Hard Disc Failure

I have a Hitachi 320GB drive with Windows 7 that will not boot.  Connected the drive to another PC via USB adapter and only 1 partition pops up after about 1-2 minutes.  It is a partition labeled (System) with about 200MB.  At first the main partition would pop up after maybe 3-4 minutes...  I started copying files in a desperate attempt to save the data, but the partition disappeared after a while and I got "write delay failed....  etc.). After that, the partition is not showing up at all now.  Obviously the drive is failing, but...

My question is: is this a logical failure or a mechanical one?  Should I waste my time with software recovery tools or just seek a hard drive professional recovery expert?
Who is Participating?
aadihConnect With a Mentor Commented:
(Recommend): Seek a hard drive professional recovery expert.
Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
In the future get yourself a usb external drive and copy all data to that drive as a backup.

This way if you loose your hard drive you will not have to worry about an expensive recovery process.

sounds like a logical failure a recovery should work.

When  you boot to the bios does the computer see the drive listed ?
DavidConnect With a Mentor PresidentCommented:
Purely a hardware problem.  If you value your data you need to cut power to the disk and take it to a recovery firm.   Be prepared for something in the $750 range.   But most recovery firms offer free estimates.  

I suggest you look for a LOCAL recovery firm with 24x7 walk-in service.  Most major cities have them.  This tells you they do the work with the right equipment onsite, instead of sending it out and marking it up.
Get 10% Off Your First Squarespace Website

Ready to showcase your work, publish content or promote your business online? With Squarespace’s award-winning templates and 24/7 customer service, getting started is simple. Head to Squarespace.com and use offer code ‘EXPERTS’ to get 10% off your first purchase.

Use the manufacturer's diagnostic tool on the HD, it will give you more details on it's state. You'll find those diagnostics on the UBCD:


Also, don't run the diags with the disk connected via USB, most of them don't work that away, and besides, they add a further point of failure. Connect it directly to a PC internally.

Depending on what the diags propose, replace the disk, then reinstall the OS using the recovery media you made when you got the PC, then install a good AV utility and run all Windows updates. After that restore your data from your backups. Or if the tool offers to repair any bad blocks allow it to do that. Then try booting the PC with your HD again (it will probably be necessary to run a chkdsk /f /r too).

You don't need to do any recovery if you took your backups seriously.
DavidConnect With a Mentor PresidentCommented:
I respectfully disagree with Rindi.  You have all the information you need.  Your HDD is doing deep recovery and has unreadable blocks.  Diagnostics will tell you the same.

But the diagnostics will also put HDD in additional stress.   The chkdsk will also write to the drive and make data recovery impossible for any blocks that it changes, and also risk catastrophic drive failure depending on whether or not small pieces of ferromagnetic material is flying around inside the HDD.

There is nothing to be gained by running more tests and everything to lose.
kadafitcdConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I agree with dlethe.  If you have any information that you Have to have no matter the costs then stop where you are and take it or send it to a Recovery expert.  The more the drive is on and spinning the more damage you are doing and the less likely your data will be able to be recovered.
Sounds like a Hardware failure specifically a thermal problem, if you have a stay dry pack ( little package that comes in the HDD ./ DVD / MB antistatic bag to prevent moisture you can try this trick  put drive in a resealable plastic / antistatic bag with the staydry pack put in freezer for several hours remove drive and connect immediately to your adapter, you may be able to get the data off before the partition disappears again as you describe what seems to be a thermal failure on the drive
john_square1Author Commented:
I tried the "freezer" trick.  Didn't work, but good suggestion--I've seen this mentioned elsewhere.  I tried Prosoft's Data rescue3 to no avail.  The program hangs when this drive is attached and won't even open.  I have removed the drive and will have to send it out for recovery as suggested.  Fortunately, it is not my data!  My data is imaged to external drives with Acronis, but trying to get customers to do this is hopeless.  Now he will need to fork over 700.00-2000.00 bucks.  Maybe that is how I can convince him to back up his data!!  Thanks to all for the suggestions....
The freezer trick? (I would have told you by the symptoms it would have been a waste of time, and I assure you this technique made things worse)

Rule of thumb -- Give your customer choice of spending the $$$ now, BEFORE you try such things, and tell them if data is worth a few thousand dollars or more, to just send it out.   NOte, do NOT tell the recovery firm you tried a DIY recovery and hope for the best and they don't see any cold-related damage like condensation.

They MAY rat you out to the end-user and say there is environmental damage that makes recovery more costly.   Too late for you now, but just be aware that this can happen.
john_square1Author Commented:
Ok!  Thanks for that info...
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.