alexkraemer

hard drive is beeping at me!

Recommended Posts

My dad's 80gb maxtor just went down and when the drive is powered up it makes an obnoxious beep every couple of seconds! When I put my ear up to the drive, the motor makes a bit of a clicking noise where it sounds like the drive is trying to spin-up but can't. This drive has a bunch of my Dad's unversity stuff on there, so it's kinda important that I get the info back. What on earth does the beep mean? (I won't have time to run diagnostics on the drive, SMART codes etc. for another week and a half).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the drive doesn't spin-up, you can't read the SMART values because the HDD cannot be recognized by your BIOS. (AFAIK that is because the HDD does not recognize itself. It read it's firmware data from the discs's service area upon each start-up.)

Anyway, if can't make the platters spin-up, you're (or actually he is) screwed. No software utility can save the data, no software utility cannot see the drive.

By the way, are you sure the clicking comes from the spindle motor and not the head actuator (for example failed attempts to read the firmware causing endless retrys)? It the clicking comes from head actuator assembly, the drives are (very likely) spinning... although that won't probably matter at all because the drive is unlikely to be recognized.

Trying the freezer trick might work... or maybe not. Remember, each Do-It-Yourself trick you try to force the drive to spin-up (or prevent the drive from entering endless reset-loop) reduces the probability (and increases the price) for a data recovery to save the data. How much is the data worth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My guess is that hard drives don't have any sort of speaker, last time my hard drive beeped at me, it was actually the read/write heads scratching the platter, peeling data material off the discs little by little... *sheds a tear*

My recommendation, professional hard drive recovery.

CBL Tech gives a free evaluation if you send your drive, they'll tell you what they can get back... unfortunately they couldn't get anything back from my drive... *sheds another tear*

So if you can't access your data right now, unplug the drive asap because you're peeling your data off the discs.

TheNail.

edit: Oh it's a code?

Edited by nail000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a sound to unstick the media from the heads.

http://www.techimo.com/forum/t43161.html

First of all let me apologize on behalf of Maxtor to anyone that has this problem. There is only a "one-in-a-million" chance that this will occur. There are no tiny speakers. The sound that is heard is known as the "buzz routine" that is intended to unstick heads from the media. This can only happen under very rare conditions if power is removed or spiked abnormally. The firmware routine that tries to move the actuator and heads actually causes an audible sound. On your particular drives the routine fails because the frequencies are not quite right. Tapping or beating on the drive may also unstick the heads, but there's a chance that part of the media could get damaged.

Rest assured that 2 different fixes were implemented months ago and the issue should not happen again. It's not my job, but I will try to check at this site periodically to see if there are any other issues with Maxtor drives.

Edited by LED ZEPPELIN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the "freezer trick"?

210856[/snapback]

Stick the dead drive into a ziplock bag and leave in the freezer for a few hours. Once out immediately install it, see if it boots and if it does, back-up as much as you can. I must confess the one time i did this it didn't work for me, but I've heard others succeed quite nicely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the data is important, you can send it off to recovery companies, but they will charge a fortune - I've had to do it once for work.

Nox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the "freezer trick"?

210856[/snapback]

Stick the dead drive into a ziplock bag and leave in the freezer for a few hours. Once out immediately install it, see if it boots and if it does, back-up as much as you can. I must confess the one time i did this it didn't work for me, but I've heard others succeed quite nicely.

210937[/snapback]

Indeed, this can work and I've saved data using it (actually, I just used the fridge). Note, however, that every time I've see the cooling trick work the hard disk was one that would spin up and function for a little while, then die abruptly. This is, one would assume, because some flaky component is overheating, and getting the drive chilly gives you longer before it conks out to get your data off.

There may be other situations where the "freezer" trick would work as well, but it sounds like the mallet issue is more likely in your case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tap the side of the drive near a corner next to the connectors with the plastic handle of a screwdriver while the drive is doing the spin up buzz routine (plug the power in and tap the drive while it's trying to spin up).

Tapping the drive while the power is off is less likely to unstick the heads. Also if you hit the thing too hard you risk damaging the heads. So try to use as little force as possible.

Cooling a drive outside of a humidity controlled environment is dangerous because you can cause condensation inside the drive! Media and water droplets don't go well together :)

Good luck. As the other posters mentioned, it's pretty likely at least some of the media on the drive will be damaged when the heads are unstuck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, Maxtor Hard Drives beep when there is a power problem and there isn't enough to "Power Up".

Edit: Anyways, for your problem is seems like the Rotor is actually stuck, maybe the lubricant has worn off a bit.

Edited by Maxtor storage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooling a drive outside of a humidity controlled environment is dangerous because you can cause condensation inside the drive!  Media and water droplets don't go well together :)

I thought drives were sealed at factory with no water molecules in to form the condensation, else they would be damaging the drives the whole time?

Not really an expert on that though, so don't listen to my ramblings :D

Nox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm... many interesting posts here.

I make no bones about it, I think the "freezer trick" is a bad idea. The results some people seem to have are anectodal at best. As for Nox's question, it is true that drives are manufactured in low-humidity environments. But all HDDs have a "breather filter", a hole someplace in the body of the HDD to let air in/out of the drive. The filter is designed with a long "time constant". Air pressure changes fairly rapidly, but humidity (and airborn contaminants) takes a much longer time to get in or out. But that stuff can eventually get in to the drive (the humidity time constant can be as much as 1 week, meaning it takes 1 week for the humidity inside the drive to match the humidity outside the drive. It assumes the outside humidty stays constant the whole time). That's why drives are generally shipped in airtight bags. If the drives absorbed humidity in transit, rapid temperature changes (like when going from a hot humid airport tarmac in Singapore to a cold dry airplane cargo hold at 30K ft flying to New York) could cause the moisture to condense inside the drive, and that is indeed a bad thing.

Tarjan's suggestion, that you tap the drive with a screwdrive handle isn't that good an idea either. Drives are very sensitive to sharp, fast accelerations. Small drops to hard surfaces, tapping with something that's hard, just the kinds of things to due serious damage to the drive's reliability. This kind of mechanical shock can damage motor and pivot bearings. For drives that use "Contact Start Stop" (the heads land on the media when the drive shuts down), these shocks can cause the heads to dent the media surface. When that happens, the media starts to flake and corrode. At best, this will cause unrecovered read or write errors. At worst it can result in outright head crashes.

The symptom you describe is consistant with a spin-up error recovery routine called "dither". If the spindle controller can't get the disk pack to move, it assumes the heads are stuck in the landing zone (a phenomenon called "stiction"). The controller puts a high-frequency pulse through the Voice Coil Motor to try and vibrate loose the heads. It's called a "Voice Coil Motor" for a reason. It emits a tone, the frequency of the dither signal, like a loud speaker.

Failure to spin up can be due to three possible causes. First is Stiction, as describe above. This is the reason for dither. Dither makes no difference ot the other two causes. The second is an electrical problem with the motor, either an open winding or a bad connection to the PCBA. The third would be a blown motor controller.

Stiction is usually only a problem in drives that have been inoperative for extended periods. Most PC HDDs start/stop all the time and are generally not susceptible to this problem. The electrical portion of the motor is generally very reliable, the motor is brushless and there are no moving parts. If a drive you use all the time suddenly won't spin up, it's more likely to be a PCBA issue than anything else.

Finally, I'd add that if you're going to lose the data anyway (you can't afford to send the drive to a Rescue service), there's certainly no harm in trying either the Freezer Trick or tapping the drive. You might get lucky, and if you don't you're no worse off than you were!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought stiction happened when the heads came to rest *outside* the landing zone (?). The heads are supposed to automatically retract to the landing zone when the power gets cut unexpectedly, but sometimes this fails to happen and you get some stiction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Landing on the data zone is a no-no. Very bad. Should never happen. Drives have a retract circtuit that uses back EMF from the spinning motor to pull the VCM to the landing zone, and a latch (usually magnetic) to hold the VCM there once the spindle stops.

The landing zone is textured, with lots of little bumps, to keep the heads from making uniform contact with the media (which is what causes stiction, and is why landing in the smooth data zone is bad). But the gap is still very small. Capillary action can cause lube to build up under the head. Humidity accelerates this effect and it makes the lube stickier. Depending on the HDD design, this can be enough to increase the starting "break away" force to the point that either the motor can't start, or it can cause the head/suspension assembly to be damaged.

We try really hard to design drives so this won't happen. When it does, it's usually because of a defect or contamination or extreme environmental conditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now