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taking my hard drive apart

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February 25, 2007 4:22:25 PM

i had a hard drive faliure and it does not show up in bios and make clicking noise. it took it to local so called hardware experts and i know more about hard drive then they did. and i can not finacialy afford to send it to those data recovery firms who's ads show up every where on net.

i am thinking of buying a 2nd hand hard drive of same model and then replacing the storage disk of my new bought hard with my old hdd's. so i can recover my data.

i want to know
will this work?
will exposing my disk plate to air permanently make it unreadable?
and any other way to safly recover my data? (those recovery softwares don't work)


i have not opened my damaged hdd yet but had tried opening my really old 10gb drive. well it was already damaged and unreadable so i don't know whether opening it did any harm to it or not. please help me.

More about : taking hard drive

February 25, 2007 4:44:16 PM

This task is not for the faint of heart. I've done it to old HD's, think 500mb to 10gb. I've never bothered with larger drives. Sometimes you'll get stuff off sometimes you won't. If there is dust and fingerprints on the platters you won't necessarily ruin the drive, at least not before you have a chance to recover data. I've had data recovered from platters that got wet and also some with scratches.

You have to make sure the drives are identical, right down to the firmware revision level. If they are, use something like spinright to scan the drive after you verify you can see data when it's plugged into another machine.

It's not easy so I wouldn't recommend it. Also if you put the platter back in the wrong order you'll ruin everything as the drive tries to figure out what happened.
February 25, 2007 5:04:08 PM

as i had mentioned earlier that i can not affored to send it to data recovery firm. this is the only way for me to do it and i will try it.
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February 25, 2007 5:26:17 PM

Have you tried firmly smacking the drive on the long side in sync to the clicks? Seriously, I've gotten a couple drives "straightened out" that way. Course only for a few minutes or until you power them down again. Do it on a flat surface so you don't get too much up/down movement involved.

Also if you yank the top off, make sure your room is relatively dust free, you can see what the drive is doing and might be able to see the problem.

Sometimes the platters won't spin and the heads will click because they reset thinking they have a problem reading when it's really the platters fault. Give it a spin and see if it jump starts. Also make sure no screws or connections have come loose that might be disturbing the system.

What kind of drive?
February 25, 2007 8:09:09 PM

If you can find another hard drive with identical model and revision number, you might be able to replace just the electronics without opening the case. There's always a chance that will fix it, and will avoid contaminating the platters.

I've read reports that suggest an exact match of the PCB and its revision level is critical.

Even then, it may not work. I haven't tried this myself, as I depend on backups to get me over a failed hard drive.

Guy
February 26, 2007 2:31:18 AM

I have been able to get a clicking drive to work for a while by hitting it, as said above and also by putting it in a freezer for an hour, that one worked twice.

A friend of mine has a hard drive with some kind of short in it and it won't power up and it wont let the computer it is in turn on either and he has pics he can't replace. He too dosen't have the money to do the data recovery either. He is out of luck I guess.

THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO BACK UP YOUR SH*T !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry for the extreme language and yelling but I can't be sympathetic when important stuff isn't backed up and it becomes in this case anyways a loss of irreplaceable memories.
February 26, 2007 3:34:12 AM

Forgot the freezer trick, haven't needed that since the deathstars. I'd say your friend is a possible candidate for electronics swapping.
February 26, 2007 4:26:29 AM

A single speck of dust on a HDD platter is like dropping a boulder on your car
February 26, 2007 4:33:21 AM

Not true, I've had many drives open with noticable dust on them. They spin so fast, unless the dust is stuck on the platters, it will blow right off when it starts spinning. I've recovered many gigs of data from open drives.

You obviously have to try to keep the area as clean as possible. But in a last ditch effort you'd be suprised at how well it can work. I've even gotten data off platters with noticable finger prints.

But this is only for last ditch efforts, don't do it just for the heck of it.
February 26, 2007 4:58:06 AM

Sure, and if you don't try you won't get any data back. It's a risk to be sure, but a very doable one if it's the last straw. Even ontracks clean rooms aren't "dust free" they are something like 1 particle in a hundred thousand or something, can't remember the exact number. It's not like chip fabs or hd manufacturing plants.
February 26, 2007 8:22:55 AM

Done my fair share of electronics and Mechanical swaps in my time and have a learned a thing or 2 which I'll put here to save you learning the hard way like I did.

Clean room. As said above not essential as the short term dmg of dust on the platters is small risk compared to the dmg already done that your trying to recover from. THe risk of dust is that it gets trapped in the heads and over time grinds the platter. Now thats not to say you shouldn't be careful of dust and the best DIY home cleanroom solution I've ever found is a strange but effective one. Take the drive and all the tools you'll need to make the switch into the bathroom zipped in an airtight bag. Then turn on your shower at Max heat and get the bathroom full of steam. Now turn it off and let the steam condense. Its now safe to open your bag and work on the HD in the cleanest environment your likely to get in a home.

Donor drive wise it can't be stressed enough how important it is that the drive is truely identical in model and firmware a near miss really wont do be microns of difference in the tracking characteristics will make the drive unreadable and worse still many HDs will destroy the data in an attempt to read it if there is even a slight miss alignment. I've only been really success ful in situations were drives were bought in bulk and I've used another drive that was bought from the same batch as the donor.
February 28, 2007 9:19:21 AM

Quote:

THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO BACK UP YOUR SH*T !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry for the extreme language and yelling but I can't be sympathetic when important stuff isn't backed up and it becomes in this case anyways a loss of irreplaceable memories.


i do backup my data from time to time onto cds or to my friend hdd. last time i backed up was in mid december while my hdd failed in late january.
my last backup had 90% of data of when it crashed. i used all 5 cds i worte my data to and all of them had some kind of errors and i downloaded some of the software for recovering data from cds and they didn't work.
my friend repartitioned his hdd so he lost all of my data i backedup to his drive. i tried some of those hdd data recovery softwares and they didn't help either.
so basiclly it was my bad luck that i lost my hdd and my backups.

and i forgot to mention that those backed up cds were working fine after burning when i again checked them in early january
February 28, 2007 9:26:29 AM

Quote:
Done my fair share of electronics and Mechanical swaps in my time and have a learned a thing or 2 which I'll put here to save you learning the hard way like I did.

Clean room. As said above not essential as the short term dmg of dust on the platters is small risk compared to the dmg already done that your trying to recover from. THe risk of dust is that it gets trapped in the heads and over time grinds the platter. Now thats not to say you shouldn't be careful of dust and the best DIY home cleanroom solution I've ever found is a strange but effective one. Take the drive and all the tools you'll need to make the switch into the bathroom zipped in an airtight bag. Then turn on your shower at Max heat and get the bathroom full of steam. Now turn it off and let the steam condense. Its now safe to open your bag and work on the HD in the cleanest environment your likely to get in a home.

Donor drive wise it can't be stressed enough how important it is that the drive is truely identical in model and firmware a near miss really wont do be microns of difference in the tracking characteristics will make the drive unreadable and worse still many HDs will destroy the data in an attempt to read it if there is even a slight miss alignment. I've only been really success ful in situations were drives were bought in bulk and I've used another drive that was bought from the same batch as the donor.


thanks for this info. and tomarrow i wil start to find the same kind of drive. and it is a last option for me if i want to recover my data and i will take my risk.
February 28, 2007 9:51:54 PM

This is why backups are important, nobody bothers with them until a disaster happens(I can't say the same thing didn't happen to me though.) Make sure the new drive is the exact same revision, and try replacing the logic board first. As others have said, a dust free environment is critical, and there's a good chance you could ruin both drives so keep that in mind. Good luck, and hopefully in the future you'll back your important data up.
February 28, 2007 10:53:20 PM

Quote:
i had a hard drive faliure and it does not show up in bios and make clicking noise. it took it to local so called hardware experts and i know more about hard drive then they did. and i can not finacialy afford to send it to those data recovery firms who's ads show up every where on net.

i am thinking of buying a 2nd hand hard drive of same model and then replacing the storage disk of my new bought hard with my old hdd's. so i can recover my data.

i want to know
will this work?
will exposing my disk plate to air permanently make it unreadable?
and any other way to safly recover my data? (those recovery softwares don't work)


i have not opened my damaged hdd yet but had tried opening my really old 10gb drive. well it was already damaged and unreadable so i don't know whether opening it did any harm to it or not. please help me.


getting the accuators off and back on would be the hardest part.
plus like everyone else said the chance of contamination.
March 1, 2007 12:47:10 AM

If you're actually going to attempt this, you need to watch these videos by someone who has recovered data from hundreds of hard drives. He knows a thing or two. The videos will keep you from making major mistakes, such as: (summarized here directly from the videos)

1. Do not attempt to change the platters from drive to drive on a multi-platter drive. (On a single-platter drive, it's doable). If you try this on a multi-platter drive, you'll permanently lose the data. The best you can do is change out the actuator.
2. Don't allow the heads on the end of the actuator to touch each other or the platters.
3. Don't contaminate the platters with anything, obviously. Clean box is desirable, the steamed bathroom is the absolute minimum.
4. 85% of the drives out there can be recovered with software alone. Don't open your drive until you've exhausted all software options. Get your machine ready with space to copy the data (or image), and then run a few software recovery options. GetDataBack & ddrescue are my two choices. If neither will do anything for you and you're pretty sure there's a physical problem with the drive, then proceed.
5. If the drive has a physical problem, it could easily be the electronics board. Swap that out first before opening the drive.
March 1, 2007 1:41:33 AM

That problem with my friends hard drive was the board. I got lucky at a local computer store and found a hard drive that had a mechanical failure and it was out of a dell and get this.........very close serial numbers same production date.

With some slick clipping and soldering I Macgyvered (refrence to 1980's tv show) it and was able to get the pics and videos off. I totally wasn't expecting it to actually work. Took about 1.5 hrs to do though. It may have a cost if they see what I did. They may charge him for the drive.

EDIT: On a slow day at the tech window at a major retailer we took apart an old hard drive that a customer didn't want so we erased it and put windows 3.1 on opened it up and gave customers a cheap thrill seeing the drive work. It was fun watching defrag :lol:  It worked for 3 days until it got knocked off the counter. Oh one more thing during scandisk we also watched the number of bad sectors mulitply exponentially
!