Lost HDD

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  1. Posts : 66
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Lost HDD

    Sorry to take so long to reply to some questions. The answers are (in no particular order)
    1. It was an internal drive, A Seagate Firecuda 2TD. The E: and F: drives are partitions of a single internal drive, A Toshiba
    2. The PC is not a Dell it is a custom built unit supplied by Box.
    3. The HDD gave no indication of failure in advance. No noises or access issues.
    4. The Bios does not detect the drive.
    5. Regarding a backup. I was under the impression that I was backing up the documents on this disc, but have now discoverd (too late) that I was only backing up the documents stored on the Primary Drive under my User profile.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 6,543
    Windows 11 Pro - Windows 7 HP - Lubuntu

    Kashegan said:
    1. It was an internal drive, A Seagate Firecuda 2TD.
    4. The Bios does not detect the drive.
    Are you sure BIOS doesn't recognize the drive? How come it is shown under Disk Manager?
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 2,318
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11

    Something that isn't mention in this thread not even by stupid me is.

    If you had really important files on it, that you can not afford to mess up. Like family photos you never can't get back and so on.
    If Yes...... Turn to a professional Data recovery center if it is that important content.
    It is expensive and there is no guarantees they get it back. They will tell you.... "It depends on" and if you still asking how big the chance is.. they will say a 50/50 chance. That is why backups are important.

    If you can not afford it and wants to try anyway.. Keep reading.. and if not. Go to a professional data recovery center as it is easy to mess up if you never done it before.

    As it don't show in Bios becomes a bit frustrating as it does show up in some tiny way in windows disk manager. if it is a HDD it can be the platter engine don't spin up but it can read the controller card... so what does the SMART test/read show.
    I did see another thread in here where an SSD didn't show in Bios but did show+worked in windows, so it seems to exists a weird bios phenomenon.. But i think it is more of an exception then a common thing.. Bios usually does see the physical drives.

    This is my way of doing things, when i have a drive that is acting up for me in my computers,

    I open up the computer case so i can get to the drive in question and i put my fingertips on-top of the drive and power up and boot in to bios
    If it is a mechanical harddrive HDD the first thing i do is listening if there is any wrong sounds, and feel if i can feel the vibrations from it spinning up.
    If it is an SSD i feel for if it get hot to touch.
    If it sounds wrong or getting abnormal hot, I then unplug/power down the drive directly... zero-second delay

    If there is no life and no show in bios, I remove the drive and first smell the drive does it smells like burned electronics? If no i then check Power+data cables to the drive.

    If it sounds healthy and not getting to hot and and it shows some kind of life.. and if it is one of my windows machines....
    Then i boot up with Linux so the operating system don't trying to write anything to the disk (as windows manically does.)
    Then i see if Linux file-manager sees the disk without me doing anything.... If not... then i take a look at SMART data and if nothing is alarming there, i check Gparted disk partition manager to see if the computer sees the drive or it's partitions. If the drive is detected as raw or blank(not partitioned)...
    Note: If there is files on the drive i can not afford to lose.. Then i make a disk image sector by sector before i even try to do any data recovery.. I don't know of any free solutions that is really good.)
    For an healthy simple drive cloning i use Clonezilla as it can handle a lot of file systems and it has sector by sector cloning if it is an unsupported filesystem or a RAW data disk or a raid pool disk.

    So.. If the drive is detected as raw or blank(not partitioned) i start with take a quick look with Testdisk to just see if the drive only has lost it's partition table and it can be an easy fix... i also do a HDD scan for bad sectors to rule out bad sectors where the partition table information is stored.. If the drive is okay i fire up Testdisk again and scan for and restore the partition table.
    HDD is easier then SSD's for fast data recovery as it only has two stages. 0 or 1... an SSD has three stages 0, 1 or erased.

    The nightmare
    If a drive is dead as "no life/no show/etc." in bios or Gparted, or if it sounds wrong(ticking, scrapes, bad noises), or fast getting abnormal warm ,or smells like burned electronics, or not spinning up on power... = dead.
    Then it is partly disassembly and start to troubleshoot for broken components. But i will not go in to this part, as you need equipment and more knowledge then we can give you in a short text.

    Good to keep in mind when you bring back a drive thru recovery and If you get the data back, start with backing up the critical files first... good to have second... nice to have third... and things you can download again last.
    Never trust a drive you have had to run a data recovery on(if you didn't mess the drive up by mistake as format the drive or experimenting with harddrive software) so if it failed without any user reason, the chance is high it will happen again... that kind of un-trusted-drives can only be used as temporary data storage/non critical data usage. and be prepared on it can work for 1day or if you lucky 10years.

    But you should not trust any data storage devices as they can fail at anytime.. if it is after 1second or after 100years.

    Links to those things i mention:
    Clonzilla: Clonezilla - Live Doc
    Easy to use Linux distribution: Home - Linux Mint
    Create Linux mint boot media, download the Linux Mint ISO and create a a USB media using Rufus: Rufus - The Official Website (Download, New Releases)
    Gparted: GParted -- Screenshots There is guides how to use it, but in this case its only used to have a look at the harddrive NOT to change anything.
    After booting up Linux mint live USB and to get to Testdisk you have open the Terminal(it working as windows powershell) then type: sudo apt install testdisk and press Enter and it will install to virtual memory so nothing get installed on the harddrive or the USB
    To start testdisk then you type in terminal testdisk and hit enter.
    Testdisk guide: TestDisk Step By Step - CGSecurity
    Last edited by Marie SWE; 28 Mar 2023 at 23:16.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 66
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks to everyone who tried to help. I've opened the case, rebooted the PC and finally heard a couple of mechanical clicks - then nothing. The disc doesn't show up on my BIOS , but I managed to 'see' it on Disc management using an Ideal ide to SATA adapter. I was given the opportunity to initialise the disc, but after a while recieved an error message saying there was a fatal device hardware issue. So I guess the drive is totaly unrecoverable. But Thanks anyway.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 6,543
    Windows 11 Pro - Windows 7 HP - Lubuntu

    If BIOS doesn't recognize the disk, there is nothing you can do.

    Any drive (HDD or SSD) one day will fail. That's why, no matter how big the drive is, you must have a backup.
    I have a boot able drive, same size of my data drive, that I connect the power cable every Friday and boot from it and synchronize my data to it. When done I shut down and disconnect the power cable.
    I already lost a data HDD but didn't lost my data as I had a backup.
    Last edited by Megahertz; 30 Mar 2023 at 08:23.
      My Computers

  6. Posts : 11,629
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374


    Thanks for reporting the current status of the faulty disk.

    In my post #10 I had stated "In an MBR disk if sector 0 - which holds the disk's unique ID (and also the partition table/s) gets corrupted, it will apart from defining it as " Unknown Not initialised " will nevertheless show its capacity. In your case the disk capacity is not shown. and that indicates that there is a serious problem with the disk."

    Honestly I didn't know what that problem could be. Now I know. The heads are stuck and couldn't read/write to sector 0.

    With such mechanical defect no DIY data recovery is possible. Professional data recovery is the only answer but that depends upon how badly scratched the platters are. Without physically examining your HDD in a clean room, even they wouldn't guarantee that all data could be recovered. And it will be an expensive affair.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 2,318
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11

    So true @jumanji

    On the subject of getting some drives to work again.
    This is a small trick and only works IF the heads have stuck ON the platters... as after a long faulty power loss as black out, a hard power down, etc. so the heads didn't "park" and the heads have got stuck to the platters so the disk wont spin up. (This trick will create bad sectors/damage on the platters) but it it works most times to get to the data. (it wont be clicking, it will just be a silent drive if they have stuck to the platters)

    Remove the hard drive from the computer so you can hold it in your hand.
    Locate where the heads are mounted and if its right or left... you can see that on the underside or on the shape of the top plate.. or Google your drive model with keyword "open" HDD, then you can see from that picture how the heads is mounted.
    Have something next to your computer you can lay down the drive on later (non-conducting material of course)

    Connect the power cable and the data cable to the hard drive while you still holding it in your hand.
    Then take a medium to large sized screwdriver and hold it in the screwdriver end so you can use the handle like a rubber hammer.
    Turn on the computer and if you have several drives, listen for when the drives begins, to power up or you can feel in you hand the drive is trying to spin up it can be a felt like tiny-tiny-tiny micro vibration in your hand.
    Just in that moment give the HDD a firm hit on the side as the arrow showing on the picture to shake lose the heads from the platters.
    some times if you was a bit careful it can need another hit. you will both hear and feel when the drive is spinning up.

    When the drive spins up lay down the drive on the box or what you did repaired.. then copy out the information to another drive.

    Lost HDD-41zy696vxyl._sy450_.jpg

    98 times of 100 the drive will spin up and you can get to the data.

    The drive will get damage and it will get bad sectors and it will fail over time... so consider the drive as consumed/end of life/no good. and only use it as trash/temp-data drive for data you don't care to lose. as downloaded ISO files or whatever you easy can download again when the drive finally dies after 1week or 5years
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 66
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thank You Marie, I tried what you suggested, but without sucess. So I removed the drive and connected it externally with the IDE Sata connector. I removed the top cover and powered it up and observed the heads. The heads initially moved over the disc, then returned to the parked position and didn't move again. I tried this several times, sometimes the heads moved and sometimes they stayed in the parked position. I've concluded that there is a problem with the hardware control board and the HDD is no longer usable.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 2,318
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11

    Kashegan said:
    Thank You Marie, I tried what you suggested, but without sucess. So I removed the drive and connected it externally with the IDE Sata connector. I removed the top cover and powered it up and observed the heads. The heads initially moved over the disc, then returned to the parked position and didn't move again. I tried this several times, sometimes the heads moved and sometimes they stayed in the parked position. I've concluded that there is a problem with the hardware control board and the HDD is no longer usable.
    I can understand my trick didn't work as your disk "ticked" that means the heads isn't stuck on the platters.

    If you already have open it, then it is on its way to die as you probably not have a clean room/clean box.

    The heads are moving over the disk and then goes back.
    if you are really steady on your hand and have a non-conductive stick as a stable toothpick in wood or similar.
    Then you can force the heads to move over the platter from out to inside to force it to try re-read.

    This is really tricky to describe in words...
    I'm a bit busy at the moment with checking work mail and stuff.. I will try to find a youtube video of someone doing it to force the disk to start read.
    I will try to do this within a few hours. I know there is a youtuber that works with data-recovery as a daytime job that publish videos.
    Keep the lid/top cover on at the moment and don't power up the drive...
    as the disk is open dust particles goes around in the drive and can stick to the surface and that can get the heads to touch the platters as the air cushion between the heads and the disk gets affected and that can causes damage. Also when a drive is open it don't get the right kind of cooling as the air don't circulates as design to.
    Whatever you do, don't blow air in/on the disk platters and heads with your lungs as that brings moisture and that is bad.. Then you have a dust particle superglue recipe.

    - - - Updated - - - 1 Day later - - -

    I became to busy yesterday to look for it..
    and today *m a bit busy too, not as stressed though.. But i have not the time to look it up.

    Here is two youtubers that do Data recovery and i think i dare to say they know what they are doing. not the regular home yuotubers that think they can.
    You might find a video that applies to your problem.

    ACS Data Recovery: ACS Data Recovery - YouTube

    HDD Recovery Services: HDD Recovery Services - YouTube
      My Computer


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