[SOLVED] How To recover files from a dead HDD?

Cell Tennyson

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Sep 14, 2016
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Hey everyone.

Recently my Seagate 1 TB desktop HDD completely stopped working. It wont show in BIOS and no question of appearing in Desktop. I am so disappointed.

Mainly because I had lots of important files, pictures and projects stored in it.

My question is what do I do to recover files from that hard disk?
 

img

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Seagate as a manufacturer is far from reliable. It's drives mechanically poorly designed, and once they starts to go downhill, they does so very quickly, develops bad sectors on their own due to their weak heads. There are a number of common drives that are similar to this reliability and fragility-wise, though nowadays their Rosewood series is one of the worst contemporary drive families. I met a few before, almost all of them suffered from weak heads problem. If the drive not showing up in BIOS / UEFI then it's likely a drive's hardware failure. If this is the case, you can't do anything other than take a drive to a nearby data recovery company because it's internal firmware or the heads / preamp related failure which has no D.I.Y. solution.

This is not the mindreader course. If you want someone to help, then please be more specific: what drive and computer is it exactly? What happened to them before the accident? If you're not sure about the models, take good quality photos from their stickers! And add your location (city) for anybody who is here from your neighbourhood and can manage this task. I think it would be worth rewriting your post by specifying your location and expected job to make it easier for anyone who can help to notice.
 
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DSzymborski

Titan
Moderator
Hey everyone.

Recently my Seagate 1 TB desktop HDD completely stopped working. It wont show in BIOS and no question of appearing in Desktop. I am so disappointed.

Mainly because I had lots of important files, pictures and projects stored in it.

My question is what do I do to recover files from that hard disk?
Unfortunately, you personally don't. All important files should be backed up in multiple places at all times because any storage device can fail at any time; important files should be treated as if they are important files.

If you can't get the drive to be read at all, the only solution is a professional data recovery firm. And depending on what's wrong, this can be very expensive, in a lot of cases, over $1000. When it comes to data protection, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.
 

Obiwancanabi

Proper
Dec 24, 2020
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depends on how its failed in all honesty, if its something internal like the platters or reading arm thats failed it would be real pricey and a nightmare, however if its the board thats failed, iv seen them take an identical drive and use the main board from it, swapping it to the old faulty drive, if thats part of the bits that failed you might get it to load on windows, have a search for "HDD Repair" on the youtubes, this is the sort of thing you could do if you have a few bits
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVt2jnK7Aqg
 
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img

Dec 27, 2020
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depends on how its failed in all honesty, if its something internal like the platters or reading arm thats failed it would be real pricey and a nightmare, however if its the board thats failed, iv seen them take an identical drive and use the main board from it, swapping it to the old faulty drive, if thats part of the bits that failed you might get it to load on windows, have a search for "HDD Repair" on the youtubes, this is the sort of thing you could do if you have a few bits
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVt2jnK7Aqg
PCB swap is not working on nowadays drives just make things worse (especially with newer Seagate Rosewoods, but it's just a guess 'cause OP doesn't provide model info), because every drive's firmware locked to it's electronics, which is adapted to it's hardware.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Mainly because I had lots of important files, pictures and projects stored in it.
 

Cell Tennyson

Reputable
Sep 14, 2016
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Wow so many responses.

Seagate as a manufacturer is far from reliable. It's drives mechanically poorly designed, and once they starts to go downhill, they does so very quickly, develops bad sectors on their own due to their weak heads. There are a number of common drives that are similar to this reliability and fragility-wise, though nowadays their Rosewood series is one of the worst contemporary drive families.
Yeah my seagate HDD always had a problem. It used to disappear and then re appear after I used to insert those ATA cables whatever. But yesterday. It completely stopped and I don't even hear a sound coming from it.

Professional Data recovery Centers are only option now I guess.
 

img

Dec 27, 2020
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Yeah my seagate HDD always had a problem. It used to disappear and then re appear after I used to insert those ATA cables whatever. But yesterday. It completely stopped and I don't even hear a sound coming from it.
Can you hear it spinning, or nothing? If nothing, check / swap the power cable comes from power supply. If you have a multimeter, I can guide you to check up basics on the PCB (if you share the HDD's model number with us).
 

img

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Buy a powered usb to 3.5 sata adapter cable and attach the drive that way.
You may be able to see the device and recover some files.

Seagate has a bootable diagnostic app that you can try.
Unneccessary to buy, because the drive not shown in BIOS / UEFI. It's not that type of failure, which you can solve through this way.
 

Cell Tennyson

Reputable
Sep 14, 2016
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Can you hear it spinning, or nothing? If nothing, check / swap the power cable comes from power supply. If you have a multimeter, I can guide you to check up basics on the PCB (if you share the HDD's model number with us).
I hear nothing from that drive. I don't have multimeter but I can get one. I am not sure though just my assumption that something must have gone wrong with the green chip area (IDK what its called technically) of the hard drive.
 

img

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I hear nothing from that drive. I don't have multimeter but I can get one. I am not sure though just my assumption that something must have gone wrong with the green chip area (IDK what its called technically) of the hard drive.
Get a multimeter and a T6 (Torx) screwdriver! You have to unscrew the PCB from the HDD.
 

img

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@Cell Tennyson

Do not unscrew the PCB from the HDD. That may become "a path of no return".

Go with @geofelt 's recommendation per Post #10.

@img:

"I can guide you to check up basics on the PCB "

Please post the check up basics (procedure). Source?

OP heard no sound of spinning from the HDD itself and the BIOS / UEFI doesn't seen it. If the drive doesn't recognised via direct SATA connection to the motherboard, the USB connection will not work either. Maybe just a simple failure, like when the TVS diode trips. If he share exact model info about the drive, I can guide him how to measure the PCB. Source: my head.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
@img

Well you will still need to type out/ post your "how to" guide....

No harm in doing so beforehand so (speaking only for myself) there is some understanding of what your are proposing to do and how to do it.

We know it is a Seagate drive so cover that and show where/how different model numbers make a difference.

Just a "step by step" procedure - even if only an initial draft.
 

geofelt

Titan
The problem may be in the sata connection.
I have seen cases where windows did not detect a sata connected drive while it did see the same drive connected via usb.
Being a 3.5" drive, the adapter needs to be a powered adapter, not a single usb connection.
There are two types.
a) a plug in aux power like this:
https://www.newegg.com/p/36F-00MF-00019?Description=3.5" sata to usb&cm_re=3.5"_sata to usb-_-9SIAPY9EDG7847-_-Product
b) A two usb version like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/265089689532?hash=item3db893a7bc:g:o4kAAOSwIe1gT96D

Regardless, such an adapter is a handy thing to have in your toolbox.
 

img

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@img

Well you will still need to type out/ post your "how to" guide....

No harm in doing so beforehand so (speaking only for myself) there is some understanding of what your are proposing to do and how to do it.

We know it is a Seagate drive so cover that and show where/how different model numbers make a difference.

Just a "step by step" procedure - even if only an initial draft.
I did it earlier for another case on Reddit, just an example (Seagate ST2000DM001):

I made some drawings: View: https://imgur.com/a/Kih4upQ
In the first step check the red marked TVS diodes for short (to ground, in both directions) in diode mode of the multimeter, and then check the yellow marked 0R resistors for discontinuity! Check the orange marked EPROM resistance between pin 1 and 8! Check the components for unusual markings like burn, staining, humping, discoloration, etc.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
@img

Thank you.

Although I have a couple of questions I will set those aside for now and defer to OP (and others).

Seems to me, at this time, that knowing the drive model information is necessary (as you stated) to perhaps determine if a PCB swap may or may not be possible.

My overall premise being/remaining that taking the drive apart is a last resort. And prematurely doing so may interfere with other (professional) data recovery attempts.

But the more options the better....
 

img

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"Seems to me, at this time, that knowing the drive model information is necessary (as you stated) to perhaps determine if a PCB swap may or may not be possible."

Yes, knowing the drive model information is necessary but I do not recommend replacing the PCB either, as it may result in permanent data loss without adapting the appropriate EPROM / firmware data.

"My overall premise being/remaining that taking the drive apart is a last resort. And prematurely doing so may interfere with other (professional) data recovery attempts."

I was just thinking of doing a few simple measurements on the panel because in cases like this (when the drive doesn’t spin up), many times only the TVS diodes trip due to a power surge, which is a task as simple as that requires virtually no repair to do. We need to measure just 1 or 2 diodes and 1 or 2 resistors depends on actual PCB, it's not invasive and not makes damage to the PCB nor the data and not affects any (professional) data recovery attempt in the future.

I agree with your point about not to expose the data to unnecessary danger.
 
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Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
What I am comfortable with recommending is that OP contact two or three recovery services to present the situation, learn what they suggest (which is likely quite predictable), and ask about repair and/or recovery costs.

Doubt that there will be any guarantees per se but the recovery service(s) should be able to explain risks and trade-offs. And costs.

In the meantime some other ideas and options could be contributed as well.

Then, hopefully @Cell Tennyson be in a better (subjective) position to make further decisions.

No need to rush either which is a good thing.
 

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