Let’s say your external hard drive failed to start. When you connect your hard drive to a computer nothing happens even though it used to work just fine a while ago. The hard drive appears to be dead or it shows some signs of life but will not appear in My Computer. Is your data gone? Can you recover files? Yes, it’s possible.
There is a good chance that your hard drive is still in a good working condition and your data is safe. It’s likely that the failure is related to the circuit board inside the external enclosure or the power supply.
An external hard drive is nothing more than a regular 2.5″ (laptop) or 3.5″ (desktop) hard drive wrapped up in an external enclosure.
You’ll have to find a way to crack the enclosure case wide open. I cannot provide instructions for any single case out there but it should not be very difficult. Use your brain and a small flat head screwdriver.
After the enclosure case is open, you’ll find the hard drive connected to the circuit board. The hard drive will be secured to one half of the enclosure with a few screws. Remove those screws.
Now you can disconnect the hard drive from the circuit board and remove it from the enclosure. In my case it’s a 3.5″ 320GB SATA hard drive.
Again, there is a very good chance that the failure is related to the enclosure and the hard drive is a good working condition.
After the hard drive is removed, you can connect it to another working computer and see if it pops up in My Computer. Access the hard drive and recover your files.
If you are trying to get access to a portable 2.5″ (laptop) hard drive, here’s how you can coonect it to another laptop or desktop computer.