How do I determine if the hard-disk's circuit-board is defective?

I have a hard-disk that is physically dysfunctional. Unfortunately, I have to perform data-recovery as there was no backup of the hard-disk. My hope is that it's the circuit-board on the hard-disk so perhaps I can easily replace it. The question I have is how can I be 100% sure that the problem is the circuit-board? What are the risks with replacing the circuit-board without swapping the board in a clean-room? Do you have recommendations as to where I could buy a circuit-board for a hard-disk? It is an IBM ThinkPad Laptop. There is no clicking whatsoever. The hard-disk LED lights-up for about 2-seconds during the boot process and then the light vanishes. I mounted the disk to a hardware enclosure and when clicking on the disk it asked to format the disk. My thought is that if it wasn't the circuit-board, there would be power and possibly some clicking if it were another component of the disk. Please let me know your thoughts!
pae2Asked:
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dbruntonCommented:
>>  The question I have is how can I be 100% sure that the problem is the circuit-board?

>>  The hard-disk LED lights-up for about 2-seconds during the boot process and then the light vanishes. I mounted the disk to a hardware enclosure and when clicking on the disk it asked to format the disk. My thought is that if it wasn't the circuit-board, there would be power and possibly some clicking if it were another component of the disk.

There isn't any way to guarantee the fault is circuit board or not.  Most manufacturers have utils to test the hard disk.  Check what brand of disk it is and then search the manufacturer's site for the util.  That'll tell you if the disk is faulty but won't identify where the fault is.

>>  What are the risks with replacing the circuit-board without swapping the board in a clean-room?

Usually no problem with that.

>>  Do you have recommendations as to where I could buy a circuit-board for a hard-disk?

EBay.

See http://www.deadharddrive.com/ as well and note that you need a hard disk with exactly the same size and revision as your one.

You may be better off by sending the drive off to one of the major data recovery centres rather than doing it yourself.


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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
As noted above, you need an exact match of not only the revision # of the circuit board, but also the firmware.    And of course there's no guarantee that the issue is just the board.

If the data on the drive is important, you're better off sending it to a professional data recovery company.    This is an excellent one, with very reasonable (by data recovery standards) pricing; and a "no recovery, no cost" policy:   http://www.gillware.com/
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