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Old 10 December 2008, 01:01
okami1 okami1 is offline
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Burnt hard drive motor

Just got an email from my Dad telling me that his hard drive is inoperable and he will lose all the data it contains. The kid from the Geek squad who came out told him that the motor is burnt out and is very expensive to recover the data. I know my way around using a computer, but know jack and shit about repairing and/or building them. Anybody got any ideas on how to fix this problem? Is a motor really that much money and the thing that will hinder him recovering all his files? It seems like a simple mechanical issue to me, but as I mentioned I know next to nothing about how to repair one. This is from his email to me of what the kid told him:

"the motor cannot be replaced. it would have to be so specific to the hard drive made the same month same factory etc etc. I did ask and that is what he said to me.............there are firms that can recover the data using special techniques but it is very costly."

Is this accurate?
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Old 10 December 2008, 01:54
dougage dougage is offline
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How in the hell is some kid from best buy going to know the motor on the drive is toast?

It can also be the circuit board, which can be replaced with an identical board from another drive, as well as other things.

Anyhoo, heres a thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddCVayZX8hk

Last edited by dougage; 10 December 2008 at 02:02.
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Old 10 December 2008, 06:12
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The Fat Guy The Fat Guy is offline
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You can try pulling the drive and installing it into another machine as a slave and see if you can get to it that way (if it is something other than the motor, often times the power supply leads go bad) Otherwise a data recovery company (or you can try it yourself) disassembles the drive and places the disks inside a hard drive "shell" (one without data disks) and then simply reads the data, copies it to a DVD etc.

Buy your Father two eight gigabyte micro cards to back up his data. (Around 35 bucks a piece.) They are smaller than a stamp and he can put one in the safety deposit box and keep the second one at home. Here is a link, the small USB adapters are also available, smaller than a fingernail. http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=3155293
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Old 10 December 2008, 06:39
OldSwabbie OldSwabbie is offline
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Everything you've seen so far is spot on. There is ONE SLIGHT possibility Ill throw out there, only because I've seen it a number of times over the last 20 years fixing PC's and Electronic circuits.

CSJ ~ Cold Solder Joint break at the power plug on the hard drive. This is the largest area thats soldered on the drive, it will absord heat and cold much more so than a other places soldered on the drives main circuit board. If your father shuts his computer off every night then its a possibility. The PC will cool and then get hot, expansion and contraction. A remote possibility.

Extremely Easy to test...Unplug the AC power cord to the PC. Open the side of the case up or take off the cover. Locate the Hard drive. Plug the AC Power back in. Power up the PC, either listen carefully or put your finger on top of the Hard drive...you may not hear it spinning but you can feel it with your finger. If its Spinning the guy from the Geek squad is trying to rip your Dad off.... call someone else.

The power cable (4 Wires, 2 blacks, 1 Red, 1 Yellow) with a plastic plug will plug into it at the far right side of the drive. Carefully push on it (not too hard).. and move it slightly up and down a little. Feel it spin up or not? If not .. One LAST thing you can do.

All power supplies have extra power plugs for additional devices that you may add to the machine. Unplug the power cable to the hard drive and replace it with another one thats laying inside the PC not attached to anything. Take heed to the "slotting" of the plug - it will only go in ONE way.

If all thats too much, then call for a second opinion. If your Dad doesnt have any critical data that he cant do without. If its just pictures and not other stuff, someone like Drive Savers is going to charge $400.00 just to open the case whether they get data or not. Thats only to tell you IF they THINK they can get it. Recovery of data $$$ is figured on the amount they get back for you. Multiple Gigs can easily go into the Thousands.

Hard drives are CHEAP these days... Real cheap. You can easily get an 250 Gig IDE drive for a home PC for around $75.00-100 depending on who makes it. Loading the OS and everything else is all you have to do...then he needs to sign up with an online backup service thats free. There are a number of them. He can back up his documents and pictures etc and not worry about this stuff.

Last edited by OldSwabbie; 10 December 2008 at 06:48. Reason: Typo's
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Old 10 December 2008, 13:30
okami1 okami1 is offline
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Awesome replies. Thanks. That youtube link is great. And I thought it was a HAMMER that fixed all problems. :D

Keep 'em coming.
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Old 11 December 2008, 09:05
Hard H2O Hard H2O is offline
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Guy at work recently had a hard drive fail. It ran for a while and the disk got hosed up.

He had several years of digital pics on the drive.

The data recovery company tried to recover the data.

$1100 later and a lot of work on their part and they tell him that they can not get anything from it.

Depending on the data it can be very expensive.

I just go a new Dell. I am going to set up a backup routine to try to save myself that kind of grief.
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Old 11 December 2008, 09:46
OldSwabbie OldSwabbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hard H2O View Post
Guy at work recently had a hard drive fail. It ran for a while and the disk got hosed up.

He had several years of digital pics on the drive.

The data recovery company tried to recover the data.

$1100 later and a lot of work on their part and they tell him that they can not get anything from it.

Depending on the data it can be very expensive.

I just go a new Dell. I am going to set up a backup routine to try to save myself that kind of grief.
This is one of the things I learned long ago about failing drives... When someone (or myself) had a failing drive I would "Immediately" put it into another machine as a slave drive and start copying the most crucial data first and work my way back. Sometimes a failing drive will give you a few shots at spinning up ~ then its goodnight sweetheart... you've lost that "Golden Opportunity" to get to the stuff. If you can get it to this point and get it backing up or copying stuff off.. do not turn off the power or allow the system to shut down. Odds are against you.

What causes the data on the HD to get completely corrupted? Most of the time it occurs with the last breaths that the HD is taking.. the actuator arm with the Read/Write heads usually starts thrashing (moving like crazy) and sometimes the write head energizes (due to the HD malfunctioning) as its thrashing - what does that do? Basically, its erasing itself. Almost like shooting a digital shotgun inside the hard drive.
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Old 11 December 2008, 11:10
dougage dougage is offline
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Hopefully everyone is aware of 'the click of death' and the need to move swiftly and back up stuff.

I had a clicker last week and had enough time to get my shit, and so far I've not lost anything.
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Old 11 December 2008, 12:09
Hard H2O Hard H2O is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSwabbie View Post
This is one of the things I learned long ago about failing drives... When someone (or myself) had a failing drive I would "Immediately" put it into another machine as a slave drive and start copying the most crucial data first and work my way back. Sometimes a failing drive will give you a few shots at spinning up ~ then its goodnight sweetheart... you've lost that "Golden Opportunity" to get to the stuff. If you can get it to this point and get it backing up or copying stuff off.. do not turn off the power or allow the system to shut down. Odds are against you.

What causes the data on the HD to get completely corrupted? Most of the time it occurs with the last breaths that the HD is taking.. the actuator arm with the Read/Write heads usually starts thrashing (moving like crazy) and sometimes the write head energizes (due to the HD malfunctioning) as its thrashing - what does that do? Basically, its erasing itself. Almost like shooting a digital shotgun inside the hard drive.
From what I understand the HD was running for quite a while unattended and did as you said. It trashed itself and he wasn't around to notice anything amiss.

If it is the motor and not the disk I would think that recovery would be viable. Depends on what the data is worth or what the cost of recreating the data would be if that is possible.

We lost a bunch of CAD files here at work. We had hard copy prints so we had to redraw a bunch of parts, assemblies, and drawings. We did them as needed so the cost was spread out over time.

Pictures like in my buddies case are lost. My wife keeps hard copies of letters and e-mails.

Things like this have me setting up a back up routine.
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  #10  
Old 11 December 2008, 12:58
okami1 okami1 is offline
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Turns out nothing of great value was lost on this computer. He's going to try the DIY thing anyway, but I'll bet he's going to be backing up his files like crazy from now on. :D

Dougage, what's the click of death? Sounds like the end of a long roadmarch.

Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 11 December 2008, 13:04
dougage dougage is offline
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8S5F2Bd7uA
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