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Fixing Hard Drive Failure

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#1 johnnyblaze


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Posted 07 March 2010 - 08:49 PM

Hey guys, first time posting. Hopefully, you guys can answer some questions I have. For those of you who don't need the back story, skip to the bold header.

So, I aired out my apartment the other day while i was out, and I left the computer running like I usually do. The only thing is the wind chill was about 30 degrees F for most of day and probably a little colder by the time I got home at night. Needless to say it was like an ice box in my apartment when I got home.

Dumb, I know, in hindsight I should have known better. You always hear about the damage extreme heat can do to a computer but never really about the other extreme.

I was home for maybe an hour, when I tried watching a DVD I burned the day before to check it. And while it was playing I heard some beeping and assumed it was either the DVD drive or a bad burn and restarted my computer. Which it did, and I tried to watch the DVD and heard the beeping again.

At this point, I forget if I tried to restart or shut it down and whether it got hung up trying to shutdown or restarting but I had to do a hard reset.

After hard resetting, I gave it a minute and powered it back on. When I did, I got a message saying that the computer couldn't find my SATA-1 drive which I ignored. It was a long day and I didn't even know what I looking at. After telling me it couldn't find the drive a couple of times it finally restarted.

I checked my drives and noticed that my storage drive wasn't there to access. I assumed that maybe my OS disconnected the drive in the device manager and decided I would check on it in the morning. When I did, the computer couldn't see the drive at all and I realized it was something more serious.

I was hoping that it was just the SATA cable and not the drive itself but that's not the case. I switched the cables to the two drives and same thing. And I don't think it's the power supply either. The rest of my computer is running fine and the likelihood that just the lines powering that drive went bad is next to nothing.

TL;DR. I'm an idiot and I broke my hard drive.

I think it's either an electrical or mechanical failure since I didn't have any issues with the drive prior to this. So, I was wondering whether or not it's possible to actually salvage the data by moving the platters to an identical drive.

1) Is this actually possible?

2) Has anybody attempted to do something like this? By anybody, I mean a forum member or someone who tried and posted their attempt on the internet.

3) What was the outcome?

If it's not possible to move the platters, then would it be possible to change the electronics board from an identical drive.

Same three questions as above.

Last question, is there a way for me track down an identical drive as the one I have. Is there a specific site or sites I can look at?

Thanks in advance,

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#2 dpunisher


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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:34 PM

Not really possible to do a platter swap without specialized clean rooms and the ability to precisely re-align the platters after the swap.

That being said, the problem likely is not internal to the drive. You do have the right idea about swapping the PCB on the drive as this is likely where the problem is. Get a number from the PCB, and google it. There are companies that keep boards in stock for just this problem.

http://www.hdd-parts.com/index.html and of course EBay. Once you google the board number, you will get more options. Be aware that the board's firmware revisions will likely need to match as well as the PCB numbers.

Edited by dpunisher, 07 March 2010 - 09:34 PM.

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#3 johnnyblaze

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 11:36 PM

Thanks for the info and quick response.

I figured the platter swap was probably a stretch.

It's good to know that the board shorting is a common enough issue that getting my hands on one and replacing it is actually possible.

I don't know when I'll be able to actually attempt it. I got a lot on my plate at the moment, so maybe in a couple months when i have some free time.

I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes.

And if anyone has any experience replacing a board or helpful advice in doing so, please feel free share.


#4 MrBruce1959


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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:25 AM

Hi johnnyblaze.

I personally don't think the cold temp was the reason for failure.

Heat is an electronic components worst enemy as harddrives do overheat.

I have the following suggestion.

Most towers have a bracket for a case cooling fan, just in front of the harddrive bay area accessable by removing the towers face plate.

I suggest getting a fan and placing one in this bracket, blowing inwards towards the harddrives.

I don't know why, but most towers I have wroked on do not have a fan blowing cool air towards the harddrives!

Now I back up my theory: I often use diagnostic software on harddrives and find they have a history of overheating at some point or another, seagate tools has this feature built into its hardrive

diagnostic test software and I often find most harddrives had a session or two of over heating, sometimes even more than that, which shortens the life of the drive.

Your failure related to cold air is just a coincidence.

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#5 garmanma


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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:52 AM

if anyone has any experience replacing a board or helpful advice in doing so, please feel free share.

I've done it once and as dpunisher says, They must match exactly
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