Data Recovery by Device

External Hard Drive Data Recovery

An external hard disk drive typically consists of a hard drive (HDD) in a simple case with an external port that connects to a computer or other media devices.External HDDs are portable, easy to use and have a high storage capacity but given their portable nature, they are more prone to physical damage than a hard drive installed inside your machine. When they fail or become damaged, Ontrack has industry-leading technology to help you recover your data.

We can recover data from these common issues:

  • No response when the external drive is connected to a computer
  • External 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.

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.

Data Recovery Experts in External Hard Drives

Support Types





Fibre Channel




Hard Drive Brands

Western Digital






* Don’t worry if your external hard drive is missing from the list. Ontrack’s engineers perform daily data recovery from all types and brands.

Contact one of our dedicated data recovery specialists for help determining the best plan of action for your external hard drive recovery today. 

We recover from all External HDD brands including:







Hitachi GST


Western Digital

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 Hard Drive Failure

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


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.


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 chance 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 self debugging method

Simple Self-Debugging Methods

Check your cables and ports!

It is worthwhile double-checking that your cables and ports are working properly. If your external hard drive 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 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. 

External hard drive recovery

Data Recovery Pricing

The prices we quote are all inclusive, and are the most you will ever pay for a data recovery service with us. We do not have any hidden fees, or escalated pricing for 'difficult' or 'special' cases.

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.



5-7 business days



2-4 business days



24/7 Until Completion

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to recover data from a failed hard drive?

The cost of recovering data from a damaged storage device is determined by the time and effort that goes into getting the data you need and not by the size of the drive or volume of data. This makes it difficult to give you a price without evaluating your situation first.In any case, we rely on our unmatched data recovery expertise and 35 years of industry experience to work as efficiently as possible, meaning you'll always get a great price from us.

Can you repair a hard drive that isn’t spinning?

A hard drive that isn't spinning could indicate a mechanical problem. For the safety of your essential data, you should turn off the drive or computer as soon as possible and contact us for further advice. If a hard drive spins up and then stops after a few seconds, it could indicate damage to the platters inside the housing. Damage can occur when the read/write heads scrape the surface of the drive platters. This condition is known as a head crash. To ensure the potential for a successful data recovery, do not leave the drive powered on or allow it to cycle on and off. The longer a drive with a head crash is left running, the more damage that can occur.

Does hard drive data recovery always need to be performed in a cleanroom?

A cleanroom is a static and dustfree environment that protects a hard drive's platters during the data recovery process. If a hard drive has suffered mechanical failure or physical damage, the sealed mechanism will need to be opened in a cleanroom to access internal components such as the actuator assembly, read/write heads, and the magnetically-coated platters that hold data.

Is it safe to open my hard drive?

Standard hard drives that contain internal spinning platters require a cleanroom—a special static and dust-free environment that allows technicians to access components inside the drive housing. It is not safe to open a hard drive outside of a cleanroom and doing so allows dust particles to enter the mechanism.Even airborne microscopic particles can cause the drive to malfunction, and the read/write heads will damage the platter surfaces. This reduces the chances for your data to be recovered and makes future attempts by a professional data recovery company difficult to impossible. If your files are irreplaceable and no backup exists, call us immediately for help.

Why does my hard drive make clicking sounds?

Mechanical hard drives that contain spinning platters make clicking (or ticking) sounds for different reasons. As part of normal functions, the drive will make clicking sounds whenever the computer or the external drive are switched on. You can even hear a recognizable rhythm to the sounds emanating from the drive when it first spins up. Beyond these perfectly normal sounds, a hard drive that clicks repeatedly can indicate a problem that could cause serious data loss. If your data is properly backed up, you can typically replace the drive with a new one and restore your data by transferring it to the new drive. However, if you find that your important files were not backed up, switch off the computer or the external drive as soon as possible and contact Ontrack for a free consultation.

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.



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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 (H.K.) Limited, 148 Electric Road 12/F, Unit 1203A, North Point, Hong Kong (see all locations)