A friend recently gave me this laptop to fix. I'm not much of a hard drive guy, but I decided to see what I could do.
Originally, the hard drive's main problem was that it would boot past the BIOS and the OS loading screen, but it would then just go to a black screen with a mouse. Nothing else would or could happen after that, but the mouse was moveable. Safe mode, last known good configuration, and the likes all yielded the same results, though safe mode was able to get the regular safe mode text on the corners and upper middle of the screen. Still, nothing else would go.
I then tried a Windows 7 install disk to see if I could try and repair files. That was a half-and-half deal. Sometimes it would boot to the same black screen, sometimes it would go to "starting setup", but it would then stop loading from there. Loading mouse was still there and animating.
That was problem one. After a while, the hard drive stopped working altogether. When I boot it up, it now says:
For Atheros PCIE Ethernet Controller v126.96.36.199(11/02/10)
Check cable connection!
PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE ROM
No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key
When I insert the install disk and press a key, it just goes to the same black screen with moveable mouse. I should note at this point that whenever it gets to the black screen or the setup screen, the hard drive will make quite but noticeable clicking noises. They are pretty short and follow a specific patter. They sound like quick "tick" noises. It does a few of those, then a quick random one, then a few more ticks, and then it sounds like it stutters back to position. It's sorta like a lawn sprinkler. This repeats indefinitely, as far as I know.
So it seems like it just doesn't even detect the hard drive. In the BIOS, it lists the HDD as a Toshiba MK5065GSXN(S1). The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite L650 PSK2CU. Now, if I remove the hard drive and boot just from the Windows 7 install disk, I can get to the setup screen and go to the point where you select the hard drive. Obviously, nothing shows up. If I insert the hard drive and hit refresh, nothing pops up. If I insert my external hard drive into the USB slot, however, that shows up. Sadly, it won't allow me to install to a USB drive (which wasn't my goal in the first place).
So we've got a hard drive that is detected only by the BIOS, refuses to load to any usable point, and this laptop comes with no recovery or diagnosis tools. I've tried the freezer trick, keeping it it for 20 min, 6 hours, and even 2 days. Nothing helps. Basically, I just want to know if this hard drive is completely fried and if I should get a new one, or if there's some kind of way to jolt some life back into it. Data recovery isn't super important, but it would be appreciated. I've heard that booting through Ubuntu or Gentoo can help, but I don't see how a different OS can detect and fix a busted hard drive, if that even is the problem.
Well, any help would be greatly appreciated. As for specs, all I really know is the hard drive and the CPU, which is an Intel Core i3 M370 @2.40Ghz.
Clicking noises means the hard drive has definitely failed (the clicking is the noise made by the read/write heads jammed and trying to move). The heads travel mechanism/bearing has either seized-up or the heads have crashed into the platters - either way a new drive is the only way to proceed.
That's kinda what I was thinking as well. I was just hoping that there may have been some kind of way to save it a little bit, even if only for ten minutes. I'm guessing that it'll be near-impossible to actually repair the drive, and going to a repairman is out the question here. I'll just get a new one and replace it.