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Is my HDD dead?

Last response: in Storage
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August 12, 2012 8:20:31 AM

Hi guys. I have been having major troubles with a new computer I built recently. However, this thread is about one particular problem I am having: the HDD. It is a 2TB Seagate "green" drive I have been using for storage for several years now.

Let me list my current parts:
i5-2500k
Z77 mobo
HD 4850
Corsair CX600 PSU
2x4 GB DDR3
120 GB Agility 3 SSD (OS)
2 TB Seagate HDD (Storage)
Windows 7

So I had this drive for years without any problems. The new computer I built has been freezing on me daily. I am currently suspecting the SSD or motherboard as the cause. One time, after a freeze, Windows had to run chkdsk on startup for my HDD. Another time after a freeze, Windows would fail to boot. I ended up moving the HDD onto my old computer where Windows was able to run chkdsk and fix the drive again. I put the HDD back into my new computer and yesterday, I got a BSOD saying there was a hardware problem/malfunction. Windows failed to boot again until I removed the HDD. I put the HDD into my old computer, hoping chkdsk would fix it again. Nope, Windows would not boot on my old computer this time. I got an external HDD and put my 'broken' HDD into the enclosure and plugged it into my computer after loading Windows. The drivers were installed and it said the drive was ready to go. The HDD didn't appear under My Computer for about a minute, then it showed up.. but I could not access it. If I tried to open the drive, it would just "not respond."

I tried manually running chkdsk on the HDD. I went to start menu and typed "chkdsk :L /F" (drive letter was :L, F is supposed to be for automatically fix errors). Chkdsk ran for a minute or two, but it didn't seem to do anything as I could still not access the drive afterwards. I tried a different method of running chkdsk, by opening an elevated command prompt and typing the same thing "chkdsk :L /F". It gave me an error saying "the type of this system is RAW" and wasn't able to run. I restarted my computer (with the HDD not connected) and reconnected it once Windows loaded. It said the drivers installed and the drive was ready to go... but this time, I don't see it under My Computer.

I am kind of stuck now as to what to do. The drive is still under warranty, but my data is still on the drive. I don't think there is anything super important on it, but there may be some stuff on it I don't necessarily want other people to see if I send it back under warranty.. I'm here to look for advice on how to possibly repair it or at least extract/wipe data from it.

More about : hdd dead

August 12, 2012 9:52:50 AM

I know this might sound screwy but, this has worked for me in the past with dying/dead hard drives. Put or keep your drive in the external enclosure and put the whole thing in the freezer long enough to cool the drive down as much as possible. After it is as cold as it can get plug it in. More often than not with the symptoms you have described your drive will function for 5-15min.

When I have done this in the past I found that wrapping a cold dry towel around it first will prolong how long it lasts before it has to go back in the freezer. You will probably have to repeat this quite a few times to get all your info off of a 2tb drive if it's pretty full and there's no rule as to how many times this will work so, get the most important stuff first!

One word of caution: As your drive warms up condensation could fry your drive completely. This has never happened to me but, I definitely consider it a possibility.

I know the above solution may sound strange but, it has worked for me on three separate occasions. :sol: 
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August 14, 2012 4:57:02 AM

Any other suggestions before I try to above recommendation?

Also, to give a brief update.. Right now, Windows recognizes the HDD after a few tries of rebooting.. but apparently it's a "raw" drive that needs to be formatted before I can use it.. Question is, if I format, will I be able to recover some of the old files with a recovery program? If so, what's a good program to do so?
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August 14, 2012 8:23:43 AM

It's most likely raw because the MBR can't be read. You might have waited to long to try the freezer method. That's to bad it works well with the conditions you described before.

When your format your drive you delete all data. There are some data recovery programs that can retrieve deleted data but they are just So So at best and they take a long time.
Since you can't keep your drive running for long enough that's not going to work.

I would still give the freezer method a try just don't be too hopeful.

But don't format your drive that wont help. It's doubtful it will complete a format anyway.

There are company's that will recover your data but they are very expensive (about $1,000 to 1,500 pr drive) and they don't guarantee anything.

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