Questions & Answers

Questions and Answers | Data Recovery TipsIf you have a question about a hard drive problem or data recovery issue you can Ask Me – I’d be delighted to help and advise you on your situation and the best course of action to take.

Q: I have a portable hard drive that isnt being read anymore. It is a Western Digital passport. Help!

A: When you say it isn’t being being read anymore, can you be a bit more specific?? Do you mean the computer can’t see it when you plug it in or that the computer can see it but can’t read any data from it?. Go to the contact me page and get in touch as there are many different reasons this hard drive could be failing.

Q: Hi – I have got a QNAP NAS that won’t connect. What can I do ??

A: Hi Gen, What type of QNAP NAS is it? Can you describe the symptoms in any more detail ?Take a look at the following pages and see if your NAS has any of these symptoms –

Q: My hard drive is making a clicking noise when it’s powered on. A friend said I could just change the controller board and it should work again. Is this a good idea?

A: Hi Bari, Ticking hard drives are often referred to as having the ‘click of death’. The click indicates a head fault on the drive which can be classed as a mechanical hard disk problem. Changing the hard drive’s controller board won’t make any difference I’m sorry to say as the error has nothing to do with it. The clicking is caused by the drive’s read/write heads failing. Getting the data from a dead drive like this is possible but it’s a skilled job – my advice would be to use a recommended data recovery company. I have experience of a few and have my recommended companies here.

Q: I went to the Applestore with my Macbook that no longer works. They told me it was a problem with its hard disk and that it was not possible to get my data back. What can I do? Help please!?

A: Hi Ben, thanks for the question. First off, it’s important to understand that just because an AppleStore say that the data on your hard drive is lost they may not necessarily be correct. There is unfortunately a lot of mis-diagnosis of faulty hard drives that goes on up and down the country and I think a great rule to apply is: Always get a second opinion, and obviously make sure you choose reputable firms in the first place who are likely not to get a diagnosis wrong, rather than taking your hard drive round to a neighbours. So, my advice is don’t give up just yet, get a second opinion !

(Note: November 2013: I’m pleased to say that after contacting Ben regarding his hard drive I was able to diagnose that the data on his drive was infact recoverable. The problem had been completely mis-diagnosed by the AppleStore he went to. Ben got his data recovered 🙂   )

Q: How likely is a data recovery company to retrieve my data ?

A: It’s entirely dependent on (a) the fault the hard disk has and (b) the quality of the data recovery company you send the drive to. Hard disk faults vary in their severity and difficulty, and hard drive companies have wildly varying capabilities. What data recovery company ‘A’ can do for you will not be the same as company ‘B’.

Q: My computer repeatedly asks me if I want to format it and it will not let me use it. CAN this be solved ?

A: The computer has detected there’s something wrong with the hard drive but from the error message you are seeing it’s probably not that serious. It’s most probably a slight data corruption rather than anything seriously wrong with the hard disk itself. You may wish to try recovering the data yourself – in which case head across to the data recovery software section. Or, I could login to your system over the internet and do it for you – just ask me.

Q: Our children play games on our laptop computer. I keep my work in a program called Dropbox which has now disappeared. Is my data now lost? What do I do?

A: Hi Susan, thanks for your question. Dropbox is a program that backs up the data from your laptop, storing it in the cloud. If your icon or program has disappeared from your computer, then fingers crossed, the data should still be saved to the Dropbox location. You can check this by going on the internet to and putting in your username and password. You should then (hopefully) see your data.

Q: My computer wasn’t working right so I reloaded the Operating System. Now I’ve realised that I need some information off it – is it possible to recover it ?

A: Possibly yes – but it depends on a few things:

Data recovery in situations like these is on a case by case basis – please contact me as I need to find out more.

Q: My hard drive makes a beeping musical noise when I switch it on – What’s wrong with it?

A: The musical noise coming from the drive tells us it has a seized motor, probably caused by the drive being dropped or receiving a hard knock. This is a severe mechanical fault and recovering the drive requires a specialist data recovery company.

Q: I split some liquid on my laptop and now it won’t power on. Do you think it’s a hard disk problem or a problem with my computer ?

A: It’s difficult to say. In cases where liquid is spilt on computers or external hard drives the resulting problems are usually electronic related. Take a look at the Tips and Tricks page for Electronic faults – remove the hard drive from the laptop / enclosure if you can and try and read it using a disk caddy.

Q: I think I’ve got a mechanical problem and the data on my drive is important to me – if I use a data recovery company how do I know I’ll get everything back ?

A: A decent data recovery company will be able to provide you with a file and folder list of the items they can recover from your hard drive. Make sure you review the list thoroughly and check that the files and folders you want to recover are on the list first. Click here for a list of recommended data recovery companies.