Forum Thread

Hard drive no longer recognized by PC

Tonedeaf 9,415 3,667 March 14, 2016 at 01:32 PM
Have a hard drive that is no longer being seen by the PC. Run Windows 7 and have tried the drive in it's prior home of eSata enclosure, direct connect to PC, USB connection as an external drive all without luck.

When it is connected to the eSata enclosure, the boot up of the PC hangs up at the drive and takes forever to finally boot up to Windows. With drive out, start up is fast.

Any ideas of what to do to help troubleshoot it? Is it really toast?

TIA.

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#2
Quote from Tonedeaf View Post :
Have a hard drive that is no longer being seen by the PC. Run Windows 7 and have tried the drive in it's prior home of eSata enclosure, direct connect to PC, USB connection as an external drive all without luck.

When it is connected to the eSata enclosure, the boot up of the PC hangs up at the drive and takes forever to finally boot up to Windows. With drive out, start up is fast.

Any ideas of what to do to help troubleshoot it? Is it really toast?

TIA.
Sounds like a drive that's failing physically. Do not boot the drive or do anything that writes to the drive.

It isn't the simplest to use, but I would use a command line tool, ddrescue from a linux distro to image/backup the drive. You can make a image file or transfer the data directly to another drive/partition (the new drive will be erased in the process). I like ddrescue because when it encounters an error it keeps going and then goes back to try the problem areas again.

An other option is http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm it isn't as versatile as ddrescue but it is easier to use.
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Last edited by jkee March 14, 2016 at 06:24 PM
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#3
Thanks. Will give them a try.
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#4
if the drive isn't found by the bios when booting you are SOL unless you want to do surgery. if the BIOS is finding it, the file allocation table was probably destroyed on it. which is a simple fix but the drive needs to be physically fit/running to salvage.

when you say not seen by PC. do you mean listed as "D:\" in explorer or doesn't show up in device manager or BIOS doesn't find it?
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so i spent time making a signature. only to realize that you couldn't put an image in the signature. please enjoy the link to my signature, assuming it works.

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#5
Quote from dayv View Post :
if the drive isn't found by the bios when booting you are SOL unless you want to do surgery. if the BIOS is finding it, the file allocation table was probably destroyed on it. which is a simple fix but the drive needs to be physically fit/running to salvage.

when you say not seen by PC. do you mean listed as "D:\" in explorer or doesn't show up in device manager or BIOS doesn't find it?
Drive is not showing up in device manager when plugged in. Haven't had chance to mess with it this week yet. Will get it going again over the weekend and see if I can salvage any data from it.

If BIOS can't even see it, what are my options? Assuming it is just dead at that point.
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#6
Quote from Tonedeaf View Post :
Drive is not showing up in device manager when plugged in. Haven't had chance to mess with it this week yet. Will get it going again over the weekend and see if I can salvage any data from it.

If BIOS can't even see it, what are my options? Assuming it is just dead at that point.
I'd only worry about it showing up in the bios if the sata connector on the bare drive is connected directly to your computer.

If your computer won't recognize the drive at all, you're looking at professional recovery services that require you to send them the drive and can be pricey. You can also try to feel if the drive is spinning up. I sometimes listen to a failing drive with a stethoscope to get a sense of what's wrong and if it's safe to attempt software recovery options but that won't do you much good.

I highly recommend a linux live distro and ddrescue. If linux is unfamiliar to you, I would disconnect all drives except the failing drive and a blank drive you want to copy the data to. Read various documentation carefully. https://www.gnu.org/software/ddre...anual.html
make sure you don't mix up source and destination when you invoke the command.
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Last edited by jkee March 17, 2016 at 11:47 AM
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#7
Quote from jkee View Post :
I sometimes listen to a failing drive with a stethoscope to get a sense of what's wrong and if it's safe to attempt software recovery options
What are you listening for? Clicks? What differentiates one that is safe versus unsafe?
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#8
Quote from vivahate View Post :
What are you listening for? Clicks? What differentiates one that is safe versus unsafe?
It's subjective obviously, but if something is wrong with the drive heads it sounds different from normal. There used a to be a website with a bunch of sound files from hard drives and if it was normal or what was wrong with the drive. I used to use that as a reference. I can't remember the site and don't know if it's still around.
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#9
if the drive is making a noise that isn't normal, you are SOL. unless you have really important data on the drive it is an expensive fix and not worth.

a click noise means your head is locked, platters can be transplanted into a similar drive. scratching (constant or intermittent) is the head hitting the platter (really shit out of luck). if it isn't showing up in the bios or making a sound but you can feel it spinning, drive can sometimes be fixed by swapping out the boards on the drive or a platter transplant.

double check the power connector and sata connector. like swap them out for new ones. i actually had a fire in my pc from a sata power adapter shorting or the drive shorting. luckily just a dvd drive. lots of smoke and a horrid smell.
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#10
If only hard drive problems today were as simple as the days of stiction on < 100mb hard drives. The fix back then was to take a big screwdriver and turn a screw on the drive that would turn and unstick the platters... something I had to do a few times as a kid.
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#11
Was able to work a bit on the drive last night. Booted to Live Cd and did not recognize it. Removed the controller board from the drive and cleaned the contacts of it. Booted back up to Windows which took awhile, drive was recognized and was able to move some files to another drive, but then It hung up again and stopped being recognized after about 100gb movement of files.

Drive makes normal sounds with no clicks etc.

May just keep trying this route to try and recover more data from it. Not sure what else to do.
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#12
Quote from Tonedeaf View Post :
Was able to work a bit on the drive last night. Booted to Live Cd and did not recognize it. Removed the controller board from the drive and cleaned the contacts of it. Booted back up to Windows which took awhile, drive was recognized and was able to move some files to another drive, but then It hung up again and stopped being recognized after about 100gb movement of files.

Drive makes normal sounds with no clicks etc.

May just keep trying this route to try and recover more data from it. Not sure what else to do.
if you do it from windows, I'd use drive image XML. If you really must just do drag and drop, use TerraCopy. It will handle errors better.

I'm fairly confident the linux live disc worked fine, it just didn't automatically mount the drive. You don't need to mount the drive to use ddrescue. You just have to figure out if the drive is recognized and what name it's been given. Sata drives will be things like /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and partitions will be things like /dev/sda1 and so on. The linux option is certainly harder to use.

It's important to minimize writes to the problem drive. If the OS is on the problem drive please don't boot off of this drive. If the OS is on a different drive, unplug the drive's sata cable until after the computer has booted up.
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Last edited by jkee March 20, 2016 at 10:22 AM
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#13
Quote from jkee View Post :
if you do it from windows, I'd use drive image XML. If you really must just do drag and drop, use TerraCopy. It will handle errors better.

I'm fairly confident the linux live disc worked fine, it just didn't automatically mount the drive. You don't need to mount the drive to use ddrescue. You just have to figure out if the drive is recognized and what name it's been given. Sata drives will be things like /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and partitions will be things like /dev/sda1 and so on. The linux option is certainly harder to use.

It's important to minimize writes to the problem drive. If the OS is on the problem drive please don't boot off of this drive. If the OS is on a different drive, unplug the drive's sata cable until after the computer has booted up.
Thanks again for the help. Using Drive Image XML now to attempt a back up of the drive and it seems to be staying connected and backing up. Will see how progress goes on it.

Also, this drive is only data, not boot up drive.
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Last edited by Tonedeaf March 20, 2016 at 10:52 AM
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#14
Quote from jkee View Post :
I'm fairly confident the linux live disc worked fine, it just didn't automatically mount the drive. You don't need to mount the drive to use ddrescue. You just have to figure out if the drive is recognized and what name it's been given. Sata drives will be things like /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and partitions will be things like /dev/sda1 and so on. The linux option is certainly harder to use.
Easiest way to see, IMO is to run lsblk. You'll see some output like this:
Code:
$ lsblk
sda      8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk 
+-sda1   8:1    0 107.7G  0 part 
+-sda2   8:2    0  48.8G  0 part 
+-sda3   8:3    0     1K  0 part 
+-sda5   8:5    0   3.8G  0 part 
+-sda6   8:6    0  18.6G  0 part 
+-sda7   8:7    0 266.7G  0 part 
+-sda8   8:8    0  20.1G  0 part /
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#15
Quote from vivahate View Post :
Easiest way to see, IMO is to run lsblk. You'll see some output like this:
Code:
$ lsblk
sda      8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk 
+-sda1   8:1    0 107.7G  0 part 
+-sda2   8:2    0  48.8G  0 part 
+-sda3   8:3    0     1K  0 part 
+-sda5   8:5    0   3.8G  0 part 
+-sda6   8:6    0  18.6G  0 part 
+-sda7   8:7    0 266.7G  0 part 
+-sda8   8:8    0  20.1G  0 part /
That's a good way to figure it out. I couldn't remember the command. I often use df and cat to figure stuff like this out. I haven't been running linux too much lately and have gotten a little rusty.
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