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Magnet go close to an external hard drive

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April 25, 2011 8:07:13 AM

Hi, I hope I can get a great answer here. Seems some good people might help. In scrapping metal, I bought a 40 lb. pick up magnet on a handle. a powerful one. .Picked up a 40 lb sledghammer. I have a normal harddrive laying connected outside my tower. It has one year of precious photographs of my daughter that are irreplaceable. Last night, I layed the magnet on the floor with the magnet end about six inches from the hard drive. STUPID and I'm sick about my absent mindedness. But today, while looking for some photos, I click my E drive which is the slave drive I speak of. It's NOT listed in Windows Explorer. It's gone. I go to my bios, autodetect was OFF. I click Auto, It found it! I was so excited. Then went to windows..STiLL NOT THERE. Right clicked My computer, manage drives..not there.
Did the magnet destroy all the data on the drive? I was told maybe it was stuck as all I heard was clicking. I was told to barely drop it. Now I hear it running, but still does not show up in Windows. I unplugged it so as to maybe not damage it more. I put the magnet outside. What has happened with my drive. Did I lose all my data? Please help.

Edit: Email address removed by Moderator






April 25, 2011 9:58:36 AM

sounds like you did destroy that poor harddrive. I'm sorry to tell you but when you destroy a harddrive with a magnet, there is absolutely nothing that can save your data.
a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 1:50:52 PM

Please don't include your email address in posts; spammers WILL get it.
Otherwise, like doped I suspect your drive is toast.
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a c 140 G Storage
April 25, 2011 1:57:21 PM

Changes are that it was damaged, but normally a drive damaged by a magnet still shows up in the bios and just no longer has usable data.

Since you have nothing to loose now, you can open the drive enclosure and install the drive inside a pc to see if there is any chance of partial recovery. no matter what DO NOT REFORMAT the drive.

As said above, no e-mail in posts please. its for your own good.
April 25, 2011 1:58:53 PM

Okay, we should make one thing clear...

Someone that I went to school with was working for Rio Tinto ALcan and was crossing area of extrem magnetic field with hard drive and never lose a single one...

Also, for writing to the hard drive and changing the state, you need to achieve a special physic phenomenon which need a good amount of heat.

Try it somewhere else. I really doubt the magnet did anything... or it was a really strong magnet...
a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 2:27:59 PM

^-1. Heat is not used to record on hard drives; he may be thinking rewritable optical media. Otherwise, that anecdote was meaningless, as I can think of few readily accessible areas containing magnet fields strong enough to move (let along pick up) 40 lb. objects.
April 25, 2011 4:03:01 PM

There are programs that show that I can retrieve the data "from any hard drive". I want to order one of these "magic" programs and salvage my data. I cannot believe I lost a year of work and my most precious photos and was so stupid NOT to back up my data. These photos are of my precious six year old daughter and a book I have been writing. I don't even know all the data and just how important the 80GB was. I just sat the magnet on the floor and it was just a few inches from this drive. The C drive inside the computer was 6 inches further away and that is the computer I'm using now. I am sick over this. Is there any miracle worker who could salvage this data? Thank everyone for the response. I've never used a service like this I appreciate your efforts. Dan

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a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 4:40:25 PM
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There are data retrieval companies that go so far as to take drives apart in clean rooms and rebuild them. The single-pole exposure your drive suffered, unlike an oscillating electromagnetic field, I would think would be more likely to leave data recoverable.
April 25, 2011 5:40:27 PM

Best answer selected by Danpenn.
April 25, 2011 5:48:08 PM

The info jt283 just gave gives me some hope. I just can't see how the small half dollar sized magnet, 4 inches from the hard drive, outside the tower, could have erased the data. The drive shows up in the bios, but windows will not recognize it. I am hoping the operating system data in only corrupted but my data files are still there. I unplugged it, so it sits as it was..so I'm hoping, praying, that the data somehow is still there. I downloaded a program HiJack this for spyware removal. I saw the data it showed that is in the registry. I did nothing but close the program. I'm hoping anything explainable, other than total erasure of the drive, is what happened. I'm going to call some tech guys close by, Best Buy Geek Squad, etc to see what can be done besides me posting questions. My "manage drives" under My computer does not show the drive. I'm hoping another computer can read the data. Thanks so much for all the answers. I am sick over this, but I should have backed up the drive. I have an 80Gb drive and a couple of clicks could have easily "mirrored" this drive anytime in the last year. I just wonder how I could have been so stupid to have allowed this to happen. But..life goes on. It's not the end of the world and people have this happen all the time. I should have backed up..the results of my stupidity are catastrophic. Over a year's time, effort and data are lost at this time. Still hoping for a miracle. They do happen. I hope..
a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 5:51:43 PM

If you wish for any serious hope of recovery, do not entrust your drive to any "Geek Squad." This is a job for professionals who know tech, not just college kids who like it.
April 25, 2011 6:31:15 PM

Thank you. Was just hoping they could say they could plug it into something that might read the info. I was hoping maybe my operating system had just been corrupted in reading the external E: drive. Probably just wishful thinking. I won't leave it with them. What would you suggest. Send it by mail to someone or find a computer store, privately owned, and hope they are not as bad as the "Geek Squad".? Thanks!
a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 6:47:51 PM

A Google search of "Data Recovery" (perhaps narrowed to your area) should provide a starting point. Ontrack is perhaps the most well known. I think many of them charge a relatively low diagnostic fee, then tell you what they're able to recover (possibly providing directory listings) before stating a price (against which the initial fee may apply).
a c 415 G Storage
April 25, 2011 7:20:58 PM

I'm pretty skeptical that the magnet caused the problem. People seem to forget that every hard drive uses a powerful magnet as part of the head actuator. Those magnets are strong - they'd probably pick up a 20-lb sledgehammer, if not a 40-lb one. And they're located inside the drive case literally just just a few centimeters from the spinning platters:

a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 7:33:45 PM

Those are "accounted for" by the drive electronics though; a constant presence that does not fluctuate and cause spurious effects. Are there any "safe" tests he can attempt, that won't make things worse? Could any component have been magnetized, throwing off calibration or causing a lasting physical effect?
April 25, 2011 7:34:34 PM

It is sounding a little more encouraging. I've never had a hard drive disappear like this. But then I've never owned a magnet this strong that I find where I laid it just a few inches from the drive. It should have been mounted in the tower first, then it should have been backed up. Both my fault..
It's been sitting for 18 hours. I'm going to reconnect it. Then make sure my bios says autodetect. it will find the Samsung drive, then I will reboot and hope it shows up as it always has. Just a shot in the dark. Hope it works. Thanks.
January 3, 2013 12:03:07 AM

Hi Danpenn, I'm not sure if you have found an answer to your problem in the past two years since you posted. I had the exact same problem a couple of years ago. I cannot say what caused it but I had the clicking and everything else you have described and my data was precious picks of my daughter too.

I really hope you haven't destroyed the drive as there is a very easy way to recover your data, all of your data. If you have already gotten your data back then this may help someone else. I hope this message reaches you.

Your files are still there just not accessible to regular operation systems. To get your data back you will need a Linux bootable cd, Linux reads any drive no matter the state.

A very thoughtful friend took the time to prepare instructions for me to follow which i have copied below for you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not erase the drive before you check to see if all the data was retrieved properly. If data was not retrieved properly simply copy files one at a time.


Instructions on how to use a Linux CD to access Damaged Hard drives
http://rapidshare.com/files/3729072111/How%20to%20use%2...
February 4, 2013 4:31:10 AM

SOLVED Best answer I saved 2 hard drives with the same issue

I bought the program Spinrite from www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm and it saved 2 hard drives one in a samsung laptop that someone I knew had left on top of his car subwoofer with a huge Magnet that was in his office and also the hard drive that was in his custom build desktop gaming PC that was near the same subwoofer

Thank you again Steve Gibson

So I hope you haven't gotten rid of the drive yet because you may be able to save it
!