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I need help with my dead hard drive...

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September 30, 2006 1:15:40 AM

Hello
I'm running out of options trying to revive my dead hard drive. The logic board on my Western Digital 80gb drive is fried. I have attempted to replace it with a logic board from the same model made two days later but with different firmware to no avail.

I have scoured the internet, and emailed drive sellers on Ebay -also to no avail.

I've even begun considering constructing a small "clean room" in order to crack open the drive and swap its contents with a similar model with a working board. However the likelihood of this working has yet to outweigh the likelihood of ruining the drive.

I've frequented Toms since the beginning and read it daily. Any help or ideas would be much appreciated.

More about : dead hard drive

September 30, 2006 6:21:04 AM

Look like you really need professional help. I'm not a professional so can't help you.

How you can fried the logic board btw ?
October 2, 2006 1:19:19 PM

I plugged the molex power in backwards.

Dumb move. Very dumb move - but I've done dumber things.
Related resources
October 2, 2006 2:13:51 PM

i highly doubt you can plug the molex in backwards unless you did it on purpose (which with a standard molex still isn't possible).

Ara
October 2, 2006 2:51:37 PM

I thought the molex houseing is shaped so it can ONLY go in the right way? ( The corners on one side are curved to fit in the hdd)
October 2, 2006 3:13:31 PM

Quote:
I thought the molex houseing is shaped so it can ONLY go in the right way?


That's the theory... but it's only plastic, I'm sure someone who's determined enough can get it to fit upside down.
October 2, 2006 3:54:32 PM

Look, it's not that difficult and I'm not retarded (although I'm sure my Wife would beg to differ).

The PC is a Dell Dimension 4550, and power connections in that unit are few and spaced too close together. It was late at night, and I should not have been messing with the machine at all, okay?

That said, I too believed it wasn't possible. However the prongs on the drive jutted out far enough that they could be inserted into the female power lead without the keyed housing engaging. They came close enough to spark - which it did. I thought I'd fried the mobo or the PSU but luckily those came up okay.

The drive didn't, and I've confirmed that it's toast on the Dell and my home-built.

Laugh at me if you want. It's a lot easier than helping me figure out how to get my files off the drive without spending $1000-2000. 8O
October 2, 2006 3:56:50 PM

Have you called WD and asked about their repair service? There are other disk repair and data recovery firms. Try to Google for some names.

I assume your data is worth the price of repair or recovery (which won't be cheap), otherwise it will be cheaper to just replace the drive. BTW, you might have fried the drive motor as well as the logic board. That could explain why the board swap didn't help.
October 2, 2006 6:40:29 PM

Ok well I forgive you for that...I mean if you were fumbling around and the prongs came out far enough to actually touch and spark...That's OK. If you managed to jam that sucker in there for awhile put it all back together and reboot...well then maybe I'd question your sense. But I guess that means the general rule of thumb my friend is to always have the power off when opening up ur case.
Unfortunately I can't offer any assistance with the board part of it you speak of, but i read in another thread...that for some reason or another...if you throw the drive in your FREEZER for a day or so then try starting it up, it may stay cool longenough to get ur data off of it. A guy had your problem with the drive not physically spinning due to burn out or failure...So a dude suggested the freezer trick cuz he had the same problem. Don't ask me, I never tried it...Just something I heard. It wouldn't hurt to try it, then just plug in the power and see if she starts whirring though.
a b G Storage
October 2, 2006 7:09:35 PM

I haven't tried putting a hard drive in the freeze to resuscitiate it. But it is recommended to seal it in a bag from all humidity. Humidity can further kill the drive.
October 2, 2006 7:27:00 PM

Quote:
I've even begun considering constructing a small "clean room" in order to crack open the drive and swap its contents with a similar model with a working board. However the likelihood of this working has yet to outweigh the likelihood of ruining the drive.


Hey man I feel your pain,
If the data is that important then you should take it to a data recovery center. If you can afford to loose the data and have a spare HD than I say have fun and let us know if it works... :wink:
October 2, 2006 7:58:36 PM

I don't have the $1,000-$1400 necessary otherwise I would send it to Ontrack.
October 2, 2006 8:01:28 PM

Clean room. Some labatory supply company sell a portable clean box. The way it work is a Mylar or other plactic shell. You put your parts in side then fill (blow) the bag up with a constant flow of Nitrogen gas. Requies a N2 bottle and flow regulator. I've used them to keep oxygen away from some sample I were working on.
October 2, 2006 8:39:40 PM

I've used data recovery before and your lucky if it's only $1400. Depends on the drive (your in luck if it's a WD) and how much data you have to restore. If you fried the logic board you can stick it into the freezer till hell freezes over and it won't matter. Fried is fried. What the freezer trick refers to is a drive dying due to a chip overheating. You've popped the board and probably the motor.
Swapping circuit boards almost never works. The drives would need to come from the same assembly line, not the date. It's another reason data recovery people charge so much. They have access to the needed circuit boards. No point in opening up the drive as you won't be able to move the platters to a working drive. Getting the drive heads aligned will be impossible without the equipment data recovery people use.
I'll close by NOT preaching on the virtues of a good backup system....
October 2, 2006 9:12:40 PM

Quote:

Unfortunately I can't offer any assistance with the board part of it you speak of, but i read in another thread...that for some reason or another...if you throw the drive in your FREEZER for a day or so then try starting it up, it may stay cool longenough to get ur data off of it. A guy had your problem with the drive not physically spinning due to burn out or failure...So a dude suggested the freezer trick cuz he had the same problem. Don't ask me, I never tried it...Just something I heard. It wouldn't hurt to try it, then just plug in the power and see if she starts whirring though.

This would probably only help if the platters or heads were stuck. This will definitely not help a dead logic board issue and further expose it to data loss. But hey, if you think the platters/heads are stuck it migth be worth a shot.

Um otherwise, I would try what you did already w/ swapping the logic boards.

Other than that, I can't think of any other things you can do.... Unless you can find that elusive circuit board with that firmware to swap with.
October 2, 2006 10:54:40 PM

Quote:
I have attempted to replace it with a logic board from the same model made two days later but with different firmware to no avail.

Why would you think, even for a microsecond, that this WOULD work?

The ONLY logic board which will work is from the same REV as your existing drive.

TIP: Keep looking for another drive the same. Don't be a cheapskate - just buy it. Face the fact it might take you months to find a matching drive.

Don't even THINK about trying to open the drive and swap the platters: you will utterly destroy the disk surfaces if you do that, and lose all chance of getting your data back.

Let me get this straight: you were trying to plug in a Hard Drive while the PC was running? Frankly, you don't deserve to get your data back as that is the action of a complete idiot. Yes - I laugh at you, and anyone like you. You know, they put a side on the case of PCs to stop people like you getting inside them and fucking things up!

Quote:
I've frequented Toms since the beginning and read it daily.

Here we KNOW you are simply lying. This because NO ONE with even 25% of a human brain, who has read Toms for ANY length of time, would be under the impression that it is OK to plug and unplug things inside a PC case while the PC is still running.

Quote:
I plugged the molex power in backwards.

Dumb move. Very dumb move - but I've done dumber things.

That's quite the admission. You actually have an "L" tatooed on your forehead one wonders? Do you come with a Surgeon General's warning too?

"Caution: standing next to this man may cause serious injury or death."

Here's the best bit of advice anyone is ever going to give you: DON'T EVER TAKE THE SIDE OFF A PC EVER AGAIN - NEVER!

Oh - and thanks - I had the best laugh I've had in ages. You at least get a single point for giving us all a damn good giggle at your expense. Please read my signature, and give it some thought.
October 3, 2006 1:12:55 PM

Mobius
Given your ignorant responses I wouldn't trust a damned bit of your advice. How old are you? 12?

I have been putting PCs together since you were suckling from your mother's breast which, judging by your asinine responses, was probably just last week.

Gee what a sad and pathetic human being you must be. You've been spending waaaay too much in that fantasyland where you are a biiiig man.

Instead of crafting nifty GIF logos and Matrix-sounding handles, why don't you try getting married, raising a family, building a career, starting your own business and running a non-profit? You see, unlike you I've actually done all these things and more.

I've lived in Japan and heard temple bells ring on New Years Eve. I've danced to soukous music with Tongwe tribesmen in a place that's inaccessible accept by speedboat in Africa. I've seen industrial bands at the Smart Bar in Chicago, and had one-one conversations with Jane Goodall and Jonas Salk. I've been to actual places, done actual things and met actual people.

So my hard drive died. I earn enough money at my current position to simply throw some at it and make the problem disappear. Instead I want to solve the problem, make new friends and learn something in the process.

You need to turn off your PC, get laid and get a life you sorry sack of sh*t.
October 3, 2006 1:18:21 PM

Thrstbster6
Thanks for the link. That's exactly what I was looking for.
Now I have an ace-in-the-hole should I not find a drive over the next few months.
I'm traveling to Africa soon, and hope that the new pics will buy me some time to find a new logic board. I believe this will work because the drive spun up and clicked using a board from the same model, different firmware.
October 4, 2006 2:48:16 AM

Good luck!! I wish I could goto Africa have a fun safe trip.
October 8, 2006 3:01:51 AM

with the prices of new drives and a few hours of Xp install would make a better argument 8O
October 9, 2006 1:29:32 PM

Stallyn
It's the data on the drive - not the drive itself.

BTW this weekend the NTFS file on my XP Pro/SATA Seagate 300 gb drive became corrupted (thanks to this program. The drive won't boot - it starts loading XP Pro, then dies.

The solution is to run checkdisk on the drive, but XP Recovery, run from the setup disks, expect 3rd party drivers to be on floppy! WTF?

I can solve this problem, but it just proves a basic fact:

People are moving to digital media before permanent and reliable storage is available.

A boxful of photo negatives is much more permanent and reliable than any magnetic or optical storage at this time.
October 9, 2006 6:21:49 PM

Quote:

I can solve this problem, but it just proves a basic fact:

People are moving to digital media before permanent and reliable storage is available.

A boxful of photo negatives is much more permanent and reliable than any magnetic or optical storage at this time.

I would disagree with this.
Its only unreliable if you don't back up your data.

I would say that a box of photo negatives is more risky in that you only have 1 copy of them, and losing that 1 copy due to fire, water, misplacement, etc is more risky than a digital media.

If you have a good backup system, digital media is alot more reliable because of the ease of having multiple copies. If you lose one copy, you have multiple backups to restore your data. Even better is to store those backups off-site.

I'd say it proves more that everyone should be careful when messing around with one's hard drive.
October 9, 2006 7:52:38 PM

Quote:
I'd say it proves more that everyone should be careful when messing around with one's hard drive.


Wow, what empathy... You might want to consider a career at the Labor Department or better, DMV... :twisted:

Quote:
If you have a good backup system, digital media is alot more reliable because of the ease of having multiple copies. If you lose one copy, you have multiple backups to restore your data. Even better is to store those backups off-site.


And what backup system would that be? A RAID? You think the average computer owner knows how to set one up? Or how about off-site storage?
What do you do if the firm goes belly-up, or simply loses your data the way one blog host did?

In theory, you're right: the more copies the better. However given the changes in formats, the fact that magnetic media degrades with time, and the likelihood that most CD's and DVD's are not archival, printing out your photographs and storing them in an album is probably much safer.
October 9, 2006 8:35:21 PM

Quote:
I'd say it proves more that everyone should be careful when messing around with one's hard drive.

Wow, what empathy... You might want to consider a career at the Labor Department or better, DMV... :twisted:

Shrug, its the truth. If you don't want to lose data, make backups. Its as simple as that. Its amazing how many people still don't back up their files.
I tried to help you, but I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm just saying that digital backups are more reliable than a box of negatives - plus its easier to find something too.

Quote:

If you have a good backup system, digital media is alot more reliable because of the ease of having multiple copies. If you lose one copy, you have multiple backups to restore your data. Even better is to store those backups off-site.


And what backup system would that be? A RAID? You think the average computer owner knows how to set one up? Or how about off-site storage?
What do you do if the firm goes belly-up, or simply loses your data the way one blog host did?

In theory, you're right: the more copies the better. However given the changes in formats, the fact that magnetic media degrades with time, and the likelihood that most CD's and DVD's are not archival, printing out your photographs and storing them in an album is probably much safer.

Um, CDs and DVDs are going to be around for a long time. If you store them correctly, they can last a long time as well.
I'm not talking about a RAID or anything. Either burn them to CD or DVD and store them someplace safe, either at a friend's house or a relative's house (off-site storage). Since you're so adamant that those won't last, what about storing them on an external HDD? Its portable, its cheap.
Remember that negatives and slides degrade as well if you keep them incorrectly. Same goes for CDs and DVDs.
And isn't the film format disappearing already? Digital is taking over.
I could make the same argument in the film world about format changes and media degradation. I just see that in the digital world, its a heck of a lot easier and cheaper to make backup copies of your stuff.
October 10, 2006 5:45:03 PM

Nobly
Thanks for the responses.
You're pretty much right, of course about the backups and film degredation. Anyone with photos from the 1970s knows that everything back then wasn't pale green (prints from that era have seriously degraded - at least the ones I have seen).

However I believe that the backup issue isn't that clearcut - at least right now. For one thing I recently switched over to Taiyo Yuden CDs because I got tired of other brands becoming unreadable within a short period of time. Also, many of the CDs I burned back in the late 1990s on the first CD burner I ran into at work (an HP 4x-2x I think) are now coasters.

So even if you backup to DVD or CD, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise in the near future if you backed up to the wrong one.
October 10, 2006 7:06:51 PM

Heh yeah... darn degradation of my negatives! blah, I need to get a scanner one of these days.

Hmmm, I too have CD's from the late 90's. Ahh the glory of having a 4x CD burner back then. heh. But mine still work. I normally stick to TDK or Verbatim, which can source TY or Ritek. I haven't run into any degradation problems yet. I think the biggest problem for CD/DVD degradation is light. Usually most of my discs are stored in a case that I zip up, which allows zero light to get in.
We all know sunlight just kills CDs and DVDs. :cry: 

I sincerely doubt that CDs and DVDs will disappear soon. Their market saturation is just too great. Plus there's no real push to get rid of them - DVD burners still can burn and read CDs. But this is probably because CDs are still used for audio. DVD-audio never really flew. CDs are going to be around until the music industry gets rid of them.

Still, you never know... That's why I have my pictures stored on DVD, an external HDD, and local copies on 2 of my computers.

Blueray/HDDVD has to get ALOT more cheaper for us consumers to start using.

Anyways, how's the hunt for the HDD logic board going? I hope you find one soon!
!