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Need help recovering missing data after transplanting replacement hard


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#1 csnyphoto

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 08:41 PM

I am new to this forum and I need help very badly! I have a question about recovering data from a 1TB Hitcahi Deskstar (P/N 0A38016) hard drive of mine that crashed. Basically I had Hitcahi Deskstar hard drive that started doing the click of death, so I purchased another 1TB Deskstar (with the same model number and that was made two months after mine) as a donor in hopes of doing a transplant. Once I received the donor hard drive I tested it by writing some files onto it and deleting them to make sure that it worked properly (and it did).

I began the transplant by swapping the PCBs on each hard drive. When I did, the clicking noise miraculously stopped as the original drive powered up flawlessly and the clicking noise started on the donor drive (which confirmed that the PCB was in fact defective). I was very thankful that it was only the PCB that was defective and not the read/write head.

The next step that I took was that I swapped and soldered the ROM/NVRAM chips so that the original hard drive with the donor’s PCB ended up with its original ROM/NVRAM chip. I was ecstatic when my original hard drive was detected by my computer after being powered up but my heart dropped when I saw that the entire hard drive (that had 998GBs of irreplaceable files on it) was empty.

I have run two data recovery programs (Recuva and Puran File Recovery) on it since and have become even more confused. The two programs recovered only about 68 files, which were unexplainably the files that I had originally written to the donor hard drive while testing it out. Somehow, files that I had written to the donor hard drive and then deleted were being detected on the original drive after I swapped the PCBs. This doesn’t make any sense…

How could files from the donor hard drive show up on the original hard drive? Is there any data stored in the PCBs? And more importantly, how do I attempt to recover the data from my original hard drive? Is there any hope of data recovery since I have not formatted or written any files over my original hard drive? Are there any programs that you could suggest that might work?

In closing, I wanted to make it known that while I have certainly learned my lesson since this happened (as I have cloned all of my hard drives so I will never be in this position again), I would still really love to recover the priceless files that were on the defective hard drive. I welcome any advice that you might have for me to help me find those files.

Thanks,

Chris

Edited by csnyphoto, 06 July 2013 - 08:43 PM.

#2 FastMHz

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:43 AM

I hope the "data recovery" programs weren't permitted to write to the same drive you're trying to recover from, or you're most likely SOL :-(

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#3 Trcdata

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:36 AM

Is it possible that you did not actually fix the failed drive and instead mixed them up at the point that the PCBs were swapped?

This type of device, when it begins to click, is not normally recoverable via PCB replacement. In almost all cases the problem is internal.

If you still have one drive that behaves the same way as the original failed device, and the data that you can see is what was written to the donor, it seems likely that you are in fact looking at the donor.

The only other alternative would have been that the failed unit fixed itself and allowed you to write your test data to it. If this were the case, I would expect that the data recovery software would find at least some of your files.

#4 csnyphoto

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 04:00 AM

So I figured out that somehow I ended up switching the identification labels that I put on each of the hard drives while operating on them, and I basically did the PCB swap on the wrong hard drive (the donor drive). So the data that I recovered was indeed the data that I had written and deleted from the donor hard drive as a test and wasn’t from the original hard drive that I was trying to recover.

I then discovered that the original hard drive was the hard drive that was still making the click of death and that the donor hard drive was the hard drive that was still functioning properly; I now knew that the PCB swap had not fixed it.

I figured that the problem was with the heads so I went on to do a transplant of the heads: putting the donor head in the original hard drive and putting the original head in the donor hard drive. But I did not succeed. It went from one head malfunctioning to two heads malfunctioning. I think that I might have damaged the good head during the transplant due the extreme difficulty of removing the head due to the strength of the neodymium magnets.

Also when I had the original hard drive open, I noticed that there were two rings on the top hard drive platter, which appear to have been from the head coming in contact with the platter and leaving a scoring mark. I realized that if I were to even get the hard drive functioning properly again that I will definitely be facing some sort of data loss. So I will now be sending the hard drive to a professional data recovery company and hoping for the best. Thanks to everyone that posted an answer!

Chris

#5 continuum

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:16 AM

You tried a head transplant!?!?? And expected it to succeed?? :blink: :blink:

(either you have a harddisk repair facility and a cleanroom you're not telling us about, or you believe in unicorns and fairies :D )

#6 FastMHz

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:00 AM

Oh dear....data recovery companies don't like DIY-attempted drives....you're probably SOL, actually :-(

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#7 Mickey

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:08 AM

Oof. Assuming any data can be recovered, that will cost some serious coin, as they'll need to use replacement heads to try and read the data off the undamaged parts of the media. Plus, once opened outside of a cleanroom, everything gets contaminated. I would expect it'll easily cost several thousand dollars at the minimum.

As for the boards themselves storing any data, only firmware needed to spin-up the drive is kept on it. User data is only stored on the media itself.

#8 fzabkar

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 04:25 AM

@kingslytaylor, did you even bother to read this thread before dumping your spam?

How does your software miraculously recover data from a head crash?

#9 continuum

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:42 AM

http://www.anandtech...shed-hard-drive

One Anandtech editor tried... three times.

He was 0 for 3.



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