Bad Drive – What Ya Gonna Do

Last night I was doing my usual evening on-line work, tweeting, emails, posting, when all of a sudden a message flashed on my Desktop tray alerting me to a “Hard Drive Failure imminent,” alert. The threatening, menacing, perilous message was in black and yellow colours, and then turned red once it had been on for about ten minutes. Usually when these things happen you can get one or two more uses out of the hard disk before they finally go kaput. This one was in dire-straights.

So I cut my session short with the PC and started doing a emergency backup of all the data on that drive.  Things were going great until I got to the halfway mark when drive suddenly stopped working. I heard it spool-down, then it just topped. I shut the system down, and then rebooted so that I could check the BIOS to see if the drive was still being recognised. It was not. Plan A.

So I physically removed the drive and attached it to my test machine. It would not power it up. This was starting to get weird because I could get power to the unit, and I could hear the platter spinning, but no connectivity on the old ATA-100/133 IDE PATA 40-Pin connection. In fact, the BIOS would not see it, period.

So I swapped the board on the drive with another one from the same manufacture, ATA, and then success. But the damaged clusters on the drive were so bad that the test machine was not picking anything up. So, on to plan B.

I took the drive apart, being very mindful of the hazards of exposing the platter to the environment, and I used the “box” which keeps the components nice and clean while letting me handle the pieces so that I can resemble them into the data recovery unit. It is so nice to have a work lab that I have access to.

Within a couple of minutes I had recovered the data, or what I could get from it, on the 80GB drive. I rescanned the drive again to check to see if I could get more data recovered from it, but the drive was so far gone. I managed to recover about 80 percent of the drive’s content.

Once done, then I put the platter through the final wipe-clean process, so no matter who wanted it, the data on it is gone for good. On top of this, I saved myself about $400.00 having a data recovery company do it.

The platter, motor and sleeve bushing of the dead 80GB hard drive that I recovered from. The whole process took me about 20 minutes starting plan B.

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