How can I fix a crashed hard drive?

Mustahsin Sharif June 18, 2013
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I was playing a game installed on my internal hard disk (Local Disk E). Suddenly it crashed. Now whenever I turn my PC on, a tik-tik sound comes out of it, from which I understood the hard is trying to be loaded but it fails. After loading fails, the PC turns on normally. The device manager doesn’t show this HDD. Is there any way to get my files back?

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  1. yudics
    June 22, 2013 at 4:43 am

    A tik-tik sound, is a bad news for your hardisk, it can be so hard to fix them. Prepare to buy a new one is good idea..

  2. Leland Whitlock
    June 19, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Whatever you do you have to assume the hard drive is near death at best. So the situation turns to recovery of data. You should start by writing down every thing you can remember that was on the drive and then make a list of what you need to recover. Sometimes the lists are the same but your window to recover files in may be very short so you need to prioritize. Look at what can not be recreated or found somewhere else. Now with this list in hand you have a few options. You can use a tool like SpinRite (https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) to try to fix the bad blocks; if it can't then recovery is the only true option. The other option is to try HDD Regernator (http://www.hdd-regenerator.net/) to regenerate the bad blocks. I have seen this work and a hard drive go a long time after. Both programs cost money but anything tied to data recovery usually does except for a few exceptions. One of the good free options for recovery is TestDisk (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk). Hopefully armed with this you can get your data back. Good luck.

  3. Phill Duplessis
    June 19, 2013 at 5:32 am

    You can use an effective hard disk data recovery software from http://www.freedatarecoverysoftware.org

  4. reha andrew
    June 19, 2013 at 4:57 am

    If your drive is visible in the BIOS then you need not to panic because you can use data recovery software to recover your data in this case. But if its not visible and you have mentioned there is sound coming from the drive so, in this case only a data recovery expert hand can help you to recover your data and bring you out from this situation.

  5. Jamie Merlau
    June 19, 2013 at 2:36 am

    The freezer trick is always debatable, because it works only for a small minority. Not everyone takes the proper precaution and even then, moisture can happen.

    I use USB drink coolers, which are basically heatsinks, and apply them to the hard drive.

    If the device doesn't show up in device manager, check Control Panel -> System Security -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management and see if any information is there.

    About 95% of hard disk failure are logical based. This is how the data recovery companies make the bulk of their money;the run a tool to pull the information off. Fun fact: when they send you a list of files that are recoverable, the files have already be recovered.

    As Huub said, if you try to switch the PCB, it needs to be identical; even same models can differ, if they were produced at different intervals.

    Some resources:

    DEFCON 15: Re-Animating Drives & Advanced Data Recovery
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSj-CBh1LNY (Clicking noise is 2 mins in)

    • Huub Willems
      June 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      USB drink coolers, Jamie that's genius!
      Definitely going to try that next time i have to recover a HDD.

  6. Jim Chambers
    June 19, 2013 at 1:26 am

    On boot-up, the computer checks all connected drives. A failed drive clicks several times then shuts down allowing the computer to finish post and boot from C: drive.The failed drive usually repeats cycle of spin-up, clicking and shutdown so disconnect the E: drive or it will incur even more damage. I'm afraid that professional help is indicated by symptoms.

  7. Huub Willems
    June 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Ticking isn't good quite the opposite.

    If the HDD still shows up in the Device manager You can use a program like File scavenger or Freeware like Recuva.

    If it doesn't show up at all try connecting it when windows is loaded.

    If that doesn't work you have a few options left.

    You can take it to a recovery company which is very expensive (really really expensive)

    Change the PCB board with another hard drive be sure it's the exact same HDD, (firmware and if possible same batch).

    If you do this you can always put the PCB board back on the HDD where it came from it will work normally.

    If that doesn't work if have one option left for you.

    Put it in several Zip loc bags (anything that closes good water and air tight)

    Put it in the freezer (the metal shrinks a bit because of the cold, so if the problem is caused by scratches you have more chance of being able to use it)

    Leave it in there for at least 12 hours so its cold to the core.

    Get it out and be quick its going to get warmer quickly.

    Put cool pads (i hope you have them in your freezer otherwise you can probably get them in a supermarket for a few dollar) in towels to avoid the chance of moist ruin the PCB board and to keep it cool.

    If it works quickly copy your data cause it will fail again and the chance of doing it a second time is little.

    Hope you get your data back!

  8. Bruce Epper
    June 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Check if the drive is identified in your BIOS. If it is, you might be able to recover at least some of the data on the drive but you will probably require a different operating system than Windows to do it as well as good data recovery tools. The forensic tools in Kali (formerly Backtrack) can help with this as well as the SANS SIFT Kit. If not, you will need to seek out a data recovery specialist (which will cost big $$$) since it will require a great deal of hardware modification to try to recover anything (with no guarantee that even a single bit will be recovered).

    • null
      June 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      The drive couldn't be identified in BIOS.

    • Bruce Epper
      June 23, 2013 at 5:47 am

      If you really want to recover anything from the device, you will need to bring it to a specialist who can TRY to get your data off of it the extremely hard and expensive way. Software solutions cannot work at all in this case (and the freezer/cooler trick is unlikely to work, though you can try it if you like).

  9. ha14
    June 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    in device manager is there yellow sign? if yes right click on it and choose uninstall (do not delete) reboot so that windows install the driver.

    try this microsoft fix it
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Tips-for-solving-problems-with-USB-devices

    • null
      June 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      unfortunately there is no sign of the hard disk in device manager

    • ha14
      June 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      you say that the pc turns on, so this hard drive is not the one containing the Windows OS,

      well if bios is not seeing the hard drive this is hardware problem so software cannot fix it; You can buy the same model of hard drive and transfer the old disk into it?

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