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Drive Failure (Please Help)

By spy2520
Aug 4, 2004
  1. My computer suddenly crashed after i had been experiencing a slight degradation in performance for a few days. I thought nothing of it because my PC is overclocked 5% and form time to time doesn't run as smoothly and it wasn't accompanied by strange noises. When my computer rebooted it could not see my drive, only my second drive. A few hours later i booted my system up and it could see my main drive, but would not boot. I could hear the drive searching but it would just time out. I took the drive to a local computer shop and the guy hooked it up to his pc. He could see the drive but when he tried to see what was in it it just locked his machine up. The drive is an IBM Deskstar 40GB. It may be pressing close to 5 years of use, it was around 85% full. Also, before it crashed, when i noticed some minor slowdown i ran scandisk and defrag and all that crap and it did not detect a problem. I got a chance to run scandisk in DOS on the drive after it crashed and it just hung for around 30 minutes then finally said "this drive has one or more unrecoverable problems."I've waited a day and tried to access the drive again. Now it won't pick up the drive. I don't know what to do. Please help me.
     
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    Your hard drive is most definitely bad from the information you provided.

    Fixing it? Well, if it is locking up other systems you are putting it in, that's going to be very difficult.

    If the drive tends to work better when it has been sitting for awhile (not on) than when you try to actually use it, you might want to try the freezer trick. Wrap it in a towel, put it in a zip lock bag and shove it in the freezer overnight.

    When you take it out.. Immediately plug it into your system. It may work well enough to get your data (or at least some of it back).

    This works because bad drives tend to work better when cooler. But again, it's a long shot... Certainly worth trying though.

    Aside from that, there's not much you can do. If it is an electronics problem, you may be able to replace the PCB on the drive using the same exact model drive. eBay is a good place to find these kinds of thing.

    If it is mechanical, the freezer trick may help out, but you'll probably have to take it to a data recovery specialist who will charge a TON of money. Thousands, typically.
     
  3. spy2520

    spy2520 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So far, it seems like it doesn't matter if the drive is cold or warm because i have waited a whole 34 hours with it being inactive and my BIOS cannot find it. i got a quote from one of those recovery places, $550 to $1250. I have to find another way. I would try that freezer trick but i want to make sure it doesn't have a high potential to kill the drives ability to be recovered. Will the freezer trick elp on a drive that can only be seen at any given time. Another thing. I noticed that if i changed which end of the ide cable i use or use a different power source connection to the drive, it will sometimes show up, but it is completely random and my second drive always shows up no matter how i hook it up.
     
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    The freezer is safe to do. Drives are hermetically sealed, so there should be no worry of condensation inside the drive.

    But condensation CAN happen on the outside of the electonics. So it is a good idea to keep that towel wrapped around it since it will absorb moisture and help insulte the drive.

    If changing power cables makes a difference, perhaps this is an electronics problem. You can change the PCB yourself (the electronic board on the outside of the drive). Search eBay for the model number of the drive.

    If changing the electronics doesn't work, then at least you score a replacement drive at a good price.

    Freezing the drive proably won't help you any if the problem is electrical... Only mechanical.
     
  5. spy2520

    spy2520 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried the freezer method, and it didn't succeed. I haven't been able to see the drive on my system either. I have a question. If a computer can't see a drive in the BIOS, is it possible to find it in windows? Also, does my problem seem like an electronic problem rather than a physical problem? I found another of the same drive on ebay for $.99 plus s/h so far. How hard is it to switch the board on the HD?
     
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