Can't start up old external HDD - any ideas before I bin it?

  polymath 12:35 20 Oct 14

I bought in in 2005, but have only just unwrapped it & tried to install it (long story), so no data on it. It's a Western Digital Essential USB Hard Drive (160GB,USB2, model WD1600B014-RNU).

Around its power button is a green light, which I think is supposed to stay on until it's powered down? (I can't find any manual apart from the Qick Start Guide). The first time I connected the power cable it was via a surge protector, and whatever I did there was no sign of a light (let alone sound or vibration). So I plugged it straight into a wall socket instead. Now, when I switch the wall socket on, the HDD's green light comes on, but only for about a second. It's accompanied by a little grunt (like my laptop's HDD starting up), immediately followed by a little descending tweet, then nothing. (I presume the disk should spin continuously when it's on?) Pressing the HDD's power button doesn't seem to have any effect. The only time the light flashes on is when I switch on the wall socket (whether or not I've pressed the power button either way since the last time). I tried connecting the USB lead as well, in case it made a difference for some reason, but it doesn't. (There's no flicker of anything in the laptop when the green light flashes (including in the 'Computer' place that shows its drives), but I don't think that means anything, Vista's reaction time being what it is).

I wish I could start with a sharp thump, as with e.g. a record player (moving parts can get stuck by mere disuse). I've found instructions for handling HDDs, testing the disk/SATA bridge etc, but I'm not sure this one is worth the time (& possible new enclosure). Maybe the particular symptoms suggest either death, or something quicker to try? (I'm saving the sharp thump till last).

  BRYNIT 13:07 20 Oct 14

Have you pushed the power cable in fully?

Do you get a response from your computer when you plug the USB in?

Have you checked in disk management to see if the drive is showing if it is it may just need a drive letter assigning.

It's a possibility that the circuit board in the unit is faulty. Remove drive from enclosure and try it in another enclosure.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 13:13 20 Oct 14

yes it probably the drive suffering from "Stictation" you could remove the drive from the case and see if the power light stays on.

  polymath 21:47 21 Oct 14

Thanks Brynit (sorry, seem to have lost the quote thingy); Yes, checked cable in properly 1st thing (& periodically). No, nothing showing in Disk Management either (not that there's enough time for that, probably). I only tried it with the USB in case it's neccessary for keeping the disk moving (I'm new to external disks, & have never seen one in operation). Yes, I'm going to buy a spare enclosure - it'll obviously be useful to have for troubleshooting etc. It'll have to be an online purchase, so will take a while to arrive.

Fruit Bat; hope to have time to try that tomorrow - thanks.

That is, if there's time after backing up my laptop on another external drive I have (assuming that one will work!), prior to opening it up to try & fix something fairly urgently (another story). I'll report back with any results.

  wee eddie 00:55 22 Oct 14

Is it possible that the USB Port of your Lappy is not providing sufficient power to start the Drive.

That was certainly a fairly common problem with USB Powered drives 10 years ago. Happy to roll from a PC, but a Laptop couldn't provide sufficient punch.

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