Is there way to free up a locked up hard drve without sending it of to a lab to extract all the data

Posted on 2011-09-28
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
I have a Seagate 750 gig hard drive that has gone kaput. I have a usb docking station for it and it would not let me access the hard drive. I also have another working Seagate 750 gig same model on the machine. So I took off the board on the back of the working hard drive and switched it to the non working hard drive. I installed the bad hd on the machine with good board on it and restarted. I immediately heard a light clicking sound coming from the bad hard drive.

It will cost me 1800 to send this off to Seagate to fix. HD is only a 18 months old. So I am screwed with the data but wanted to try one more thing.

Is there a way to take the unit apart and at least attempt to loosen or free up the disk so that it might spin up. This way maybe I can get at least some of the data off and just forget about losing the 1800. Who can in this economy.......? The most important thing I have on it are documents and a tool that collects all my customers passwords and logins. Everything else can go.

If there is a way to try to spin or loosen or at least get the drive moving. I think I can get the card back on it to spin it up. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Question by:ruavol2

Assisted Solution

by:Khalid Mehmood Awan
Khalid Mehmood Awan earned 50 total points
ID: 36779644
One quick tip. Next time buy a western digital. I have had very good experience with WDD drives ever since using computers.


Since you will be paying seagate , there should be an agreement that any data recovered will be kept confidentials.
LVL 90

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 75 total points
ID: 36782508
>>> Is there a way to take the unit apart and at least attempt to loosen or free up the disk so that it might spin up.

Having taken a number of drives apart, I would say that this probably won't work.

One thing that people have done with varying degrees of success is to put the drive in a sealed plastic enclosure and put it in the refrigerator to cool it down. That may allow it to spin up.  

.... Thinkpads_User
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:Aaron Tomosky
Aaron Tomosky earned 50 total points
ID: 36801751
Backup, backup, backup. All drives fail. Viruses happen.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

asidu earned 50 total points
ID: 36803701
Since you have already swapped the board and the hard drive does not spin. Some thing is obvious wrong inside the drive.

Its best to seek help from the professional.

Author Comment

ID: 36810186
I cannot afford the 1800 so my options are to try for the freezer....
any idea how long I should keep it there......?
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

dbrunton earned 100 total points
ID: 36810796
>>  I also have another working Seagate 750 gig same model on the machine. So I took off the board on the back of the working hard drive and switched it to the non working hard drive.

Needs to be the exact same model and revision of board.


Locked hard drives can sometimes be freed by  Sometimes.

If your data is really valuable send it in to the experts

Author Comment

ID: 36811083
They say here over night.
I will try. Thank you. This would definitely be better than nothing.
LVL 91

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 75 total points
ID: 36814304
i hope for you you get it working, but if not  -try these (much cheaper) :                        data recovery Company                                 "           "                   "                     "           "                   "
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 100 total points
ID: 36815522
A few thoughts ...

(1)   Clearly you've learned this the hard way -- but you should ALWAYS have backups of any important data.     I tell all of my friends that if there's anything on their hard drive they don't want to lose, do NOT go to bed at night without backing it up.    ALL important data should be on at LEAST two different sets of media (mine is always on 4 or more)

(2)  The "freezer" trick isn't a particularly good idea, but does sometimes have very limited success.    If you're going to try it, be SURE the drive is in an airtight bag; then put it in the freezer for a couple hours;  remove it; and quickly attach it and try to recover your data.    ANY condensation that you get on the drive significantly reduces the likelihood that a professional data recovery company can recover your data ... so it's VERY important that it be fully sealed before you put it in the freezer.

(3)  The most economical data recovery company I've used is Gillware [ ].    They have a "no recovery, no fee" policiy, so it won't cost you to send the drive in for evaluation.    Their basic recovery fee is ~ $400 ... but if a drive requires the cleanroom it's notably more (and from your description that's likely the case).      In any event, it's would almost certainly be well under what Seagate quoted you.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36964631
Here is what happened. I found out that the freezer thing seemed to have worked. When I got the hard drive spinning I noticed there was nothing on the hard drive. It was showing no files on it what so ever. So now I am thinking that the team of geeks I had working on it accidentally wiped my hard drive and are not admitting  to anything or the hard drive is so messed up it shows a drive letter that is empty. One thing I tried was saving to hd. It would not let me so I cannot in truth blame them. I guess it is a possibility. The hd did heat up and got what seemed to be really hot to the touch.

Regardless. I want to thank everyone that helped. I thought it would be best to reward based on value of answer rather than just one or two. It was hard to tell who had the best answer. Thank you very much.
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36964658
You are most welcome and I was happy to help. Thanks for the update. .... Thinkpads_User

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