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Hard disk behaving strangely

Posted on 2016-10-04
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Last Modified: 2016-10-10
Hi, I am hoping someone can help with an issue I am having with a hard disk.

When it is powered up - it is making a beeping sound.

I opened the disk and can see the head moving (freely) back and fourth.
I am obviolulsy aware that opening the disk voids warrenty and can possibly make the disk worse but I had nothing to lose.

I'm hoping that someone may have a solution.

I tried uploading an MP4 video of it in action but was unable to.

Thanks

Stuart
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Question by:SmashAndGrab
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29 Comments
 
LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:David Atkin
ID: 41827955
Hi,

It sounds like there is a mechanical fault with the disk. You could send it off to be recovered but its not cheap!
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41827956
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 41828110
If you've opened a hard drive outside of a specially constructed clean room then to all extent you should consider the drive toast.  Any contamination whatsoever that gets between the platter and pickup will destroy the mechanism - the operating distance between platters and head is measured in microns - fractions of a hair's width
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41828135
Seriously?  You OPENED IT UP?  You might as well throw it out.  The tiniest dust particles can damage the drive.  If, as MASQ says, you didn't open it in a clean room, I'll be surprised if it still can access data and shocked, if it lasts more a few more operational days.

I REALLY hope you have backups!
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:IT-Expert
ID: 41828167
If you didn't open up the hard disk in a special "clean room", then you most likely will have now introduced other problems into the mix, other than the beeping sound.
The LAST thing you do, is open a hard disk up!  They are deliberately sealed devices for a very good reason.

When you say you had nothing to lose, does that mean it DIDN'T have any data on it?

ANY hard drive that starts to emit anything other than 'normal' noises, and you need to plan on replacing it.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Senior IT System Engineer
ID: 41829029
I guess, you just might have to put the cover back again and then place it into Removable USB drive casing and then start the recovery using:


Software: https://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm
3rd party service: https://www.krollontrack.com
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41829255
what disk model is it?
are you booting from it?does it Always make the sound, and movement - even when not accessed?
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829435
Thanks for the comments everyone.

Disk Details
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829448
I understand about the risks of opening up the disk but let me tell I had it in hand.

I have made sure that how I undertook the removing of the case in the most professional and safe manor that I could.

Firstly - I created a safe, ULTRA clean and anti-static environment by only opening it inside a tent (I set it up in my garden)  I then used a vacuum cleaner to gather up any dust (it was a Dyson and you know how good they are).  

Secondly  - I washed my hands thoroughly with coal-tar soap TWICE.

Thirdly  - I wore a hair net.

Fourthly - I turned off the EMP I have running in my garage.

Fifthly - My dog was not allowed in the tent once the disk had been opened  - although he did try!  cheeky fella!

Sixthly - I used only HIGH QUALITY windoleen to clean the hard disk's with to get rid of any debris.
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41829642
that won't help much imo - but it is better than nothing

can you answer my questions?
are you booting from it?does it Always make the sound, and movement - even when not accessed?
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:IT-Expert
ID: 41829645
Windoleen to clean the outside of a hard disk?

That's a new one on me!
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829646
Hi nobus,

I am just using a SATA connection that has a USB connection on the other end.

Yes - it just continually makes the beeping sound and movement as soon as its switched on until it is switch off
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41829818
Your precautions were a waste of time - Your disk is trashed.

If it has important data on it that you cannot get back from your Backups (Why Not?), you can try and take it to a commercial Recovery company like OnTrack who might be able to recover something from it, NB the more times you turn it on, the less data they stand a chance of recovering.

Otherwise just throw it in the trash!
1
 
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41829839
Seriously.  If you really did those things then you wasted your time.  There is no way you achieved an ISO 5 level clean room (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanroom).
0
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829894
Please don't suggest that everything I did was in vain :( I even had an entire all over complete body shave (not head as I used a hairnet) and exfoliate beforehand as to not contaminate the disks.
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41829967
Is there a reason you want to post snarky comments and not face reality?
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829975
I don't understand - I tried my best?!
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Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41829979
Of course - I'm NEVER going to acheieve an ISO LEVEL 9 clean room BUT I can do what I can.

I did put in the very first post

"I am obviolulsy aware that opening the disk voids warranty and can possibly make the disk worse but I had nothing to lose."

I took my best shot and it didn't work.   I appreciate every and all of the positive and constructive comments I have received.
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41830034
what sound does it make?  kind of bump?  that is the the head assy travelling to the head stop, and bumping into it - This means the heads are not capable of reding the tracks
if other sounds - try to specify
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:IT-Expert
ID: 41830058
I personally would never have gone to the extent that you did.

Nobus, not wanting to be/or appear rude, but I wouldn't have bothered with those questions about the sound?

Once HD's start to make un-normal noises, then something inside the drive is going bad.  Time to either trash or send to specialists who have the proper environment available, in which to try and retrieve data (if you consider that a worthwhile option).

I don't think you answered MY question as to whether there was data on the drive or not, after making the "nothing to lose" remarks.  I had to make an assumption.
0
 

Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41830065
hi nobus,

its like a beep sound.  

https://youtu.be/bhIzRK3Sq6Q
0
 

Author Comment

by:SmashAndGrab
ID: 41830076
@IT Expert.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNJqTPutrJ4

Look at this video, its shows - as do many others, show how the head can be stuck and can cause a beeping sound.  If it, is dislodged, you may have brought yourself some time to get the data off.

The story behind this disk is that I was given it by a friend.  They asked if I could get any data off it.  They had had no luck and had given up but thought it was worth me taking a look "just in case".

So here I am with not really much to lose.

Hope this all makes sense.

Thanks everyone again for your help.
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LVL 91

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 41830084
i can't hear anything, but a disk behaving like that cannot be repaired
since the problem is either the head(s) or the logic board

you can try replacing the heads - if you have a spare head assy, and see what gives
or try replacing the logic board - note that by replacing the board, all info stored on the board is lost (bad sectors, etc) so you may be unable to read the disk properly
but if you want to try - go ahead - but no warranty it will work - ok?
1
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41830386
Wow!  so much negativity.

You don't need an absolutely clean room for a disk to still work.  I've opened up disks and recovered data from it when I unstuck the heads.  You still wouldn't do it long term.  You also don't expect the disks to stay in good shape if you do this long term.  It worked long enough for me to recover data and that's all I needed.  I even ran the recovery with the cover removed for part of the process.

If the heads are moving, and you still can't get data off it, then there are some other issues and @nobus has the correct suggestions on the next steps.  I also suspect you won't get anything off the disk on your own.  You'll likely have to pay for data recovery services if you actually do want the data.  If you're just playing around, I see no problems experimenting.

Did you have a HEPA filter to blow clean air into the box?   It's a good idea to have one to reduce the amount of dust that might enter the disk.  Otherwise, you're eventually going to get a large enough dust particle to make the heads crash and any longer term playing around with the cover removed will reduce your chances of future recovery.
1
 
LVL 17
ID: 41830540
Would a spray of some kind help?
I have an aerosol of electrical contact cleaner spray that dissolves grease and grime and leaves no residue. It works great on crackly potentiometers. I've never tried it on anything computer related,  but you may be able to spray some in a hole and not have to open the case at all.
1
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 41830964
TBH, I've cracked one open while sitting at the coffee table.  While it's spinning, it's casting off dry dust anyway.   Just have to keep the dog's nose away.  Only do this if you truly don't care, and are just doing it out of mechanical curiosity.

Kroll/Ontrack won't boot yours up.  They disassemble and place the platters into a known-good identical drive.  They stream everything off for later analysis.  If you had an identical drive, it might work (if platters aren't damaged).  Did one drive that way, and got some data back.  Useless data, of course, not the important stuff that I needed.
1
 
LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 41831467
You silly person, it's the platters you should clean with windoleen, not the outside of the casing.
2
 
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41833032
This seems to have degenerated into a Monty Python sketch!

"I am obviolulsy aware that opening the disk voids warranty and can possibly make the disk worse but I had nothing to lose."

Well only the data. With disk heads flying at 10nm or so, any kind of contaminate is going to cause problems. Opening a disk outside of a clean room is just foolish.
0
 
LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 41833765
But he used a tent, presumably one of these - http://www.ceramisis.com/inflatable_cleanroom.htm

About the only thing I can think that he did wrong was to shave his body rather than using Veet for men -
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Veet-Men-Hair-Removal-Cream/product-reviews/B000KKNQBK
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