[SOLVED] Failing Hard Drive never reaching max RPM (video in post). Recommendations?

Sep 27, 2022
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Recently had an older external HDD fail (recognized in device manager in Windows, but not Disk Manager), looking to recover if possible. When I plug it in, everything sounds good and it and spins up to a pretty high rpm, but the motor seems to turn off just before it finishes spinning up, then turns back on after about a half second, then shuts off for a half second, then turns back on for a half second, etc. Curious if anyone has any insight as to why something like this might happen as I haven't been able to find a case with similar symptoms online.

Here's a short video of it trying to spin up with the cover taken off: Failing drive - YouTube

The top platter appears to be fine and the heads aren't moving so I'm assuming it's a good candidate for a platter swap, I'm just wondering if there might be something simpler I could try right now to get the spinup to stop pausing?

Some product details:
Product purchased was a Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100)
The drive contained inside is a Seagate Barracuda ST5000DM000 5TB 3.5-Inch

Appreciate any advice!
 
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Platters are only ever swapped if the motor has failed.

If you don't want to take your drive to a data recovery shop, replace the cover and allow the drive to keep spinning up and down for as long as possible. Hopefully this will purge any contaminants from the platters.

Then remove the USB-SATA bridge PCB and attach your drive directly to a SATA power cable inside your computer. This will test whether your USB port is providing sufficient power to spin up the drive. If the drive still spins down, then the problem is most likely in the preamp on the headstack, or perhaps in the voice coil positioner. It could even be that the motor is faulty, but that is unlikely.

You might receive more accurate advice from the pros at reddit:

https://ww.reddit.com/r/datarecovery/new/
 
Sep 27, 2022
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By opening up your HDD you have contaminated and killed it.
HDDs can be opened only in special clean rooms.
Ah, you're right, I've probably killed it then. Didn't realize they were so sensitive to dust. Well, RIP, lesson learned.

Not sure if it's worth attempting a recovery at this point or not then, I guess the dust in an average household will detroy the entire drive pretty quick? No chance at a partial recovery then?
 
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Platters are only ever swapped if the motor has failed.

If you don't want to take your drive to a data recovery shop, replace the cover and allow the drive to keep spinning up and down for as long as possible. Hopefully this will purge any contaminants from the platters.

Then remove the USB-SATA bridge PCB and attach your drive directly to a SATA power cable inside your computer. This will test whether your USB port is providing sufficient power to spin up the drive. If the drive still spins down, then the problem is most likely in the preamp on the headstack, or perhaps in the voice coil positioner. It could even be that the motor is faulty, but that is unlikely.

You might receive more accurate advice from the pros at reddit:

https://ww.reddit.com/r/datarecovery/new/
 
Sep 27, 2022
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0
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replace the cover and allow the drive to keep spinning up and down for as long as possible. Hopefully this will purge any contaminants from the platters.

Then remove the USB-SATA bridge PCB and attach your drive directly to a SATA power cable inside your computer. This will test whether your USB port is providing sufficient power to spin up the drive.
Wow, yep, that was exactly the problem it seems, turns out the spinup-spindown thing only occurs when connected through the external enclosure's PCB, the second I plugged directly into a SATA on my computer it works just fine. Guess I didn't think of it since it had been working fine up to this point; note that this 3.5" enclosure uses its own dedicated power cable so I guess I didn't realize it was a possibility that the cable/PCB would suddenly start outputting less power for some reason.

More good news: so far it actually doesn't appear that exposing it has caused any issues with the data, though I've only backed up 118gb of the most important files, the rest I don't really care enough about to back up. Didn't check for errors yet since I didn't know if the drive would for-sure be up and running for long and wanted to just get the files off as quickly as possible, but I've opened a lot of the files after copying and all the one's I've opened are fine (not positive if Windows would even successfully copy the files if they were corrupt but I assume it's still possible there could be issues, we'll see).

But yeah, so far it's looking like a full recovery, I must have gotten pretty lucky, though I am really curious now just how much of a death sentence exposure typically is; after what I had read, it was really surprising to see that, at least so far, the drive seems to be totally fine. Regardless, I appreciate the help!
 
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A disc head flies on an air bearing at a height of about 3 nanometres. The average distance between 2 molecules of air is around 4 nanometres. At these dimensions a contaminant such as a speck of dust, or even fingerprint, would look like Mt Everest.

You were lucky. ;-)
 
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