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Hitachi HTS725032A9A364 Drive Not Recognized

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March 12, 2012 11:52:52 AM

I have a laptop Hitachi HTS725032A9A364 (320G / SATA 3) drive that appears to have bit the dust. I have checked all cabling and power. The drive powers on, and you can hear a soft repetitive ticking. I have tried it in both a Mac and a PC. Neither sees the drive, the BIOS in the PC shows nothing. It's not there.

Here is the noise being made: http://arlo.net/harddrive.mp3

This was made with an Edirol R09-HR using the built in mics, AGC, levels set to 100, mic sensitivity set to high and the recorder sitting on top of the bare drive... I then took that and normalized it so what you hear is MUCH louder than the actual noise being made by the drive (the click at the very beginning is me turning on the power strip to power up the drive).

The pattern you hear in the audio file repeats over and over and over and over. This is not my drive - I'm just trying to help out a friend. Apparently the drive has been dropped a few times from chair height on to carpet.

I tried turning to another forum for help - but it seems to be dominated by DR "pros" who seem to think that the problem is stiction, but really don't want to give me an idea of how much it will cost to recover (even a ballpark figure) or offer any advice on steps I could take to give it a go myself. It seems like it's send it to them, or throw it in the trash.

I'm hoping that "fzabkar" might weigh in - as he is apparently not well liked over at these other forums - which kinda tells me he is the go-to guy on this kind of thing!

Photo of the drive in question:

a c 318 G Storage
March 12, 2012 7:56:58 PM

Sounds like the "click of death" that I have too unfortunately heard on several occasions -- tells me the drive has failed and needs replacement.
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March 13, 2012 12:07:36 AM

Well, I'd like to first try some recovery procedures if possible. My main question is, would stiction cause a drive not to be recognized by any OS or BIOS? I am an electronics tech - so I've got a soldering iron, DVM, o'scope. If there are tests I can run to verify it's not a board failure I'd rather try that before I crack the case open.
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a c 318 G Storage
March 13, 2012 1:42:11 AM

It's not something that you can fix if the drive has experienced a catastrophic hardware failure, although some folks try freezing drives and what not to get a few more minutes of life to rescue files, although those measures are generally unsuccessful. If any data recover is possible, it would most likely be by attaching the drive to another machine and using a data recovery program like Recuva. However, this is unlikely with the noise you report and the fact that the drive is not recognized at all.

It is not the motherboard, but you could try booting from a CD and seeing if you can access the disk -- possible but not likely.
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March 13, 2012 6:17:07 PM

Quote:
Unfortunately, the "pros" are right - either send disk to them or to a trash bin. Even swapping pcbs with a donor disk may require soldering a ROM chip which cannot be done with an iron, only with a fan. And you need a clean room to open the case without damaging the heads and plates.


Actually, regarding a PCB swap - I've done that very thing with a 3.5" WD drive I had fail on me. I knew before I ordered the board that I needed to get as an exact replacement (same firmware and everything) to the board I had and I would then have to swap the NVRAM chips. It was a success and I was able to get things working long enough to recover ALL my data on the drive.

I realize this is not an idea situation by opening it without a clean room - and that once I'm inside if there hasn't been a catastrophic failure I may be able to unstick the head and maybe have 1 shot at running a recovery in an un-ideal setting. I had planned on using ddrecover to image the drive if I was sucessful. I have a fairly recent Seagate 500G 2.5" drive laying around that is basically starting to suffer a failure. I was going to practice on it before opening the other drive. I realize it may not be exactly the same, but it's something to get an idea of things before I try the other drive. I was also going to give making a pseudo-clean room out of tupperware a shot to try and at least minimize risk of contamination.

The person this drive belongs to is not willing to spend more than $100... And they are aware that the answer they get may be it was a complete loss. But taking the risk and trying to recover things myself and maybe lucking out is a better option than binning the drive without trying.
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March 13, 2012 6:18:20 PM

I don't recall if I mentioned this - but nothing will "see" this drive... I've tried it on a Mac, PC, and Linux box. On the PC the BIOS will not even recognize the drive. Besides, what do I have to lose in giving it a shot...
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March 16, 2012 11:53:05 PM

Opened it up, heads were over the platters, nothing moving. Rotated platters with pliers while pushing heads back towards the parking area. I assume I'm f'd...

http://youtu.be/_q974dEOGpc
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a c 318 G Storage
March 17, 2012 1:18:04 PM

moonchilddave said:
Opened it up, heads were over the platters, nothing moving. Rotated platters with pliers while pushing heads back towards the parking area. I assume I'm f'd...

http://youtu.be/_q974dEOGpc

I think that is a pretty safe assumption, but at least now you know what a dead drive looks like.
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March 17, 2012 1:59:39 PM

Thanks all for the help and info - even if it didn't work out. Not my first time opening a drive up. First one I ever opened was on an HP350 machine and it was about 24" x 12" and had quite a few platters in it. Kinda was hoping it was just a stuck spindle motor.
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a c 318 G Storage
March 17, 2012 2:15:09 PM

My very first hard drive (10 megabyte, yes megabyte, Warp Nine external) had a catastrophic failure -- loud banging and jumping around. When I opened it up there were lots of parts. It was pretty cool, although it only lasted a couple years and cost $995.
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a c 300 G Storage
March 19, 2012 4:34:44 PM

If you open up a modern hard drive outside of a clean room, the odds are that it will never work again. They are very sensitive to dust and foreign objects like skin flakes.

There was a fad a while back to open one up and replace the cover with Lucite, so you could see the bits whizzing by.
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March 26, 2012 12:27:15 AM

Best answer selected by moonchilddave.
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