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Joshua Marius, LeThe Jan 12, 2008, 11:03am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 12, 2008, 11:05am EST

 
>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Well I can tell you from experience that recovering from within Windows is quite annoying and not recommended at all (IMO). I was trying to recover some files from a drive that allowed me to navigate its folders within Windows, but as soon as I opened a folder, Windows wanted to load all the icons for the files and that took for ever and forced the drive, and as you know, when icons and such load slowly, you can't use that Window anymore (not responding), LOL, so I had to wait for a long time.

Finally what I did was use Hiren's Boot CD, and used NTFS 4 Dos and recovered the files right away. I also built a little circuit which allows me to point a fan at the hard drive, since I've noticed that most hard drives that are failing, fail because of poor or improper air flow inside the case.

BTW guys, when building your PCs, make sure you dedicate a fan to the hard drive. The one's at the front of the case do a pretty good job. Most of the cases I have documented of hard drives going bad is due to a poor circulation of air inside the case. So the drive overheats and just dies.

Don't limit yourselves to using Windows or one utility to recover your files. I have struggled for months to recover some and as soon as I try other stuff it works. It's a tedious process which requires a lot of patience. Give it a shot with UBUNTU also: http://www.debianadmin.com/recover-data-from-a-dead-hard-drive...escue.html



Joshua Marius
http://www.letheonline.net
-----------------------------
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
Intel Core i5-2500K
ASUS P8Z68-V LX
Intel SSDSC2CW180A3 180 GB
RAID 1: Seagate ST3750528AS 750 GB
CORSAIR Vengeance 8 GB DDR3 1600
eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS
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Eric Reiss Feb 08, 2008, 06:58pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
what if i wanted to just swap out the platters from my dead hdd on to a new one? or to go one step more, is there a device that i can just mount the platters on and start reading data
if so what are they called? i think john albrich called it a lab-jig

Gerritt Feb 08, 2008, 07:46pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Eric Reiss said:
what if i wanted to just swap out the platters from my dead hdd on to a new one? or to go one step more, is there a device that i can just mount the platters on and start reading data
if so what are they called? i think john albrich called it a lab-jig


Eric,
You really don't want to do that for several reasons. The lab-jigs are very high percission instruments (read $$$$$$), and require a clean room environment.
Though John and others have stated that it is possible to disassemble a drive in a reletively clean area, it is still highly dangerous.

If your drive is totally dead, then there is another option that may work for you, and that is to replace the electronics on the drive (one or in some cases two pcbs). You have to make sure that the replacement electronics are from the EXACT same drive model AND revision number in order to have any real hopes of it working. You will need a small jewelers screwdriver or in some cases a small torix wrench and be careful handling the boards as the ribbon cables are rather delicate.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
john albrich Feb 08, 2008, 08:02pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 08, 2008, 08:09pm EST

 
>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Gerritt said:
...Though John and others have stated that it is possible to disassemble a drive in a reletively clean area, it is still highly dangerous....


There were a LOT of stipulated caveats to that simplified statement. Among them were: it is highly risky, should not be done unless it is effectively the only reasonable option left, and preferably only when involving data that are not absolutely critical. In other words, it's a "when you don't have anything left to lose" scenario.

However, if it's a time-critical situation, and one can't afford the data recovery service's fee, and have reason to suspect it might be an internal physical problem such as a loose head-parking assembly (such as seems to occur from time-to-time in Travelstar drives), frozen bearing, etc. then it can be a fast-path to partial or complete data recovery when all other attempted non-invasive methods fail.


And of course, the usually fastest, most reliable, and inexpensive (both in money and especially in-situ time savings) method of data recovery is always...backup, backup, and oh yeah...backup.
.

Gerritt Feb 08, 2008, 08:08pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
John,
Yes it was very simplefied.
I did not intend to give the impression that you recommended this approach.
My apologies if I did so.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
bill smith Feb 09, 2008, 06:45am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 09, 2008, 06:47am EST

 
>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
It's a slow process but there's now only 150GB left, I've lost approximately 5GB to read errors where the drive gets stuck copying a file, after reboot the file is still there but will never fully copy again, there are exceptions to this but it's safe to assume that if it gets stuck while copying it's pretty much gone.

Copying in Windows is ok, I can imagine if you wanted to copy picture and video files if you had the view settings loading the previews Windows would try and load all the icons for the files, this was one of the first things I noticed and subsequenty switched it off, as most of my files are high quality audio samples this isn't much of a problem but if you were copying icon realted files it would be an idea to change the view settings.

I think the read problem could be ESD related as well as heat as cooling the drive has little effect on read time only that it made the drive accessible and only when left for a long period, maybe this has something to do with static charge being dissipated over time? e.g. I can copy say 2GB of data, power cycle and do another 2GB for a good 1 or 2 hour sessions but it won't do more than a certain amount in one attempt, then I could leave it for a couple of weeks and get a good 30GB in one go, it's very tempremental. Is there any way to stop static charge building up if this could be the problem?

I had some success in limiting copying a set amount of valued data before switching directories and then trying a number of small insignificant files until a read error was encountered, this worked until the drive stopped reading after 200MB instead of over 2GB, as I lost a couple of good files that way I've left it alone again, maybe in another week I might get enough read time to finish it off.

John & Gerritt do you have any thoughts on RAID? I set up a twin RAID 1 (mirror) in summer last year on four 500GB drives, it'd be good to know what thoughts you have on this and if it's as safe as it appears to be. I think the best advice to anyone who wants to avoid the amount of time & patience I've had with this drive is no matter what the cost, always backup.

I wonder what new problems the solid state and holographic drives will bring when they become affordable in the future.

One question I have not realted to this topic, are there any programs to retrieve deleted information from a mobile phone sim card?

Thanks, Steve

john albrich Feb 09, 2008, 07:57am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
bill smith said:
...I wonder what new problems the solid state and holographic drives will bring when they become affordable in the future....


Recovering data in a holo-matrix device will most likely be technically easier. But, I'll probably end up getting too distracted by "naughty" holo-suite characters to actually get any work done.

bill smith Feb 10, 2008, 08:59am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
A bigger mystery than drive recovery is why have I become Bill Smith now when i was Steve Lastname before?

Steve

Gerritt Feb 11, 2008, 04:55am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Bill,
What you've described is actually a RAID 0+1. A mirrored stripe set.
This can give much higher throughput than a standard mirror due to the stripe, if it is done properly.
You'd be doing better with a true RAID 5, with a redundant spare. It would give you the redundancy that you are looking for, while providing for a simple soluiton for a failed drive. In your case, with a RAID 0+1, you could loose a drive and still work and not be aware of it, or without being notified of it.
In a system of 4+ drives, I'd go with a RAID 5, and if you don't want to have to monitor the drive health that often, then a RAID 5 + Hotspare.
You'll get back %50 of your storage by going this way over the RAID 0+1 if you go above 4 drives, and if you go several drives more, then you only loose a single drive + the spare.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
steve last name Apr 15, 2008, 02:25pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Hey Gerritt, Almost done with the old damaged drive now after a year, just a few more reads and it'll be getting a visit from my garage sledgehammer :)

Thanks for the info on RAID, what I have now is 2x500GB hard drives running as a RAID 1 mirror and two more 500GB hard drives with the O/S on running as a RAID 1 mirror, as I've just built a new system with the spec below what I want now is to run the best possible fastest safest RAID array on it, however I'm not sure which one to use, it may be better to just have a 4x500GB RAID 1 mirror which gives me 1TB of space and use the one spare SATA port for the O/S as I don't need the security on that drive only the data drives and when one drive in the array fails it does let me know, that's the only one I've tried as I haven't used any other RAID setup I'm not sure how the others work even after reading about them.

Maybe you can help me out, I have 6 available SATA ports, one must be used for the O/S, the others are free to set up any RAID array on, I have more than 5x500GB hard drives available for use in the final array but as there are only 6 SATA ports I'm only going to get the use of 5 with 1 left for the O/S on a separate drive, let me know if you have any advice.

Spec:
Intel DX38BT Extreme MainBoard 6XSATA
4GB DDR3 OCZ Reaper X Memory
Intel QX9650 Quad Core 2 Extreme CPU
nVidia 6800 Ultra GPU
Antec 520Watt neoPwer PSU
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition

Additionally I have one more E-SATA hard drive which will be running using Iomega's O/S backup facility in case the O/S fails at any point.

Thanks, Steve

Gerritt Apr 16, 2008, 01:56am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
steve last name said:
Hey Gerritt, Almost done with the old damaged drive now after a year, just a few more reads and it'll be getting a visit from my garage sledgehammer :)

Thanks for the info on RAID, what I have now is 2x500GB hard drives running as a RAID 1 mirror and two more 500GB hard drives with the O/S on running as a RAID 1 mirror, as I've just built a new system with the spec below what I want now is to run the best possible fastest safest RAID array on it, however I'm not sure which one to use, it may be better to just have a 4x500GB RAID 1 mirror which gives me 1TB of space and use the one spare SATA port for the O/S as I don't need the security on that drive only the data drives and when one drive in the array fails it does let me know, that's the only one I've tried as I haven't used any other RAID setup I'm not sure how the others work even after reading about them.

Maybe you can help me out, I have 6 available SATA ports, one must be used for the O/S, the others are free to set up any RAID array on, I have more than 5x500GB hard drives available for use in the final array but as there are only 6 SATA ports I'm only going to get the use of 5 with 1 left for the O/S on a separate drive, let me know if you have any advice.

Spec:
Intel DX38BT Extreme MainBoard 6XSATA
4GB DDR3 OCZ Reaper X Memory
Intel QX9650 Quad Core 2 Extreme CPU
nVidia 6800 Ultra GPU
Antec 520Watt neoPwer PSU
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition

Additionally I have one more E-SATA hard drive which will be running using Iomega's O/S backup facility in case the O/S fails at any point.

Thanks, Steve

Steve,
You've got six SATA drives, and you want the best configuration for them.
If you are ONLY to use the onboard, then you can set the six up as a single mirror, or multiple mirrors equalling .5 of the total drive space that you actually have.
Have you looked at the option of adding a PCI-E RAID controller in order to get a RAID 5 with a hot spare? In this case you would have (assuming 1TB/drive) a 4TB redundant array with a hot swap spare, in the case of failure. For the cost of 2 drives, you'd get HW support for RAID 5, and get much higher throughput from your six drives, while retaining ther error checkng associeatied with most RAID configurations.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
steve last name Apr 19, 2008, 09:46am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Hey Gerritt,

If i'm going to use a single mirror I don't want the O/S included just the data drives so using the onboard it would be 5 SATA ports for the mirror and 1 SATA port for the O/S giving a total of 1.25TB useable array using 500GB drives and a separate unprotected 200GB drive for the O/S, I've found over the years if you alter Windows slightly to use a different drive for all the data folders it allocates you can concentrate on that for the data and leave Windows to **** up on it's own without any real issues apart from a reinstall job.

I'm not sure about the other RAID options, there is now RAID 6, with RAID 5 if 1 drive fails you're ok but if 2 drives fail there's a chance of data loss so it doesn't appear to be the safest method, RAID 6 sounds more promising covering a 2 drive failure at the expense of less space, still it's not much different than a standard mirror space wise, I don't know if there's any difference in speed or the access times however these would probably be non critical attributes and it's mainly the data protection that matters.

Do you need an external RAID controller to use RAID 5, does the mainboard not support the option for RAID 5, I'm fairly sure with the Intel mainboard I've got it's probably capable of the latest technology using their matrix storage manager, have to check it when doing the upgrade to 64-bit Vista next week.

With the recent array I have set up as I said before it was one 2x500GB mirror and another 2x500GB mirror, well sort of, I had problems with the one with the O/S on and so wiped one drive although it was still set up as a RAID 1 mirror (degraded), unfortunately the array developed a fault and wouldn't boot last week, in the RAID manager I converted the drive back to non RAID and removed the array, it did state that this would delete all the files on the disk but as I had done the same thing with another array earlier this year I found that after removing the array the information doesn't get deleted, the O/S booted fine after that but now the drive isn't part of an array anymore however this doesn't matter because the reinstall is next week.

Thanks, Steve

Gerritt Apr 19, 2008, 03:11pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Steve,
When I refer to Onboard RAID support I am referencing the HARDWARE RAID features supported by the chipset. Most MBs do not support RAID 5 natively in the HW. Some Workstation and Server type MBs do support this, but most general purpose MB chipsets do not.
DO NOT USE SOFTWARE/OS CONFIGURED RAID!
If you use the Windows "RAID" options such as extended volumes, stripes or mirrors, you are asking for a world of PAIN in the case of a software glitch.
The RAID5+1 is just another way of saying RAID5 with a hotswap spare, which I mentioned previously. In the case of a failure within the RAID, the controller automatically disables the failed drive and initiates the rebuild with the hot spare.

You should Mirror your OS partition, there is no reason not to. In the case of the PRIMARY disk in the mirror failing, you may have to manually set the SECONDARY Drive as bootable; you would go into the Firmware configuration (with NVidia its F10, but with others its <CTL>-A, or M, or something else) and set the bootable option and off you go.
When you have a HW level RAID going on the OS does not see the specific discrete HDDs, but a RAID specific application will.

Good luck with it all.
PS. I run a RAID-1(mirror) OS, and a RAID5 (stripe with parity)+1(hotswap) for my storage.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
steve last name Apr 19, 2008, 06:41pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Hey Gerritt,

There's no way I'd let Microsoft manage that :) the RAID setup is activated before the O/S has any control, I'm not sure what RAID levels the board supports until I get round to hooking up the 6 drives within the week, I think the mainboard controls the RAID level, when I moved the drives over to another PC it had no problems recognizing the array although it does rebuild if needed within the O/S.

Seems like you've got an ideal setup, RAID 5+1 sounds like a plan! Still I'm not overkeen on mirroring the O/S as last time I did that it seemed to run slow and caused numerous rebuilds att.

Thanks again, Steve
found out why I am also Bill Smith, I seem to have created two accounts.

Gerritt Apr 19, 2008, 09:11pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Even RAID 5+1 requires good administration.
If the RAID monitoring SW process is a hog, or you just don't log in or reboot the machine periodically (such as on servers) you still could see a failure.
I had a client that had a Server with RAID5+1, but they rarely if ever logged on to the console, and they turned off the service tray applet. So 2.5 years later they called me and reportted an outage. I went over and turned on the console and rebooted...3 of 6 drives dead. Luckly they were backing up thier data, but unluckly they weren't backing up thier OS and applications, so it took 2 days of rebuilds and patches in order to get the system back up to date to the point that the DB wouldn't corrupt based upon structural upgrades over the last couple of years. Needless to say, I was tired, I made money, they lost money, and they now Ghost thier system partitions to tape monthly or prior to, and after each system update.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
steve last name Apr 20, 2008, 05:15pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 20, 2008, 05:16pm EDT

 
>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Gerritt, That's good advice to know, the only thing worse than having no protection at all is believing the protection you have is working effectively when it isn't, something like to believe the lie is worse than denying the truth.

Using the mainboard RAID setup it does tell you the status of the array on initial boot and even if you were to leave without a power cycle for a long time there is always the software applet in the O/S which notifies you of the array status and as long as you don't switch it off it's going to notify you of any changes, why anyone would shut it down is just plain stupid, inviting a failure to happen like turning off your anti-virus and then complaining to your IT admin because your system got infected, in today's world most PC users are not competent enough at understanding computer usage still if it wasn't for people like this we wouldn't make any money at it :) philosophy aside, the O/S in my case is not something I'd find essential to backup, yes if it fails it does mean reinstalling and configuring again but over the years I made an archived preinstaller which I update periodically containing all the software used and back this up instead, then it's just a matter of running it and tweaking the system for settings and performance, I can understand especially for a business why you would want to back up the O/S fully, although I think that for a single user if it does fail and the amount of time that has passed since the last install it is better to refresh and get the latest system, updates patches and programs and that it always runs smoother after this e.g. if a drive fails say after 2 to 3 years of use it's almost time to buy a new O/S anyway.

Is HOG a specific term or did you just mean hog's the system resources? That's the second computer term I've had to look up this week, the first was SLA (Service Level Agreement) which doesn't mean anything to us in the UK.

I'll post a hit up here when I get the setup done tomorrow if it goes to plan!
Thanks, Steve

Penang Penang Apr 21, 2008, 07:28am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
This gonna be a very very late reply to your original post.

I'd do as much recoveries using software first. As much as possible.

I'd try ALL the recovery softwares (there are lots online, free/commercial) and then, for the rest, I'd double check if there are any critical infos that I can't live without.

Only then I'd do what you said --- opening the hard drive cover (in clean room environment, no sneeze, no cough, no fan, no dust) and carefully taking out the screws that attached to the drive heads and the spindle.

Then very carefully replacing the very, very fine drive heads, with even finer wires attached to it.

Put back the magnet/screws, re-seal the drives, screw everything back tightly, and then pray.

Pray some more before you hook that drive into your PC.

Then turn on your PC.

I did that before, many times. There were times I end up recovering over 95% of the critical info that I can't live without. Other times, total disasters.

steve last name Apr 21, 2008, 09:35am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
Penang,

That's definitely a valued addition to this post and good to know that it does work although it never got to that stage as it turned out eventually it was not the heads that were damaged, more probable a heat actuator problem & maybe esd related, running recovery software would never work with this drive and was also not needed because the drive would never read for more than up to five minutes at any one session to image and without loss of information and the master boot records and partition was still intact so the information was very readable when the drive was recognized, running a program such as Spinrite on the drive would have seriously affected its integrity and it was much safer to meticulously copy data bit by bit, no pun intended! I think it would have been faster and more effective to replace the internal parts but it's very much touch and go and down to a lot of luck on whether it will work or not, definitely a last resort in any case.

Steve

Goran Pantic Jan 25, 2011, 08:16am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
This is a usefull tool for replacing the head on your hard drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIhh2AU_Wmw

Joshua Marius, LeThe Jan 25, 2011, 10:59am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Hard Drive Head Replacement
That's awesome, but I will still stick to my original recommendation of not doing this yourselves. Let the pros do it if your Data is really valuable. I have had very good results with Data Mechanix: http://www.datamechanix.com/


Joshua Marius
http://www.letheonline.net
-----------------------------
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
Intel Core i5-2500K
ASUS P8Z68-V LX
Intel SSDSC2CW180A3 180 GB
RAID 1: Seagate ST3750528AS 750 GB
CORSAIR Vengeance 8 GB DDR3 1600
eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS

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