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

Send Us a Drive

Send Us Your Drive

Data Recovery Guides

Data Recovery Guide

Data Recovery Guide Volumn 2

Drive Rescue offers an advanced data recovery and repair service for Toshiba external hard drives.

Common portable Toshiba external drive models we recover from include:

  • DTB220 2TB

  • DTB305 500GB

  • DTB310 1TB

  • DTB320 2TB

  • DTP105 500GB

  • DTP110 1TB

  • DTP210 1TB

  • DTB410 1TB

  • DTB420 2TB

  • DTB440 4TB

  • DTC810 1TB

  • DTC910 1TB

  • DTC920 2TB

Common desktop Toshiba external drive models we recover from include models such as:

  • DWC120 2TB

  • DWC130 3TB

  • DWC240 4TB

We also recover from older Toshiba external disk models such as the Toshiba V63600-C, V63700-C, Stor.e and Stor.e Alu.

Are Toshiba disks reliable?

In a word – yes! Toshiba has an excellent track record of making reliable disks. They are well liked by prosumers and IT professionals for their reliable firmware, solid mechanics and performance. In fact, the quarterly Backblaze hard drive reliability studies continually rate Toshiba disks favourably relative to their competition.

What should I do if Ive spilt water/ tea / coffee or beer on my Toshiba external drive?

First of all, disconnect your Toshiba disk from its power source i.e., its USB connection or mains power. Then try to mop up any excess liquid from around the disk casing. If you have any isopropyl alcohol or deionised water in a sprayable format, apply it near the USB connector. Use packets of silica gel if you have them handy. Leave plenty of time for your disk to dry out. Avoid the temptation of prematurely connecting your Toshiba disk to your computer to “see if it works”. Let your disk dry for at least twenty-four hours. Once you feel your disk has dried out, connect to a computer and backup it contents as quickly as possible.

What is the best way to backup my Toshiba external drive connected to my Windows 11 computer?

You can use a third-party application such as SyncBackSE from 2BrightSparks software to backup your Toshiba external disk. This software is fast, accurate and reliable.

I accidentally formatted my 2TB Toshiba external hard drive. Can you get my files back?

It depends. If you’ve just performed a “quick format” in Windows the probability of a good recovery is high. If you’ve performed a “full format” on your disk, the probability of a successful recovery is reduced. There are a lot of other variables which determine data recoverability after an accidental disk format. These include factors such as how full the disk was and the type of files were stored on it. Every case is different. We would need to perform an evaluation of your external hard disk first to give you an idea of the likely outcome.

The parked disk-heads of a Toshiba 2.5 disk. They are the most fragile part of a disk. A sudden shock (incurred by a fall for example) can cause them to hit against the disk platters and malform.

I accidentally dropped my 2TB DTB320 Toshiba external hard drive on my kitchen floor. After this happened, I could access my files on the drive but the next time I connected it to my computer, I could not see any of them. How did this happen and how can get my files back?

It is likely that the fall has caused some shock damage to your disk. For example, the fall might have damaged the disk-heads, the disk platters or the spindle’s fluid dynamic bearing. Sometimes this damage does not manifest itself immediately. The damage incurred from a fall will sometimes only manifest itself after a couple of hours of use. Drive Rescue offers an advanced disk repair service for Toshiba disks in Dublin with excellent success rates.

The blue LED light is flashing on my 2TB Toshiba DTB420 disk but I cant access any of its files?

This could be a problem with the disk-heads, firmware or could be a sign of bad sectors. Unfortunately, the blue light flashing alone does not give us enough information to make a remote diagnosis!

My Toshiba external disk is making a noise as if its trying to start but cant. What could the problem be?

This sounds like the spindle motor of your hard disk has failed. This mechanism, which rotates the disk platters at 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm, plays in a crucial role in the operation of your disk. Most Toshiba external disks manufactured after 2006 use a fluid dynamic bearing (FDB). While this is more reliable than a spindle motor using ball-bearings, FDB bearings can still seize or fail. Drive Rescue can replace your disk’s spindle motor and retrieve your precious data. While this is a complex job, we do it all the time. Moreover, we use custom Toshiba tools specifically designed to replace the spindles in their 2.5” and 3.5” disk models thus maximising the probability of a fruitful result for you.

My Toshiba external hard drive is making a beeping noise. What could the problem be and can my data be recovered?

A beeping noise is usually indicative of failed disk-heads or a failed spindle motor. In most cases, replacing the disk-head assembly or spindle motor restores access to the disk. Please note, however, when your Toshiba disk is in this condition – please refrain from repeatedly turning on the disk in the hope that it will start. This can make the condition of your disk worse.

A Toshiba external disk with its plastic overcoat removed

I connected in my Toshiba external hard disk into one of the USB ports on my smart TV. However, when I reconnected it to my computer, it now appears as unformatted?

This is a very common problem with devices such as smart TVs and network video recorders (NVR). Sometimes these devices (without your permission) will format your disk with their own proprietary file system while deleting your disk’s NTFS (Windows) or HFS+ (Apple) file system. This can result in years’ worth of precious photos or videos being inaccessible in just the space of a few seconds. Drive Rescue Dublin offers a complete data recovery service for Toshiba external disks which are no longer being recognised after being connected to a smart TV or NVR.

The tiny pre-amplifier IC removed from under the disk heads of a 2.5 Toshiba disk. This chip amplifies the reads signals from the disk platters and is highly sensitive to sudden voltage changes.

Ive spilled water, coffee, tea, beer on my Toshiba external hard drive. Now, its no longer appearing in Windows or MacOS. Can the data be recovered?

In most cases, data can be recovered from liquid damaged Toshiba external hard drives. When liquid comes into contact with the electronics (printed circuit board) of your hard drive it can result in your disk experiencing a short circuit or an over-voltage event. Both of these failure modes can result in your hard disk no longer starting up. In the worst case scenario, a liquid spill can result in damage to the pre-amplifier chip. This tiny chip under the head-disk assembly amplifies the read signals from the disk-heads. The pre-amp is highly sensitive to sudden voltage changes which can happen after a liquid spill. Such voltage changes can cause the chip to fail completely meaning the disk-head assembly will have to be replaced in a clean-room.

My Toshiba external disk is making a clicking noise. If I swap the printed circuit board (PCB) of my Toshiba external drive with that of an identical model, will it get my drive working again?

PCB failures only constitute a small minority of disk failures. If your Toshiba disk is clicking, swapping the PCB will not work. PCB swaps are only useful when there is an electronic problem with your disk.

My Toshiba disk is not being detected, if I swap the PCB from another identical Toshiba disk, will that get my disk working again?

Unfortunately, no. Even if your problem is directly related to the PCB, then a direct PCB swap will not work because there is unique firmware stored in the EEPROM of your PCB. This means the EEPROM chip from the original board needs to be micro-soldered onto the donor board. This is an extremely delicate procedure which usually requires a lot of expertise and equipment.

My Toshiba external disk appears totally dead when connected to my computer?

This sounds like an electronic problem with the disk. A component (such as the MCU, a diode or an inductor) on your disk’s PCB (printed circuit board) might have failed. We can fix this for you and retrieve your data!

When I connect my Toshiba Canvio DWC240 Canvio 4TB disk to my computer the white LED light flashes and then Window starts not responding? An error message stating that the parameter is incorrect then appears?

This problem with your Toshiba disk could be related to bad sectors, firmware problems, a logical issue with your disk’s partition table or a problem with your disk’s heads. A professional data and trusted data recovery should be able diagnose the problem for you.

I think my Toshiba DT310 external drive has bad sectors. Can the photos be recovered off it?

Bad sectors have always been a problem for electro-mechanical hard disks regardless of brand or model. In most cases, our advanced data recovery equipment can “read around” bad sectors enabling us to recover your photos and any other important data you have stored on your device.

My Toshiba DTB420 has failed, but is encrypted with BitLocker encryption. Can it be recovered?

Most, not all, Toshiba external USB 2.0 / 3.0 hard disks can be recovered from. As long as you know your BitLocker encryption key or passphrase, recovery should be possible.

What sector size do Toshiba Canvio external hard drives use?

Most Toshiba Canvio external hard drives use a sector size of 4K or more accurately 4096 bytes. This is also referred to as Advance Format. Most operating systems, software applications and hardware devices are compatible with this format.

What file system does Toshiba use in their external drives?

Earlier versions of Toshiba external disks used FAT32 as their factory-default file system. Today, most Toshiba Canvio external drives use NTFS. However, it is important to note that Toshiba’s Canvio Flex range of disks use exFAT as their default file system. This makes the disk readable and writeable for Windows and Apple Mac users.

A platter scan of a Toshiba disk

Do you repair external Toshiba drives?

Yes, we offer a complete hardware repair service for Toshiba USB and internal S-ATA disks in our Dublin laboratory. But please bear in mind that disk repair and data recovery are often one and the same thing! In most cases of physical, firmware or electronic malfunction your Toshiba disk has to be repaired before its data can be recovered. The repair is carried out with the sole purpose of recovering its data – not with the intention of putting the disk into normal use again!

Toshiba MQ01ABD100 and MQ01UBD100 2.5" disks. The disk on the right is from a Toshiba external drive. Notice how the model number in disk (left) uses an A for ATA”. The disk on the right this has been replaced by a U for USB”. These disks are almost identical except the disk on the left uses a USB connector instead of a S-ATA connector.

Are Toshiba external hard disks different to their range of internal 2.5 and 3.5 S-ATA disks?

The disks used inside Toshiba external hard drives are actually very similar to Toshiba’s internal disks as used in laptop (such as MQ01ABD050V or MQ01ABD100) and desktop computer systems. Physically, the major difference can be found on their printed circuit boards. External 2.5” models use an integrated USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 connector in lieu of a S-ATA connector. And secondly from a data transmission perspective, their external drives use the Universal Serial Bus protocol, while their internal S-ATA disks use AHCI or IDE.

My Toshiba DT310 spins up, but then spins down again. What could the problem be?

This can be indicative of any number of faults such with the spindle motor, the disk-heads or the disk’s firmware. When the spindle motor fails, it can no longer spin the disk platters. When the disk detects a faulty disk-head(s), it will stop the disk from fully initialising as a sort of self-defence mechanism. Or, if the firmware modules (servo-tracks) cannot be read in the System Area of your disk’s platters, the disk initialisation process can also be abruptly halted. A trusted data recovery company should be able to pinpoint the exact cause and retrieve your data for you.

I was using my Toshiba DTB310 portable hard disk to store a Time Machine backup from my old iMac. Now when I connect the disk to my new MacBook its not recognised?

Assuming your last Time Machine backup executed successfully, you should be able to see your old backup folder on your new MacBook. APFS (the file system used in modern Macs) can read HFS+ formatted disks and should be able to recognise a “backups.backupdb” (TimeMachine) folder. Therefore, it is possible that your Toshiba disk has logical, firmware, electronic or physical issues. However, you could try using a different USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 cable. Or, you could try running “First Aid” (as found in Disk Utility) on your disk. This can sometimes rectify small disk errors.

VeraCrypt was used to encrypt my Toshiba USB 3.0 portable disk, but recently my disk failed. Can the data still be salvaged?

We frequently recover from Toshiba external hard disks which have been encrypted with applications such as BitLocker, McAfee Removable Protection, Sophos Central / SafeGuard and VeraCrypt. However, you will need to know your encryption passphrase. This is needed in order to decrypt your disk.

An early generation Toshiba 1TB V63700-C external USB hard disk.

I stored my Toshiba V63700-C external hard drive containing years of family photos in my attic. Recently, I connected it to my computer and it just makes a clicking noise. What could have happened to it? It was not even moved.

A lot of computer users assume that an attic is a safe place to store a hard disk but it’s not. The temperature in your average Irish attic goes from one extreme to another. Hot temperatures in summer can make the metallic components inside your disk to expand while cold temperatures during wintertime make them contract. This is not a good recipe for hard disk longevity because it causes too much stress on your drive. Hard disks need to be stored at an ambient temperature. A likely reason why your Toshiba hard disk is making a clicking noise is because of failed heads. These could have failed because a prolonged cycle of metallic expansion and contraction has damaged some of the delicate metal components inside your disk. However, the good news is these components can often be replaced and you can be reunited with your precious data again!

I accidentally deleted folders off my Toshiba Canvio Advance external hard drive. Can you get them back?

In most cases deleted data can be recovered from an external Toshiba hard drive. However, there is one major caveat to this. If you’ve written new data to the drive in the meantime, this significantly lowers the probability of a successful recovery.

I have a Toshiba DTB410 which connects to my Windows computer but then it disconnects. What could be causing this?

In a small minority of cases this can happen due to a loose USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 connector on your disk or faulty USB cable. However, in a lot of cases this is the result of your disk-heads being unable to read your disk’s servo-tracks. These tracks contain firmware needed for the operation of your disk. This means that your Toshiba disk cannot fully initialise. The disk-heads may be unable to read the servo-tracks because of physical defects on the platter surface (such as thermal asperities) or because of the heads failing themselves.

My Toshiba disk appears as unallocated in Windows disk management?

This means your Toshiba disk has lost its FAT32, NTFS or exFAT partition table. This can happen due to bad sectors, firmware or physical faults. It can also happen if a user has accidentally deleted a partition in Disk Management (Windows) or Disk Utility (MacOS). The good news is that in most cases the partition can be restored and your data recovered.

A white LED light on my Toshiba disk is flashing but I cant access the data.

This could be an issue with the partition table, the firmware, the disk heads or possibly related to bad sectors.

In MacOS, Disk Utility is reporting that it cannot repair this disk”. The disk is a Toshiba external drive, how do I fix this?

This can be due to a corrupt “catalog”, “extents overflow”, “attributes” or “volume bitmap” files. These volume files can go corrupt due to logical, firmware or physical issues with your disk. Using Terminal, you could try running the “fsck” (File System Consistency Check) command on it. This command can sometimes fix disk issues which Disk Utility can’t.

When I connect my Toshiba Canvio USB 3.0 external disk to my computer, I get a message reporting E:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.

This can be due to a number of factors. Your file system might be corrupt or there might be physical or firmware problems with your disk.

A disk-head diagnostic test for a Toshiba MQ1ABD100 disk

I can see my files on my Toshiba external drive but every time I try to copy them off it my Windows computer reports not responding. This is really frustrating.

This is normally symptomatic of either bad sectors, firmware issues or failing disk-heads. Bad sectors are areas on your disk platters which cannot be read. When you use a standard computer to copy data from a disk with bad sectors, these unreadable sectors can prevent the copy process from completing. They will cause your operating system to will throw up all sorts of error messages and will often cause it to freeze, “not respond” or even BSOD. A second possible reason why you cannot copy files off your external Toshiba disk is failing disk-heads. Disk-heads play the crucial role of reading data off the disk platters. However, when one or more of these disk-heads start to malfunction, your computer will be unable to read your files. So, let’s say you plug your Toshiba Canvio disk into your computer.

Under the microscope: disk-heads of a Toshiba Canvio external drive. When replaced, the new disk-heads must be all aligned perfectly with the platters to successfully read the data.

Your disk might have five disk-heads which are numbered 0-4. Disk-heads 0 and 1 might be assigned to read the MFT (Master File Table). This is like an index file for your hard drive which enables your computer to see the disk’s folder structure. However, let’s say disk-heads 2,3 and 4 (which are needed for the actual reading of your data) are failing – your efforts to copy folders or files from your Toshiba disk will be thwarted. You will be able see your folders and files but not actually copy them. This can be highly frustrating. Data recovery companies like Drive Rescue use highly-specialised data recovery equipment which can not only read disks with bad sectors but can also re-map disk heads. This means that your important documents or photo memories can be extracted from the disk.

Whats the best software to recover from a Toshiba Canvio external hard drive?

This is a very common question we get! The simple answer is that data recovery software such as EaseUS, Recuva or Disk Drill are all designed to recover data from accidentally deleted disks which are otherwise healthy. Read the small print of these products and you’ll discover they are not designed to recover files from disks with physical or firmware problems. In fact, using data recovery software on failing disks places way too much stress of them and can often exacerbate the condition of your disk. If your data is in any way important, bring it to a data recovery professional.