This beeping Seagate external hard drive came to us as a referral from a local computer shop here in Hutch. It was making a beeping or buzzing sound when power was applied and was not recognized at all by any computer they had tried it on.
Beeping or Buzzing Drive Recovery
Usually beeping or buzzing on a hard drive is caused by the motor not being able to spin the platters. I would say about 80% of the time this ends up being caused by the heads being stuck on the platter. The other 20% of the time it is a different issue like a bent spindle, failed PCB causing not enough power to reach the motor or other issues.
Seagate External Hard Drive Beeping Diagnosis
Opening the drive in my clean room environment revealed that the heads were indeed stuck on the platter and the drive motor was not able to spin. The next step was to “unstick” the heads from the platter and inspect for head stack assembly for damage.
DYI Beeping Drive Repair
You can find a lot of videos on YouTube showing people using various methods for unsticking the heads on their hard drives. Please be very, very, very careful in considering the do-it-yourself method on these drives. I would say about 50% of the time someone who is very careful and has good hand-eye coordination (and a steady hand) can use one of the methods described and get away with it.
The proper method is to only open the drive in a clean room environment, then use a tool that is specifically designed for lifting heads off the platter surface (there are different sizes of the tools for different drives). The next step is to use a microscope to see if the heads have any damage on them before attempting to power on the drive. If there is damage to the heads, they will need to be swapped out before continuing. Powering up a drive with head damage can cause scratching on the platters making the data unrecoverable by anyone.
I am not a fan of scaring people into using professional services, but this is one of those cases where a lot of people will have success and tell others to use the do-it-yourself method and end up ruining their chances of a full recovery. If your data is replaceable, or not super important, trying to unstick the heads on your drive yourself might be a good idea. But if you really need the data or if it is not replaceable (like photos), just wait and find a reputable recovery company that has the correct tools to complete the job safely.
A successful beeping drive recovery
In this case, I was able to unstick the heads with the proper tools, checked the heads under a microscope, and found they were all still intact with no issues. I re-installed the heads and make sure they were parked properly before booting the drive back up. Once the drive was reassembled, I powered it on using my PC-3000 and the drive started right up!
I prepared it for imaging and was able to image 100% of the data with only a few passes with the imager.
This client was pleased to have their important data safely back.
If you would like to have me help get your beeping hard drive recovered, please fill out my quote form and I will get back to you right away. Thanks!
Drive info: Seagate ST3500413AS,