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Hard Drive Malfunction Wife in Tears


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#1 Eagle__4

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 09:24 AM

Hello All, This is my first Post so have mercy... First paragraph is incident background info so skip it unless you think it could be technically relevant...

While working in the yard yesterday, my new Step-Daughter (6 Years Old) came out to inform me that "the big computer is make a weird noise". The machine is a 10 year old Dell. I find my new Wife staring at the monitor with a confused look staring at a black screen. Before I can get in range to read she asks "What does Cannot Find Operating System mean?" I quickly answered "Means the drive is dead, as old as it is and since it is left on all the time I think it did pretty well, looks like we can toss it and look at buying another one."... Tears begin to swell on the Wife and 6yo, The 10 Year Old is now on scene, looks up and asks me "How do we get our stuff on the new computer". I reply "Well, you don't if the drive is dead." Now I have 3 women crying and all I can mentally do is facepalm. Epic Fail on how other people perceive information and my inability to use the correct phrasing. I'm 42 and was an EMT for 10 years, I am now a system admin at a small company. As an EMT I was trained on how to discuss with the family the status of a patient. Never did it occur to me I need to remember to use my training more often. I am a handyman and the girls have watched me fix many things and I have always come through for them. So when my Wife asks me in broken sobs "but you can get my girls pictures off it right?". I have to reply "I'll get on it now". As I disconnected wires, opened the case and removed the drive all 3 were watching as if I were operating on their pet. I dropped a screw and they literally jumped....

Details...

Western Digital WD Caviar 204BA drive
Connected through USB adapter to Windows XP Pro
Unit is powered and is spinning
No Read/Write Head movement is heard nor felt except on power off parking click is heard and felt
The XP Safely Remove Hardware dialog box reads USB Mass Storage Device and underneath WDC WD15 3BA USB Device
The drive does NOT show up under My Computer
MMC Disk Management does NOT see the drive
MMC Device Manager under Disk Drives displays WDC WD15 3BA USB Device, Right click Properties, General tab
Device type: Disk drive-Manufacturer (standard disk drive)- Location Location 0
Volumes tab, Populate
Disk: Unknown
Type: Unknown
Status: Unreadable
Partition style: Not Applicable
Capacity: 0 MB
Unallocated space: 0 MB
Reserved space: 0 MB
Volumes: (All Blank)

I have run the WD diagnostic utility and both Quick test and Full test instantly pass (see SS)

Before I spend a fortune sending this off to a Recovery Specialist... Suggestions, Ideas, Anything...

Thanks in Advance.
J

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#2 xXAlphaXx

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 09:38 AM

I hate to say it, but it sure sounds like that drive has bit the dust. But, before sending the drive to a data recovery specialist, I have heard of a trick that I have seen work a few times.


Ironically, your going to want to freeze your hard drive. Take your hard drive and put in a plastic bag to prevent condensation and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. This isn't a permanent fix, I have seen it give people from 10 minutes - 5 hours to boot into windows and back up what they can.


Let me know how it goes!


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If I am helping you and I do not respond within 24 hours, please send me a PM. :)

#3 Eagle__4

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:01 AM

From the movie War Games... "I'd pi$$ on a spark plug if I thought it would do any good" Will give it a try now. I figure a few hours should do it. Thank you xXAlphaXx

#4 hamluis

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 11:43 AM

<<I have run the WD diagnostic utility and both Quick test and Full test instantly pass (see SS)>>

FWIW: When the diagnostic shows zero storage capacity...that is not a pass, no matter what may be displayed :).

Louis

#5 Eyesee

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 12:46 PM

A recovery specialist will run you a fortune. They are NOT cheap!
Consider getting a USB external drive and using it for backup in the future.

Does the BIOS see the drive? I dont believe you ever mentioned that.
I strikes me as odd that the WD tool sees that drive as usb. You obviously ran it from another system.

Typically when the drive is clicking it is dead. You got 10 years worth of use out of it.
Try freezing it though. I have hears that it does work sometimes.
Seal it in a ziplock bag as air tight as you can get it and wrap a towel around it.
You mentioned that you are trying it. Its about the only shot you have.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#6 dpunisher

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:47 PM

Without a COD (click O death), and the fact it shows 0.00GB, I would hazard a guess it might be a faulty controller board. At least with a COD, you know the problem is internal (usually). Get the serial and firmware number and look around. I found 3 of them on ebay, and other listings on used hardware sites. Recovery, without a clean room/drive dissassembly can run under $300 if lucky. The last estimate I had on a head/actuator swap was $750 to $~1300. Customer passed on that one.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

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#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 07:03 PM

Please have a quick read of the following link: DjLizard's data recovery guide

and have a quick look at the following topic: Hard drive problem ... by breakingbad
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic405580.html

Before committing yourself to spending a large sum of money, I suggest we attempt using RIPLinux to see whether or not we can access and retrieve the data easily and for no cost.
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

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#8 Eagle__4

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 10:22 AM

Update: No Joy...

Freezing did not work unfortunately. I came back in this morning to try "Spinrite" the heads just make a repetitive action/noise as soon as power is applied... Sigh... (hearing DeForest Kelly say that famous line "It's Dead Jim"...)

I am going to find a cheap data recovery service as I can now see this is a mechanical issue. Thank you all for your suggestions.

Eagle__4 Out...

#9 mmason

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:49 AM

Eagle 4,

I have a laptop hard drive which has the 'click of death' but I needed a couple of more files off of it. I just put it on my desk and every day plugged it in (it's in a usb enclosure). COD for 3 days in a row, then it worked long enough on the fourth day to get some files transferred. Now back to the COD for the last 4 days. It's probably a long shot, but all trying every day for a couple of weeks will cost you is time.

Mark

#10 cpt6791

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:53 PM

if the disk is ten years old you might be able to cange out the board under the HHD but if it is the magnets is still can be fixed if it is the writing assembly the disks can be changed out to the same type of HHD. and remember this external HHD for back up and recoverY is work the expense, than to have three gloomy women. me I would have cracked under the pressure LOL :blink:




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