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hard disk spins (quietly) but the bios doesn't detect it

Posted on 2004-08-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
My hdd spins up nicely - no clicking or anything like that, but the bios doesn't even detect that there's a hdd there. I checked the bios to make sure the hdd detection was set to automatic. It's not the computer because any other hdd is fine. I can't even get anything off it as a slave drive in another computer.

Any help would be greatly appreciated since I have very important info on the disk.
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Question by:nanachus
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11 Comments
 
LVL 33

Accepted Solution

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humeniuk earned 600 total points
ID: 11699410
You tried the first step I would have suggested, testing it in another computer.

Next - your post sounds an awful lot like this one: www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_20822467.html.  There are a lot of great suggestions there.  It's a good place to start.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:yuhannl
ID: 11701126
Your HDD controller board may be faulty.

This happens over a period of time, (Dead on arrival are usually mechnical, your situation its likely to be both).

Easiest way is to connect it on the other IDE channel (using the other cable too), and see if it works.

If not, you're guarenteed that the HDD is dead.

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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:AshuraKnight
ID: 11703857
Which brand is it ?
Try use software tools from the manufacturer to diagnose the hdd
ex: for Maxtor use PowerMax
etc
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:humeniuk
ID: 11704294
<<  Easiest way is to connect it on the other IDE channel (using the other cable too), and see if it works.
If not, you're guarenteed that the HDD is dead. >>

Since nanachus tried it in another machine, it looks like the drive is finished, so the primary issue is data recovery.  I think AshuraKnight's suggestion (use mfc. diagnostic software) is the best place to start.  

Failing that, there are several data recovery tools suggested in the thread I linked to.  However, the problem there was the circuitry, not the actual platters, so the disk would spin, but wasn't detected, just like in this case.  The solution (courtesy of CrazyOne) was: "Well if it is the circuitry then you would need to find the exact same model hard drive and I mean exact and take the controller on the back off of this other disk and then use it to replace the on that is on the nonfuctional disk."
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:yuhannl
ID: 11707017
The diagnostic tools won't work when you can't see it in the BIOS.

Unless you have some specialised HDD testing system which can detect faulty controller board.

If data is important, I'd stop using the drive right now, as the more you play with it, the more data you risk being corrupted if the read/write head is not doing what it meant to do.

Rule 1 for faulty HDD with important data:  Stop using it immediately, and consult a data recovery company.

In fact, diagnostic software works the hdd more, and may cause more errors. (bad sectors will increase usually). So if the data is important, just take the drive to a recovery company. There are plenty around and better to check the price before you go ahead. They are quite dear.
(Worthwhile if you have VERY important documents).

Otherwise, buying a new drive and start over again is definitely more economical.
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Author Comment

by:nanachus
ID: 11720655
I'm still trying to find an exact controller board for this drive. Thanks for all the replies.

Meanwhile, I have another hdd which does come up in the bios and it spins nicely but nothing would come up past the dell splash screen. However, after doing the fixmbr function and using the manufacturer hdd tester all I was able to accomplish was to generate an error after the dell splash screen:  "invalid partition table" and as a slave (after booting up into windows from another drive) it will come up as a recognized drive, but it prompts me to format the drive, which I don't want to do. So it appears that it's a partition table that got corrupted.

Do you guys have any better idea of what it might be or any free utilities which can recover the partition table?

Thanks again.
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Author Comment

by:nanachus
ID: 11720788
Also, I booted up with partion magic 8.0 and it flagged the drive as a dynamic drive and I wasn't able to do anything with the drive using partition magic.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:humeniuk
ID: 11721329
Test Disk is a free utility that will check and undelete partitions, it might do the trick.  You can find it at www.cgsecurity.org//index.html?testdisk.html.

GetDataBack will "recover your data if the hard drive's partition table, boot record, FAT/MTF or root directory are lost or damaged, data was lost due to a virus attack, the drive was formatted, fdisk has been run, a power failure has caused a system crash, files were lost due to a software failure, files were accidentally deleted. GetDataBack can even recover your data when the drive is no longer recognized by Windows.  It can likewise be used even if all directory information - not just the root directory- is missing."  You can find it at www.runtime.org/gdb.htm.  Price: $69 for FAT version, $79 for NTSF version, $119 for both.
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Expert Comment

by:AshuraKnight
ID: 11722313
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