Estimate: Cost of repair for external hard drive arm to become unstuck?

I have 2TB of data on a 4TB WD My Passport drive. The drive is under warranty, but only to replace the drive, not for data recovery. I'm curious if anyone may have an idea how much it would cost to get the data off the drive? I'm assuming anywhere between 1 to 300 bucks?


9 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    It depends on the type of fault and whether they need to open the drive in a clean room. If it's a stuck arm, you can easily do it yourself. I take a piece of cling film and slide it between the head and the platter before freeing the arm. There are Youtube videos showing the process. Even showing how to make your own mini "clean room". Last time I paid to have data rcovered, it cost around $100US, and that was a ripoff. All they did was bump up the power to the drive to make it spin. The drive didn't need to be opened, and the board didn't need to be replaced. I highly recommend learning to unstick the arm yourself. But, for a first time, I wouldn't do it if the data is really important.

  • 1 month ago

    Check out the websites of any of the reputable data recovery services. Kroll Ontrack (just as an example) will offer a free consultation and first evaluation.

    But: if your drive has to be opened up in a clean room and the platters transplanted into a working drive for readout, you'll be looking at a few thousand dollars. Your 300 dollars may buy you half an hour tech time in the cleanroom.

  • VP
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Since your main HDD/SSD is ok, don't you have the files that are on the 4 TB backup drive already?  If so, replace that external drive and consider a second backup method if those files are irreplaceable.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I backup whatever I want to keep. I actually make multiple backups. Because sometimes when someone backs up something then their device might break, so if you have something that you really want to keep then I suggest making multiple backups.

    If I were to use one of my backups to get something from it then I am not concerned about losing whatever is on my device because I have another device that has the same thing on it. If one of my devices break then I will have another device that has whatever I want to keep on it, so if one of my devices break then I can make another backup if I want to make sure I don't lose anything.

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  • opurt
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You're assuming on the low side.

    If it's a physical problem with the drive, recovery services can charge in the $500-2000 range depending on the problem and ease of recovery. 

  • 1 month ago

    Anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand depending on the severity of the drive failure. For mechanical failure they usually have to try and swap guts out of a donor drive to see if they can get the heads to read, and that requires a clean room and also access to donor drives that match the one you give them.

  • 1 month ago

    The only way to get an estimate is to contact a drive recovery shop and ask for one. They usually require you to send the drive in for analyzing. The estimate will vary depending on how the drive failed, damage, and what needs to be done to get the data off of the drive. I wouldn't expect it to be cheap, either.

  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Anywhere from $80 to $10,000 depending upon who is doing the activity and what gets done.

    I do not know the exact construction of the WD 4TB drive, and note to you that external is an internal drive with a SATA-USB converter and housing and power feed.

    A hard drive is many thin disks very close together that spin very fast.

    The data is stored as a SLICE OF DISKS and not on individual disks.

    The micro-alignment is microscope level precision.

    The armature has the disk read/write.

    laptop hdd repair where a guy got really lucky about minimal issues.

    Youtube thumbnail

    A head crash is where one or more disks hit the disk reader and that data on disks is corrupted and the disks are practically uncoverable by standard means.

    When disks are damaged they may be pulled out and reconstructed and data analyzed. This takes such exact precision, it is for corporate critical only.

    If the disks themselves are intact, they may be transferable to a different drive with a different motor and electronics, or a head and armature replacement.

    You need to find someone able to do everything about hardware and software.

    Most won't touch it for less than $50 plus all parts and time to transfer data.

    If one or more disks are damaged, in a restart it could kill many disks.

    Being totally free of particles in the air is also critical. 

  • 1 month ago

    I'm afraid it will cost more than $300 to retrieve the data. Hell, it would cost thousands.

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