Harddisk not responding, it spins, but there is no recognition by the OS


I have a Western Digital WD20EARX 2TB disk which does not respond at all in Windows. Mechanically it seems fine, the disk spins and I cannot hear retries on reading or initialization. Seems electronically defect. Already tried different ways of connecting, on mainboard and through USB with serveral SATA to USB adapters.

Is there any way to get to the data?

Thank you,
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAsked:
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Do you see the hard drives in the BIOS?  When you start the computer do you see it trying to attempt to load Windows or simply state no hard drive detected?

If the hard drive is not detected you may have to take it to a data recovery specialist.  If you can detect it then you can use a boot media like Acronis to copy your data to an external hard drive or across the network.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Try connecting it to a different computer.  You can try booting the computer with a live distro.

Knoppix is good.  http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

Or the ultimate boot CD.  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

If none of these work about your only option is to get professional recovery services involved.

Here are a list of companies that do data recovery.

You want to look for one that won't charge unless they recover your data.

If your hard drive can't be detected it could be a problem with the hard drive controller on the mainboard or hard drive or it can also be a faulty/loose hard drive connection/wiring.

If you can connect the hard drive to another computer and determine that it can't be detected then we can be sure it's the hard drive that's faulty.  In this case, a data recovery service is probably best for you since they will have the expertise to recover your data from a non-functional drive.
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
The disk is not detected by the BIOS on 3 pc's. Also there is no OS action as in detecting USB device or installing drivers.

I guess data recovery specialist?
The hard drive controller is probably shot.  Your best bet is to take it to a recovery specialist.

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AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
If I find an exact same harddisk, would it be possible to exchange the print on the harddisk or would that give problems due to software differences?
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Yup.  Do a search local to you or look at the ones I posted and be sure you don't have to pay if they don't recover any data.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
You mean the circuit board?  It's possible, but you don't want to make matters worse.  I'd leave this up to the specialists.
That disk is gone. Dead. Replacing the mainboard won't help at all. even if you were lucky enough to get the exact same model with the exact same revision. It just won't work.

Scrap the disk and get a new one (or if it still is under warranty, get it replaced for the warranty). then restore your data from your backups.
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Yeah, backups... There aren't any.

So if replacing circuit boards does not work I will contact the recovery specialist.
If there are no backups, the data can't be so important as to warrant paying between probably $500.--or above $1000.-- for recovering the data. If the data is worth anything, there are always backups....
Wow, $500 is kinda steep.  It should start at about $250

AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
No Rindi,

that is said to easy, you cannot expect everyone to make backups. People just don't realize it all the time. The disk isn't mine. I do make backups, this person didn't, as many don't do. Not making backups doesn't give no value to the data, otherwise data recovery companies wouldn't even exist.

I will contact them.

From what you've described (and from my personal experience), recovery specialist looks like only option unfortunately.
The number of people/businesses that I've come across that don't have a backup, I couldn't count on my fingers.
Of course you can expect people to backup their data. If they don't that is their risk and fault, Backups is and always has been the most important aspect of IT.
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Ok Rindi, so if there is no backup then the data never has any value?
Correct. At least that is what you should preach your clients over and over again, so they make a habit of backing up. Backing up is the most important task when you have a PC or other device that stores any data. If no backups are made you aren't taking your data seriously and therefore it can't be of any value to you.
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Then why do data recovery companies exist?
Because of their client's stupidity or ignorance.
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Exactly, but the thing is: data still has value.

We're going to contact a recovery lab.

Forgive me for being a little lost (confused), but:

"If no backups are made you aren't taking your data seriously and therefore it can't be of any value to you."

Well, if their data is of no value, why would they pay out for recovery services?  Because they're stupid or ignorant.  Right, ok, I accept that.  In other words they just haven't backed up for one reason or another.

No disrespect here, but you seem to have looped the loop here?  Sorry, just a bit lost with what you were saying that's all.

Maybe I'm just not grasping your point very well.  My apologies.
It's supposed to be an ironic statement, and also criticism towards the client who didn't believe in backups.
I can fully understand what Rindi is saying, and why he gets so exasperated in these situations where there are no backups.  I am not arguing with his wealth of experience with computers and dealing with clients, but unfortunately there are two distinct categories of computer users.  It is easier to get annoyed by business people who should have known better than with those home users who simply didn't know at all.  The truth is that the vast majority of people who buy a new desktop or laptop computer don't even know how data is stored on a drive and just assume that it is some kind of perpetual repository that will keep all their files safely unless it is deleted by them.

I would bet that the vast majority of people buying a new computer don't even think about, or ask the salesperson, about contingency plans regarding backup of data.  I would also bet that many people buy new cars assuming that they come with a spare wheel rather than just a compressed can of foam to get them to the next town, and never contemplate what would happen if they got two punctures at one time and only had one can of foam and no spare wheel.

Recent versions of Windows prompt users to create backups, but we all know that most normal home users tend to ignore warnings because they assume that it is something complicated, don't realise the importance of the warning, or they procrastinate (like most of us) and there is always a tomorrow to do things.  Users get so used to dismissing popups that they often ignore warnings about potentially unsafe practices, including malicious web pages and opening unknown files.

Somebody who is putting off having the airbag warning on the dashboard of their car checked out until the next scheduled service doesn't necessarily have a lower regard for their own life, and certainly doesn't deserve to die when the bags fail to inflate in the event of a car crash.  They have probably been so used to seeing all the red-herring false warnings on their dashboards over the years that they don't consider it may be a real warning this time.  Of course, it's much easier to attribute blame and be slightly less sympathetic for the victim, but hindsight is always a wonderful thing after a catastrophe.

By the way, has anybody written an article about backups (corporate or home use) on Experts-Exchange yet?
AgrippaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Yes BillDL,

that is also what I mean to say, I also do understand Rindi from a business and IT side of the story, but many home users thinks they are safe or don't even think about it at all. An example is that many people put all of their data on a single external USB harddrive and say: this is my backup. On the PC or laptop itself is no data.

It is me who needs to tell them:
You can only speak of a backup when it is on 2 locations (copy) which are physically apart from each other to also rule out loss due to water / theft / fire damages.

I am going to think my drive to a recovery specialist.
Hartelijk bedankt, ElisysAutomatisering.  Veel geluk.
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