; I don’t think it had much effect, since this solution focuses on hard drives that have failed due to working at high temperatures.

If you decide to do it, the most important premise is that you put it airtight, wrap it in plastic or whatever you have at home, since we must prevent the hard drive from getting wet, condensation from forming or getting moisture.


At the price of hard drives today and the storage capacity they offer, there is no excuse to have at least one backup.

To know if we will be able to repair our hard drive and recover the data, we have to make a first diagnosis to find possible solutions. You can learn more here.


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