Go Back   Let's Roll Forums > Blogs > livelywoodsprite
Connect with Facebook

Rate this Entry

How to Recover a Dead or Dying Hard Drive

Posted 5 Dec 2009 at 18:44 PM by livelywoodsprite

[SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][B]Originally written in response to an external Seagate FreeAgent drive problem, but this applies to any hard drive, internal or external:[/B][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Recently I had a problem where my drive failed to finish writing a segment and displayed a write to disk error: $MFT.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]It was a hot day, so I put the drive in the freezer for 30 minutes, waited, and hooked it up and started it again.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Now the drive was not recognized by the system and Windows XP insisted that unless I provided a driver for the external usb drive [Seagate DeskPro, 1.5TB] it could not be located and mounted.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Knowing that freezing the drive had worked for other drives on other occasions, I put it in the freezer for 2 hours, smacked it once, flat, on the table in order to free up any sticky parts from having been overheated, hooked it up and ran the "drivedetect.exe" software they have hidden in an update forum here, and lo and behold, it was identified and mounted![/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][URL]http://support.seagate.com/kbimg/utils/drivedetect.exe[/URL][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]I ran the Seagate utilities and it says that I need to back up everything and send my drive in for servicing. In the meantime, I am running the usual Windows supplied repair utilities and my collection of useful stuff.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]I'll probably back everything up to another drive soon, but after several times on hold forever and trying the customer service IM on the site to no avail, I am not very confident that they will fix my drive, and unless the email ticket gets a useful reply I plan to just fix the bugger myself.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]So what are the steps to recovering the drive as described??? Here ya go.[/FONT]

[/SIZE][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]1. locate the drive ports on the side of the box. One is a USB port and the other is the power port.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]2. unplug both wires from their ports so that the external hard drive in the enclosure is just a box with or without the stand.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]3. insert the box into a premium quality [thick plastic, one gallon] ziplock bag and push or suck all the air out of it like you would for a piece of meat, close zipper seal - you really do not want moisture getting into the drive!!![/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]4. place bagged hard drive into any full-sized freezer with a capacity to lower temperatures below 32* F / 0*C - make sure the hard drive is in a stable position so it will not rock, tip or fall inside the freezer[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]5. normally the drive box when pressed gently between your palms will have a slight flex to it. Once completely frozen, there is no more flex, and the central area feels harder than the edges.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]You want the drive box good and cold. Some drives only require slight cooling, like 30 minutes. Some have required 2 hours, and one drive I had to leave in the freezer overnight to get it to work.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]You can try this more than once.Re-freezing doesn't seem to harm it. Try 30 minutes, try 2 hours, see what happens.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]6. when you remove the drive box from the freezer and you've checked that it is in the proper condition [frozen, or very very cold] remove it from the ziplock bag, and locate a solid table or counter-top.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]From a distance of about 8" smack the broad flat side of the drive box down onto the table/counter-top ONCE with medium force, as if you are in the library with a textbook and you want to really annoy the librarian but not get in trouble.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]It should make a solid "chunk" or "thunk" sound, not a crack, wibble, snap or pop. DO NOT smack the binding edges - they are not meant to withstand that kind of force and will break when frozen. ONLY smack the broad side, like the cover of a book face down onto the table in our fictional library.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]7. plug the usb and power cords back into the box-piece[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]8. restart your computer without the drive attached[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]9. plug your usb cable into the computer port once it has COMPLETELY restarted[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]10. IF your drive is going to mount, Windows will pop-up a notice saying this drive will work better on this port or new drive found or whatever it does when a new device is plugged in[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]11. IF it is going to act normally, you will get the auto-play dialog box where it tries to scan all the files on the drive and you click don't auto-play [hopefully you've seen this before][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]12. go in the explorer bar at the bottom of your screen under the *start menu*[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]13. select MyComputer - under Hard disk drives it should list your mounted volumes - the C:\ drive, your CD drives, whatever else is plug and play, and your external drive, maybe G:\ or something for you - it will probably be called FreeAgent or something.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]14. you don't have much time. the probability is that the bearings are going bad or there is a major failed drive sector or the read/write IO buffer has been damaged [heat, electricity spike, cat knocked it over during a write session] - - Whatever - you don't have much time.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]<< If the files are important, get them off the disk as fast as you can. Get a rapid transfer cable [ask at Best Buy or Microcenter or like that] or just drag the stuff onto another drive >>[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2] If you get a bad read/write error, $MFT, or failed file transfer for whatever reason, put it back in the freezer again. Repeat as necessary in order to salvage as much data as possible.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Expect bad sectors and lost files, corrupt images or documents that will no longer open. I could tell you how to fix that too, if you're desperate.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]<< Eventually, the drive may fail to boot after freezing and thunking. It is dead - give up now. >>[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]15. after you have what you need, run the standard windows utility to check for bad sectors on the drive
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][[start - MyComputer - right click on the drive letter icon corresponding to your drive, and select Properties - in the drive properties window there are tabs across the top under the blue bar - you want to choose Tools - run Check Now for error checking [takes FOREVER - don't panic] ]][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]16. after this tool is finished, go to
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Start - MyComputer - FreeAgent (G : ) and right-click the drive icon. There will be a contextual menu. One of the options right in the middle is format. Format the drive as NTFS. WinXP will choose NTFS by default, so if it doesn't give you a choice, then it will be NTFS.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]17. after format, run #15 again.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]18. ~~~ IF you are KEEPING the drive and gambling that it is a bad sector and NOT the bearings, you are done!!!![/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]19. ~~~ If you are sending it back to the company for replacement, you will want to long-format the disk about 12 times to make sure your previous data is wiped completely - a low-tech alternative to this hour-long reformatting step is to get a-hold of a speaker magnet from your stereo or home theater system you no longer use and which sits in the basement or the garage [or other large magnet], disassemble it from it's housing and leave the magnet on top of the flat side of the drive overnight.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]That should effectively scramble the data - has made mushy data out of a few drives so far.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2][Everest commented:
[/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2]From what I've read cooling the drive in the freeze is suppose to increase the magnetic field on the drive and help with connections. It is also recommend to place the drive in a sealed bag (preferably anti static) to avoid problems with condensation once out of the freezer.
[/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2]Smacking (light tapping) the drive is to help the platters spin if the bearings are tight or motor week. If your data is this important, I recommend trying Spinrite from grc.com to check the integrity of the drive and fix error before spending money on third party data recovery.][/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][I][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/I][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]BTW, my geeky friends agree with Everest on this one - the magnetic field, the sealed bag, SpinRite, the whole thing.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]The thing about smacking it, though, as I understand it, is that if it overheats or collects static charge internally the physical moving mechanisms, like the bearings, etc., inside will actually adhere together, stick, and/or electrostatic-ally bind like a magnetic door-lock. The smacking depolarizes the sticky charge and/or loosens the mechanical adhesions.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][B][I][SIZE=2]Now, can Everest explain the cause of spontaneous click-death I wonder????[/SIZE][/I][/B][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]
[/SIZE][/FONT]
[SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][[URL="http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=freeagent&thread.id=6229"]original thread in the Seagate Community Forum[/URL][URL="http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=freeagent&thread.id=6229]"]][/URL][/FONT][/SIZE]
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 7695 Comments 0
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 0

Comments

 

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 15:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger