1TB Iomega Segate Barracuda won't initialize - Family Photos lost?

Yesterday I was reorganizing files on my Mac Mini Unibody.

I have a 1TB Iomega Firewire 800 External Drive.
I have been doing Time Machine back ups to it.
The model is MMHDCB.
It is about 3 years old.
I never power it off to minimize the chance of power surge.

Well during my re-organization of files the Iomega became unavailable.
As it would happen I had wiped out my photos on my server.
The Iomega also had some archived photos that were not on any of my other servers :-(

I tried restarting the Iomega several times but had no success in getting the drive to appear.

I brought up the Mac Disk Utility and I could see the drive but no partitions.

I connected the Iomega to a windows machine and the disk appeared but did not have any partions.
I tried initialize but that came up with the error "Drive can not be initialized"

I then dismantled the enclosure and took the drive to a local computer shop.
They put the drive into a SATA shoe that hooked up to one of their Windows PCs.
They got the same error when trying to initialize :-(
I had eliminated the problem being in the Iomega Firewire interface.

The computer shop recommended that I take the drive to a data recovery specialist.
I did this and they now have the drive.
They also tried the initialize and got the same error.
They said they have various utilities they can run to try to recover the files and it will cost $200 if they can.
I have downloaded various utilities and followed instructions from this forum and others but was not able to get any data from the drive.

I will get an update from the "Data Recovery" specialists tomorrow.
They said that there may be physical disk damage :-(
They said that if they can not get the data off the drive that they could send it to some other recovery specialist that has a clean room and can dismantle the disk and try to recover what is on the platters. This would cost over $1000.

I have been able to find a lot of my photos from other sources but still have some important ones missing.
I guess at the end of the day it is going to come down to how much I want to spend to get the data :-(

What are your thoughts?

9 answers Last reply
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  1. Well you have done exactly what I would have done. You have fallowed this to its conclusion and you are right just depends on how much you are willing to spend. This is most likely the controller board that went bad. I have seen people able to get the exact drive and swap the controller board to get data off but it is a long shot.

  2. Thanks for the reply.

    That is where my thought process was going.

    I guess the hard part is getting a controller board that is compatible.

    I have several other hard drives at home but I would probably need a baracuda SATA one, right?
    I see you said I need to get the same model. Perhaps I can find one on ebay as I am guessing that the model I have is not available in the stores anymore :-(
  3. No genuine data recovery "specialist" would initialise a drive. Initialisation is data destructive. Don't do it.

    As for replacing the board, if the drive spins up, then it most probably won't be a board fault.

    What model is your drive? Is it a 7200.11 with SD15 firmware? If so, then there is possibly a low cost DIY fix.

    If you can connect it to a Windows box, how does HD Sentinel or BIOS identify your drive?
  4. Hi there Fzabkar,

    The drive spins up.

    The model is: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    I do not have the drive as it is still at the "Data Recovery" specialist.

    I will get the drive back tomorrow night as they just told me they had no luck :-(
  5. It does sound like an internal fault rather than a board fault. :-(

    That said, if it is affected by the "0 LBA" problem, then sometimes it will respond to the 7200.11 "0 LBA" fix.
  6. I have been watching the You-Tube videos on fixing this issue.
    I guess I need to buy the fix tool in order to get started.
    I think I saw somewhere that a diy one could be created with a zenner diode.
    What do you think?
  7. Can you provide a link?

    There are quite a few tutorials on the subject. In your case I would obtain the output from the serial console, but I would not write anything to the drive until you can get a professional opinion on what is wrong.

    Seagate 7200.11 BSY bug and 0 LBA fix:
  8. This was the you-tube video


    Here is another page I have been looking at:
    That is the same as one of the links you have.

    I am a big Arduino fan and have several boards so another option is for me to do something with that.

    On a side note.......
    For many years now I have been trying to decide on the best data back up strategy for at home.
    I built my own RAID1 Ubuntu server.
    I have had many external drives.
    I tried backing up to DVDs.

    What do you think is the best way to back up data at home?

    Should I be looking at an SSD farm?

    Thanks for all your help
  9. I think your earlier post may have referred to a zener diode as a protection measure, just in case the drive's I/O pins were not 5V tolerant. If you're using 3.3V TTL, then that shouldn't be a problem, AFAICT.

    As for backups, I'm probably the wrong person to ask. All my important data easily fit on a small stack of DVDs which I've triplicated over the years. For convenience and portability I would consider backing these up on a couple of 32GB or 64GB pen drives. The general consensus is that you should have at least two backups, and that at least one backup should be stored offsite.

    RAID 1 is a good idea, although on its own it still leaves you vulnerable to a total failure, such as from a power surge, lightning strike, or PSU failure. Some people suggest that having dissimilar drives is a good idea, since there could be a bug in a particular model.

    SSDs sound good, but currently they don't appear to be any more reliable than HDDs. Worse still, an SSD failure is usually sudden and catastrophic, resulting in total data loss. AIUI, typical failures involve corruption of the Flash Translation Layer which occurs as a result of power loss while the drive is performing wear levelling. That said, there are certain SSDs that incorporate backup capacitors to supply power for a short interval after power loss.

    In my case, if I were backing up my DVD and CD collection, I would use several SSDs, despite the relatively high cost. My thinking is that, as long as I don't write to the backups, there will be no wear levelling activity, and the SSD should be very reliable.

    Of course I would keep an eye on emerging technologies and migrate my backups whenever necessary. One technology I would avoid is magnetic tape. IME tape transports are very unreliable, and they suffer from alignment problems. That is, a tape may play in one drive but not in another. Also, rubber parts tend to wear and deteriorate over time. I have on several occasions had to repair tape drives and VCRs where the pinch rollers and drive belts have turned into a sticky goo.

    External hard drives are often hotboxes. They are prone to being dropped, and their USB cables dislodged. I would at least have an aluminium case, preferrably heatsinked, and with a large fan. Multiple interfaces (including eSATA) would afford some redundancy in cases where a USB port is damaged. Also, try to find a case with the larger B connector rather than a micro or mini USB.

    If your residence has frequent power outages or noisy power, then you might like to consider a UPS.
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