Fixing IBM Deskstar Drives

By Roger Bowen
Jan 10, 2005
  1. I used an IBM Deskstar drive in a machine that I built but found that after a while there was a problem with it. Most of the time it worked fine but evry so often it would "disappear". The disappearance was first noticed in Windows when a bit of fiddling with "Add Device" would usually get it back but subsequently was noticed in BIOS when the BIOS failed to Auto Detect the drive.

    The drive is obviously not that useful but I would like to be able to recover the data on it.

    I was thinking of trying to set the drive as USER and set CYLINDERS=16383, HEADS=16, SECTORS=63 with LBA=ON or LBA=Off but thought it worth asking the gurus whether this could reasonably be expected to work or whether there was something else to try.

    Any advice and guidance welcome.


    Roger Bowen
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    First thing with all DeskStar drives - update the notorious firmware they originally came with.

    Swiching between LBA/CHS mode will not help you in any way.

    Try swapping out the IDE cable and running the drive on another IDE controller.

    Run the drive diagnostics tool supplied by Hitatchi nowadays. Don't let it do the "drive erase" thing if it wants to.
  3. Roger Bowen

    Roger Bowen TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks for the advice and guidance. Thanks for the comments on using USER+CHS; it didn't work.

    The disk was tried with different cables and on a different machine but the BIOS could not see the disk no matter what.

    Similarly, the Hitachi utilities could not see the disk.

    Unless there's some more magic tricks, it looks like its gone the way of all disks, possibly to the data recoverers but eventually to the recyclers.

    Roger Bowen
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If the disk isn't recognised then the drive eletronics is at fault. If you manage to find an identical drive then you can try replacing the circuit board on the broken one and copy the needed data.
  5. Roger Bowen

    Roger Bowen TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks once again.

    Is changing the electronics card difficult or pretty straightforward? Any instructions anywhere?

  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Common sense and basic mechanic skills will do.

    You just unscrew some screws and unplug some cables. The screws may have special heads so you may have to use some brute force to get them open.
  7. davealans

    davealans TS Rookie

    Replacement deskstar controller source?

    Can you recommend a source for replacment deskstar controller. Disks look ok on my failed 40gb drive from a dell dimension 8200. model is IC35L040AVER07-0, but part numbers and serial numbers are strange? Dell provided a WD replacment drive, and after much complaining, allowed me to keep failed drive to try and recover data.
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Drives made by IBM for OEMs like Dell and HP have special serial numbers. You will have to find an identical drive that is from a Dell.
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