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HELP!!! Hard Disk Failure

Good evening reader

This is a tough one and of great importance to me and if I fail, it could cost me a year of my life, so please excuse the following dramatic explaination of my problem.

My PC had a Western Digital WD1200 (120Gb) installed containing my final year project for my Computer Science degree.

I recently installed a new secondary drive into my PC, a Western Digital WD2000 (200Gb) as my existing one was almost ready to burst with data. When I found time, the plan was to selectively copy huge amounts of data from old to new, including my final year project, and use the new drive as a backup.

Now. there's one thing I've found I can rely on when it comes to IT and that is - 'It's not that bloody reliable' - or rather I can't rely on myself not screwing up!

Two days ago I inserted my apple ipod shuffle into an unoccupied usb slot situated on the front of my computer, which is situated by my feet under the desk, swivelled around in my chair to upload the latest Streets album (which, I must say, am not too impressed with so far) and what happens...

... as I swing round with my right foot, I only go and kick it out with my incoming left smashing the USB port to pieces. I instantly start to cringe as I hear the horrible sound of my PC beep loudly and then go blank. I switched it back on only for BIOS to report a primary hard disk failure. The new WD200 now works fine now with a new Win XP install on it, however, I've tried everything with regards to the former WD1200 and nothing. I even tried it in an old IBM PC I had lying around and a simular error was reported from their BIOS.

I'm not sure if anything can be done now if the BIOS fails to recognise. Are there any sort of data utilities that can be used to perhaps reteive any data at all from it?

It's rather annoying that the stuff we learn at uni never seems applicable to your own problems!

I was at a total loss and then I remember that this site helped me out with a Laptop problem a few years back.

I'm now just hoping and pleading for the same quick and informative response as last time as I'm at a total loss otherwise. A years work down the pan and I shall have to repeat!!!

So, as an old Beatle once said, 'Won't you please... please.. HELP me!!!'

King regards
Adam
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adampdarcy
Asked:
adampdarcy
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5 Solutions
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Was the WD1200 configured as MASTER and put on the primary channel of the IBM PC?

So if it is bad and not recognized by the BIOS, then we can rule in hardrive failure as a possibility..

visit http://www.gillware.com for data recovery.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
check out the WD diagnostics
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BillDLCommented:
Kicking the connection into the front usb port, thereby breaking the port, isn't really something that should affect the hard drive.  You're supposed to use the "safely disconnect" icon in the system tray, but the effects of just yanking out the cable into a usb port should only have an effect on the usb device, not the hard drive.

You say that the usb port "smashed to pieces".  It sounds to me as though this action may have pulled on the cable inside your computer that connects the motherboard to the usb front panel bay.  It is feasible that the tension on this cable has yanked on  and dislodged the IDE Ribbon cable connector from the motherboard socket or from the rear of the hard drive itself.

That untimely disconnection while the hard drive was running COULD have damaged the read/write heads which probably wouldn't have been able to "park up" safely, but the first thing you should do is open the case (while the system is powered down) and check all cables are connected properly.  Pulling an IDE cable sideways out of the hard drive socket could easily have bent or broken one of the pins in the IDE socket of the hard drive, and this would probably show that type of error.  A broken pin can sometimes be fixed, but it is something you should verify visually.
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pcchecksCommented:
there are a couple options here.

1. harddrive is damaged and files recoverable. There are alot of good recovery programs available eg. easy recovery professional

2. harddrive is damaged and files not recoverable. You could buy another drive that is exactly like the one you have (WD1200) and swap the cylinders. these are what contains the data. (be very careful and take all precautions)
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r-kCommented:
Checking the insides of your computer for pulled/missing/loose cables is the first place to start, but if you've done what you can there, then try the following software:

 http://www.runtime.org/gdb.htm

it sometimes works when others can't, even the free demo version will get you far.

Gillware is an excellent company for data recovery if other attempts fail and your data is worth it. They have a $379 special for Windows drives but call ahead and get a quote before sending your drive.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Okay, a couple things.

It's very possible that old IBM PC is not capable of reading a 120 GB drive.
~ So that didn't tell you anything for sure. Don't make conclusions based on that.

Yes check the drive's pins. Also those on the mainboard connector.
In addition to bent pins or a cable coming unplugged the conductors inside the cable may have been damaged.

Have you disconnected the damaged USB?
Something may be grounded or shorted.

If you've switched drives around have you reconfigured master/slave properly?

Does the BIOS report the drive correctly, incorrectly, not at all??

What does/do the actual error messages say?

PCBONEZ
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nobusCommented:
i would connect the drive to a working Pc, that supports disks larger than 128 Gb.
then check if it is recognised.
If not, breaking your USB connector may have shorted something on the disks logic board.
 You can try to replace it (no guarantee) or sent it to gillware, as suggested.
Here a link of one who did it :

http://www.deadharddrive.com/                  replace hdd logic

http://hddguru.com/content/en/articles/2006.02.17-Changing-headstack-Q-and-A/
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BillDLCommented:
I would urge you NOT to start disassembling the hard drive due to the importance of the data on this drive.
You have clearly stated the irreplaceable nature of the data:
"could cost me a year of my life ..... my final year project for my Computer Science degree".

Apart from standard checks with cables, connectors, and verification of non-functionality by temporarily slaving the drive in another computer, I don't believe you should begin any of the excellent but invasive techniques suggested above until you have taken some professional advice from a specialist in data recovery.  It's going to cost you though.

That is an excellent article given to you in the link by nobus:
http://hddguru.com/content/en/articles/2006.02.17-Changing-headstack-Q-and-A/
It is highly informative, even for somebody who has no intention of dismantling the hard drive, and gives some ideas about where potential problems may lie.  Please read the first two paragraphs under the section entitled "Replacement of a head stack: where to start from?" if you are even slightly tempted to dismantle the drive.

You may never have been in a clean room, and won't be any different from most people in this respect.  When you see the precautions you have to take before even setting foot in one, you will be more aware of the dangers.  Tight-woven coveralls with hoods and masks, spotless cleanroom shoes, tacky matting before entering two air showers that blast off dust, disposable covers to put over the shoes at various stages, etc, etc.  They are cleaner than surgical operating theatres in the amount of airborne contaminants, but aren't necessarily sterile.  A smoke or dust particle to the read/write head of a hard drive could be like a large boulder on a formula 1 race track.

OK, so I once took a mad turn once and made a makeshift "clean-box" in which I adapted an old hard drive to have a clear perspex window for demo purposes, but it was an old drive with no data that I would otherwise have thrown out.  Your needs are more crucial and a bad result could be disastrous to you.
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PCBONEZCommented:
The diameter of your average dust particle is three times the space between the head and the disc.
Don't be taking it apart!!!
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BillDLCommented:
I had to smile at this data recovery specialist's website
http://www.jillmatrix.com/hard_drive_recovery/
in which they describe their facilities as:
"... our Class 100 ANTISEPTIC workstations".
Antiseptic???
The good news is that if you cut your finger while working on a hard drive, you won't get germs in the wound, and you can be assured that there will be less than one hundred particles of spotlessly clean and germ-free fluff and hair in excess of 0.5 microns in each cubic foot of germ-free air ;-)
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@BillDL...Antiseptic???

yeah!  so if you lick the platter, and all is good ;-)
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maramomCommented:
Did you try the disk as the master (jumpers set properly) ALONE, without the new drive, on the primary IDE channel? Also, use the IDE cable and power connector that worked with your new drive.
If you don't have the means to try the drive on another system at this time, try it alone, as just suggested..see if it's recognized in the BIOS. If it is recognized and is not bootable, try a live cd to see if you can retrieve the data. BartPe: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
You can also use GetBackData using a live cd: http://www.runtime.org/peb.htm
If it's not recognized in the BIOS at this time, recheck the jumper settings for the drive, reset CMOS (in case of faulty values),  and disable the USB ports in BIOS.
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ridCommented:
Possibly, the smashed USB port caused a short of the 5 V rail and a disturbance in the force, sorry, the power feed, to the hard drive or the IDE (?) controller. This in turn could have caused a faulty write process or something to that effect and you are now suffering the consequences...

If putting the drive into another system as slave doesn't help, you may indeed have to use other tools. Spinrite, by www.grc.com is said to be an excellent tool (not free...) and might be of interest.
/RID
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@rid...I had one of those force thingies happen to me too..it was called Darth Exwife, which she wielded her mighty fluid holder (cup) and tossed it at my computer.

:-(
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ridCommented:
That's bad... in my case my body was the target for the fluid... unpleasant but unexpensive.
/RID
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
I was a young Padawan then...versus the Jedi Master now... ;-)
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adampdarcyAuthor Commented:
None of these actualy worked but thanks forthe hlp ne way.
Taking it apart isbeyond my skils and I'm just gona hav 2 repeat   the year.



Thx guys
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pcchecksCommented:
adampdarcy,

depending on what the data is worth, You could get it recovered professionally. I think it costs like $400-600. It may be much cheaper than repeating.
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nobusCommented:
try this :   http://www.gillware.com/      

no cure, no pay

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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Hmmm...everyone scored points but me..

:-(

and my first comment is THE SOLUTION
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BillDLCommented:
Adam, thank you for that, but I don't know why you have given up.

When you say that "taking it apart is beyond my skills", do you mean taking the hard drive apart or opening the computer's case and doing certain things inside it?

If you mean the hard drive, then I don't blame you, because it's not something I would do if I had any data on the drive that I was desperate to recover.
If you are referring to your general knowledge about changing jumpers, swapping hard drives, etc inside the case, then there are a lot of people who will have had this experience and could help you if you were to print out this question with the suggestions and show them to that person.

If you have resigned yourself to repeating a 2nd year of a Computing Science Degree, then surely it's worth asking the lecturer, some of the students who have hardware experience, etc. to at least have a look at the connections and sockets for broken/bent pins, bad connection, or other easy to check things as suggested above.  If someone is willing to allow you to temporarily connect your problem drive to their computer as a slave drive, at least this would be a determined effort to TRY and retrieve the data.

Which of the recovery utilities have you tried, and with what results?
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PCBONEZCommented:
Adam, Thanks for the points but I agree with BillDL.
You have more options.

tissue --> irwinpks
(I'm just kidding.....)
I like to think that the times I shouldn't have gotten points and did is countered 1:1 by the times I should have gotten points and didn't. I'm too lazy to do the math but thinking like that reduces frustration/stress, keeps me smiling, and keeps me coming back to help people.
.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@PCBONEZ...if it wasn't for the 200,000 points this month..then it would have been a big deal ;-)
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