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I opened my HDD and...


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#1 urbanninja

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:22 AM

I opened my HDD (for no reason at all), but only the cover to reveal the disc. I did not disassemble it past that. I made sure I was grounded at all times, and the only thing that happened, was the white cloth/ air filter fell out, so I put it back in. I made sure everything was as it was when I closed it and re-inserted it into my laptop.

I turned on my laptop and it was EXTREMELY slow. It finally booted up and the first thing I did was run MalwareByte's Anti-Malware. My computer froze every now and then and I noticed my cpu kept spiking at 100%, something it never does. I tried to open the task manager to see what all was running because the memory usage was at 70 rather than the normal 30%. When I did I had to wait a few minutes at a black screen until it finally said:
(the below quote is the only case I could find via Google that matched my problems.. at least partially)

Failure to display security and shut down options
The logon process was unable to display security and logon options when CTRL+ALT+DELETE was pressed. If the operating system does not respond, press ESC or restart the computer by using the power switch.
[OK]

I hit OK, and the system comes back, but it's clear it still has freezing/performance issues.


Finally (within 20 minutes of logging on) it completely froze (I was able to move the mouse every time until this final time, in which even the mouse froze). I went to take a shower and eat, and by the time I got back, there was a "blue screen" and it was saying something about having to shutdown and there was a number climbing by 5's. It was at 40 and went up to 100, then shut down.

When I rebooted, a S.M.A.R.T. message popped up before it started to boot the OS (Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit) and said something implying that I should back up and replace my HDD, when I continued the boot process, it said "Operating System Not Found"

Did merely opening the top of the HDD case really do all this?
Is there a way I can fix it without having to format/ re-install Win7?
Is it even possible to be repaired.. or am I gonna have to buy a new HDD before being able to use my laptop again?

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#2 Sneakycyber

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:27 AM

Chances are you borked your drive :thumbsup: . If you have a hard copy of windows 7 you could try a repair install.
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#3 fairjoeblue

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:30 AM

A HD should never be opened if it is intended to see further use.
A HD is a sealed unit & relies on a specific amount of internal air pressure to keep the read head "floating" above the disk at a specific height.
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#4 urbanninja

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:11 AM

A HD should never be opened if it is intended to see further use.
A HD is a sealed unit & relies on a specific amount of internal air pressure to keep the read head "floating" above the disk at a specific height.


Yeah that's what I figured. I found out about the air pressure keeping the read/write head just nanometers from the disc when I was trying to figure out what the "white cloth" air filter thing was.

Right now I am running Puppy Linux off my USB drive so I can at least use the Internet. Only, now my HDD makes a whirring noise that builds up over a few seconds and then a "click," then it starts over.
I used Puppy Linux to recover the data on my mom's HDD when her's had a logical crash/failure, but my HDD doesn't even show up in Puppy. So I am going to open it up and try to make 100% sure that everything is as it should be, and if that doesn't work, I guess I have to trash it. :thumbsup:

#5 urbanninja

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 03:49 AM

One last question: Would anybody know if some sort of specialized computer techy would be able to retrieve data off the metal disc alone?

#6 dpunisher

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:16 AM

Not to be a smartass (I just can't help it sometimes) but hard drives are not sealed. They run at atmospheric pressure, hence the air filter under the bleed hole in the cover. The heads are floated by the air velocity generated by the spinning disk, like a hydrodynamic bearing. What kills the drive are dust particles that get in the drive when they are opened up. Now we know why they are assembled in clean rooms.

Interesting note: If you get into the specsheets of hard drives, especially notebook drives, they have a max altitude/minimum absolute air pressure they are rated to work at. The air can actually be too thin to properly support the heads. Mountain climbers and pilots in unpressurized cabins take note.

As far as recovery, yes data can be recovered directly from the disks. The Feds have disk scanning/recovery equipment that boggle the mind. The likely way in a case like this the drive's heads/actuator would be replaced, the disks blown out with clean air, then reassembled, and data extracted.

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#7 urbanninja

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:48 PM

Yeah I knew that they are not air tight, so I was trying to figure out why it worked at first, then gradually got worse until it stopped working. When I opened it up the second time, I noticed particles on the disc so I blew 'em off and used my TV's unused cleaning cloth that came with it to get the rest that wouldn't budge. That didn't fix it, so I figured it may have some sort of pressurized air chamber that slowly lost pressure after I opened it.. I guess I was wrong.
Anyways, thanks for the information dpunisher :thumbsup:

#8 MrBruce1959

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 03:39 PM

The problem with opening a hard drives cover is no matter how hard you try to keep dust from entering the housing, it happens!
One piece of fine partical dust is more than enough for it to get lodged between the head and the disk causing scratches and eventually damaged sectors.
Even scan disk can not repair the damage. It can only mark those sectors as BAD and attempt to retrieve any un-damaged files, but don't count on it.
Rule of thumb....DON'T open the drives cover!

Edited by MrBruce1959, 13 January 2010 - 03:48 PM.

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#9 Kyle Richards

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:14 PM

There is still a chance the drive can be recovered. Not a great chance, but a chance none the less. From prior experience working in a repair shop, your probably looking at a $650 + bill for a cheaper service. The process these folks go through is pretty neat if you look into it, but unfortunately the price is not so neat.




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