Hard Drive Difficulties

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meisbored
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Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby meisbored » 25 Jun 2009, 19:58

For some reason, when I got home today and booted up my computer, one of my external hard drives decided not to show up. I tried connecting it in Windows 7 and Ubuntu and it's not detected.

I'm wondering if anyone can point me toward any free software that might be able to detect my hard drive and recover the data, so long as my drive isn't totally dead. The data on it probably isn't important enough to spend money on, so I'm really looking for free or very cheap options here.

Googling has not been very successful so far.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby masamune » 25 Jun 2009, 21:09

i have no suggestions as such, but you might wanna add some extra info for people i.e. how it connects, did you try another computer (not just OS), does it have a separate power supply, how old is it etc etc.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby gcninja » 25 Jun 2009, 21:09

First try it on a DIFFERENT computer could be the port, if its not that then your pretty much SOL as software wont do anything, check all connections, and try swapping it out w another external HD
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Tim » 25 Jun 2009, 21:20

There is software that can help, but I don't know of anything free or easily attainable, unfortunately.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Kyle » 25 Jun 2009, 21:51

If it fails to work at all as a last resort put it in the freezer for a few hours then pull it out and try it right away. Sounds absurd I know but I know somebody who has got it to work.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Lorithad » 25 Jun 2009, 21:53

Well, seeing as how its an external drive, my first thought would be to remove it from it's enclosure, and hook the drive up manually to your computer in whatever format the drive uses. Be it SATA or IDE.
I don't really have a lot of experience with external drives though. That step might be completely unnecessary. However, there could be a problem with the enclosure itself. So don't rule it out.

From there, i'd verify the drive is recognized by the BIOS. Should that work, proceed to windows and see if it's recognized there. If not recognized by windows, boot to recovery console, and attempt to do a chkdsk /r, a fixboot, and a fixmbr.
(be warned, chkdsk /r takes a very long time)

Should the drive not be recognized in the BIOS when connected manually...I don't really know how to recover the data at that point aside from using a really expensive 3rd party service.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby meisbored » 25 Jun 2009, 22:24

gcninja wrote:First try it on a DIFFERENT computer could be the port, if its not that then your pretty much SOL as software wont do anything, check all connections, and try swapping it out w another external HD


Forgot to mention, Ubuntu is on my laptop, and Windows 7 on my desktop. It didn't show up in either. I'm considering trying to install it into my computer with help from a more hardware-savvy friend, but won't be able to until late next week. Oh well, I can survive without my shittons of pira- I mean, completely legal TV shows, movies, etc. for a while.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby meisbored » 25 Jun 2009, 22:28

Huh... I don't have the slightest clue why, but after having it disconnected from the USB port for a couple of hours and then plugging it back in just now, it seems to be working again.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby masamune » 25 Jun 2009, 22:42

i had a mouse that did the same thing once. frustrating, but at least it's fixed.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby tamaness » 26 Jun 2009, 03:12

well, make a good backup anyway.

also, watch Scott Moulton's videos at http://youtube.com/SuperFlyFlippingA. He does data recovery and forensics for a living, and shares quite a few of his techniques and tools in his videos. I reccomend the playlist "10 things you didn't know about hard drives" first. It can be dry at times, but it is very informative.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby ecocd » 26 Jun 2009, 04:20

madAlric wrote:well, make a good backup anyway.

This.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby the amativeness » 26 Jun 2009, 18:19

Kyle wrote:If it fails to work at all as a last resort put it in the freezer for a few hours then pull it out and try it right away. Sounds absurd I know but I know somebody who has got it to work.


NO NO NO NO NO!!!! BAD! NEVER put a hard drive or ANY electronic device in a freezer. A freezer consists of cold air with LOTS of moisture. That moisture will get inside your device, and then when you pull it out of the freezer it will condense and short circuit the electronics. This will cause any electronic components that aren't water-proofed to FRY PERMANENTLY.

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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Master Gunner » 26 Jun 2009, 19:03

That's why you usually put it in a sealed ziplocked bag first (getting as much air out of it as possible, of course). I too have known many people who have done that trick.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Dutch guy » 28 Jun 2009, 02:34

The idea behind putting an HD in the freezer is pretty simple. If the bearings on the reader/write head or the main disks are shot they have too much play, causing improper reading and mechanical noise. By putting the stuff in the freezer the metal bearings shrink, causing the play in them to become less, offering you a chance to get as much off the drive as possible before they heat up and the play becomes too excessive again.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby InsaneFool » 28 Jun 2009, 03:49

Master Gunner wrote:That's why you usually put it in a sealed ziplocked bag first (getting as much air out of it as possible, of course). I too have known many people who have done that trick.


This.
I've done the Freezer trick several times, both personally and when I worked as a service tech. The key is putting it in a plastic bag first.
Once I even managed to find a ribbon cable and power cord long enough that I could image a defective hard drive while it was still in the freezer.

@OP
Do you notice any weird sounds coming from the drive? Try accessing a file and see if you notice any clicking noises...not the normal drive access grinding, but like a *skip-click* kind of sound.
If so, backup everything (technically you should do this anyways) and get a new drive...if its a Seagate there is a 5 year advance swap warranty on it.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Metcarfre » 28 Jun 2009, 08:17

the amativeness wrote:NO NO NO NO NO!!!! BAD! NEVER put a hard drive or ANY electronic device in a freezer. A freezer consists of cold air with LOTS of moisture.


That's funny, because I use a freezer in my lab to dehydrate various extracts.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby Wraith » 28 Jun 2009, 20:16

the amativeness wrote:
Kyle wrote:If it fails to work at all as a last resort put it in the freezer for a few hours then pull it out and try it right away. Sounds absurd I know but I know somebody who has got it to work.


NO NO NO NO NO!!!! BAD! NEVER put a hard drive or ANY electronic device in a freezer. A freezer consists of cold air with LOTS of moisture. That moisture will get inside your device, and then when you pull it out of the freezer it will condense and short circuit the electronics. This will cause any electronic components that aren't water-proofed to FRY PERMANENTLY.

Voice of Experience: I lost an iPod to a freezer...


That's why you put it in a bag first. Freezing a dead hard drive as a last resort is a time-honored method with surprising results. Granted, it's not good for the drive, but if you're going to chuck it anyway, you might as well give the freezer a shot.
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Re: Hard Drive Difficulties

Postby King Kool » 28 Jun 2009, 20:24

I used to put my N64 in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it down...
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