Is this SATA hard drive dead?

Posted on 2012-08-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-09-06
An HP pavilion p63467c-b, windows 7 home premium, has been working fine for years with it's one internal SATA hitachi hard drive on sata1 mobo port and an optical drive on SATA2 mobo port.  No one has opened the PC for years.

But yesterday it started saying:
"reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key"
when booted

The BIOS does NOT see the hard drive (says port1 is empty, sata2 is optical drive)

I left the CMOS battery out for a while.  I tried resetting the bios within the bios (load defaults & save)  I tried setting the SATA controller mode from from raid to ide to ahci. hep j

I tried unplugging the DVD drive. Then I tried putting the HDD into SATA port 2. Then I even tried connecting the HDD to the MOBO using the Optical drive's power & data cables.    The optical drive was ALWAYS detected, the HDD,never. (I believe this rules out cables, connections, and ports)

I believe SATA drivers are not an issue in this case - esp since it was already working before?  

Likewise, the HDD jumpers wouldn't be the issue would they? since it's a 3 year old PC -- and ESP since the computer was working fine before.

Someone mentioned resetting the CMOS/BIOS jumpers. I think I accomplished this - but isnt' this redundant to taking otu the battery?      

When I booted from the computer's reinstallation optical disks, it said no HD detected.


What I plan to do is remove the HD and plug it into either my mother's windows 7 SATA PC or my father's windows vista SATA PC. Whichever one it is, I'll unplug the current SATA HDD and plug in the "bad" HDD, and see if the new computer's BIOS detects it.  If it does NOT, I'll assume the HDD Is BAD.

The owner of the non-working computer really wants the data from the disk, which wasn't backed up (!!!).  


(1) Regarding the above plan to plug the bad HDD into a different SATA computer -- do I need to do anything besides plugging in the HDD to the MOBO via SATA data & power cables to test the drive (by using the BIOS detection)?

(2) Is there anything else I should try? (eg jumpers?)
Question by:dgrrr

Accepted Solution

Bibliophage earned 600 total points
ID: 38327983
In general, no, you don't have to do anything special.   Most machines made in the last four years will automatically adjust to an additional drive being plugged in.  

You might hook up _just_ the power connector, and gently rotate the drive left to right.  If you feel the gyroscopic 'drag' on your hand, then you know it is at least receiving power to the main platter motor.  

I would suspect 'dead drive' just from your initial description, as well as moving it to a different port (I'm assuming with a different cable as well).

Good Luck!
LVL 47

Assisted Solution

David earned 600 total points
ID: 38328001
If you did exactly what you wrote, and aren't holding anything back, then yes ... dead.
Most major cities have a local HDD recovery firm.  Going rate is $500+, and the norm is to get a free estimate.

Since this is not your disk, understand that even powering it up risks further damage.  Give the customer the bad news.   You could get lucky and problem is something that doesn't affect the media, so maybe it will cost less money.  But unless you have a clean room, bunny suit, and tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, there is no shame in getting this disk to trained pro.

Expert Comment

ID: 38328013
First get info about the critical nature of the Data.
If u get the answer "i need them no matter what" then the specialized experts are the way to go.
If u get the answer "it would be great to get them if we could" then u can try all the tricks on ur sleeve.
In case no2 see this http://www.datarecoverypros.com/hard-drive-recovery-freeze.html
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Expert Comment

ID: 38328019
It's true that powering it up _could_ result in additional damage - but from too much experience with drives (thirty or forty in a box outside my door), when they stop being recognized, it's generally a fried board, not a fried actuator or rotator.   I _loved_ paying Seagate $800 to recover data from a customer hard drive that died due to a _known_ Seagate firmware failure, where they supposedly would get your data back for free if it was because of that bug.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 38328135
you can always test if the drive is seen on another PC (it could be caused by the bios, or connections, or interface)
but if the drive is not seen - you need recovery services, since no software can help
here a couple of links :
http://www.lowcostrecovery.com/index.html                        data recovery Company
http://www.gillware.com/                                 "           "                   "
http://www.drivesavers.com/services/estimates.html                     "           "                   "
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38328279
Drive seems gone bad. You can try to connect it to another pc just to be sure that problem is not in your motherboard. After hat give the drive back and suggest using professional recovery service.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 38329162
Sounds as if the drive is indeed dead. However, you may want to run an actual hardware test instead of just installing it into another computer. Download and burn the Ultamate Bood CD. Boot the computer with this cd and choose the HDD menu option. Scroll all the way to the bottom and you will see the option to test Hitatchi drives. Run the scan and you will know for certain if it is bad. If it is unrecognized. It is bad. http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

If the drive is dead, as far as recovery... I remind my customers how important it is to backup their data. Most of them however continue to not backup their data once a new drive is in place. People are lazy and lost data is their punishment. In the case of a dead drive, you are looking at hundreds or even thousands of dollars to recover the data. The platelettes have to be removed within a static free environment and placed into another working drive. Most average users will not afford to recover their data, but it is an option. Just search the Internet for data recovery companies.

Expert Comment

ID: 38329943
He's not seeing it show up in the BIOS/CMOS level, so it's most likely a bad cable, or a blown board.

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