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Hard Drive Gone?

Posted on 1999-07-15
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Hello. I have computer that has been working fine and all. One day, when I turned it on, the BIOS would not detect the HD. I tried changing the Interface cables, power cables, jumpers(different configurations). I tried using it in a different computer, and it will not detect it. Could there be any reason for this, or is my HD gone? Cause usually when a HD fails, don't you see "Primary Master Disk Failure" or something? There is a LED right on the HD, it lights up when I turn the computer on, but no detection. Thanks.
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Question by:SKG
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15 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:michaeldi
ID: 1159313
Interesting does the light stay on if so then could it be that you have the cable on the HDD disk the wrong way around.
If it is a modern drive and its not being detected then it may be corrupt, and un recoverable,
Primary Master Disk Failure usually is an idenication of this if you have tested it on two computers.
You have not FDISKED it or anything i take it.
If you have a modern BIOS set it to automaticlly to find setting, if it cant then manually do it.
If the manual setting dont work the HDD as gone down.

Let meknow
Mick

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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159314
Can you remove the hard-drive,
and temporarily install it in a colleague's computer?
Use the "auto-detect" feature in that computer's BIOS,
to see if it can be detected.
If it doesn't work in that computer, it's "dead".
There are commercial data-recovery companies,
who, for a large fee, will disassemble your hard-drive,
in a "clean-room" environment, and fix any hardware
problems (dead motor, stuck R/W heads).

Does the drive still "spin"?
If so, download the "free-trial" version of PowerQuest's
"Lost and Found" software (http://WWW.PowerQuest.Com)
and see if that software can recover anything.
If so, then purchase the "full" version ($69.95 or less),
and "recover" your files to another hard-drive.

I hope that your "backup" files are current.
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Author Comment

by:SKG
ID: 1159315
Actually it's a friends computer, and he doesn't have any backup files. :-)

Yeah, I tried in another computer too, didn't detect it. I'll try the Powerquest Lost and Found. Will that work even if the drive is not being detected by the BIOS?
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:kschang
ID: 1159316
If the BIOS won't even autodetect the drive, and you're SURE it's configured correctly (jumpers and all), it's pretty much DEAD.
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Author Comment

by:SKG
ID: 1159317
Ok thanks.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Gryphon031198 earned 200 total points
ID: 1159318
Look on the disks cover and write down all the information you can see on it (things like amount of cylinders heads blah-blah).

Insert the hard disk drive correctly using the neccesary jumpers to set it to master etc. Make sure that the red line on the cable points to the no.1 pin on the disk AND the motherboard.

In the BIOS select the disk type as 47 (user) and enter the neccesary info (obtained from the disk itself) into the correct places.

This sometimes enables you to bypass the problem of autodetection.

If however this does not work, then try booting with a stiffy and try to access the disk from there.  If this is possible, then you have a chance of recovering your data (by inserting the HDD as a slave into another PC and copying it over). Replace disk.





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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159319
> Will Powerquest Lost and Found work even if the drive is not being detected by the BIOS?

They claim that if it is "spinning", then LAF can recover,
i.e., a dead motor is a dead motor.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 1159320
Sounds silly, but just have a check that none of the jumpers have fallen off, also, try it as a slave drive, sometimes the first cylinder can get a bad block right at the start somehow disqualifying the disk from being a master and making autodetect difficult. Also turn the drive upside down, see if you can see a bit of the spindle poking through the bottom, try giving this a twist with pliers, or a rotary shove with a sharp pointed nail or something, sometimes a lil bit of muck in the bearings is just too much resistance for the motor to overcome and it needs a little help. After trying any of that try the drive again.

If it is a Seagate 3xxx suspect motor failure.

regards,

Road Warrior.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 1159321
How does the light behave btw. (just power up the drive with no interface cable)

i) remains on:
you will probably hear no spin up noise, the disk is mechanically locked up.
ii)comes on, goes off, blinks:
probably an electronic or head failure if you hear it spin up and a tic tic tic self test.
iii)comes on a longish time, then blinks,
probably a motor failure if you don't hear it spin.

possible solutions
i) as in above, also try giving the drive a brisk rotary shake, and powering it up upside down and on it's side.

ii) try to find another hard drive of the same model and size and swap the electronics over.

iii) :-( no solution other than professional data recovery, find a place that can take the platters out and read them.

Road Warrior
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:michaeldi
ID: 1159322
SKG can i come back and ask one more thing does it make unusual noises in any way.


0
 

Author Comment

by:SKG
ID: 1159323
Actually, I noticed when the BIOS is trying to detect the drive(if I have configured it as a primary master, when the BIOS is trying to detect the Primary Master drive), the drive makes a very quite noise. I'm not sure what it is, but it sounds like a very quite knocking. It does spin when I turn on the computer cause I feel it vibrate. The strange thing is it was working in the computer for a year, and all of a sudden it can't be detected. No hardware changes were made.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:michaeldi
ID: 1159324
SKG, can i say trust your instincts on this one I think that if it knocking there nothing you can do because thats not normal HDD behaviour, even if its set up on the wrong bios settings because 99% of HDD drives the chips located on the bottom stop the heads hitting anything, or going beyond there allocated location.

Apart from that you said you never changed the bios settings when it happened so therefore when you first went into the BIOS to put it right if they were right and set to the correct setting before you playing with it, its gone.

If you have got Very important data you can pay to have it read off onto CD.  If you havnt a new HDD is less than £100.
HDD are not worth getting fixed unless they have a visible fault.
The only real way can can test it is by setting it up as a slave. and trying it off of a master HDD already set up.
Personal from what you've said id say try it but, id  say it gone.  Just for my own information What make is it ie conner, Maxtor etc And does it say the TYPE number on the cover.
Any questions please do not hesite to ask

Mike=(Michaeldi)
 
 

0
 

Author Comment

by:SKG
ID: 1159325
Yeah, that's what I figured thanks. It's a 3.5 inch, Quantam drive, manufactured August '95. C: 2112, H: 16, S: 63
Also, I'm not sure who to give points to since this is kind of an unsolvable problem.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159326
If you have tried my suggestion and it didn't work, but you still feel that the asnwer is worth something, give me a lower grade...or if you feel that the info I provided wasn't at all relevant or useful, reject the answer and select a name from this tremendous list of experts all commenting on your problem that gave you the best info related to your problem.

G.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:michaeldi
ID: 1159327
You decide who to give the points to usually the one you feel gave you the most suitable answer.

Quantam are usually very reliable. From the information
C: 2112, H: 16, S: 63
If thats what your putting in then it is definitely enough for the BIOS to recognize it. You definitely have a problem
From these setting it assign a type

Cylinders
Heads
Sectors= Type


Regards
Mike
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