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Harddrive won't boot up. Makes 5 clicks then stops, was fully working yesterday.

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
A brief overview of what happened. I wanted to securely erase all the data on the HD so I used East-Tec Eraser 2004 and clicked on the external USB HD (laptop HD, connected via USB adapter). Now at around 98% the program hung, so I had to reboot my computer. Upon restarting windows, the program told me it had succesfully erased the data. I tried turning on the HD again, and I get nothing but 5 clicks and the drive goes silent.

I would like to get my drive back to normal. I figure it might have had something to do with deleting the System Volume Information or possibly even the FAT since I believe the eraser program is fairly low-level.
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Question by:drilus
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by:Callandor
ID: 17989759
I would connect the drive directly to the IDE controller, instead of using a USB interface: http://www.compuplus.com/insidepage.php3?id=1000197 - it is possible the USB interface is what has failed.
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by:jar0000
ID: 17989779
If the drive doesn’t spin up your out of luck
Right click on my computer > manage computer > storage> disk management do you see the drive listed?
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 17989824
The clicks are decidedly NOT a good sign ==> deleting system volume info or the file system would NOT cause that symptom.   There's a fairly good chance the drive has simply failed ... but first, try "nuking" it with dBan (http://dban.sourceforge.net/).   It would also be best if (as Callandor suggested) you hook the drive directly to an IDE controller ... just temporarily disconnect your optical drive(s) and use the secondary IDE channel for the drive (with the drive the ONLY device on the channel).   If, when connected directly to the IDE channel, the drive still won't spin up and dBan can't work with it, then it has simply failed.

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by:drilus
ID: 17989911
I've tested another drive on the usb adapter and it worked fine. So then I stuck the drive into a laptop and attempted to boot it up. The drive is giving the same clicking noise, and it doesn't seem like the BIOS can even see the HD at all.

DBAN is a no go since it can't even see the HD. Is there anything that can be done to save the data on it?
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by:garycase
ID: 17989941
Well, the drive has clearly failed.   Your best option if there's important data on it is to send it off to a professional data recovery service.   Gillware (www.gillware.com) is an excellent choice, and is very reasonably priced (by data recovery standards).   They also have a "no recovery, no fee" policy, so it doesn't cost you anything if they can't recover your data.
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by:drilus
ID: 17989975
Well that sucks.

What exactly causes the "click" sounds the HD makes when it fails? Is there any way to prevent this type of occurrence?
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by:Callandor
ID: 17990018
That's the servo motor trying to move the head into the correct location, but failing to do so.  There's no way to prevent this from happening; it's part of hard drive failures.
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by:garycase
ID: 17990035
"... Is there any way to prevent this type of occurrence? " ==>  Well ... as far as preventing hard drives from failing; the best preventative measure is to be sure they are never exposed to unplanned power outages.   With a laptop, that means shutting down the laptop before the battery runs out -- with most laptops that happens automatically unless the power options are set to prevent it.   With a desktop (not the case here, but just to cover that case as well) that means using a good UPS.    As for preventing the data loss you've experienced here, that can be easily prevented by keeping current backups => with a laptop you should ALWAYS have an external hard drive and maintain current backups (these can be automated ... or at least a "one-click" setup ... with any of several good free programs).

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by:garycase
ID: 17990048
... but, as Callandor noted (and I implied), hard drives simply fail.   The best preventative measure is to have a BACKUP :-)
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by:drilus
ID: 17990196
Well, thank you for the comments and advice. I do appreciate it.  ;]
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