Introduction: Hard Drive Recovery From a Full Stop

Picture of Hard Drive Recovery From a Full Stop

Just the steps taken to get a harddrive back up (Maxtor in this case) from 0 rpm and no bios detection, to 7200 rpm in a few easy steps!

Step 1: Get a Harddrive of the Same Make As the Failed Drive

I determined that the harddrive problem was not a crash because, it wasn't making any weird noises (or any noises at all). When I plugged the harddrive in, I started feeling the components on the controller board, some of which were burning hot. (another indicator that the controller board was burnt out).

I was lucky enough to have another Maxtor of the same make, even though it was of different size, the ICs and components had the same value on the circuit board. So I thought, it couldnt hurt to try and swap the boards.

Step 2: Remove the Controller Board

Picture of Remove the Controller Board

Now locate the torx/security screws on each hardrive. On the Maxtor they were relatively easy to locate (the red circles in the first picture). And use the appropriate sized bit for your drive screws (T8 for the Maxtor).

Remove the defective hard drive board and place it in your junk box. The board should lift up, with some pretty fragile foam cushioning it underneath, try to salvage a full piece from either hard drive to use on your repaired drive with the data. Take the functional board and place it carefully where the last board was so that the connections (in red circles on the second picture) line up with the solder pads under the board so it is interfaced with the hard drive head and platter.

Step 3: Plug and Pray

Picture of Plug and Pray

Plug the ATA and power into your hopefully functional frankenstein drive, make sure the jumper is set correctly on the new board and hope that it works!

Comments

daniel.eaton.5201 (author)2014-10-29

Several years ago, I experienced a hard drive failure. I was at work when my laptop suddenly started to act particularly strange. First, I thought it was because I had too many windows open and the RAM was full, but when the problems persisted after a reboot, I knew it was more than that. I immediately started to back up recent files. About half an hour later, the hard drive failed audibly and the laptop wouldn't boot anymore.

scottkildall (author)2013-12-15

This was incredibly useful. I had what I thought was a dead drive with some important files and didn't think of this. Ordered a used, exact matching drive on eBay ($50), tried this method and bingo, was able to grab all the data. I can even resell the drive (the one I bought) back on eBay, so the process will cost very little.

raiddata (author)2012-05-28

Data is vitally important thing to both companies and individuals throughout the world. raid data recoveryhas grown in leaps and bounds during the years and storage media has grown with it. The art of this service requires the expertise of highly experienced narrowly available professionals and nowadays these services are too expensive.

Jagged Edge (author)2006-09-02

Im glad somebody took the time to post this here :] I've actually done this a number of times with a few seagates back in the day, not to bring you down or anything but its kind of old news, idk if many people know about it but still... good stuff dude :) glad to see all the other gear heads out there.

nokturnal (author)Jagged Edge2008-12-13

my girlfriend has just lost "her entire life" by dropping her external harddrive off desk while active. (I KNOW) Its a seagate ide Barracuda 7200. We cant afford pro recovery, as it costs the same as the two year herbology course she will be failling if her two year project is not rescued. The drive makes that slide click sound, which I know is the arm/stylus sliding across platter cos the last drive that did this I stupidly (in retrospect) plugged in without its casing. WILL SOME ONE PLEASE BLESS US. I have general idea of hdd internals, and am confidant I can repair, with some guidance. What is best? replace platter into new hdd, or repair/reposition stylus/arm, or is the another method. IF ANYONE CAN OFFER ANY ADVICE/ASSISTANCE, you be FIXING A LITTLE GIRLS BROKEN HEART, and helping her HEAL the PLANET with NATURES MEDICINE, her DREAM. PLEASE. (and thanx) a knight with faded armor and a deadbeat mule (creativeartmedia@gmail.com)

jimmythegeek (author)nokturnal2010-02-14

I know it's wayy late to reply to your request, but the exact same thing just happened to my son's external HDD (Iomega 250), leaving the thing in a "click of death" state, unrecognized by either Windows or Ubuntu.  After reviewing several presentations on YouTube, there was one nugget of info that we tried --- and it worked.  We turned the drive over onto its back and used a freeware disk recovery app to scan the partitions and locate all the files (about 80,000).  Two reboots of Windows later (it ran chkdsk the first time and rebuilt the file map) and the data was all there.

Jagged Edge (author)jimmythegeek2011-04-13

Out of curiousity, What was the app you used called?

jimmythegeek (author)Jagged Edge2011-04-14

Ach. That was over a year ago, but I'm almost certain the software was called PC Inspector. What we had to do was use the PC Inspector app to "Find Lost Drive", then "Find Lost Data", then go into Ubuntu (Linux) to recognize the disk, which advised us to boot twice in Windows to finally get it to recognize the drive again. Yeesh. But it worked! Good luck.

nak (author)nokturnal2008-12-13

Good luck :( Sounds like you're in for one hell of a ride!!

zack247 (author)2010-01-30

now i need to find a fujitsu hdd with the same circuit board... are fujitsu's even made anymore?

btw, i tried this once with a maxtor, but i transferred the plates as well, and then it never read them again... now its a speaker instead, no sense in letting it go to waste

dario_ds (author)2009-09-22

I have a maxtor 200gb ide hdd (6L200PO) which intermitent ly gets detected by the bios for very short time.Any idea what will help?

zack247 (author)dario_ds2010-01-30

i had a 10 gb maxtor that had the same problem, did you try holding the power plug in it? mine would sometimes jiggle just a little bit loose and it wouldn't boot up

geo (author)2006-03-21

Maeser-- How old is your drive? Sometimes the old ones have "stiction", where the head sticks to the platter and the spindle won't spin up. In this case, taking it and delivering torsional shock (usually by holding it over your head and flipping it down and stopping quickly) around the spindle axis usually unsticks it. This is an old trick, know to early SparcStation hackers, amongst others.

dg1hunter (author)geo2009-08-22

Amazing - the torsional shock method worked beautifully on my dad's dead 1998 2 GB Maxtor hard drive. (The more widely known non-torsional secret of whacking the thing on the side had already failed). Thank you.

looking4ideas (author)2008-10-29

CRAPPPP

Why didn't i c this b4! I took apart my HDD this morning =( And there was no dmg on the plates. LIFE SUCKS =(

junits15 (author)2008-10-28

this only works it the circutry is broken. if the platters are dammaged then it wont work

nak (author)junits152008-10-28

GENIUS

webbhost (author)2008-08-28

think this is actually quite a widely done thing.. Great instructable through! My local computer shop can do data recovery, and uses this method if they can get an identical hard drive.

sachou (author)2008-06-03

This is wierd. I'm actually surfing on my spare computer for an identical hard drive to my old western digital which literally fried-a chip on the board completely melted, but the platters and such should all be intact. I was going to find a new one in a desperate attempt to salvage the data by doing exactly what you did.

Didn't think it would work, but I thought it was worth a try.

Good too see someone had the same idea as me and it actually worked _.

christophor (author)2008-06-03

Awesome. I've been doing this for years. Its gotten me out of many a jam. Back when I first started this job, I suggested we do this trick. The other techs scoffed, then later took credit for the idea when the VIP expressed undying gratitude for his rescued data. Now they do it all the time. Great job!

nak (author)christophor2008-06-03

I scoff at scoffers ;) Cool story, thanks!

Mouserz (author)2008-05-21

tried this but still didnt work, so i guess its something else.

christophor (author)Mouserz2008-06-03

You might try dropping the drive from a few inches off the desk. If the bearings are seized, it might knock them loose. Of course its not good for a healthy drive. Also, I've taken the guts / platters from one drive and moved it to donor drive, however, that kills both drives in the end. But if you really need the data, what have you got to loose? Good luck.

littlechef37 (author)2008-06-02

.... YOU STOLE MY IDEA... i just never put it on instructables... lol (npi) I did this awhile ago with a fujifilm hard drive. But I had no success.... :(

nak (author)littlechef372008-06-03

haha cool, great minds think alike ;)

DiGiTALMADDOG (author)2006-05-15

im having the same problem right now with a seagate 160 gig hd for some reason the computer would see it but would not activate it-- same for the hacked up usb box for hooking up drives --- it acts like it need to be formatted but i dont want to do that because ill loose all my data on it any clue as to waht to do!!!

nak (author)DiGiTALMADDOG2006-05-15

Have you tried booting a knoppix CD and see if linux can mount the drive?

DiGiTALMADDOG (author)nak2006-05-15

im not that far into linux to do that yet --- i had thought about it but i have to find another machine to try it on!!!!

nak (author)DiGiTALMADDOG2006-05-15

<a href="http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-mirrors/index-en.html">Free download</a>, just burn the ISO onto a CD and restart with it in your CD Drive, :)

littlechef37 (author)nak2008-06-02

or try Slax

Knoppix is a bootable CDROM that can load into memory (it normally runs off the CD, but that slows it down considerably.) Therefore, it is non-destructive ... unless you want (and know how) to do it. If you watch the comments as it is booting up (or run "dmesg" in a console window, if you miss it) it will show what hardware is connected and where it is. In linux, all devices are "files" under the /dev directory, and often they will be "hda", "hdb", etc.

sbaxter117 (author)2007-11-22

I never new that a hard drive could be fix.THANKS DUDE!!!!!!

royalestel (author)2007-11-02

Spiffy! Never thought of that!

Robbo_roberto (author)2007-09-21

Ahhhrggg. Had the same problem with a Western Digital drive. Incredibly, had two drives that were the same but the firmware version on the second was different and the controller board from the other drive wouldn't communicate witth the drive that had the failed controller board. WD wouldn't sell me a replacement controller board! Bstrds! No more WD drives for me. Two dead 250G drives in less than a year! All my digitised video. It's all there but can't get at it!

Go to www.myharddrivedied.com and find the instructional videos regarding logic board replacement. If you watch the videos you will find a "hot swapping" technique that might just fix your problems.

xfirexstarzx (author)2007-03-09

sorry to go off topic... but does anyone know where I can go to get a cheap hard drive? my computer needs a hard drive. The old one was smashed with a hammer... long story

Go to newegg.com

rhino (author)2007-07-04

You are welcome. Thank you for this instructable.

rhino (author)2007-07-04

Here is where you go for new logic boards.

hard drive logic boards

nak (author)rhino2007-07-04

Awesome! Thanks for the link

Jagged Edge (author)2006-09-02

what MsWiz said. This makes me quite happy, glad the infromation is out there for the public.

Maeser (author)2006-03-20

I've got a Western Digital in the sam situation...however when I swap the boards and power it up, it just clicks three times then powers down...any suggestions?

redline (author)Maeser2006-07-26

Did you ever fix this problem Maeser? My WD 160gig just did the same thing spins up clicks 3 times then spins down... i hope its not too serious... i had all my school work on there =*(

nak (author)Maeser2006-03-20

If you can pick up a cheap USB enclosure for your hard drive or try it in another computer, at least its moving now!

compudude86 (author)2006-07-07

i assume its a maxtor diamondmax (9100? possibly 80GB?) i have one of those, it came to a dead stop because the spindle motor finally seized as most of them do, and i lost half my lifes work, back up your maxtors people!!!

CapitolCrime (author)2006-06-18

Also, before doing any of this, try this trick that I learned at the FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Lab. If the drive is not spinning up, put it in a non-static bag and place it in a freezer for about 15-30 minutes.

prank (author)2006-05-23

So the hard drive chips don't know anything about the capacity of the drive they're running? Way to design, maxtor! That's awesome

MsWiz (author)2006-04-20

I have a drive sitting here for 18 months now waiting for one of it's sisters to give up the ghost so it can have the PC board. Glad to see others using htis as well.

mehere (author)2006-04-10

i have a 250gb SATA seagate drive which the plastic end which secures the cable into the drive snapped off, do you think it would be possible to replace the controller board with an IDE, the drive works fine just the SATA cable will not stay in place.

Maeser (author)2006-03-21

The drive is about a year old. But unfortunately its out of warantee and so WD won't touch it. I've actually been using a usb enclosure because I dont have a desktop. I opened the drive cover to inspect it (in a dust-free environment, of course) and the arm moves out to the outermost sector, then it snaps back like on a magnet, then does it two more times before spinning down.