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Is my hard drive failed?

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July 27, 2011 11:49:12 PM

Hi,

The hard drive is a WD my book with 500 GB capacity (model# WD5000AAVS Green Power). It started last night when I couldn't access one of the folders on the hard drive. I then disassembled the enclosure to put the hard drive on a newly-purchased external HD enclosure. In the disk management, the hard drive is recognized as an 22.43 GB Unallocated Unknow Disk ans asking for initialization, as shown in the screen capture.
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/5/diskmanagementj.jpg/

I also tried to plug the hard drive directly as an internal hard drive and got the same result (unallocated 22.43 GB disk).

Does this mean my hard drive is failed/broken and, if yes, is there any software that I can tried to rescue my data? Should I rely on professional service for data restoring?

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Thanks. Any input will be appreciated! :) 

- Jason

More about : hard drive failed

a c 104 G Storage
July 28, 2011 1:54:25 AM

Hi Jason,

Yes, it looks as if this HDD is failing, but you may still be able to retrieve your data.

Your image is Very helpful.

This WD drive is still recognized by the OS as Disk 1, but there is no partition recognized and the space is unallocated and size misread.
I wold keep it attached to your desktop directly, and don't write anything to the drive or initialize or format it.

Try the Easues Partition Master Free Edition, which may re establish the partition making your data visible. Here is their web site.

www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm

If that doesn't work they also have a very good Easeus Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition, which can re establish the partition, or recover your data. (ample space on your other Disk 0 if needed). The Free edition is good for 1 GB of data, with the Commercial Edition costing $69.95 for unlimited recovery. Here is that link:

www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/


There are several other Data Recovery software programs available costing $50 and up, but this is highly thought of and many of the folks on Tom's Hardware recomend it. But there are others to choose from.


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a c 288 G Storage
July 30, 2011 1:57:46 PM

Your My Book may be hardware encrypted. That's why the partition information is being reported as jibberish.

Is there an Initio INIC-1607E chip on the USB-SATA bridge board inside the original enclosure? If so, then this chip is responsible for 128-bit AES encryption. Therefore, to recover your data, you will need the original enclosure.

You can verify whether the data are encrypted by viewing sectors 0 and 1 with a disc editor. If sector 1 has a repeating pattern of 16 bytes, then these will be encrypted zeros.

You could use DMDE:

DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software):
http://softdm.com/
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July 30, 2011 2:27:27 PM

I went to a local Data Recovery service center and briefly described my situation. The rep. said since I plug the original internal hard drive (that was inside the external enclosure) via a new external enclosure and later directly to desktop, the PCB board is probably burnt. In this scenario, a physically data recovery is required and it will cost $750 to $2000.....something I can't afford at the moment.

@John, I've tried running both software you mentioned. The Easues Partition Master Free won't work. The Easeus Data Recovery Wizard Free scan my disk for more than 24 hours and still scanning....I ended up stop the scanning.

@fzabkar, I can't recognize the INIC-1607E chip you mentioned. All I can tell is a little circuit board (about 7cm x 7cm). Can the free edition of DMDE let me view the sector 0 and 1 on my disk? If yes, I will give it s shot. I really hope it's just the encryption that blocks me from accessing the data and there is a way to access it other than using the original enclosure. The hard drive simply won't be recognized with its original enclosure and that's why I disassemble it.

- Jason
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a c 288 G Storage
July 30, 2011 2:52:52 PM

Can you show me a detailed photo of the USB-SATA bridge board? There should be a large square chip. It is the CPU for that board.

I don't know what the data recovery rep saw, but if the drive spins up and identifies itself with its correct model number and full native capacity, then its own PCB is probably OK. How does BIOS identify your drive?

If the drive spins up but behaves as if it has bad sectors or bad heads, then the problem could actually be a board fault. AIUI, the PCB has a Marvell 88i6745-TFJ1 MCU. If so, then this makes the drive a member of the Tornado family. This family is known for board faults that mimic head or media symptoms. Unfortunately the board has a vacant location at U12, which means that its unique, drive specific "adaptive" data are internal to the MCU. These data would need to be transferred to the donor PCB. Other boards store the adaptives in an 8-pin serial flash memory chip at U12, in which case a "ROM" transfer is a relatively easy job.

Here is a photo of your drive's PCB (not the bridge board):
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5140/5579149954_4c6cea63...

As for your question regarding DMDE, yes, the free version will allow you to view the sector data.
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July 30, 2011 6:23:03 PM

fzabkar said:
Can you show me a detailed photo of the USB-SATA bridge board? There should be a large square chip. It is the CPU for that board.

I don't know what the data recovery rep saw, but if the drive spins up and identifies itself with its correct model number and full native capacity, then its own PCB is probably OK. How does BIOS identify your drive?

If the drive spins up but behaves as if it has bad sectors or bad heads, then the problem could actually be a board fault. AIUI, the PCB has a Marvell 88i6745-TFJ1 MCU. If so, then this makes the drive a member of the Tornado family. This family is known for board faults that mimic head or media symptoms. Unfortunately the board has a vacant location at U12, which means that its unique, drive specific "adaptive" data are internal to the MCU. These data would need to be transferred to the donor PCB. Other boards store the adaptives in an 8-pin serial flash memory chip at U12, in which case a "ROM" transfer is a relatively easy job.

Here is a photo of your drive's PCB (not the bridge board):
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5140/5579149954_4c6cea63...

As for your question regarding DMDE, yes, the free version will allow you to view the sector data.


Hi, fzabkar,
Here is the photo of the circuit board. I hope the quality is not too blurry or dark for you to see.


When I plug the bad hard drive into a new enclosure, the indicator light didn't flash as when I plug in a good drive. Not sure if it's indicating that the bad hard drive is not spinning?

Whether I plug the bad hard drive via a new enclosure or directly to the desktop PC, it's recognized as "Unallocated 22.43 GB" disk. In BIOS, it's indicated as WDC ROM MODEL-SPIDER with 24 GB of capacity. In any case, the hard drive is not correctly recognized as a 500 GB hard drive.

So, if the hard drive is encrypted or not, what kind of options do I have to restore the data other than spending $1000 dollars for physical data recovery?

Thanks,
Jason
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Best solution

a c 288 G Storage
July 30, 2011 10:45:39 PM

"ROM MODEL-SPIDER" is a factory alias. Unfortunately your drive is unable to read the hidden System Area on the platters, so it reverts to identifying itself using generic parameters stored in the flash memory on the PCB. If there is no internal problem with the HDD, then the solution is to reprogram a replacement PCB with the adaptive data in the original board's MCU. This process requires only a matter of minutes using a tool such as PC3000 or HD Doctor. It is non-invasive and is done from behind a keyboard.

Some board suppliers include a "ROM transfer" or "firmware transfer" for US$10 - $20.

As for encryption, your photo isn't very clear, but I can see that the bridge chip at location U6 is made by Initio. In any case, encryption is not the problem at the moment.
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a c 104 G Storage
July 30, 2011 11:30:41 PM

Hi Jason,

If Fzabkar doesn't think it's related to encryption, why not place it back in it's enclosure with it's original PZB board, and try the DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software) program to see if you can get any data recovered? The commercial data reocvery programs like Easeus Data Recovery Wizard or the TenorShare Data Recovery program are ~$50-70 and still may not work.
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a c 288 G Storage
July 30, 2011 11:50:56 PM

john_VanKirk, the problem is that the hard drive itself has a fault. Therefore, the OP will not have access to the data, whether encrypted or not, until the HDD is repaired. The actual problem may be a fault in the Marvell MCU, which is a common problem with the Tornado models, or it may be an internal HDA fault such as a bad head, bad media, or bad preamp.
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August 10, 2011 10:45:51 PM

Best answer selected by jasonxps410.
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January 10, 2014 1:18:45 AM

fzabkar said:
"ROM MODEL-SPIDER" is a factory alias. Unfortunately your drive is unable to read the hidden System Area on the platters, so it reverts to identifying itself using generic parameters stored in the flash memory on the PCB. If there is no internal problem with the HDD, then the solution is to reprogram a replacement PCB with the adaptive data in the original board's MCU. This process requires only a matter of minutes using a tool such as PC3000 or HD Doctor. It is non-invasive and is done from behind a keyboard.

Some board suppliers include a "ROM transfer" or "firmware transfer" for US$10 - $20.

As for encryption, your photo isn't very clear, but I can see that the bridge chip at location U6 is made by Initio. In any case, encryption is not the problem at the moment.

I assume I got a the same problem with a "My Book Essential 1.5TB". After installation of the WD SES drivers on my PC (it's my daughters External Drive) it was detected in my Windows 7 Ultimate 64's Disk Management with a value of 1.3 TB which is a realistice value for a 1.5 TB drive, but w/o drive letter. Assignment of a new drive letter failed. Windows told me that the drive is write protected...
I assume as well the PCB is the problem.
Can I check with the tool you mention PC3000 or HD Doctor whether I can read the data from the PCB - before I try to get a spare PCB?
The drive is WD Caviar Green 1.5 TB SATA / 64 MB Cache
S/N: WCAZA7366847
MDL: WD15EARX-00PASB0
Revision des PCB Prints : 2060-771698-002.
The revision -002 seems to be a rare one. Can I use a revision -004 as well as a spare part?
I'm from Germany and a found a -002 PCB offered by a Canadian company.
Worst case it means to pay two expensive shipments.
However I found an offer for a still completely new My Book Essential 1.5TB - in Germany.
Can I / should I crosscheck the USB SATA adapter from the defect drive is still o.k. by mounting it in the new one?

With best regards
bigboershooter
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a c 288 G Storage
January 10, 2014 11:28:36 PM

@bigboreshooter, your drive's PCB appears to be OK. I would remove it from its enclosure and test it by connecting it directly to a SATA port on your motherboard. Don't write anything to the drive, as their are critical sectors at the end of the user area. Just see if you can read sector 0 with a disc editor (eg DMDE freeware) in readonly mode.
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January 14, 2014 1:48:53 AM

@fzabkar
What will be the conclusion if I can read sector 0 (I should see a block of e.g. 512 / 2048 / 4096 Bytes?)?
That the drive and PCB board are O.K.? Do I have to make further steps with DMDE?

If I'll detect that there are still data on that drive, what will be the next steps? Rescue data with a physical sector-by-sector copy to another SATA drive with e.g. 'ddrescue'? And then attach the SATA-USB bridgeboard to the new SATA drive - because of the encryption - and run e.g. Recuva?

I have to go to a friend to attach the drive directly to a SATA port on a motherboard. I have no tower in use anymore and the one I own got no SATA onboard.

With best regards, bigboreshooter

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a c 288 G Storage
January 14, 2014 1:13:16 PM

I'm not a data recovery professional, but my understanding is that the bridge firmware will not allow access to your data if it detects a problem in the SmartWare section at the end of the user area of the drive. That's where the "key sector" is located. There may also be internal problems with the drive that prevent access to your data. The standard approach seems to be to clone the drive, sector by sector, using a tool that understands how to work with bad media (eg ddrescue, freeware). That will at least establish the physical state of the HDD.

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January 21, 2014 8:12:28 PM

fzabkar said:
I'm not a data recovery professional, but my understanding is that the bridge firmware will not allow access to your data if it detects a problem in the SmartWare section at the end of the user area of the drive. That's where the "key sector" is located. There may also be internal problems with the drive that prevent access to your data. The standard approach seems to be to clone the drive, sector by sector, using a tool that understands how to work with bad media (eg ddrescue, freeware). That will at least establish the physical state of the HDD.

In the meantime I assembled the SATA drive directly to a SATA controller. During boot with Windows 7 Pro's a message popped up that the data from the installed drive should be backed up urgently. The system reported SMART information were not available. With the fully booted neither Windows 7 Pro's disk management showed the drive nor could it be detected with the DMDE Tool...
If I get the same My Book Essential drive completely new: Shall I take out the new disk as well and try to make a physical copy to this drive?
Is there a need to back up the SmartDrive sectors from the new drive and restore it after the physical copy? Or do they remain the same during physical copy? If not, can the SmartDrive sectors be detected or is it known where these sectors are located ?
Is the default encryption always of the same type and can the encrypted data be decrypted with each SATA-USB bridge adapter?
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