Western Digital Hard Drive Failure?

jeffceo used Ask the Experts™
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB
Manufacture Date: 2011
This is in a Lenovo Thinkcentre M91P.  The machine was left on without use for a week or so.  It then installed a number of Windows updates during shut down and would not boot after this.  A "beep" type noise is coming from the drive.  Please go here: http://www.datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php and listen to the 8th one down:
Western Digital laptop hard drive with stuck spindle trying to spin up with siren.

According to DataCent, it sounds like a stuck spindle.  I have not tried much or run any drive diagnostics through bios, etc. for fear of mechanical damage. Any ideas on whether this is the actual issue and what I can try to access files on the drive?

Thank You
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Before you do anything, analyze the possibility of the worst outcome first, because once you attempt ANY HD repair you may be committing to irreversibly changing the contents....
If the spindle is stuck, it may be both mechanical or control issue.
Good news is that if you really need the data, chances are better that it can be done compared to say crashed heads.
Always go to reputable data recovery expert.
Now... If you decide that that you do not need the data that bad and want to experiment, pull the drive out, put it in a sealed freezer bag and stick it in to a freezer for several hours.
Quickly remove and install back and power up. The lower temperature may aid in getting the drive spun up. If you get this lucky do not turn the drive off until you get your data out.

Good luck.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
If the drive sounds just like the sound you noted, then that's likely the problem.

I'd replace the drive and restore the laptop from your backups.    If you have not-yet-backed-up data that you need to recover, then send the drive off for professional recovery.   ANYTHING you do to the drive at this point may reduce the odds of a successful recovery.

You may want to use DataCent ... they sound like a good outfit, and have a "no data, no fee" policy.    I have no experience with them, so don't know what they typically charge.   I DO have experience with Gillware [http://gillware.com/ ], and can vouch for them -- they're very good; reasonably priced (by data recovery standards); and also have a "no recovery, no fee" policy.    I'd get quotes from both places before deciding.
Top Expert 2013
sometimes tapping the drive (gently) from different sides can help getting it unstuck


Thanks guys, all good tips.  I have always wanted to try the freezer trick but since the contents are fairly important I am probably going to send it out to a recovery place.  I tried the tapping, it was able to spool up but was not reading anything so I shut it down.
Top Expert 2013

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