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Hard drive failure - what next?

RikushixRikushix Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys, haven't posted in a while but I would appreciate the help.

Yesterday afternoon I was on my desktop when it just happened to slow to a crawl. Sound went all distorted, became unusable, etc. I hard restarted and at POST it tells me it can't boot from a CD. Upon further inspection I saw it hadn't detected my hard drive, so I reset the CMOS, restarted my computer and set the boot order. This time it found the drive, only to greet me with "Disk read/write error".


So. I've taken it to my parents house, where they have a USB drive enclosure, and plugging it in doesn't work. Platters aren't spinning. So the drive is dead mechanically.

What's my next step? Do I take it somewhere for repair? Do I jump straight to data recovery? I was looking at prices for data recovery in Vancouver and not only were they mostly geared towards corporate customers but good god were they astronomical. I can afford a few hundred bucks, but not something in the four digits.

Anyway, if anyone could offer any help it'd be most appreciated. The drive is a 500 gb Seagate Barracuda. Running Windows 7. About 3 years old.

Rikushix on


  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    How valuable is the data to you? It would be incredibly expensive to have a place recover the drive a this point. Like probably new car money.

    There are other, less reliable, methods you could look up though. I've heard that some drives have come back to life for temporary by freezing them and you could try buying an exactly identical drive and swapping out parts (you have access to a clean room, right?)

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    When I had to do pro data recovery the bill was $1200. The way it worked is you paid them $100 to do an analysis. They will determine if they can get the data back. If they cannot then they refund you your money. If they can they will quote you a cost; the $100 goes to that should you have them do the work. They keep the analysis fee if you chose not to move forward with recovery. This was the model that several local data recovery places used.

    If you can find the same model drive you can try swapping out the logic board (this does not require a clean room). But if the logic board is not what failed then replacing it is not going to result in a usable drive.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    I dunno, that $1200 figure sounds more like the bill for recovering accidentally deleted files, as opposed to recovering data from a drive that wont spin up.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Ours was click of death and drive not even showing up at all when inserted. I've no idea how they processed the data retrieval, but they did tell me that they did not need to use a clean room.

    If it's a logically damaged or deleted partition or deleted files, I would definitely exhaust software retrieval before going to a pro. There are some good tools for free and some great pay for tools.

  • SutibunRiSutibunRi Montreal, Quebec, CanadaRegistered User regular
    I just had the exact same thing happen with a 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 in November.
    1200 is about what it cost me.. because first they want to do a ~$100-200 evaluation on if they can do anything (hint: they can, the data is fine)
    Then they'll tell you the price can range from 500 to 1000 dollars to get your data back, and will tell you "good news, it's not 1000, it's only $980!" (plus the 200 you already paid)
    The worst part: You could have downloaded a patch for your hard drives firmware to prevent the issue.. The Seagate warranty will get you a replacement drive.. after you send the current one to them for destruction.. so, not in time to move your files to it.
    In my case, the data recovery place tossed out the drive rather than return it to me, so I was also out the cost of a 500 gig drive, and after a month, I just didn't care anymore.

  • RikushixRikushix Registered User regular
    @SutibunRi: I don't think that's what's happening to me, I'm afraid. I know there were significant firmware problems with the 7200.11. I forgot to mention before, mine is a 7200.12. I've heard the firmware failures you're talking about only affected drives manufactured before January 16th, 2009.

    Anyway, I realized that I should be looking at diagnosis and repair for jumping to the conclusion that the hard drive is a lost cause. I only realized just now that the drive (back in my computer) seems to be spinning when accessed by startup repair. At least, I think it's spinning. It's certainly humming. Feels like it's spinning.

    So I read that this kind of error might be solved by Startup Repair. I inserted my Windows 7 RC disk, and as expected it couldn't solve start up problems, but in diagnostics, it said that "Boot Manager is missing or corrupt" with error code 0x15. I went into advanced options in System Repair, opened the command prompt, and started up Bootmgr.exe -> RebuildBcd, which I've read is supposed to fix a lot of these problems. No dice, says it detects 0 operating systems.

    I'm going to try once again, because I've read from many Microsoft official sources that for some reason or another, you often have to run Startup Repair twice to get it to really work.

    If that doesn't work again, I downloaded an .ISO of SeaTools for DOS and burnt it to a CD from my laptop. I can boot from there to see if it can detect any problems.

    If THAT doesn't work, I guess I'm taking it to a repair place :(

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