How can you fix a hard-drive?

I have a Western Digital 40Gig Hard-drive (WD400) that was in a dell. The computer was never damaged, the HD just kinda went bad. Sounded like the bearings were locking up, so i was going to try and go in and manually spin the disk to see if i could get it moving just enough to copy some files out of it. I removed the cover and turn the PC on. The needle on the disk keeps slamming into the center piece (part that spins the disk), and it makes a rubbing sound. I don't see any visible scratches on the disk. Is there anyways to make adjustments to get it working for about 10 minutes?
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If you opened up the drive, you can forget about getting it to work.  The heads need to work in a microscopically clean atmosphere, or they will crash.  Even a smoke particle is large enough to cause this to happen.  The data recovery companies have "clean rooms" for this purpose.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Hope there wasn't anything important on that disk.  right now, I'd figure you've destroyed anything on the disk that was salvageable.

When disks fail and you need data off them, you send them to data recovery companies.  These companies are expensive - typically $500 MINIMUM, usually $2-3000.  The reason this costs so much is that in order to preserve the data and not damage the disk, they take it apart in CLEAN ROOMS (and I don't mean just after you vacuumed).  Then they use equipment to copy the data off.

Good luck, but at this point, I think you're out of it.
selhsAuthor Commented:
wasnt' anything extremely important, most of our stuff is backed up but this is a Users PC, so there were a few documents i wanted to retrieve off of it or even clone it before it completely failed. The needed for some reason wants to keep slamming into the motor or the side so i'm not sure what caused the problem yet.
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One of the first signs a hard drive is failing is a clunking noise, which are the heads swinging against the end.  At this point, there are options, such as replacing the logic board or freezing it, but once the drive is open, it is beyond the reach of mortal men.
I found a program by StompSoft that worked pretty nicely, Recover Lost Data.  We had a hard drive that had started making that sound and wouldn't boot.  I pulled it out and added it as a second hard drive to my system.  Then with this $40.00 program pulled all the info off the disk.  I don't think it would work for extremely damaged disks but compared to the $500 solution of sending it to a pro I think it's worth the $40.

Sorry to hear you opened the drive, well hope we learned something for next time!
No program will help him.  The drive is clunking.  That means it's failing to reach a ready state.  It's not true that you cant get anything off it just because he opened it.  There is some huge myth surrounding data recovery companies that they use some magical tools.  It's really not that complicated.  If you opened it and lots of dust got it that may make the recovery more dificult.  The best bet is to find a drive with the same model number many companies specialize in this.  A drive like that, same model number exactly so you need WD400-xxxxx the xx part needs to match as closely as possible.  You are probably talking 125 dollars and up to 60 in shipping from other countries.  You will want to swap the board on the back it's the PCB board and to do so you will need a set of torx scredrivers available at any hardware store.  Freezing is a really bad idea (another myth).  Freezing is supposed to reduce the size of the the material inside the drive in order to free a drive suffering from stiction (makes a laser-gun noise) not the problem he is having.  Furthermore freezing the drive creates a lot of moisture due to humidity and the like.  The humidity and the temperature extremes generally kill the electronics inside the drive or the PCB and also cause corrosion on the heads and platters.  Freezing is helpful if a drive tends to over heat and bind up but not freezing just slight cooling and only during recovery.

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  If the drive has the click of death, there is nothing more that can be done except for someplace like on track. As far as opening up the HD...IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA TO DO ON A GOOD hd. I have done it, or someone in our shop has done it to replace the r/w assembly to get the drive to run long enough to get the data off. Freezing does work on certain bad HDs. Once it was on a HD I really needed the dATA. So I wrapped the HD in plastic and in the freezer it went to the next day. I plugged it in and ghosted the data to a good HD. Frozen the HD drive worked perfect as soon as it started to thaw it started to run worse and worse to when it stopped. This was a matter of seconds to a minute at max. You have to be quick. I would recommend a dry run with the drive before putting in frig, check jumpers and your logic of what to do to make sure the drive stays frozen to copy max data.
I would guess the drive is not spinning at full speed due to the bearings going bad. That would cause the heads to not load properly. Not much you can do without spending a lot of money, but you can try the freezer trick as mentioned above since you have nothing to lose.
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