Don’t drop your external hard disk. Not even a short distance.
I have a couple of 250 GB external hard drives that I use for backups. Whilst moving around some computer equipment yesterday, I knocked one of them off the top of my computer, from where it fell about 50 cm onto the carpet. Not too far, you’d have thought, but apparently far enough.
Now the disk drive just goes “mrrrr…mrrrr…mrrrr…mrrr” and doesn’t respond.
I extracted the actual drive from the enclosure and put it into a computer, hoping that I might be able to read some of the data.
Nuh-uh. It’s completely broken.
The good news is that I didn’t have anything irreplaceable on there.