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Dead HDD, Can i fix it?

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May 30, 2010 9:59:47 PM

Hi all
First sorry for my lame English, it's not my mother tongue language.
I am a computer technician,
One of my clients gave me brand new HP laptop with hard drive malfunction,
Because the laptop still covered by the warranty, the hard drive was replaced free of charge,
The problem is that my client lost all her pictures (aprox 10 GB).

I checked with local hard drive restoration company, seems like it's going to cost fortune (500$) to restore the drive data (my client cannot afford).

I have the defect hard drive (WD Scorpio blue 2.5" WD1600BEVT ), I plug it in a SATA box and it seems like its motor is not working- the drive won't spin, and the needle ticks.
I had cheaper solution for my client – I can buy new hdd for like 40$, dismantle its electronic board, and hope the board is the problem…
Worst case scenario I can try to open the new & old hdd in clean and safe environment, extract the new magnetic plates from the new hdd and assemble the defective magnetic plates on to the new hdd, than run the new hdd for few minutes to get my data back…
I will glad to hear your opinion on this matter
Sharon

More about : dead hdd fix

a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2010 2:39:03 AM

(1) Say it's the circuit board. Replacing it by buying a new one, same model, is a 50/50 chance. There have been a few posts where the individual knew it was the board - seems that idenitical models can have different firmware installed.

(2) On replacing the platter(s) - Do not give that much chance at all. Assembly of HDDs are done in a class 100 cleanroom, not just a clean, safe place. An old trick for HDDs with a problem with spining up was to place them in a freezer for several hours - worked about 10 -> 20% of the time from what I gather.

(3) in either case, if Track 0 is hosed you would have a hard time getting the files back.
May 31, 2010 4:57:31 AM

You need special screw drivers to be able to open the drives. Then you need to tighten them properly put the drive under correct pressure. Then you have to calibrate.

Chances of successfully restoring a drive is slim if you don't have the proper equiptment and expertise. Thats why corporations pay for data parity and data recovery.
Related resources
May 31, 2010 7:47:07 AM

Thank you for your replay,

>> (1) 50/50 chance.
50% Is a good chance to save the pictures...

>> (2) freezer for several hours
Tried that - didnt work

>> class 100 cleanroom,
Say i will open the drive in my class 0 room :)  will it work enough time for me to copy data?

>> (3) in either case, if Track 0 is hosed you would have a hard time getting the files back.
Sorry i didn't get that, Why will Track 0 be wipe?
a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2010 2:15:40 PM

(1) "Class 0 Room" - you tried to make a funny, right. I work in a class 10,000 Clean room ( they TRY to maintain it to Class 100 specification. That means dress up in a bunny suit, including a face mask, and going thru a air shower before entering. Only "class 0" room would be located in outer space, oops thats probably be a class 1 room. Will it work long enough to get files off of it - IF you replace platters, as metioned by Rofl... you would have a very small chance (1 in 1000000) of reading them. Any partical about 1/10th the diameter of human hair could then damage the head/platter.

(2) Not knowing exactly what happend when the drive failed, there is always the chance that Track 0 was hosed, You can recover some track 0 errors IF software can recognize the drive. This procedure makes data recovery very difficult.

When (and if) you get the drive up and running, have you ever tried to recover data? Recovery software produces files with no filenames. These files are in increments of 4 K bytes (ntfs). As long as each cluster has the pointer to the next cluster, you can recover the whole file. Example: I recovered about 100 Pictures from my REFORMATED HDD. This was about 80%. Each pitcure had a white bottom on it - This was the last cluster that may have only containted say 1 K of info - the remaining 3 K was blank. Not really hard, just labor intensive.
May 31, 2010 3:13:13 PM

Chances are either the spindle motor failed or the power and control circuits on the controller failed. One trick that some in the biss often do is track down a like replacement that has the same controller (same firmware) that was manufactured with in a few weeks of each other. If the motor is just jammed or gummed up it is possible to get it to spin back up by either sticking it in the freezer for a short time or opening the drive and try to force the spindle to spool up then. If the drive is a single platter the clients data can be saved if the surface is undamaged allowing for a simple transplant.


Some quick videos

Advanced Hard Drive Data Recovery Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCapEFNZAJ0
a c 353 G Storage
May 31, 2010 3:37:45 PM

nforce, he already tried the freeze method. I did have some lock with some old SCSI drives that the spindle was stuck. I gentally tapped the drive with my knuckes a couple of times, Not really a recommended method, But as the old saying goes - When all else fails, get a BIGGER hammer. I do have a picture of me holding a hammer over one of these SCSI drives. Kind of a joke around the office.
May 31, 2010 4:02:52 PM

RetiredChief said:
nforce, he already tried the freeze method. I did have some lock with some old SCSI drives that the spindle was stuck. I gentally tapped the drive with my knuckes a couple of times, Not really a recommended method, But as the old saying goes - When all else fails, get a BIGGER hammer. I do have a picture of me holding a hammer over one of these SCSI drives. Kind of a joke around the office.



Well you could go spend about $200-300 US for a platter removal tool then hunt down a duplicate drive with the same serial number and try then.
June 1, 2010 7:58:07 AM

RetiredChief said:
(1) "Class 0 Room" - you tried to make a funny, right. I work in a class 10,000 Clean room ( they TRY to maintain it to Class 100 specification. That means dress up in a bunny suit, including a face mask, and going thru a air shower before entering. Only "class 0" room would be located in outer space, oops thats probably be a class 1 room. Will it work long enough to get files off of it - IF you replace platters, as metioned by Rofl... you would have a very small chance (1 in 1000000) of reading them. Any partical about 1/10th the diameter of human hair could then damage the head/platter.

(2) Not knowing exactly what happend when the drive failed, there is always the chance that Track 0 was hosed, You can recover some track 0 errors IF software can recognize the drive. This procedure makes data recovery very difficult.

When (and if) you get the drive up and running, have you ever tried to recover data? Recovery software produces files with no filenames. These files are in increments of 4 K bytes (ntfs). As long as each cluster has the pointer to the next cluster, you can recover the whole file. Example: I recovered about 100 Pictures from my REFORMATED HDD. This was about 80%. Each pitcure had a white bottom on it - This was the last cluster that may have only containted say 1 K of info - the remaining 3 K was blank. Not really hard, just labor intensive.


I was joking, my room is "class inf" ...
>>> you would have a very small chance (1 in 1000000) of reading them.

You are wrong, I did a quick test on an old HDD I took 80GB HDD, open it and work with it open for few days!!!!!
The spin operation blow any partial away from the platter,
Now i am confident i can read the data although the drive is open...

I will get the new 2.5 HDD and post the results.
Sharon

June 9, 2010 9:59:17 AM

Eventually replacing the electronic board did the job,
No opening needed and the data was extracted successfully
Thank you all.
!