Hard Drive Crash Help!!!

By jasampson ยท 9 replies
May 29, 2004
  1. Here's my situation: We had a power brown out during a storm. It fried my power supply and hard drive. I didn't panic too much in the beginning, b/c my computer was still covered, and I had a back up disk. However, the back up disk is not working now. I desperately need to recover the data.

    A good friend of mine is a "computer guy", and he came by to help us with it. He did the swap the cuircit board trick, but it was not with an IDENTICAL board, which I keep hearing HAS to be the case for it to work. He did however get it to spin up, but the computer kept reading the wrong size drive (it read the size the from the replacement board's drive), and couldn't get to the data still. Plus, there was that horrible click noise as it spun.

    I've heard a little bit (and I know very little about this, so I'm just going by what I've read, etc.) I've hear a little about how it is a good sign that it was spinning again, but not so good that there was the clicking noise. I've also heard I might be OK if we went ahead and got the identical drive and tried again. AND I've heard that if the clicking continues, that we might try FREEZING the drive, and then try to retrieve the data while it's still cold.

    So my question is this, I guess:

    Do I need the EXACT model board?

    WIll that make a difference, and will that help the clicking?

    And will freezing it help the clicking?

    Are there any other suggestions out there?


    THanks a million!

  2. jasampson

    jasampson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh... here is something else that might help (and again, I have no clue what I'm talking about here): Apparently, the theory my friend has is that the drive spins up, starts its self-test, hits a bad sector, and resets the test. We aren't sure if this is the case or not, but that is the guess at this time. THanks again for any help you can give!!
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65


    And yes, you need the exact model. I am sure there are instances where something close might work, but I've yet to see one.
  4. jasampson

    jasampson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Rick (or anyone else!!!) -

    Would this cause the knocking sound? Or is that an additional drive problem? And Is there hope for this drive?? Thanks for you help!
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Although I don't know for sure, I've always been under the impression that drive clicking was a physical problem.

    I've never been able to repair a clicking drive by replacing it with identical electronics. I've done this a few times, with no avail. So what I'm saying is, I have no proof that a clicking drive is an electronics problem - But it is still entirely worth trying depending on the importance of your data.

    I have, on the other hand, restored drives that were no longer detectable using the board-swap method. But they were not clicking. ;)

    I have heard of placing clicking drives in the freezer overnight and then using them temporarily... Which would make them work. I was able to do this once with a laptop drive. Legend has it that the head(s) get stuck and being frozen losens these parts. Facts? Who knows... I don't know the science behind it, but I have experience doing it and the results can be positive.

    Q.) Does it work?
    A.) I think so. I've tried it two times. One time it did nothing on a very old 1GB drive. The second time was on a laptop drive and it did indeed work, although only temporarily. It also clicked.

    Q.) If I place my drive in a freezer, will it destroy the drive?
    A.) Not as far as I can tell, although I do recommend it only as a last step.

    Drives are hermetically sealed in clean rooms, meaning they should be void of moisture inside. Also, moisture is unable to get inside, so it should be safe. Keep in mind that the exposed circuit board can develop frost. It is a good idea to place the drive in a towel and in a bag while in the freezer. I would recommend keeping this towel wrapped around it while in operating. It will help keep it cold and help prevent condensation from forming on exposed PCB.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    And I would like to make sure that you know freezing your drive will not FIX the problem. It will merely be a temporary solution. It is important that you immediately connect the drive to your PC and extract the data off as soon as possible. Hopefully you have another hard drive you can install Windows on first, then connect the frozen drive as master on the secondard channel. If all goes well, you should be able to copy some, if not all of your data.
  7. jasampson

    jasampson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Rick (or anyone who knows!)-

    Yes, the click is apparently yet another problem with the drive. Swapping the board got the drive to spin again, which it would not do at first. But then we heard the clicking, which he seemed to feel was the drive running its self test, hitting a bad sector, and jumping back to the beginning of the test. So I'm not sure if the EXACT board would help that, freezing would help that, "bad sector repairing software" would help that, or what. Does that clarify a little more? If you have any additional words of wisdom, I'd love to hear it! You have been a big help so far! Thanks!
    And yes, I have a new system up and running, so that is ready to go for a data transfer. (thankfully, the computer was still covered under the warrantee.) Any chance having the wrong replacement board on the drive could have been the cause of the "click" problem? Do you think getting the exact match would be worth a shot?

  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You need the EXACT board!

    The circuit board has the drive geometry (number of tracks/sectors/heads, bad sectors, unused tracks etc.) written onto it.

    If you have a board that says that there are locations on the platters that don't exist on your physical disk you get things like the drive head hitting the stopper causing a loud click. And there is no way for a circuit board to tell how the disk has been low lever formatted and how big it might be so you won't be getting any of your data back either.
  9. jasampson

    jasampson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    THANKS! So the clicking COULD have been caused by having the wrong board!! That is a bit of good news. We will get another drive and try the exact board then! THANKS SO MUCH!!!
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    using that wrong board could damage the platters as well. You'll be lucky if you get any data off the dead drive to begin with. Making the mistake of using the wrong board just lessened your chances.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...