Hard Drive only appears at cold start, but is inaccessable.

Hi there,

I'm having problems with one of my secondary drives.

When I power up the machine it appears in the POST as normal. The drive appears in disk management and the partitions very occasionally show content but then become completely inaccessible after a few minutes. Usually they just show up as RAW partitions that need formatting.

If I reboot the computer the drive is no longer viewable in the BIOS or Windows and will not reappear until the next cold boot.

I've tried connecting it up via USB adaptor but only appears briefly and if I disconnect and reconnect it doesn't show up again unless I cut the power to the drive and then reconnect.

I've tried running test disk and sometimes it sees the drive as the full size but usually all it sees it as a small 100GB partition. And then it has trouble finding it at all.

It's like the drive stops being readable after being powered for a short time.

The drive sounds fine, it's spinning and not making any unhealthy noises.

I'm at a loss on what to do now.

I'd like the data that's on it but I'm not sending it to a lab for recovery.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I could try?
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  1. That's how allot of drives start to completely fail. If you find you can't keep the drive recognized long enough to recover your data, try this: Remove your hard drive. Place it in a zip-lock baggie. Put it in the freezer for about 24 hours with a towel. Then wrap the cold towel around it (don't remove the baggie) and plug it into your PC. Reseal the zip-lock as much as possible and boot up your PC. Your drive should now work for about 15-20min at which time you will have to repeat the procedure.

    I know this may sound kind of nuts but it has worked for me (and many others) on more than one occasion when a hard drive of mine exhibited similar symptoms. I use a external enclosure when I have had to do this which helps keep the circuit board on the drive from coming in contact with anything (like a zip-lock bag with condensation on it) so if you can place something in the bag to protect the circuit board from coming in contact with anything, that would be ideal.

    I'm not saying this is the first thing you should try by any means but, if all else fails and you are ready to chuck the drive this has a very good chance of working considering your described symptoms. :sol:

    Google search: "freeze hard drive recover data"

    Results: http://lifehacker.com/5515337/save-a-failed-hard-drive-in-your-freezer-redux
    There's lot's more as well. :sol:

    P.S. Most of the ones that say it won't work are professional data recovery people but, even then if they allow comments you will find lots that say it did work.
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