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Hard drive no longer recognized after being dropped

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August 17, 2011 4:49:55 PM

Hey guys, my external hard drive took about a four foot spill a couple of weeks back, and ever since it hasn't been recognized on any computer I plug it into. It is a USB 2.0 external hard drive. I tried using different USB ports, different USB cables, and even a different AC adapter. Also, I removed the hard drive from its enclosure, removed the SATA to USB converter and connected it via SATA in a desktop all to no avail. The hard drive itself does not make any strange noises. It starts up and sounds just as it did when it functioned properly. Therefore, I do not believe there is a stiction fault or that the PCB is to blame. I recently discovered the small fortune it costs to have hard drive recovery services take a stab at recovering the data from a busted drive, and I don't want to spend that kind of money to recover my data if I don't have to. Still, I'm out of ideas, and the last thing I can think of is opening the hard drive myself and taking my chances to see what the issue is. If you guys have any recommendations whatsoever, they are greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read my question.
a c 93 G Storage
August 17, 2011 5:05:11 PM

is the drive recognized by the BIOS?
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August 17, 2011 10:43:34 PM

Emerald said:
is the drive recognized by the BIOS?


Nope.
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August 18, 2011 12:47:40 AM

In all likelihood? You're scr*wed out of luck. I have had some success in the past recovering data from hard drives with a damaged PCB. The catch is you have to try and track down a PCB as close to yours as possible in order to have a decent chance of substituting it, and even then I would only use it long enough to get your data off.
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August 18, 2011 9:15:57 AM

I have the simmilar kind of problem,only that mine i am able to see it in devices and Printers but cannot show or accessed it from Windows explorer.
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a c 353 G Storage
August 18, 2011 3:22:15 PM

Probably have recieved the KOD (Kiss of Death).
But I would try to download the Maunf HDD utilities amd see if it can find and fix the drive. Hopefully you have all your data/files backed!!
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August 18, 2011 3:56:38 PM

RetiredChief said:
Probably have recieved the KOD (Kiss of Death).
But I would try to download the Maunf HDD utilities amd see if it can find and fix the drive. Hopefully you have all your data/files backed!!



I will definitely try that utility you mentioned, Chief, thanks. In the mean time, I decided I had nothing to lose in opening my drive and seeing if there was anything glaringly wrong. I honestly can't tell, so I videotaped the drive revving up without its cover. If anyone can point out an obvious problem, please let me know. This is new territory for me if it isn't obvious already. Thanks again in advance!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e3_ui_1hbw
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a c 353 G Storage
August 18, 2011 4:02:31 PM

Wild aS2 quess is that the alignment is out of wack and when the head moves it is not finding sector 0.
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a c 288 G Storage
August 18, 2011 11:46:47 PM

After the drive spins up, it attempts to retrieve its firmware from a hidden System Area on the platters. If it can't do that, then it won't come ready.

Hard drives use an "embedded servo", which means that the positioning information is recorded in between the sectors on each track. Therefore it really doesn't make sense to talk about alignment problems. That really only applies to stepper motor HDDs and FDDs.

That said, certain WD models rely on a cover screw to hold the head stack in place. When this screw is disturbed, the head stack is "misaligned" to the point that the servo is unable to lock onto the track.
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a b G Storage
August 19, 2011 12:14:04 AM

If you open it up then you will have lost any chance of recovering your data unless you do so in a clean room. Dust from the air will see to that. Its actually educational to look at the platter of a freshly opened drive and to see the dust settling on it as if by magic.
When you drop a drive it is normally the bearings of the drive that get damaged pushing the drive spindle out of alignment. Your drive is toast but a specialist data recovery firm will be able to get your data back for you. If you have to ask how much will a specialist data recovery firm will charge for this service you can't afford it.

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a b G Storage
August 19, 2011 12:39:41 AM

If you can track down an IDENTICAL drive (exact same model number and revision) you can swap PCB's and try that. I've had luck about a half dozen times doing it for customers. If the drive doesn't recognize, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad PCB. If the drive is unable to get geometry data from the platters when it spins up, it will cause them to refuse to ID to the host controller. A bad head or a bad head amplifier will cause that, and both of those are located inside the sealed portion of the drive. NEVER open a drive. And professional data services typically run $400 to around $1500 (such as Kroll Ontrack) but have very high success rates. Maybe it's just bad luck, but i've sent two drives to Ontrack, and both were at the top end of the estimated range, but both customers needed the data very very badly, so they coughed up the dough and learned to back up their data.
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August 29, 2011 9:57:10 PM

Best answer selected by Geggz.
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August 29, 2011 9:57:32 PM

I appreciate all the input, guys. Hopefully I can do something about this.
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