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HDD failure

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Gareth Magennis, Aug 17, 2005.

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  1. Hi,

    my Western Digital 120G hard drive went faulty. It has loads of photo
    transparency scans on it that I spent a week inputting! Wah!

    Anyway I'm resigned to having lost them, but am interested in what happned.
    Windows 98 reported that there was going to be an imminent failure of the
    drive and I should back it up immediately. I didn't/couldn't and Windows
    was right. I managed to transfer some important recorded music first - the
    transfer got slower and slower and eventually the disc died completely and
    wouldn't transfer anything else. I think the file names are still all there
    but it just hunts and hangs when you try and copy anything.

    Any info on what happened or suggestions of recovery?


  2. Andy Cuffe

    Andy Cuffe Guest

    You should download the Western digital drive test software. It will
    at least tell you what's wrong with the drive and might be able to fix
    certain errors.
    Andy Cuffe

    <-- Use this address until 12/31/2005

    <-- Use this address after 12/31/2005
  3. webpa

    webpa Guest

    Try temporarily mounting the drive upside-down relative to its original
    position, then copying the data. If no luck...try all other
    orientations. Also try disconnecting the drive, sealing it in a
    plastic bag, then placing it in a freezer for 24 hours. Remove,
    reconnect and try while still cold...and at several points while
    warming up.

    Good Luck
  4. Someone

    Someone Guest

    The drive maybe still under warranty. Check "Warranty Check" at this page:

    It lets you enter the serial number and tell if it still under warranty.
    Make sure that if they fix/replace it, the data remain intact.

    If all else fails, buy the same exact model and replace the electronics,
    don't open the hard drive where the storage disks are. If it doesn't work,
    you could still put the electronics back to the new drive and use it.

    If you don't find the drive at your local store, try eBay...
  5. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Warranty won't help him recover his data, when you RMA a drive they send you
    a refurbished one, not the drive you sent in.
  6. Thanks very much for the replies, I shall try all the suggestions.


  7. Hmm, I hadn't thought of that, good idea. Any idea what kind of percentage
    of drive failures are electronic/mechanical?

  8. I suspect the real issue is that given a spare board, it's relatively
    easy to change that, just in case. Anything else is likely to
    be beyond the end user. Witness recent threads here, people opening
    up their hard drives, and letting the dust in. SOmeone wanting to
    move the platters to another drive and wondering if alignment is all
    that important.

    Of course, someone a month or so ago wasn't successful changing boards,
    which in retrospect makes sense since the boards are set to match the
    state of the platters and ignore the bad sectors of those platters.
    Change the board and that information doesn't match.

    I suspect many of the home remedies, shaking the drive when in
    operation, putting the drive in the freezer, swapping boards, may
    have had more use when drives were smaller density, and before
    they were IDE. People wanting to do these things may just
    continue to do it with the hope of solving something, rather than
    because they still apply. Given current density, there is a lot
    less leeway for any fussing.

    If someone is trashing a drive, it doesn't matter if they damage
    anything, because they are trading the hope of salvaging something with
    the fact that it's trash anyway. Anything they try may get results,
    and that's better than tossing the drive out without trying anything.
    Since the drive is unreliable, damaging it further will not affect
    anything. Someone is far more willing to try to fix something they've
    found in the garbage, or are about to throw out, than if it's something
    they just bought for hundreds of dollars.

    Of course, if anyone has hopes of having a drive professionally recovered,
    money aside, then one has to think twice before they start trying home
    remedies, because then they risk damaging the data that someone else
    can revover.

  9. When operating, was the HDD too hot? Do you have a good clean/cool air
    flow across the drive?

    Even though this wouldn't have helped, if a partition has oggles of
    unused space, I'll take Partition Magic 8.01 and make a backup
    partition on the same drive. Yes - it might not have helped here!
    However, here's my next suggestion... Install/reuse an old/nasty/slow
    secondary drive and zip/compress your data frequently to it. Let's let
    Gareth's experience push us closer into regular backups for

    My heart goes out to you Gareth. Best wishes and good luck to you.
  10. Someone

    Someone Guest

    When operating, was the HDD too hot?

    This reminds me of some hard drive failures. I found that those who don't
    have a room for air flow fail or develop bad sectors early on(mostly bad
    sectors and total system freeze, including the mouse pointer). These drives
    where installed in the bottommost slot, with very little gap between the
    electronics and the bottom surface.

    P.S.: I did replace the electronics in 10 GB WDC hard drives without
    problems and recovered the data. I know that they could have calibration
    parameters in them, but I was able to recover the data nevertheless.

  11. Thanks, just tried the diagnostics and if failed dismally. The "Reallocated
    Sector Count" box is checked as bad. It just sits there clicking and
    spinning and clicking and spinning, and the warranty is out of date
    according to the warranty check.

    Ah well.

    Cheers everyone,

  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    The oldest drive I've recovered with the freezer trick was a 2 gig IDE, the
    newest a 30 gig, the last successful board swap was a 1 gig IDE, I've tried
    it with a few newer drives and it didn't work.
  13. Michael Shaw

    Michael Shaw Guest

    You could try to spinrite, you might find it may sort your drive out long
    enough to get your data off.
  14. Had success with a Fuji 6.4 GB (MPB3064AT) recently.
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