Click of death, brainstorming a solution

i know you guys probably arent keen to see another click of death thread but i'm, i think on to somthing that might be able to fix most of the drives in my possesion with these problems.

alright so i cant find it now but i remember watching a video mabye from newegg or tigerdirect's channels or somthing on youtube about how screw torque especialy on the screw holding the arm in place is one of the important functions of the hard drive, if the screws are torqued to tight the head doesnt move to the excat predicted spod doesnt read the right sector checksum errors occor repositioning is retried and so on and so forth causing the head to attempt to realign itself and try to position itself again to read the data starting the cycle over again.

all the mechanical drives i have the click of death problems are from shock damage, some of them like the 2.5inch sata drives i have one pulled from an xbox 360 hard drive and some pulled from laptops were all droped, likley from about waist to the floor (so 2-3 feet on avarage) but most of the desktop drives were droped from much lower hights, i have a 120GB drive i've been hesitent to send to a recovery service due to the sensitivity of the data on the drive that got me thinking about this, during a case transfer i sliped and droped it just 3-4 inches and it died. it fell on a rubber mat.

i do not however posess the tool to precisely torque screws so i'm posing the question to the community in hopes that somone has a few bum drives and the tool to do it to give it a try. or if no one has them i can just bite the bullet and buy the tool when i get paid. and as such i'm curious if anyone else has either heard of or knows somthing that might relate to this possible fix.
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More about click death brainstorming solution
  1. If you want the data back send it to a data recovery center. This will not work to any percentage that makes it useful at all.

    Data recovery centers are almost always FERPA/HIPAA certified etc.

    Seems like some kind of backup solution is in need with as many drives as are hitting the ground over there.
  2. i'm not the one droping them the clients are then they bring it to me. i dont really have a large enough number of clients to afford seting up a connection with a recovery service either.

    i dont have confidence in the laptop drives that were droped but the larger drives that have died from small shocks could be promising.
  3. Trying to re-adjust the head arm mounting is almost always a waste of time. First issue is if you are not operating a "clean room" environment, chances are you will contaminate the drive with air borne matter and debris from your clothing. Torque is just one parameter, the adjustment must insure the proper parallelism between the head and the platter. If the unit was dropped you have no way of measuring if the head is still perpendicular to the platter (I assume this as you lack the proper tool for the screw adjustment). Given your statement that your client base is very small, I would think you would want to limit your exposure to providing "bad" service. Most dropped drives damaged in a drop have more than one defect after the drop. I think your best service solution is to sell the clients new drives with installation and then assist them with with reloading their software.
  4. of course i set the clients up with new drives, but the idea came about that the screws could be loosend one at a time then retightend as another possibility to recover the clients data, getting them new hard drives is fine but i cant restore that wich they didnt back up.

    people dont seem to understand that a new hard drive will make thier computer live again, but there still stuff wont come back. trying to explain whats going on (abotu recovery services and stuff and the price is a major turn off for most people with thier 300$ laptops.) its not really mentioned alot but i havent really seen a standard laptop warentee yet that covers the data on the drive, only the drive itself is covered. i've had to make people sign waivers before i work on thier computers abotu things like total hard drive failure meaning that i cant get there stuff back and that a recoverery service would be needed for that becasue people who i sat down with and worked with closely came back and were threatening me over the data loss.

    i cant personaly afford to ahve my drive restored and if i cant do anything about it i'll probably have it destroyed. or destroy it myself or put the platters in the demagnetizer or somthing (do the old bulk floppy demagnetizers work on hard drive platters tho? mabye i should get rid of my dads old stuff) if i cant fix them then how would you say is the best way to dispose of broken hard drives that isnt going to leave me liable? i've only been doing this for a few years and ive known it was a problem to not just throw them in the trash but i've not really known how to dispose of them, so i have a cabnet filled with old drives under lock in the back. should i shred them? get them demagnetized? break them up and burn them? (all three?)
  5. If the drive is mechanically dead there are several fun ways to dispose of it. I have derived great satisfaction from beating several older WD250's (they had legendary defective controllers with maybe 50 firmware chip variations making part swapping impossible) with a light duty sledge hammer. A couple of whacks and it was gone. It is a good practice to put the drive into a sealed sandwich bag to help limit flying debris. Demagnetizing may work but since you can't verify it why take the chance? Taking a pointed chisel and driving it through the case is also very effective. If you a lot to get rid of at once, you could fill a 5 gal. utility bucket with pre-mix cement, push the drives in, let it harden and then bury the thing. Remember to always were protective eye wear and gloves. When destruction is complete the drives should be disposed of a a site prepared for hazardous disposal. The controllers may contain trace amounts of chemicals. Do not burn them as it may release toxic fumes.
  6. Whenever I come across a dead HDD - I take it completely apart, scratch/bend the platters and throw em away. The data will never be recovered.

    Kind of a hassle to take some of them apart....but it is necessary (for what I do).
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