Anatomy of a Hard Drive

Anatomy of a Hard Drive

Why did my Hard Drive Fail?

Why did my Hard Drive Fail?

A-Z of Data Recovery

A-Z of Data Recovery

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Data Recovery Guides

Data Recovery Guide

Data Recovery Guide Volumn 2

Seagate Backup Plus

Seagate Backup Plus (and Slim)

The Seagate Backup Plus is a popular portable USB-powered disk from Seagate which comes in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB.

  • The light on your Seagate Backup Plus disk is blinking but when you connect it, no data appears.

  • Your Seagate Backup Plus disk is making a clicking, ticking, grinding or buzzing noise.

  • Your Seagate disk is making a beeping noise.

  • Your Seagate Backup Plus disk is flashing but is not recognised by your computer.

  • Your Seagate Backup Plus is making a whirring noise but will not mount on your PC or Mac.

  • Your external disk is presenting you an “access is denied” error message.

  • Your Seagate Backup Plus disk is causing your Windows or Mac computer to freeze or become unresponsive.

  • You receive an error message reporting that the “Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired”.

  • Your Seagate portable disk is coming up as “raw” or “unallocated” in Windows disk management.

  • You have accidentally deleted or formatted your Seagate Backup Plus disk.

Why your Seagate Backup Plus disk is not working.

  • Your disk has bad sectors. These occur when areas of your disk platters become unreadable. Bad sectors can occur due to disk wear-and-tear or asperities on the platter.

  • Your disk has firmware problems. Firmware is low-level code which helps to control key functions of your hard disk. When this becomes corrupt, the data on your Seagate Backup Plus disk can become inaccessible.

  • The spindle on your disk might have failed. The spindle performs the crucial function of rotating the actuator arm across the disk platters. When it malfunctions or seizes, the disk becomes unreadable. Spindle failure is common in Seagate Backup Plus drives that use Momentus Thin or Mobile HDD disks (such as the ST1000LM035).

  • Damaged heads might be preventing your hard disk from being recognised. Heads read the data off the platters and, when they fail or degrade, some or all of your data on your Seagate Backup Plus disk can become inaccessible.

Frequently Asked Questions about Seagate Backup Plus External drive data recovery.

Can you recover my Seagate Backup Plus disk, even if it’s encrypted with Bitlocker, TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt or FileVault?

Assuming that you have a valid decryption key, we have extensive experience of recovering data from encrypted external hard disks. Most of these encryption applications that you’ve mentioned above use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit or 256-bit. This requires a more specialised data recovery methodology.

Can data recovery software like EaseUS recover data from my Seagate Backup Slim drive?

Data recovery applications like EaseUS are designed to work with healthy external disks. If your disk is failing, software like this can have great difficulty reading your data. In fact, if your disk has mechanical damage, such as failing disk-heads, data recovery software can actually reduce the probability of a successful recovery as these applications force what are known as read re-tries, the equivalent of torture for your disk-heads, especially if they are already damaged.

I keep on receiving an error message about “cyclical redundancy check” when I connect my Seagate Backup Plus to my Windows computer. Can you recover data from a disk like this?

Yes, we recover data from disks displaying this error message all the time.

My Seagate Backup Plus is making a beeping noise, is the data recoverable?

This is usually indicative of a disk-head or spindle problem. For the latter, the beeping is caused by the spindle sending a message to the drive’s electronics that it cannot spin-up because something is wrong. We have excellent success rates recovering data from this type of drive.

A 4TB disk found inside a Seagate Backup Plus enclosure. The form-factor of this disk is fatter than normal to accommodate more read/write heads and platters.

I’ve accidentally let my 4TB Seagate Backup Plus disk fall on the floor and now the disk is making a clicking noise. I’m really kicking myself, is it recoverable?

Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to let an external hard disk accidentally fall on the floor! It’s a very common occurrence and makes people realise just how fragile external HDDs can be. When a disk falls on the floor, the disk-heads normally get damaged. When connected to a computer, the damaged disk will often make a clicking noise. To recover your data, our technicians have to replace a component known as the “head disk assembly” in our clean-room. In most cases, your data should be recoverable. Drive Rescue Dublin has years of experience recovering data from accidentally dropped disks. Our track record, coupled with the latest data recovery equipment, means your chances of getting all your precious data back are maximised.

I dropped my Seagate Backup Plus Slim portable drive on the ground and now it’s not working. My IT support department in work have informed me that the disk has mechanical damage and will need data recovery in a clean-room environment. Why do they make external hard disks so fragile?

All rotational hard disks are fragile. In fact, considering all the consumer electronic devices you can buy today – a spinning electro-mechanical hard disk is probably the most fragile with the most intricate workings. For example, inside your disk there is a mechanical arm with a nanoslider at the end of it. On the end of the nanonslider, magnetic disk-heads are mounted. These float on an “air bearing” just above the lubricant layer of the platters and have a “flying height” of approximately 2-3 nanometres.

A longitudinal view of magnetic disk-heads meeting disk platter.

If this mechanism gets “out of kilter” due to a a knock, fall or malfunctions due to surface asperities, you will no longer be able to access your data. For most people, this technology is “good enough”. It allows them to store their important documents, photos, music and videos easily and for a reasonable cost. The downside to this is that an accidentally dropped disk can render your data inaccessible in a matter of seconds. A small fall or sudden shock rendering the disk’s data inaccessible can be extremely frustrating the user. As a data recovery company, we recognise this. We try to make the data recovery proceess as quick, painless and cost-effective as possible.

My 1TB Seagate Backup Plus disk is showing up as “unallocated” in Disk Management. However, when I tested the disk with a diagnostic tool, it reports that “SMART passed”. Do you think it’s possible to retrieve the data?

It sounds as if your disk is physically ok but your partition table (NTFS or exFAT) has become corrupt. It might also be indicative of firmware issues. We can repair this and recover your data.

My Seagate Backup Plus disk spins up but then spins down again after a few seconds. What is the problem here and can data be retrieved from a disk like this?

Sudden disk spin-down is a self-defence mechanism for your disk. On some disk models, the firmware halts the disk initialisation process if it detects that one or more of the disk-heads is malfunctioning. This helps to protect the failed disk-head(s) from further damage and helps protect the disk platters. Damaged or out-of-alignment disk-heads can scrape the delicate platter surface leading to data loss. To recover data from a disk exhibiting the “spin-up-spin-down” problem, the disk-heads normally have to be replaced.

How do I find out if my external Seagate disk is encrypted with BitLocker or not?

Assuming your disk is functional, you can use a hex editor to view your disk header information. With BitLockered disks, you will notice that the string “-FVE-FS-“ is used in lieu of NTFS at the beginning of the volume.

I’ve accidentally formatted my Seagate Backup Plus external disk. Can you recover the data from it?

In such a scenario, successful data recovery often depends on the type of format that is performed by the user. A “full format” command executed on an NTFS (Windows) or HFS+ (Apple) volume usually results in irreversible data loss. However, data recovery from a disk which has been subject to a “quick format” is something we can usually help you with.

I’ve accidentally spilt water (beer, coffee, tea etc) on my Seagate Backup Plus external disk. Now my disk won’t start, can the data be recovered?

In most cases, yes! Liquid will normally damage the PCB (printed circuit board) causing a short-circuit. In the worst-case scenario, liquid spillage will result in a power surge to your disk inside the device, causing failure of the disk-head pre-amplifier. This crucial component is located under the disk’s actuator arm and is extremely sensitive to the sudden voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur inside a liquid damaged disk. Should the pre-amplifier be damaged, the Head Disk Assembly will need replacing.

I don’t need my data recovered, I just need my Seagate Backup Plus disk repaired. What should I do?

Just buy a new disk if your data is not very important. It will be much cheaper than data recovery!

When I connect my Seagate external disk to my Windows computer, I get the error message “The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.” Is my data recoverable?

It sounds as if your NTFS partition table is corrupted. Your NTFS partition table is comprised of metafiles, such as $MFT, $MFTmirr, $Logfile, $Volume and $AttrDef, which are all needed for the volume to function properly. When your disk starts to develop problems, some of these metafiles get corrupted, rendering your data inaccessible. We often have to manually repair these files in order to reconstruct the volume and extract your data.

Every time I connect my Seagate Backup Plus 1TB disk (Model SgRD00F1) to my computer, I get a “not responding” error?

A disk which causes your operating system to freeze with the “not responding” error message could have any number of problems. The problem could be bad sectors, firmware problems or mechanical malfunctioning.

My Seagate external disk was encrypted with VeraCrypt, can you still recover data from it?

Yes, we have plenty of experience of recovering disks encrypted with VeraCrypt. We first repair your disk. Because the standard mode of operation for VeraCrypt is XTS and cipher usually AES, Serpent or Twofish – we normally decrypt on a sector-by-sector basis for best results.

My Seagate Backup Plus disk is showing up as “uninitialized”, can you recover data from that?

Yes. The “uninitialized” error message basically means that your operating system cannot find a valid Master Boot Record. This can be due to logical, firmware for physical problems with your disk.

I accidentally deleted files off my Seagate external hard drive. What is the best way to retrieve them?

You could try some data recovery software, such as Recuva or EaseUs, which might recover your deleted files. You will need a host PC or laptop to run this software.

Can you recover data from a BitLocker encrypted Seagate Backup+ disk?

As long as you have a valid BitLocker (Bitlocker to Go) encryption key, we can recover your NTFS (or exFAT) volume and perform a sector-by-sector decryption. If your Seagate Backup+ disk has logical, firmware or electro-mechanical issues, these must be remedied first.

When I try to access my Seagate backup drive, I get a message stating that “drive is not accessible” followed by “the parameter is incorrect”. How do I get the data off the disk?

You could try using a different USB cable. However, in most cases, this problem is indicative of bad sectors, firmware or disk-head issues.

When using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, I selected my Seagate external disk as the source and I think I’ve accidentally wiped it? How can I get my data back?

We can recover data from disks that are accidentally formatted with the Windows Media Creation Tool. However, it is likely that some of your recovered files may be corrupt. This is because the MFT records on your disk sometimes get damaged.

I’ve run some diagnostics on my Seagate Backup Plus Portable 1TB disk and I’m getting warnings about “reallocated sector counts”. What does this mean?

When your disk encounters bad sectors, the firmware will try to move data from the “bad” areas of your disk to the “good” areas. This process can be normal, even on healthy disks. However, if your disk is continually reallocated sectors, you will notice the disk monitoring or diagnostic tools reporting an orange or red warning. These warnings are basically telling you that your disk is struggling to cope with an abnormally high number of bad sectors. If this is the case, we strongly advise you to transfer your important data off your disk as soon as possible. Your disk condition could deteriorate further resulting in unrecoverable data.

I’m trying to copy files off my Seagate Backup Plus, but Windows is reporting it will take almost 6 days. What should I do?

Windows has probably encountered a problem such as bad blocks or bad disk-heads on your Backup Plus drive. This could explain the extraordinary amount of time that is reported to copy your files. Over the years, we have encountered customers who have waited extraordinary amounts of time for the copy process to complete and yet still cannot access their data. This is because Windows and macOS are not very good at handling interrupted I/O operations on failing hard disks.

In Windows 10 Event Viewer, I keep on seeing “bad block” warnings related to my 3TB Seagate Backup Plus disk. What does this mean?

“Bad Block” error warnings in Event Viewer usually indicate that your Windows 10 operating system is having trouble reading your primary storage device (e.g. “Drive C” in Windows) or external hard disk.

My laptop fell while my Seagate Backup+ USB portable disk was still connected. Now, I can hear the disk trying to start up but it can’t.

Unfortunately, this sounds like there is an issue with the disk spindle or the disk-heads have failed. A spindle can seize due to shock damage and disk-heads can “crash” against the disk platters. Your disk might need clean-room recovery to replace the spindle motor or Head Disk Assembly (the component the heads are mounted on).

My 1TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim USB 2.5” disk is making weird noises and will not mount on my MacBook Pro, which is running macOS Catalina. Can you fix it?

You could try repairing the disk using Disk Utility. This in-built feature of macOS is designed to perform minor reparations to your disk. If successful, it might give you just enough time to extract your most important files.

Under the bonnet of Seagate Backup Plus you will often find a “Mobile HDD” such as the ST1000LM035. A reasonably reliable disk except for the low-profile spindle motor which can seize resulting in buzzing or revving noise.

My Seagate external disk is making funny buzzing noises. It sounds as if the ball bearings have failed. What should I do?

Modern disks use what is known as “fluid dynamic bearings”. These next-generation bearings use pressurised liquid or gas between the bearing surfaces to minimise friction. This enables faster spindle speeds and reduces Non-Repeatable Run Out Errors. Occasionally, this mechanism can partially seize, creating a strange buzzing noise. This is especially common on Seagate external disks which use “Laptop Thin HDD” or “Mobile HDD” S-ATA HDDs inside. (It is important to note that failed disk-heads can also produce strange disk noises!)

My 3TB Seagate Backup Plus is not being detected by my Lenovo desktop. When I go to device manager, it reports that “The device cannot start. Code 10.” Can this be fixed?

Try using another USB cable and make sure the USB connection port on your disk and computer is free of dust, crumbs or any other debris. If this is unsuccessful and your data is important, you might need the services of a professional data recovery company to recover your Seagate portable disk.

Windows is prevented from starting up when my Seagate Backup Plus is connected to my computer’s USB port, but when I disconnect it, the computer starts fine. How do I recover the data?

Your disk has probably degraded to such a point that your computer’s Power-On Self-Test (a diagnostic program built into your computer’s BIOS) has detected a fault with the disk that’s connected to your system and it’s preventing the boot-up process. It is recommended that you use an alternative disk. If you need the data recovered from your old Seagate disk, we can help you.

When I connect my Seagate Backup Plus to my computer, a drive letter is assigned to it, but when I click on the disk’s drive letter, my whole computer just freezes. Why is this happening?

This issue could be caused by bad sectors, firmware issues or electro-mechanical issues. If your disk is damaged to such an extent that it prevents the bootup of your computer system – your disk might have serious media, electronic or firmware issues. You should avoid the temptation to repeatedly connect your disk to your computer as you might incur further damage. An experienced data recovery company should be able to tell you the costs of data recovery before you send it to them.

When I attempt to copy files from my Seagate external disk, I keep on getting “I/O errors”. What should I do?

Operating systems such as Windows and macOS are not really designed to read from disks that are generating I/O errors. Here at Drive Rescue, we use specialised equipment (as used by the police forces and state security agencies across the globe) to read from problematic S-ATA, IDE, mSATA and PCIe (M.2) disks. This enables us to read multiple sectors at a time, and then re-read damaged sectors in extremely small increments. Sometimes we will even need to read a disk one sector at a time. While this can be an extremely slow process, it can produce the best data recovery results.

When I connect my Seagate external disk, I get the message that the disk “is not accessible” and “the volume does not contain a recognised file system”. How do I fix this?

Unfortunately, you cannot fix an error like that. This error message is usually indicative of a failing hard disk. Backup your disk as soon as possible.

When creating a “Recovery USB” for Windows 10, I accidentally overwrote my Seagate Backup+ external disk. Can you recover the photos which were in .JPEG format?

It is possible to recover your photos, but in this type of scenario, it is inevitable that some of your photos will be damaged or corrupt. To recover data from disks that have been accidentally overwritten we use a technique known as “file carving”. While this can be an extremely labour-intensive task, the effort is merited for important data. Using this technique, we have recovered entire portfolios of wedding photos, photo collections used by branding agencies and even photos belonging to state archive departments.

I have over 560GB stored on my Seagate Backup Plus disk. The folders and files do appear but I cannot access them. This is really frustrating me, is there anything I can do to recover them?

This is a classic sign of partial disk-head failure. Let’s say your hard disk has five R/W (read/write) heads. Inside your disk, these are numbered heads 0 to 4. Now, let’s say that head #0 and head #1 are working fine and are allocated to read the Master File Table. (The MFT is like the contents page of a book). This means that when you connect the disk, your folders and files will be shown. But, to actually read or copy the file contents, the remaining heads, i.e. heads #2, #3 and #4, are needed. But if these are damaged, you won’t be able to access or copy your folders or files, even though you can see them. For most users, seeing their data within easy reach but not being able to copy it can be extremely frustrating. We can sometimes use specialised firmware manipulation equipment to change the disk’s “head-map”. Using this technique, healthy disk-heads are reallocated to read sectors previously assigned to failed disk-heads. However, this “trick” can only be performed on certain models of disk. In a lot of cases, for disks with bad heads, the only way to retrieve your files is to replace the Head Disk Assembly (HDA) of your Seagate disk. This component holds the disk-heads and needs to be replaced with a donor HDA in a clean-room. HDA replacement requires a clean-room, specialised equipment and years of experience to complete successfully. Once the process is complete, you can be reunited with your precious data again!

My 2TB Backup Plus Slim disk (STDR2000200) fell on the floor, now it’s beeping and is not recognised by my computer. What I can do?

When the disk electronics cannot read the data, your disk will often start making a beeping noise. In the best-case scenario, the USB-to-SATA bridge board inside your disk has been loosened by the impact. This has resulted in the data connection between the disk and your computer not being made. However, in a substantial number of cases, an accidental disk fall results in damaged disk-heads. These are the tiny components which “fly” above the disk platters with a clearance that is as little as 3-4 nanometres. This leaves very little room for error. The disk-heads must be in perfect alignment for disk reading to take place.

Warning: Repeatedly plugging your damaged disk in and out of your computer will risk damaging it further. Damaged disk-heads coming into contact with the platter can cause a scouring effect. If you value your data, take it to a professional data recovery with experience of Seagate disks.

My 2TB Seagate Backup+ Ultra Touch disk keeps on disconnecting from my Windows PC. It does not give me enough time to transfer my most important files (.doc, .xlsx, .pptx and .jpg) to my computer.

You could try changing the cable or using a different USB port on your computer. Failing that, your USB-to-SATA bridge board (inside your disk) could be faulty or your Seagate Backup Plus might have developed firmware issues or mechanical damage.

My Seagate Backup Plus disk (SRD0SP0) is not powering up.

It is possible that the USB-to-SATA bridge inside the enclosure is faulty or the PCB on the HDD itself has a problem.

My 500GB Seagate Backup Plus disk is not showing up on my PC.

Try running Seagate SeaTools diagnostics on your disk to see if this detects it. Hopefully, this will shed some more light on your problematic disk.

I improperly disconnected my Seagate Backup Plus USB Slim 2TB (STHN2000400) disk from my Apple Mac when the disk was still running. Now I can’t access it.

Assuming your disk has been formatted in HFS+, it’s possible you corrupted some “journaling” files used by HFS+ when you improperly disconnected your Seagate disk from your Mac. These files act as a kind of ledger of current transactions on your disk. A sudden interruption of the journaling process can result in your disk’s file system becoming corrupt and unmountable. In order to recover the data, your HFS+ formatted volume needs to be repaired.

I read on the internet that if I put my inaccessible Seagate Backup+ disk in the freezer, I should be able to recover the data. Is this true?

This might have worked in the early-2000s when internal disk components and architectures were vastly different from modern hard disks. Today, the components and disk parameters are exponentially smaller. The only thing that freezing your drive will do is create a layer of condensation on your disk platters reducing the probability of a successful data recovery.

When I connect my Seagate Backup Plus external hard disk to my MacBook, I get the error message “OS X can’t repair the disk “Macintosh HD”? How do I fix this?

You could try booting your MacBook into Single User Mode. You could try running a file system consistency check on your disk.

Recently, when my 1TB Seagate Backup+ disk (STDR1000201) was connected to my PC, I kept on getting the error message that “You are running very low on disk space.” Now, when I connect it, my computer no longer detects my disk. Why?

This can normally happen when your Master Boot Record gets corrupted by too much data. Although the MBR is usually located in a reserved area of your disk, it can get damaged when user data infringes on this area. This happens when the user fills their disk so that it’s near-to-full capacity. Hard disks (both internal and internal) should always have at least 10-15% of their capacity free. This helps your disk perform optimally and reduces the risk of corruption.

Every time my Seagate external disk is connected to my Windows PC, a dialogue box appears reporting that the computer is “scanning and repairing drive (G)”. Then it just gets stuck. How do I fix this?

This sounds as if your external Seagate disk is going bad and Chkdsk cannot fix it. You could try changing the cable or try to read your disk on another computer.

Why has my Seagate Backup Plus external hard disk become inaccessible all of a sudden? It seems to spin normally.

There are several possible reasons why it has become inaccessible. For instance, your disk might have developed firmware problems or disk debris (caused by surface asperities) that might have accumulated under the disk-heads. These problems can occur as your disk ages and prevent your disk from being detected by your computer.

I really need to get data off my inaccessible 1TB Seagate USB external disk. Will defragmenting help to fix it?

Disk defragmentation is a process which organises the storage of data blocks inside your hard disk into sequential order. This can make reads and writes slightly quicker. However, this “tidy-up” process is no longer very effective with modern hard disks because operating systems store data more efficiently and disks are typically larger. Running disk defragmentation on an inaccessible hard disk to recover data is likely to make matters much worse. Running such a process on a failing disk is akin to a panicked motorist pressing the accelerator of a car stuck in sand. This results in lots of noise and spinning wheels but the problem is just exacerbated. The bottom line is, disk defragmentation is a process that’s designed to get file types into sequential order, not magically heal your disk.

My Seagate Backup Plus (with a ST2000LM003 2000GB disk inside) is showing up as “unitialized” in Windows Disk Management. Can I recover the data off it?

This could be indicative of the logical, firmware or physical failure of your Seagate portable disk. You could try using a different USB cable or computer to see if you get the same message. Failing that, we can professionally diagnose the problem with your Seagate external disk and inform you of the data recovery price before we start.

When I connect my external Seagate Backup+ to my Windows computer, I receive a message informing me about “data error (cyclic redundancy check)”. How do I fix this?

Cyclic Redundancy Check is an operating system function that is used to verify the integrity of a disk’s data. When this error appears, your computer is trying to warn you of a volume (NTFS, FAT32, etc.) integrity problem with your disk. In a small minority of cases, this problem can be fixed by running the Chkdsk tool via the command prompt in Windows. This tool can check and repair minor file system integrity issues on FAT, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS volumes. However, the “cyclic redundancy check” error message can be also indicative of more serious read/write problems with your disk, which can’t be rectified by Checkdisk. In such situations, Drive Rescue can repair your disk’s corrupted NTFS or exFAT file system. We can also use specialised data recovery equipment that is designed to read your Seagate disk at a very low-level, enabling you to retrieve your data.