Question Huge scratch/rail in platter of HDD

Oct 28, 2018
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Hello

I noticed my HDD was breaking up when I tried to move files from desktop to this HDD which I have used as a storage unit, and the transfer speed was almost zero. It seemed like nothing is happening.
Then I tried the Error checking tool which is found from My computer -> Select the drive -> properties -> tools -> error checking and I clicked on both, the "fix for errors" and "search for bad sectors and automatically try to repair them" and clicked Start.
It started off nicely but then got stuck on 7400 files have been checked and then it stopped, I thought maybe eventually it would continue, but it didnt. Strange noise came from the drive so I opened it.
I noticed that the head was stuck on a very steep rail, or a scratch and I just removed the head with my fingertips, probably leaving some dust and other stuff on the platter, which I later carefully wiped off with my t-shirt :D
I had no idea that the platters are very sensitive and realized the mistake I made later when I watched some tutorials from youtube.

Anyhow I watched a clip on youtube where this dude applies hotglue on the back of the system so the head would never reach that "rail" or "scratch", which I did for my HDD too (glued a toothpick to the metal case). But when I plug my HDD on the computer, and start the machine, there is some strange beeps coming from the drive and it feels like the head is trying to reach over the rail and "read the whole platter", so is it possible to still get my files back without spending hundreds, maybe somehow programming the disk to only read to the point where the rail/scratch begins?
Also this HDD has 3 platters but only top one is visible so I don't know about the other two.

Here some images of the HDD:
http://www.filedropper.com/img2655
http://www.filedropper.com/img2659
http://www.filedropper.com/img2657_1
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
It was dead before you opened up the case.
Opening the case simply put it into the casket.
This "toothpick" fix put it in the hole and dropped dirt on it.

"so is it possible to still get my files back without spending hundreds "
No, and probably not even then.
 
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Oct 28, 2018
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Damn, well thanks for the replies. Looking forward to buy maybe WD or Toshiba to try them out. I heard that the WD's are more silent and Toshibas would be all around better/more reliable but I don't know for sure.
 
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Satan-IR

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Apr 18, 2014
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Ouch! Would have been better if you asked before you opened the drive for surgery.

All brands are relatively tough on QC and they try to produce the best. Some Toshiba models tend to be a bit noisier.

It comes down to 'luck' too if a drive breaks down or not, regardless of the brand. Sometimes its sheer misuse like moving a drive while it's working or dropping it or kicking the case where it's installed while working etc.
 
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hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
When you get the replacement disk make sure you keep backups of your files on another disk (so maybe a good idea to get two, a replacement and and external one for backups), so there is no worry about recovering files.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
I was thinking about ordering 2 HDD's, one with small capacity to install alternative OS (if the current one fails) and one with huge capacity used as storage
Read here for actual backup procedures:
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
For me this seems like a viable solution as the head never reaches the scratch and increases chances of getting the data back
No.
  1. Clean room
  2. In a multi platter drive, all the arms move together. You'd be cutting off access to that space on ALL platters, not just the scratched one.
A "viable solution" is actual backups.
 

Satan-IR

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Apr 18, 2014
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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmCOTz0YVfA

For me this seems like a viable solution as the head never reaches the scratch and increases chances of getting the data back

I was thinking about ordering 2 HDD's, one with small capacity to install alternative OS (if the current one fails) and one with huge capacity used as storage
You open a HDD outside a clean room without proper air filtering and conditioning systems in place and it's history. Let alone limiting movement of head/actuator with hot glue!
 
Oct 28, 2018
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Well, when your life is on a constant budget, you do everything to save a broken HDD I mean... I don't have extra hundreds of euros laying around in the corners... I realize the cleanroom and air filtering, but when the surface has a major scratch, thats better to try atleast something isn't it? The odds that the given HDD being history is high but better try something than just throw it away
 
I'm impressed by that Youtube recovery guy. I watch the professional data recovery forums every day, and most guys would give up on a job like that, especially as the drive only has one backup of the System Area (SA). That's the area of the platter which is reserved for firmware modules, eg defect lists, SMART, overlays. The drive would need to be able to read this area in order for it to initialise and come ready. Some drives place the SA at the centre of the platter, others at the inner or outer cylinders.

The other neat, albeit risky, trick was to start the drive in the data area. Often the head will stick to the platter (stiction), sometimes causing the slider to be torn off.

AIUI, in the case of a multi-head / multi-platter drive, a dead head can be cut off, or it can be bent out of the way (for top or bottom heads). Professional data recovery software can then image the drive's remaining heads.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Well, when your life is on a constant budget, you do everything to save a broken HDD I mean... I don't have extra hundreds of euros laying around in the corners... I realize the cleanroom and air filtering, but when the surface has a major scratch, thats better to try atleast something isn't it? The odds that the given HDD being history is high but better try something than just throw it away
The way you work around a problem like this is to have a backup from before the BadThing happened.
Cheap, easy, reliable.
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator
Well, when your life is on a constant budget, you do everything to save a broken HDD I mean... I don't have extra hundreds of euros laying around in the corners... I realize the cleanroom and air filtering, but when the surface has a major scratch, thats better to try atleast something isn't it? The odds that the given HDD being history is high but better try something than just throw it away
The problem is you're not saving the drive, you're at best fixing it enough to save the data from it. BUT at worst you are making it harder or impossible to recover. If the data you have on that drive is critical, letting an actual expert get it off (which yes has a cost) is the ONLY way to go. As I said, this guy's think worked by dumb luck, 9 times out of 10, it won't, and you will be worse off because now not only does the drive not work, but you may have done more damage to the data and drive making it unrecoverable.

Sure if you don't really care for the data, or just want to experiment, have at it. But if the data is critical, its a really bad mistake to be making. And again, you're not making a useable HDD, you're making it good enough to run for a couple hours and get the data off it.
 
Oct 28, 2018
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Yeah, well saving the data was what I ment. Bad choise of words

Buying multiple HDD's and saving all the important stuff into one which is not in constant use could be de wey
 
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Satan-IR

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Apr 18, 2014
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As 13thmonkey said the comments are not just directed at you.

But made to also make everyone who might read these posts later aware that a messing with a hard drive like that almost certainly translates into failure. Also to highlight the importance of having backups prior to such failures.
 

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