Yesterday my external HDD (Toshiba 160 GB) was working perfectly fine, today when I plugged it in the USB port and booted up my computer, it booted up more quickly than it should have with the drive plugged in, so I felt the drive and it wasn't spinning. (Not clicking either, just... not doing anything.) The little blue power light was on though. After booting up I checked the external drive in Safely Remove Hardware and it wasn't even listed, so I unplugged it and plugged it back in (yes, I realise this was probably dumb) and all I got was a message from Windows saying there was a power surge in hub port (letter I can't remember), and I felt the drive and it seemed like it was trying to start spinning but couldn't. I've unplugged it for now, but does anyone have any advice? I'm poor and can NOT afford to have the data professionally extracted. I don't trust the "freezer trick" that I've found out about via Google. I haven't dropped it or damaged it physically, so I don't understand why it would suddenly stop working. It's not the USB drive itself, I plugged in my mp3 player and that was working fine. I'm kind of panicking here, as I keep forgetting to back up my external HDD data and was planning on starting that today. Dunno if I can extract the disk itself and make it internal, either, if it's the motor, as I think I only have one space inside my laptop for a HDD and I don't have a Windows XP CD-ROM to install on it.
I have a Compaq Armada M700 laptop, 256 mb ram, 11 gig HDD, Windows XP.
EDIT: Okay, I dunno if it was because I switched USB cables, or because I tapped the casing a little bit, or because the drive is currently laying face-down, but whatever it is, I shut down my laptop, plugged the drive back in with a different USB cable like I said, turned it on and--it started spinning! Yay! No clicking/ticking or grinding either. But I'm doing an online backup now just in case it is dying and I have to shell out for a new external HDD.