Hard drive failure - advice required

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Hi all,

I have an IDE type hard drive
Brand: Western Digital
Model: WD Caviar SE WD:2000

A few weeks ago I received a notification from my Bios stating (in more
or less words): Hard drive is failing please back up data as soon as

I made various attempts to do this, by imaging the hard drive but lost
patience and turned off the computer prior to it's completion, as it
would have taken a hell of a long time to complete.

Unfortunately, my hard drive has now failed completely. I hear the tick
noises which according to a youtube video that I have watched means that
the heads are damaged. Also now my BIOS DOES NOT RECOGNISE THE HARD
DRIVE therefore I am of the understanding that I am unable to use any
software to fix the drive.

I realise that a replacement of these heads / fixing of the hard drive
is something in which I cannot do myself, as I do not have the equipment.

My question ...

is where do I start looking for companies that do not charge an arm and
a leg for data recovery.

Can anyone provide me with any potential advice or recommend a company
that can do this.

Thank you in advance.



Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

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I used Ontrack in the UK many years ago and they charged 1000. They
interrogated the drive, copied all available files and saved them to CD. I
seem to recall it was a 10gig disc at the time. The drive contained many
years of CAD drawings so the cost was somewhat irrelevant.

Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

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Good, you went to the authoritative source for hardware faults, youtube.

Since you have little else to lose now, why not carefully take the drive
apart to where you can see the platters and arms, and gently nudge the
arms a bit to see if maybe they're just stuck.  I just saw a video about
this from the same authoritative source, it's worth a try.

Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

buggsy2@sdlfkj.com wrote:
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I actually did that once and it worked

however since in this case the drive is not recognized by the bios

it's not going to help

I suppose I could mention the old 'freezer' trick

though it rarely does any good...I did once...get a drive to work long
enough to recover the data
to recover the data

Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

Somewhere on teh intarwebs philo wrote:
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Heh! I only tried the freezer trick once too. A 12 month old Seagate 500GB
SD15 firmware drive, one of the ones that Seagate released the SD1A firmware
update for. I flashed the two that I had successfully but didn't think about
the drive I'd installed in a mate's PC at the time.

Six months later he brings it to me, said that it started not recognising
the HDD on boot up a while back but a hard reset would fix it most times.
Now the BIOS could see nothing. The drive just sat there and made a wierd
noise every minute or so. I tried it in a USB enclosure and the same...

I froze it overnight in a ziplock bag (just for the hell of it I thought,
there was no way I could see this working..). In the morning I opened the
bag enough to get the cables hooked up and booted the PC from the Seagate
firmware update CD I'd burned six months before. (It hadn't worked the day
before.) Lo and behold the BIOS recognised the HDD and the machine booted
from the CD, updated the firmware on the HDD and it's working fine to this
day, six months later!

Yeah, I was amazed too.

To the OP: You should have waited for the backup to finish. You're up a
certain creek without a propulsion device unless you have more money than
sense and/or the data on that drive is worth the price of a new, fully
tricked-out machine.

Here's some advice I give everyone who's PC I have anything to do with; BACK
UP! I always tell them that so I can throw it back in their faces when they
come to me with data loss. It seems that only a select few of us geeks
actually do it, most people just talk about it.

(That said I lost two years worth of photos once but that was due to
Microsoft's Powertoy Sync-something over-writing files that the camera had
given the same names too but that were in different folders [I know...].)
Now I do all my backups manually, I don't trust it to software. At least not
non-enterprise-class software and I can't afford that stuff.


"Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's
warm for the rest of his life." Terry Pratchet, 'Jingo'.

Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

Paul wrote:
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Lab work will cost at least $1000  probably more

and worst part is they have no guarantee of retrieving anything

what you should have done was simply copy off your data...
the OS could always have been reinstalled

Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

Paul wrote:

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Recovering data from a failed hard drive may be costly,
especially if the drive must be opened.  Also, the price
goes up with drive capacity - regardless of how full it is.

I would first remove the drive from that machine, and
temporarily install it in another computer.  Set it up as
the secondary drive, boot the machine and see if you can see
files on it.  It's possible the drive is OK and you have a
problem with the computer's electronics.  Worth a try.

No joy?  Time to call in the pros.  Drives sometimes fail
due to failed electronics on the pc board mounted on the
drive.  A good recovery shop should be able to diagnose that
without opening the drive - and they should be able to swap
in a known-good board to get your drive working so that data
can be copied off to rescue media.  This is relatively easy
and should be not be too costly.  Ask about it.

Still no joy?  Well, time to pay for your sins.  No
guarantee of success, but some or all data may be
recoverable.  This requires special equipment, special
skills and often a lot of time.  Consider how much your data
is worth to you.

I would certainly not open the drive yourself ... even if
you have a super-duper clean room.  This is not a do-it-
yourself job.  Using the well-known provider of data
recovery might cost more, but you really have only one shot
at this.

Next time, back up at least your data regularly: great
investment in peace of mind.


Re: Hard drive failure - advice required

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Maybe not.  Maybe the head arms are just banging around because
there's a
problem reading the servo marks.

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Ontrack is good, really good, and much cheaper than companies that
can't do the job.

If you Google for companies, avoid any place that says franchise
opportunities are available and have a local weekend radio show where
the two loudmouth owners talk and talk but say nothing.

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Don't open up the drive to fix it yourself because that will make any
data recovery a lot, lot more expensive and worse, less successful.
The only thing you should try -- maybe -- is find an identical drive
(same model, same LBA capacity, same number of heads) and try swapping
its circuit board with your drive's.  However this data recovery

  http://www.dataclinic.co.uk /

says it can damage the drive because each circuit board has unique
parameter information written into its flash chip, even for drives
with identical numbers of heads, tracks, and sectors/track.

If you want real expert advice, check the forums at www.HDDguru.com.

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