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Take apart a Hard Drive?

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September 10, 2006 9:19:27 PM

Hi there.............

Have an old hard drive that failed. I am thinking about buying another "exact model" working hard drive and taking them both apart. Put my disk with all its info into the working drive.

Is this even possible?

The info that is on the non working disk is not crisis level critical. I am a hack photographer and the disk has tons of my pictures on it along with lots of my music. I would like to get these back but really do not want to pay much. I can buy a used exact model copy of my disk for very little money.

Also, if this IS possible..................what size wrench fits those small "star" screws on nthe hard drive?

Thanks for any help.......

Lenny

BTW................this drive is NOT a boot drive...........it has NO OS on it.......just files.

More about : hard drive

September 10, 2006 10:00:22 PM

You can try swapping the PCB with the controller circuits between drives (without opening the drive), but you have no chance of exchanging the platters inside the drive.
September 10, 2006 10:16:18 PM

How badly did the disk "Fail"? You will not be able to take them apart, but there are other means of possibly getting your data back.
Related resources
September 10, 2006 10:22:20 PM

It depends where the failure is, but assuming you can track down the exact same disk (and there will be many revisions of even the same model), then swapping the PCBs is a possible fix, assuming thats the problem here.

DO NOT open the drive itself. The chances are you wont get it working again after that without very expensive drive recovery.
September 10, 2006 10:26:39 PM

The disk became VERY slow and then stopped working.

It shows up on the BIOS of 2 different computers but Windows XP will not recognize it no matter how I set it up................changed jumpers, changed cables, and changed IDE ports...............

I guees changing the platters is out of the question but I am thinking MAYBE the PCB might/can be done?????????????

Lenny
September 10, 2006 10:35:47 PM

Have you run any of the manufacturer's diagnostics on the drive?
September 10, 2006 10:44:29 PM

I have a friend of mine that used to keep a bad drive and swap the boards on another to make it work, however if air gets inside of the drive it is rendered useless due to dust and the air. usually a drive like that is hopeless unless you willing to pay $$$ for data retrieval, not a good option a new drive is much cheaper
September 10, 2006 10:55:48 PM

OK - DISCONNECT THE DRIVE FORM THE PC IMMEDIATELY! I MEAN RIGHT NOW! I MEAN TURN THE PC OFF AND DISCONNECT IT NOW.

NOW GOD-DAMMIT - NOW!

If you're still reading - TURN THE FUCKING PC OFF AND DISCCONECT THE DRIVE - THEN COME BACK.

OMFG - you aren't still reading are you?

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OK, now that you actually turned the PC off, discconected the IDE cable and the power cable from that drive...
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You mean you haven't done that yet? Then you deserve to lose all your data.
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Download "GetDataBack" - in the correct version for the file system (FAT or NTFS)

Install GetDataBack.

Shut down PC.

Reconnect drive.

Boot.

Run GDB.

Recover data to new Hard Drive.

Shut down PC.

Remove old drive.

Throw it away.

Voila.
September 10, 2006 11:11:21 PM

If the disk is that old then you must have your data backed up. Even if the disk is new, you will have your data backed up. So, simply retrieve your data from your backup and don't worry about losing this old disk.

Now, if you are going to say you don't have a backup.... hypothetically, I'm sure, since everyone backs up their important data, especially on old disks.... then I'm going to laugh at you for not having a backup.
September 10, 2006 11:23:25 PM

You could try the freezer trick. Put the HD in a airtight bag, remove as much air as possible, close bag and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, then install the frozen harddisk in your computer and try if it works now in Windows. If it does then you can start recovering data until the harddisk gets too hot and stops working. A new trip in the freezer might give you another try at recovering more data if you didn't manage to get all the first time.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
September 10, 2006 11:35:45 PM

Quote:
You could try the freezer trick. Put the HD in a airtight bag, remove as much air as possible, close bag and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, then install the frozen harddisk in your computer and try if it works now in Windows. If it does then you can start recovering data until the harddisk gets too hot and stops working. A new trip in the freezer might give you another try at recovering more data if you didn't manage to get all the first time.


The freezer trick? Like you want to get all the condensed water spilling over your MB? Nice idea.
September 10, 2006 11:41:16 PM

Quote:
The freezer trick? Like you want to get all the condensed water spilling over your MB? Nice idea.

Who said anything about mounting the drive in the computer? It just has to be connected to the cables, if you are worried about condensed water then use your head and put a towel or something under the drive.
September 11, 2006 12:18:21 AM

The freezer thing can work, I have seen it done.

I'm not sure data recovery programs will help if Windows doesnt see the drive, but just because it doesnt show in My Computer doesnt mean windows hasnt seen it.

Have you looked in Administrative tools--->Computer management-->Disk management?
September 11, 2006 12:58:59 AM

Easy Recovery pro from ontrack has worked fine for me in the past.
If bios recognizes it then theres a good chance of recovering the data
September 11, 2006 1:15:11 AM

disassembling the drive man dont know about that
i worked a seagate in a clean room assembyling hdds
it was cool definatly a clean job.

i think besides stacic electricity and contamination i took my mask off
once and they about shot me>

getting the accuaters off and out between the media would be the
biggest problem.

dont think it would work?
September 11, 2006 1:33:53 AM

Try the recovery programs first. I use SpinRite, others are mentioned. All work to some degree, depending of failure mode.

If the PCB board swap doesn't work. I've doem it may times with seagate drives with some sucess. Spinrite has worked if the dirve is reconized in bios. Your out of luck on swaping platters. Takes a clean room for that. All it takes is 1 spec of dust in the platter area and it's done, take it out and shoot it.
September 11, 2006 9:49:57 PM

I am not sure if even a clean room recovery lab can help much if you take the drive apart first.

Maybe they have a method of removing contaminates from the platter and still reading the data but I bet I costs extra.

Does anyone happen to know how much professional data recovery costs. Three years ago I checked and it fell into the cattegory of if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Now that the manufacturers themselfs are offering data recovery I am wondering the prices have improved any.

Enough for home users to consider it as an option?

Anyway if the drive works at all Get Data Back can manager to recover the files even if the Partition Table and Files System is trashed.

Sometimes the drive is so bad you system won't POST with it installed. However you can often get it working via a USB adpater and then run the recovery software.

Unfortnataly GDB doesn't do a good job of letting you know if you are getting a 100% intact files or one that is corrupted.

I am not sure if the methods used even allow for such distinctions?

If XP still recognizes the file system then any files that copy without a read error wasn't corrupted. Programs exist that will try to copy all the files one at a time and optionally skipping the ones that are corrupt, but again XP has to see the files on the drive for these programs to be effective.

PS its fun to take about a hard drive and watch it try to work, you can also do cool things like rewire it, add a mirror and a laser pointer and create a sound activated laser occiliscope.

http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/06/01/making-a-hard-drive-laser-oscilloscope/
September 12, 2006 6:07:48 PM

a friend of mine had a 250GB maxtor drive recovered by a professional company in the UK a few months back, and it cost him around £300 ($500).
September 12, 2006 6:50:38 PM

Swapping hardware inside the drive is what the pros do when doing data recovery. However, note that they don't return you the drive, they simply get you the data. The point is that both drives are not reliable enough to use that way, so you simply use this method to get to the data. Once you have your data, dump both of the drives and put the data to a new one.

That being said, if the drive spins and doesn't provide the "click of death" symptoms, you can usually get most of the data back. I have recently been using RStudio by www.r-tt.com - EXCELLENT program for data recovery. Basically, you create an image from the HD, and then manipulate the image, instead of the drive itself.

Spinrite is another tool I have, and it works pretty well... but it's good for recovering bad data on the drive, assuming the drive isn't in the "process of failing". Spinrite will move the data to "good" areas, but if the drive is rapidly failing, all you're doing is moving the data to another potential failure point. If the situation is that bad, Spinrite can actually end up further damaging your data in this manner (not it's fault, but just the nature of this type of repair/recovery.)

I've tried the demos to a few other programs (similar to GetDataBack) but they simply weren't as capable as RStudio was... at least for my needs. Most of these programs couldn't properly handle bad sector areas... at least not very intuitively for me. The engineer in me preferred RStudio over all these other "simpler" programs.

The freezer trick does work sometimes - I have used it once successfully.

Opening the HD IS possible and can be done right, if you are careful. I had to do this once to an old (2GB) HD to get the platters to "start" spinning (they had too much friction to start up on their own). Once started, I could replace the cover, and immediately begin a data recovery.
July 13, 2011 8:11:41 PM

Check this hard drive dis-assembly image out. It helped me, and I thought it would help out others too.
a b G Storage
July 14, 2011 12:49:50 AM

Swapping PCBs is really the only thing I would recommend, some newer drives also require moving the firmware chip from the old PCB to the new donor in order for the drive to work. Any attempt to swap platters on a mondern drive is almost a garenteed failure.

I completely agree with the r-studio recommendation if the drive can be read at all, but is sounds like that is not the case.
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