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Seagate 500 GB Barracudas - Want to format but can't?

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August 26, 2009 7:28:38 PM

Both hard drives are no longer recognized by the BIOS (even though I can hear the disks spinning, they are not detected in any shape or form by the PC, and I've tested with other hard drives that are detected just fine.) otherwise I'd have formatted them already.

Both drives contain sensitive information (addresses, bank accounts and credit cards, both personal (me and my family's) as well my boss's bank accounts/credit card information.) So I need to format them.

I'm fairly sure I don't own a magnet strong enough to actually affect the hard drive (the strongest I own is a magnet I got from disassembling a hard drive) so is there anything else I can do?

I'm kind of hoping that when they see the hard drives can't be detected at all, they'll move straight to doing whatever they do (that hopefully does not involve the data), but I'm still worried (and my boss is paranoid.)

Any advice?
August 26, 2009 10:01:53 PM

Do you want to recover the data and repair the hard drive or do you want to format it?

Make sure that the cables are secure. You can also try hooking up your hard drive to another computer or purchase an external enclosure.

For the record, "The only magnets powerful enough to scrub data from a drive platter are laboratory degaussers or those used by government agencies to wipe bits off media. "In the real world, people are not losing data from magnets," says Bill Rudock, a tech-support engineer with hard-drive maker Seagate. "In every disk," notes Rudock, "there's one heck of a magnet that swings the head."

Want to erase data from a hard drive you plan to toss? Don't bother with a magnet. Overwrite the data that is stored on the media instead. For flash, fill up the drive with anything, like pictures of your beloved dachshund. Unlike with magnetic media, from which experts can usually recover at least some overwritten data, once new data is written to flash media, the old data is gone forever. To overwrite the contents of a hard drive, try Eraser from Heidi Computers."

http://www.pcworld.com/printable/article/id,116572/prin...
August 26, 2009 10:15:26 PM

Im having a similar problem, was there any signs prior to the dissapearance of the drives that they might be corrupt or did you get any kind of error while on your computer?
Related resources
August 26, 2009 10:24:06 PM

If you don't need the data, take the hard drive apart and smash the platter with a hammer. I doubt anyone short of a government agency could retrieve anything off a physically damaged platter. If you want to DIY to try to salvage your data, try swapping the controller from the same model drive with the same manufacture date (plus or minus a couple months). I have a recently failed WD drive with CC numbers on it and was checking into terms of warranty service. All WD states is that it's not liable for your data...whether that means liable for loss of data due to repairs or that they don't wipe the drive before sending it out to someone else, they don't say. I might give them a call, but will likely destroy the drive anyway. Destroying a $50 hard drive is a small price to pay to be certain.

It does seem odd that both drives would fail simultaneously, though.
August 26, 2009 10:29:52 PM

No, there wasn't partyhardwk. Both of my drives are ST3500320AS drives, which are notorious for having had a firmware bug. After reading through countless descriptions of what people went through, it's all basically the same thing. Drives perform perfectly fine until one day they boot up their PC and the BIOS no longer recognizes them. Do you have one of these?

Orion, as much as I'd love to I can't bring myself to throw away both the drives. Yeah they were kind of cheap, but I have only one drive left, with a 150 GB drive for back up and I'm in no position to buy another drive or two.

I was hoping there might be some way to format but sadly, I don't think there is. I either risk sending them in (and ignoring my boss which could be ugly) and getting two refurbished drives or just take them apart and hang the disc platters in my car instead of furry dice.

Also, they didn't fail simultaneously. One failed december 7, 2008 (I remember because it was on my friend's birthday :(  ) and the other failed three months from then (three months after I bought it, new, might I add.)

The ST3500320AS were failing left and right back then.
August 26, 2009 10:37:34 PM

try turning the power switch to your power supply off and then back on and unplugging and plugging back in the sata cable to the hd's. That made mine temporarily show up again for about 10 mins. I dont know why.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 12:39:14 AM

valkyrio said:
No, there wasn't partyhardwk. Both of my drives are ST3500320AS drives, which are notorious for having had a firmware bug. After reading through countless descriptions of what people went through, it's all basically the same thing. Drives perform perfectly fine until one day they boot up their PC and the BIOS no longer recognizes them. Do you have one of these?

Orion, as much as I'd love to I can't bring myself to throw away both the drives. Yeah they were kind of cheap, but I have only one drive left, with a 150 GB drive for back up and I'm in no position to buy another drive or two.

I was hoping there might be some way to format but sadly, I don't think there is. I either risk sending them in (and ignoring my boss which could be ugly) and getting two refurbished drives or just take them apart and hang the disc platters in my car instead of furry dice.

Also, they didn't fail simultaneously. One failed december 7, 2008 (I remember because it was on my friend's birthday :(  ) and the other failed three months from then (three months after I bought it, new, might I add.)

The ST3500320AS were failing left and right back then.


Your two drives are bricked. There is nothing you can do without buying a special cable and a torx6 screwdriver. You also need to use an old windows program, terminal. The special wire hooks up to the back of the hard drive and the other end in a usb port so you can talk to the hard drive and reprogram it. If you know what you are doing it takes 5 minutes to repair and reflash with new firmware. I myself did it 2 months ago on two identical drives and both were saved without data loss. If you want, I could sell you the cable and give you the instructions on how to use it or where you can buy such a cable but they can be very expensive. Mine cost 40$ but I have seen it as high as 120$.
August 27, 2009 3:04:32 AM

Quote:
Your two drives are bricked. There is nothing you can do without buying a special cable and a torx6 screwdriver. You also need to use an old windows program, terminal. The special wire hooks up to the back of the hard drive and the other end in a usb port so you can talk to the hard drive and reprogram it. If you know what you are doing it takes 5 minutes to repair and reflash with new firmware. I myself did it 2 months ago on two identical drives and both were saved without data loss. If you want, I could sell you the cable and give you the instructions on how to use it or where you can buy such a cable but they can be very expensive. Mine cost 40$ but I have seen it as high as 120$.


By terminal, do you mean the console you can bring up when you type "cmd" under Start > Run?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 4:16:58 AM

valkyrio said:
By terminal, do you mean the console you can bring up when you type "cmd" under Start > Run?


The program is HyperTerminal. It was used with the older dialup modems but in this case it can be used to talk to a hard drive to fix it.
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 7:09:52 AM

Quote:
Your two drives are bricked. There is nothing you can do without buying a special cable and a torx6 screwdriver. You also need to use an old windows program, terminal. The special wire hooks up to the back of the hard drive and the other end in a usb port so you can talk to the hard drive and reprogram it. If you know what you are doing it takes 5 minutes to repair and reflash with new firmware. I myself did it 2 months ago on two identical drives and both were saved without data loss. If you want, I could sell you the cable and give you the instructions on how to use it or where you can buy such a cable but they can be very expensive. Mine cost 40$ but I have seen it as high as 120$.


do you have any links to somewhere that has info on this process
August 27, 2009 7:43:31 AM

I'd be contacting Seagate.
a c 349 G Storage
August 27, 2009 3:55:01 PM

If you really think (and this is reasonable) that both Seagate 500 GB units are victims of the infamous Seagate bug, definitely do nothing further until you get Seagate involved! They can help you confirm whether this is the real problem or not. More importantly, if it is, they may well have a way to fix the drives so they can be used and retrieve your data. Even if the drives cannot be fixed, they are also supposed to help victims of their error retrieve the lost data. So talk to them first!
Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 9:23:13 PM

His drives are a victim of the firmware bug. Everything he said was exactly how it happened with me. I did fix my two drives and the way I fixed it is the only way you can do it yourself. If he sends his drives to Seagate they will just send him new ones and he will lose all his data and his personal information will be in the hands of strangers. The do it yourself fix works fine and it is less of a hassle since he does not have to send anything in. It is his choice but I for one did not want to send my two drives to Seagate because I do not trust them with my info. Anyways...if he chooses to repair it himself, I will help him through the process.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 9:26:55 PM

505090 said:
do you have any links to somewhere that has info on this process



I have many links for the process BUT they are not very tidy. I am waiting to see if he chooses to repair it himself and if he does I will scan through those links and reconstruct the process in an easy to follow guide. I guess I should have kept the info instead of deleting it. I do not want to do all the work for him if he does not want to do it so I will wait for his response before committing myself further. Time is money!!! LOL
August 27, 2009 10:41:53 PM

I sent you a PM but it seems you didn't get it, moonblood. Send me one with your email so I can contact you further. I'm somewhat interested in it.

I'm a bit concerned because a friend of mine already ran a magnet across the drives in an effort to make me just send them instead of spend money on trying to fix them...but I'm still interested.

Anyways, yeah, send me your email or msn or whatever
August 27, 2009 10:48:07 PM

valkyrio said:
I sent you a PM but it seems you didn't get it, moonblood. Send me one with your email so I can contact you further. I'm somewhat interested in it.

I'm a bit concerned because a friend of mine already ran a magnet across the drives in an effort to make me just send them instead of spend money on trying to fix them...but I'm still interested.

Anyways, yeah, send me your email or msn or whatever


Nice friends you have....

Many people don't answer PM's because the PM notification is so poorly placed as to be almost un-noticeable...
August 27, 2009 11:21:24 PM

croc said:
Nice friends you have....

Many people don't answer PM's because the PM notification is so poorly placed as to be almost un-noticeable...



Yeah...he knows that I don't really have the money to spend on trying to fix them (even though if I actually could get the data back it'd be amazing) plus he read what the Tosh wrote so he thinks it didn't actually do anything to the drives.

I seriously hope that's the case.
!