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Hard Drive problems

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January 30, 2012 2:11:54 AM

Hi guys. Long time lurker. I have a question where I have no idea where to start looking for the answer.

I've been collecting dead hard drives over the past, lets say, 5-6 years. They "broke" in various ways. A couple were dropped while on (external hard drives), some died from electrical problems (more on that later), and some just mysteriously started making noises and giving me all sorts of problems (crashing, data corruption, etc).

There is a ton of data on these drives which I don't consider essential but precious enough for me to not throw the drive away immediately. Over the years, I threw away some I considered hopeless and kept others. I have recently decided to look into salvaging the data off two of my "dead" drives.

Now I know this is probably (scratch that, almost definitely) a fools quest. The value of this data isn't enough to justify the money required in sending the drives off to some data recovery company. After doing some research, I learned that it is possible, in some cases, to fix the drives (if only temporarily) with minimal cost. I read about everything from freezing your hard drives, to physically spinning the hard drive itself, to replacing the PCB on the hard drive.

Setup-
Test computer. Remains of an old HP desktop from way back when (still runs on a Intel Celeron processor, hah). Everything still works fine. Took out its hard drive a long time ago and the remains have been sitting in my garage ever since. I'm basically using this setup just to provide power to my target hard drives. I don't care about booting or detecting in BIOS. Just seeing if the drives will even start correctly and remain spinning.

*Note: All these drives don't detect or break my regular desktop if I try plugging them in. Hence the testing rig.

Drive 1:
Don't remember how it died. I just know its dead. It possibly came from an external hard drive when it fell off my desk.

When I put it in the "test setup", it goes through its normal power up spin then spins down and turns off. No clicks or irregular noises. Just hums quietly on, stays on for about 1-2 seconds, and then hums off to dead silent.

Drive 2:
Died from an electrical issue of some sort. Had it connected to one of those cheap-o quick IDE/SATA to USB converter kits. Used the kit for about 3 months on and off to quickly grab data off hard drives I had (too lazy to shut down my computer and plug it in normally). Then one day I smelled burning from the power adapter. Computer then decided to crash. Hard drive never worked after that day. Fried the USB header on the front of my case as well.

When I put it in the "test setup", it kills the computer. I fear this hard drive. I press the power button, the computer clicks for about 1/2 a second and dies. Subsequent power button presses do nothing. I have to disconnect the power cable, switch off the power supply, and reset the CMOS/BIOS either through jumpers or taking out the round battery.

Question:
From the symptoms I've provided, does anybody know ANYTHING I can do? Or are these drives deader than dead? If it's relevant, I don't have a multimeter so I can't check anything myself.

Again, I know its most likely possible that these drives are dead. I figured it is worth the shot to ask around if these drives are "salvageable" before throwing them away.

More about : hard drive problems

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a c 260 G Storage
January 30, 2012 11:06:15 AM
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1 surely dead data storage platters/read-write arms.
2 power issues possibly just on the PCB on it if you have another the same you could change out the PCB and try again.
January 30, 2012 11:57:37 PM

Thanks for the information. After a little more research, it seems that other people have found occasional success when replacing the PCB in hard drives with power problems. Problem is that my hard drive (Samsung HD753LJ, PCB= bf41-00185a r00) seems to be pretty much nonexistant now. And the ones that are available cost as much as sending the drive off to a data recovery site anyway.

As a thought, this quest was doomed from the start. Unless anybody who happens to run across this thread turns out to have the same exact drive/board as mine and is willing to give/sell it to me. Which is equally as unlikely as my drive just deciding to spontaneously start working again.

Thanks again though. I'll leave this open for a little while longer to see if anybody has anything to add before closing it down. :( 
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February 10, 2012 1:22:50 AM

Best answer selected by headcr4b.
February 10, 2012 8:53:25 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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