• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question Trying to recover my brother's failed HDD

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,941
3,868
136
And by 'recover' I mean, "get the drive working for long enough to transfer necessary data off".

Drive: WD Scorpio Black 2.5" 750GB

To begin with, when I powered up the drive it just made some odd noises then stopped with no drive spin-up sounds and no reaction from the OS saying it can see the drive.

At that point I said that any other tactics I might use to recover data are unlikely to work, and after my brother said don't bother with professional data recovery, I thought I'd have another crack at the drive today.

I removed the lid to expose the platter and head, and found the head parked in the middle of the platter (no scratches on the platter). I gently parked the head into the assembly next to the platter that I'm fairly sure the head should be parked in when the drive powers down gracefully, then switched the drive on and the platter spun up, however no movement from the drive head and the platter spun down after a few seconds.

Any ideas for how to coax more life out of it?
 

PW5843

Junior Member
Oct 18, 2019
12
2
41
Not sure how well this will work since you opened it up ... i have had great success in placing an hdd in the freezer for a few hours. Get it hooked up and fired up quickly you might have time to at least get important data. I have been able to get at least 20 minutes out of failed drives this way, sometimes longer.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
5,390
266
126
yea buy the exact drive and hope that not a single particle of dust has come into it while transfering platters to new drive ; ) i did this with a cleanroom box i made myself and it actually worked
 

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,368
80
91
This is one of the options of a pro recovery service. First up decide how important the data is, nothing at this point will be easy, cheap, or certain to work.

What may have happened is something on the drive controller board failed, so sometimes finding exactly the same drive and swapping the controller board will get it going again.

Whatever you do, don't try anything without being ready to immediately, without a power cycle, image the drive to a known good drive.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,941
3,868
136
This drive really wants to play games with me!

I froze the drive which gave two improvements: The drive stayed spun up and partition info was even retrieved, but the Windows event log filled with disk error retries and bad block errors. I tried running data recovery software but it only started to respond once the drive finished trying to find everything wrong with it, and even then the data recovery software started recording read failures for every single sector for ten minutes. Windows still considered the main partition to be unreadable.

I've frozen the drive again in the hope that perhaps that 10 hours hasn't been completely wasted, but I suspect that's it for this drive. - edit - same problem as after the last freezing but it didn't read partition info off this time.

Buying a second drive is problematic since I'd need an identical one down to the last specified detail and the drive is already a good few years old.
 
Last edited:

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,368
80
91
People on ebay sell just the boards for this very reason. I think opening the drive was killer, even if it was mostly dead before that.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,941
3,868
136
People on ebay sell just the boards for this very reason. I think opening the drive was killer, even if it was mostly dead before that.
Honestly, it isn't. I've done it before with drives making screeching noises, the head won't move easily from the platter, so I would move the head from the platter, power it back on and voila. Until maybe it got stuck again. In the meantime the drive works fine so I just copy only the necessary data off with robocopy as quick as I can.
 

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,368
80
91
I would suggest that when you had success previously, you were very lucky. Also depends on the drive having internal filters. OTOH you could be seeing all the errors due to controller board issues.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY