Introduction: How to Fix a Hard Drive (and Get Your Data Off)

Often, a hard drive fails because of the circuitry, rather than because of mechanical wear. In this video, I will show you how to replace the circuit board so that you can retrieve your data and begin using the drive as usual again!


blodghram (author)2014-03-22

drives from work and frankensteined them together with some interesting results. we found that the pcb has to similar but not necessarily exactly the same to get the drives functional. for eg a 1tb drive with a 320gb pcb gave us a 750gb usable drive. was fun playing around with plus we scored some harddrives

blodghram (author)2014-03-22

this is definatly worth a shot, for recovering data you'll need the same pcb, but it is also usefull reusing dead drives. we at a stage took a bunch of dead

icurdrive (author)2013-06-11

Another trick that can work surprisingly well is putting the drive in the freezer. I was skeptical of trying it but as it happened i had a drive with no really important data (other than personal value) it didnt matter if i ruined the drive and after leaving it in the freezer over-night in a static bag when i pulled the drive out and plugged it in it did work for a short time i was able to copy files from it until it warmed up again and i was able to do it like that several times eventually though i got tired of copying files in spurts and kept the drive in the freezer using an adapter to connect the drive to my laptop with a long usb cable, and got the rest of the data without incident, but this was again an instance where nothing seemed to be physically damaged. But if possible i would use the above method before trying mine since running a warm hard drive in a cold freezer for an extended period still seems like a really bad idea even after finding out that it works.

lmohlén (author)2013-06-10

Do you think this is a likely fault for a disc that is physically damaged? (dropped the laptop and disc stopped working)

DIYPerks (author)lmohlén2013-06-11

If there's a physical cause for the drive to stop working (in your case, being dropped), then it's highly likely to be a mechanical problem. However, if the laptop was off, or the drive has a 'being dropped' sensor, then there's a possibility that changing the board will fix it.

AndyGadget (author)2013-06-10

I've only had to do this once and that was with a drive around 12 years old. They'd been backing up everything but the critical directory they needed when the drive failed.
Luckily I had a second drive of the same model and retrieved the data successfully by swapping the board. I think the newer the drive the less chance there is of this working but as the author says, if there's no other choice, it's worth a try.

GarthBock (author)2013-06-10

This in the category of Easier Said Than Done. Due to differences in firmware and even manufacturing as you said replacement boards may have to be from the same lot. Also drives can differ between the retail version and OEM made for the computer it was sold in. On top of that I don't know of a hard drive board store on the internet where you can get a replacement board. In theory this should work but in practicality is more hassle than worth it. It all comes down to..backup - backup - backup.

DIYPerks (author)GarthBock2013-06-10

In practice, it allowed me to recover lots of VERY valuable information that was on the hard drive, which is why I thought I'd share this fix. It might not work for all drives, but it's certainly an economical way to retrieve data, as the ONLY alternative would be to send it to a specialist company which would be super-expensive (I could buy 15 new drives with the same money). So, no, not perfect, but certainly worth a go, and certainly not a hassle if you need your data back! :)

About This Instructable



Bio: Hello! I'm Matt and I love making things. I'm always thinking of new ideas and how to make them as awesome as possible ... More »
More by DIYPerks:DIY PC CaseBuilding the WORLD'S BIGGEST Diy LED PanelMake ultra-smooth 3D prints using this method
Add instructable to: