Data Recovery by Device

External & Portable Hard Drive Data Recovery

External hard drives have come a long way in recent years. The products on today’s market offer a fantastic blend of capacity, portability, speed, connectivity and ruggedness. But even with all those qualities, data loss can still happen. When an external hard drive fails, you may lose access to precious memories and critical business files, and that can be disruptive and devastating. Fortunately, there are ways to regain access to the data you need.

We can recover data from these common issues:

  • No response when the device is connected to a computer
  • External/Portable HDD doesn’t power on (ie no lights)
  • Strange clicking or grinding noises
  • Overwritten / Deleted data
  • Reformatted hard drive
  • Files/Folders are showing but can’t be opened
  • "Please Format Disk", "Can't access" or "Access denied" errors
  • etc.

The Difference Between a Hard Drive and an External/Portable Hard Drive

Unlike general hard drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs), external/portable hard drives connect to your computer via a USB.

Their portable nature makes them easy to use and convenient for transporting data between machines, however, it also creates a large risk for data loss due to being continuously plugged and unplugged to various devices and dropped or roughly handled. External/Portable drives often employ encryption to protect the data that is stored on the drives and Ontrack has developed tools to help recover data from these special drives.

We recover from all External/Portable HDD brands including:







Hitachi GST


Western Digital

Why Ontrack Data Recovery?

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Multiple Service Offerings

Ontrack offer's flexible service offerings to meet your unique needs and budgetary considerations. Our experts are on standby 24/7/365.

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Complete Transparency

We want you to have control over your data recovery process. You'll know exactly what can be recovered before paying.

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Unrivaled Global Expertise

Backed by the world’s largest R&D team, we have the knowledge and ability to address your unique data recovery needs.

What Our Customers Say About Our Data Recovery Services

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4-Step Data Recovery Process

We ensure that our process is transparent, quick and safe. You’ll be informed every step of the way for complete peace of mind.

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Contact us 24/7 worldwide to obtain a free data recovery consultation and written price quote.

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Free Evaluation

The entire evaluation process is transparent with no hidden costs. Once we receive your device, our engineers recommend the best solution, send a fixed price quote and an overview of service levels and delivery schedules.

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Data Recovery

With your approval, we recover your data based on your chosen service level. Through our secure portal you can track the status of your recovery and view a list of recoverable files.

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Data Return

Once your data has been recovered, we’ll send it back to you on an encrypted external device via next day delivery free of charge.

Types of External & Portable Hard Drive Failure

There are 2 basic types of hard drive failures that can result in data loss:

Hard drive platter scratch

Physical/Mechanical Failures

If your hard drive is not working or is making clicking and/or grinding noises, it is probably experiencing a mechanical failure. This could be due to a head crash, motor failure or other issues.

Mechanical failures require a cleanroom environment in order to open the hard drive without causing further potential data loss. Contact one of our Data Recovery Professionals today to discuss the best recovery options for you.

PRO TIP: If a mechanical failure is detected, contact us immediately. Work done outside a professional cleanroom environment can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

External HDD with Laptop Bluescreen

Logical Failures

If your hard drive is working, but you cannot access some or all of your files, then it is likely to be experiencing a logical failure. This could be due to a lost partition or accidental reformatting of the drive.

Common logical data loss issues include file deletion, corruption, or file directory damage from a virus or malicious program. Whatever the cause, Ontrack engineers can give you the best change of recovering your missing data.

PRO TIP: If your hard drive is still recognized, you can try using our Ontrack EasyRecovery software to get your data back before sending your device to us.

External Hard Drive

Simple Self-Debugging Methods

Check your cables and ports!

It is worthwhile double-checking that your cables and ports are working properly. If your device is not being detected, it could be due to a faulty cable or a defective port. You can test this by swapping out the cable for another one or test your hard drive on a different port or computer.

Note: If your external/portable drive is making any clicking or other unusual noises, unplug it immediately, and stop trying to access it. Any further attempts to access the drive may cause additional damage. Contact Ontrack ASAP to discuss your options for data recovery.

How Fast Do You Need Your Data Back?

Our team of trusted experts are on standby to help. We offer flexible service offerings to meet your unique needs and budgetary considerations.



Average of 7-10 business days



Average of 2-3 business days



24/7 until completion

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I recover data from formatted external hard drive?

To initiate file recovery after formatting an external hard drive, first choose the suitable software. You can opt for free software, but no less powerful, such as PhotoRec or TestDisk. Paid solutions are also available like OntrackEasyRecovery software.To recover files from a formatted hard drive, connect your device to a computer and launch the software. This will perform a scan of your media to find deleted files. Once this step is completed, the software will display a tree structure of the files that can be recovered. Select the ones you need and save them in a secure location.

Do you see data recovery getting more cost-effective or more expensive because of the different variations of firmware?

We don't see a difference in the cost of the actual recovery, but there is a time cost. When we are familiar with the drive or firmware variation, we have better support for that drive. In cases when we are seeing new drives for the first time, it can take some time to perform research and development and work with the drive manufacturer to gain knowledge of the drive and the data layout.

If you overwrite the controllers with your firmware, how do you know where the data is randomly laid out or is that stored on the flash itself?

We are not overwriting the drives firmware but more sideloading a version of our custom firmware that then interfaces with the 'drive's firmware. This is used to apply low-level operations that are not typically supported without our firmware directly interfacing the firmware of the drive.

What is included in the free evaluation report?

Your free, no-obligation evaluation report will provide an estimate of how much of your data we expect to recover, how long we think the recovery will take, and how much it will cost. There are no hidden costs, and we aim to have the report with you within 24 hours.

How will my recovered data be returned to me?

Upon completion, your recovered data will be extracted onto an encrypted external drive and shipped to you.

Experiences that matter

Ontrack has extensive experience with all types of data loss scenarios. Our goal is to provide our customers with peace of mind in the event of data loss due to hardware failure, human error, natural disasters or cyberattacks.



In the business



Customers and growing



Of recovered data


Of data files recovered over the last twenty years... and more and more every day!

Start your data recovery now with a free consultation.

Contact our team of experts!

KLDiscovery Ontrack Pty Ltd, Suite 9, 28 Donkin Street, West End, Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia (see all locations)