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Data Recovery from a hard drive

Posted on 2006-03-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
My dell dimension seagate hard drive failed. We are tring to retrieve data. Attached it to usb hard drive case to pull data but the drive is not spinning. Now, I have purchased a similar seagate drive. The only difference between the drive is the firmware. The new drive has latest firmware. I am trying to remove the logic board of the new drive and put it on the bad drive. Would that work? Any suggestions? how can I get the drive with the exact same firmware to swap the logic board.

Thanks,
Biren
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Question by:birenshukla
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BillDL earned 1400 total points
ID: 16318423
You state that the new drive is "similar" to the problem one, but that the "only difference between them is the firmware version".  To be honest, I'm not convinced that the drives will be enough of a match for a safe swap of the logic boards.
For example, I bought some 2nd-hand Seagate drives from a company that acquires ex-corporate computers.  Although all the specifications on the Seagate site for the model number told me that they were 20 GB Drives, they seemed to have been manufactured for Compaq with 10 GB capacities.  It's not a typographic error in the spec sheets, or any hidden partitions, it just seems like it was too much bother to create a different model number for the Compaq versions.

Seagate themselves would probably be the only ones that could answer your query about compatibility of circuit boards with any degree of certainty.  Have you contacted them for their technical opinion?
The problem there is that they will always be keen to try and sell you a new drive instead of giving advice, but mentioning the fact that you HAVE already bought a new Seagate drive might persuade them to offer some useful information.

What you haven't said is exactly what the original symptoms of "failure" were.  There are a lot of possibilities, including damage to the mechanisms controlling the read/write heads or even the motor, in which case a new circuit board won't bring the drive  back to life.  You connected it to a usb hard drive case, but the drive doesn't spin up.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the drive is incapable of spinning up, unless of course that was the initial failure symptom.  It could be that the system just isn't initialising the drive while connected by usb.

Have you tried attaching it temporarily as the slave to an existing Master on the IDE Ribbon Cable of a functional PC instead?

Does the CMOS (BIOS) require that the drive parameters be specified, or is the CMOS set to <AUTO> to automatically identify the drive during POST?  If it lost the CMOS Settings, perhaps due to a dying CMOS coin-cell battery, then it is possible that it can't identify the drive properly and it appears that the drive has failed.

It is also possible that the partition table has become corrupt, and the boot process can't figure out if it is a properly partitioned drive.

What are the model numbers and firmware versions of your two drives?  Perhaps there may be some technical info available online by way of schematics or data sheets that could provide the information to help make a comparison.

If the data is irreplaceable and of great value, then the best option would be a professional data recovery company rather than risk total data loss by messing with the drive further.
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by:nobus
ID: 16319130
here a guy that did it :

http://www.deadharddrive.com/      

from what he stated, you need an exact match (revision), and even then it is not guaranteed to work on the newer drives.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 600 total points
ID: 16319138
as for a cheaper recovery company, look here :

http://www.gillware.com/
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Author Comment

by:birenshukla
ID: 16322185
thanks for all the comments.

The bad drive is 40GB Seagate Barracuda Firmware 3.16. Configuration DZU-06
The new drive is 40GB Seagate Barracuda Firmware 8.01 Configuration CXQ-01

I know that there was a burning smell when I tried to attach the external USB case to the drive so I know that the power board is bad. I am going to replace and see as I do not have have much choice. No it does not boot when attached as slave. Will keep you posted.

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by:nobus
ID: 16322216
Ok - fine. . .
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by:BillDL
ID: 16322763
waiting with baited breath ...
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Author Comment

by:birenshukla
ID: 16329446
added drive as slave and was able to pull data off...swaping logc boards did not work...thanks!
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by:BillDL
ID: 16330234
That's great news.  Well done.  Swapping circuit boards was certainly worth trying anyway.  Thank you.
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