Forum Thread

Is my HDD dead?

Initial Z 688 92 August 28, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Hi guys. I have been having major troubles with a new computer I built recently. I think I fixed most of them at the moment, but somewhere along the lines... I think my HDD might have died. It is a 2TB Seagate "green" drive I have been using for storage for several years now.

Let me list my current parts:
i5-2500k
Z77 mobo
GTX 560 Ti
Corsair CX600 PSU
2x4 GB DDR3
120 GB Agility 3 SSD (OS)
2 TB Seagate HDD (Storage)
Windows 7 64-bit

So I had this drive for years without any problems. The new computer I built had been freezing on me daily. I flashed the motherboard to the latest BIOS and have not had the freezing since. It only took me a month or more to realize the BIOS would have fixed it.

Anyway let me describe what happened to my HDD. One time after a freeze, Windows had to run chkdsk on startup to fix my HDD. Another time after a freeze, Windows failed to boot. I ended up moving the HDD onto my old computer where Windows was able to run chkdsk and fix the drive again. I put the HDD back into my new computer then shortly after, I got a BSOD saying there was a hardware problem/malfunction. Windows failed to boot again until I removed the HDD. I put the HDD into my old computer, hoping chkdsk would fix it again. Nope, Windows would not boot on my old computer this time. I got an external HDD and put my 'broken' HDD into the enclosure and plugged it into my computer after loading Windows. After the drivers were installed, I was notified that my HDD (both partitions) were not formatted and asked if I wanted to format... I entered 'no.'

I then tried manually running chkdsk on the HDD. I went to start menu and typed "chkdsk :L /F" (drive letter was :L, /F is supposed to be for automatically fix errors). Chkdsk ran for a minute or two, but it didn't seem to do anything as I could still not access the drive afterwards. I tried a different method of running chkdsk, by opening an elevated command prompt and typing the same thing "chkdsk :L /F". It gave me an error saying "the type of this system is RAW" and wasn't able to run.

I then tried a recovery program called ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery). While trying to scan my HDD (still via external/usb) for errors or whatnot, the program was constantly "not responding." I read somewhere that even though it was "not responding" it was actually running, albeit very slowly.. and it seemed to be the case. Anyhow, I left it to run for a few hours while I stepped out, and when I returned I got a BSOD...

I am kind of stuck now as to what to do. The drive is still under warranty, but my data is still on the drive. I don't think there is anything super important on it, but there may be some stuff on it I don't necessarily want other people to see if I send it back under warranty.. I'm here to look for advice on how to possibly repair it or at least extract/wipe data from it.

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#2
Run Seatools diagnostics on the drive.

http://www.seagate.com/support/do.../seatools/

Use recuva to salvage the data. Even though it is free, it is still one of the best.

http://www.piriform.com/recuva

To zero out the data, run dban. The data will be unrecoverable after running this overnight.

http://www.dban.org/download
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Last edited by evongugg August 28, 2012 at 04:24 AM
#3
Do you overclock your computer?
What are the SMART values/warning/errors?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.
Does the OCZ agility 3 SSD have the latest firmware?
What's the PATA/IDE mode (IDE/AHCI/etc) option in the BIOS? Did you change the mode back to AHCI after you updated the firmware (if you updated the SSD firmware)?

You might want to stop running any chkdsk or recovery attempt before knowing if it's BIOS settings/hardware/driver that causes the BSOD and not responding problem. Any effort of writing/move the data on the drive without knowing what's going on only makes it worse in most cases not to mention it could take a long time doing that.
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#4
Your descriptions are excellent.
I have seen hard drives follow a similar path and it is my opinion, that apart from some professional data recovery companies, there is nothing you can do, neither for getting the data back, nor to make that HD ever work again.
It has all the classic symptoms of a hard drive dying bit by bit and getting worse, until one day, it can no longer be accessed, as if it were raw, and tends to short out the PC it's hooked up to.
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#5
Quote from evongugg View Post :
Run Seatools diagnostics on the drive.

http://www.seagate.com/support/do.../seatools/

Use recuva to salvage the data. Even though it is free, it is still one of the best.

http://www.piriform.com/recuva

To zero out the data, run dban. The data will be unrecoverable after running this overnight.

http://www.dban.org/download
All of these are very good and highly recommended though only use DBAN as a last resort when you're ready to say Censored-it and want to start completely from scratch.
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#6
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
Your descriptions are excellent.
I have seen hard drives follow a similar path and it is my opinion, that apart from some professional data recovery companies, there is nothing you can do, neither for getting the data back, nor to make that HD ever work again.
It has all the classic symptoms of a hard drive dying bit by bit and getting worse, until one day, it can no longer be accessed, as if it were raw, and tends to short out the PC it's hooked up to.
I would agree for the most part.

OP. It might be worth letting spinrite pound on it for a few days. It might be able to recover enough sectors to let it boot again to get some data off. Booting to a live linux cd to try and copy some data off is worth a try too. Do you have a backup or are you looking to send this in for professional recovery?
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#7
download r-studio
R studio will see drives that do not show up in windows it will scan thru the drive and find folders and files

http://www.r-studio.com/

it is free to have it look at your drive and not too expensive to buy and recover your files I have also had god luck with HDD regenerator

http://www.dposoft.net/
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#8
Quote from komondor View Post :
download r-studio
R studio will see drives that do not show up in windows it will scan thru the drive and find folders and files

http://www.r-studio.com/

it is free to have it look at your drive and not too expensive to buy and recover your files I have also had god luck with HDD regenerator

http://www.dposoft.net/
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I would agree for the most part.

OP. It might be worth letting spinrite pound on it for a few days. It might be able to recover enough sectors to let it boot again to get some data off. Booting to a live linux cd to try and copy some data off is worth a try too. Do you have a backup or are you looking to send this in for professional recovery?
Quote from menace33 View Post :
All of these are very good and highly recommended though only use DBAN as a last resort when you're ready to say Censored-it and want to start completely from scratch.
You guys probably know more about all this than I do, but I'll tell you what I think, for whatever it's worth.
It's been my experience that once a hard drive gets to the point that Windows offers to format it and other programs perceive it as raw. there is zero chance of recovery by conventional means.
I remain open to the idea that the pro's can take the discs out and build them into a functional HD, and quite possibly could get at the data, but I truly believe that none of the recovery programs could get anything whatsoever out of a hard drive in this shape.
I don't think that the recovery programs mentioned, were even designed to get data from a drive in this state.
All that being said, I also remain open to the idea that y'all might have had some experiences that disprove what I just said, so if you do, please fire away.
I learn more from being wrong about something, than if I was right.
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#9
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
You guys probably know more about all this than I do, but I'll tell you what I think, for whatever it's worth.
It's been my experience that once a hard drive gets to the point that Windows offers to format it and other programs perceive it as raw. there is zero chance of recovery by conventional means.
I remain open to the idea that the pro's can take the discs out and build them into a functional HD, and quite possibly could get at the data, but I truly believe that none of the recovery programs could get anything whatsoever out of a hard drive in this shape.
I don't think that the recovery programs mentioned, were even designed to get data from a drive in this state.
All that being said, I also remain open to the idea that y'all might have had some experiences that disprove what I just said, so if you do, please fire away.
I learn more from being wrong about something, than if I was right.
Iagree Yes, all these recovery options are for, at least for me anyways, is an option to get as much data off that disk as possible before more data becomes corrupt or the drive just collapses. Though SpinRite can do a very good job of stabilizing a drive to allow for that full boot and speedy removal. But yes after a HDD gets that bad, I don't trust it anymore.
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#10
I just pulled off 4+ GB of data off of a dead laptop drive ran HDD regenerator for about 1 day then R-studio
Windows wanted to format the drive R-studio showed multiple CRC errors but was able to still read many files
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#11
Quote from komondor View Post :
I just pulled off 4+ GB of data off of a dead laptop drive ran HDD regenerator for about 1 day then R-studio
Windows wanted to format the drive R-studio showed multiple CRC errors but was able to still read many files
That's kool.
Did you say that Windows could read some files before you ran the regenerator?
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#12
no windows did not see the drive and disk manager wanted to initialize and format the disk it is pretty handy and I had better luck than with spinrite, I own both plus r-studio
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#13
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
You guys probably know more about all this than I do, but I'll tell you what I think, for whatever it's worth.
It's been my experience that once a hard drive gets to the point that Windows offers to format it and other programs perceive it as raw. there is zero chance of recovery by conventional means.
I remain open to the idea that the pro's can take the discs out and build them into a functional HD, and quite possibly could get at the data, but I truly believe that none of the recovery programs could get anything whatsoever out of a hard drive in this shape.
I don't think that the recovery programs mentioned, were even designed to get data from a drive in this state.
All that being said, I also remain open to the idea that y'all might have had some experiences that disprove what I just said, so if you do, please fire away.
I learn more from being wrong about something, than if I was right.
Quote from menace33 View Post :
Iagree Yes, all these recovery options are for, at least for me anyways, is an option to get as much data off that disk as possible before more data becomes corrupt or the drive just collapses. Though SpinRite can do a very good job of stabilizing a drive to allow for that full boot and speedy removal. But yes after a HDD gets that bad, I don't trust it anymore.
I agree that its only really enough usually to get data off. I think most of these programs are worth trying depending on the problem because they sometimes work. They don't usually make problems worse. Most of the time I don't trust the drive again, especially for something like the OP is talking about. Drives fail for lots of reasons, some can be fixed or worked around with software, while others are mechanical problems that can't.
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#14
It's hard to say, but it sounds more like your drive controller might have failed completely or a TVS diode is blown (essentially a fuse to protect your drive from power surges). On paper, you can transplant a PCB from an identical drive or bypass the diode(s) altogether.
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#15
Quote from exaltare View Post :
It's hard to say, but it sounds more like your drive controller might have failed completely or a TVS diode is blown (essentially a fuse to protect your drive from power surges). On paper, you can transplant a PCB from an identical drive or bypass the diode(s) altogether.
Iagree
I figure the pros often do just that.
The trick is to have an identical hard drive to "steal" the parts from, plus a good steady hand, if any soldering is involved.
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