Odd WD drive failure - Forum Member Needs Computer Help

This is a discussion on Odd WD drive failure - Forum Member Needs Computer Help within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Has anyone ever encountered the following? Drive spins up shows the directory structure and...... that's 'all folks. Can't access files, can't browse within directories.. it ...

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Thread: Odd WD drive failure - Forum Member Needs Computer Help

  1. #1
    Member Array Huzar's Avatar
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    Odd WD drive failure - Forum Member Needs Computer Help

    Has anyone ever encountered the following? Drive spins up shows the directory structure and...... that's 'all folks. Can't access files, can't browse within directories.. it just freezes.

    It's WD Caviar SATA drive..... only thing I wanna recover is my backpacking pictures. Unfortunately it seems the drive does not want to let me do that!

    So.... I've recovered bad drives before but I never came across a failure like this one. Here's more info:
    - drive used to reside in an external enclosure and for whatever reason it failed today and enclosure was REALLY warm
    after cooling it down (fresh air, out of the enclosure)
    - hooked up using an external (USB to SATA) adapter got directory listing
    - tried the drive in the enclosure again (thinking that maybe the enclosure controler will play nicer with that drive.... no dice
    - tried putting the drive into the PC on the internal SATA controller, comp had issues booting up with it...

    I only want about 100GB out of that 500GB drive..... any ideas/suggestions/thoughts?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    It looks as if the drive is only displaying the File Allocation Table and nothing more; This may be because the head seeking mechanism has failed or is only capable of scanning the near sectors of your disk. We have had this problem with equipment at work, and aside from paying a company to disassemble the drive, pull the platters and extract the data manually you are out of luck.

    Pulling the platters and getting the data off as I described cost chingos of money; that is probably not a route you want to follow. I hope you backed up all your data......
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    I am not an expert, but here are some things to think about.

    Be careful what you do with it in this state. Running disc utilities or other tricks to repair data could render it inoperable. Getting an image of it is probably the best idea. An image is basically another complete copy of the entire disc. You can put it on a healthy drive and then retrieve the data later.

    Your options:

    Professional data recovery service- expect to pay $100-300. They have a very good chance of recovering everything. They will cool off the drive and make a complete image of it without interpreting it. Then decode the image into whatever they can salvage using fancy software.

    You can continue to mess with it. A good drive imaging program will be a start. The drives work better when they are cool as well. Think dry cool (so no ice cubes). Air conditioning, fans, usb peltier usb cooler...

    Possibly try another operating system. An Apple computer might be able to image the disc. Sometimes, if the drive is frozen, you can leave it on for a long time (days) and it will mount all by itself.

    Note to everyone: Always backup important data on DVD's Keep copies in a fireproof safe and copies off site (like with family in another State).

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    Senior Member Array Exodus's Avatar
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    The above two suggestions are very valid. Other than that, I've got a bit of an off-the-wall one. I have heard of similiar problems with hard drives that were failing. If you put the drive a freezer, you might be able to get it to spin up normally long enough to pull data off it. That assumes that the problem is heat related of course. I kinda view it as a last resort, but if sending it off to a recovery service isn't an option, and nothing else has worked, it's worth a shot. You've got an external enclosure, so that, plus a ziplock bag should protect you from condensation.
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    Member Array UnklFungus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exodus View Post
    The above two suggestions are very valid. Other than that, I've got a bit of an off-the-wall one. I have heard of similiar problems with hard drives that were failing. If you put the drive a freezer, you might be able to get it to spin up normally long enough to pull data off it. That assumes that the problem is heat related of course. I kinda view it as a last resort, but if sending it off to a recovery service isn't an option, and nothing else has worked, it's worth a shot. You've got an external enclosure, so that, plus a ziplock bag should protect you from condensation.
    +1 on the freezer. Go to PCMech - Computers and Technology for Normal People and go to the forums and ask there too.
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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    I would stay out of the freezer because of moisture/condensation issues. You might get away with it because SoCal is dry and adding a few desiccants to a ziplock... I would not want to be responsible for that.

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    Senior Member Array Saint77's Avatar
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    Ive done the freezer trick a time or two, it works.

    You can try booting to a Linux distro disk, tp pull data. I normally use BartPE. but soemtimes a Linux disk works too.

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    Member Array Huzar's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the ideas/suggestions. My current plan is to run spinrite on it when I get home. If that does not work, I'll try MiniPE, if that does not work, I have a utility CD someplace that's a linux distro, if that does not work then I'll try the freezer, if that does not work I'll have to try very hard not to drop a hammer that'd end up ventilating the drive (as its still under warranty).

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