help! hard drive problem...

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Member Since: Jan 18, 2003

hi guys how've you been

today i went to boot up my music computer and got a blank screen. played around and tried some things and eventually i was able to boot it. it just took a very very long time. i discovered that an external hard drive is the problem. when it is plugged in at bootup, the system finds it very difficult to start, takes forever, etc. the drive, while it shows up in 'my computer,' cannot be viewed. clicking it doesn't do anything. additionally, the light on the front of the drive slowly blinks.

i tried hooking it up to my other computer and saw the same symptoms. i have a bad feeling about this. i can't find much online yet (but just started looking). most of my music projects are on that drive. my first impulse is to just run chkdsk, but at the moment i can't boot up because i tried doing a restore point earlier before i knew what the problem was, and i changed some other things, and now i'm trying to achieve a successful boot.

i'm sure some of you probably know what's going on here. i hope there's a way to ... do something. because it feels like a drive failure.

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bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Jan 06, 2010 10:35 pm

Does it work if you boot without it plugged in, and then plug it in once the computer is already booted?

The Czar of BS
Since: Dec 31, 2007

Jan 06, 2010 11:08 pm

When this happened to me, it over wrote the drive name.

Normally the drive letter is E:. But, somehow it got changed to D:.

It took me forever to find this as well. I found that if you right click the drive, then go to properties, and put the letter back to what it is suppose to be, it should work fine.

I hope this is the issue here.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Jan 06, 2010 11:58 pm

coolo, no. when i do that, the drive letter will show up, but if you right click on it, the computer begins to hang (ctrl alt del and then shutting down explorer gets me out of that). i also tried chkdsk, but i get an I/O device error when i do that.

my drive letter is the same. remember also, the light is blinking (it's supposed to be solid when the drive is online but not being accessed) and the same symptoms happen when the drive is plugged into two different computers. something's wrong with the drive. it's not clicking or anything--it's making normal sounds. seems to me (i have to listen more carefully) that the blinking begins when the spinning stops. and then it's there and idle.

Since: Jan 07, 2010

Jan 07, 2010 05:30 pm

this is last option only but I heard a trick about failing hard drives. now this is hear say but, i was told by a friend of mine whos hard drive failed to stick it in the freezer and torture it for about 30 minutes. take it out and plug it in while its still cold and that should give you enough time to back up your info onto another external. but it only works once and you have to get lucky. but who knows, it just might save all your music.

Since: Aug 25, 2008

Jan 07, 2010 05:40 pm

can i ask for the make/model?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jan 07, 2010 06:01 pm

I wonder if the drive inside is an IDE drive, which you can plug into a PC on it's IDE bus. Then maybe you can get to the drive, as maybe the controller / USB interface part of the box is putzy.

Mind, i'm just thinking out loud . .

This is the second time today I read about someone loosing their only copy of data. The other was programming, and now this. I think I may re-visit my back up solutions when I get home =/.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Jan 07, 2010 06:15 pm

it's a seagate something or other. i'd have to look for the model.

i heard about the freezer thing, but i don't seem to want to try that. at least not now.

i heard about making it an internal drive as well. might try that at some point, though i have a feeling something else is going on. the good news is that i think (i have to check) that i backed up most of the important stuff long ago. the problem is that i don't have perfect knowledge about what i didn't back up.

i basically shelved this problem for now because the first few things i tried didn't work. anyone ever use this linux live cd for data recovery? knoppix?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jan 07, 2010 06:32 pm

You'll need to know your way around the linux command line, which can be a pain to get figured out.

I've been using live CDs for a few other things, and usually you need to know what your doing to make things do what you want. I haven't used the knoppix one, but i'd figure it's similar to other Linux variants.

Plus, if the drive has hardware problems, then a new OS isn't going to help =/.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Jan 10, 2010 08:22 am

knoppix is supposed to be 'for' recovering data from dying drives, i thought


,,,,,, <<<look

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Mar 01, 2010 04:29 pm

hey guys

i'm showing how little i really know about computers with this, but i've discovered that the drive does show up in both my computer and disk management, given enough time, and my new question therefore is this: is it possible to fix a drive's partition without wiping the drive? if so, how do you do that? or am i fundamentally confused about what a partition is?

this is an external drive, used mostly for storage. i'm told that if it's recognized then the partition is bad.
Since: Nov 11, 2007

Mar 01, 2010 06:24 pm

Not to toot my own horn on data recovery but...TOOT TOOT!

-First; take that hard drive out of the enclosure, like, yesterday! External hard drive enclosures are notorious for causing problems. Plug the hard drive directly into your computer instead, as PJK suggests.

-When the hard drive is powered on and spinning, do you hear a clicking or grinding noise? If you do, this is not a good thing. Since you haven't mentioned any odd noises, I'm encouraged that this might be a problem with your enclosure or the formatting of the drive vs the device itself.

-Don't be afraid to freeze the hard drive...but don't expect it to work either. I've heard it helps and I've tried it on numerous occasions with marginal results. I typically get the data I want but I'm not sure if it's the freezer I have to thank for that achievement.

-You can change parameters of a partition by using something like Acronis Disk Director. If you want to skip the $40 charge you should be able to find something on Hiren's Boot CD that will accomplish the same task for free.

-I do NOT recommend working on this recovery project yourself if you can't see the drive contents when the drive is plugged in directly to the motherboard. I also do NOT recommend taking it to the Geek Squad or any other mom and pop computer shop. Try mentioning Hiren's Boot CD and Acronis Disk Director and if the tech you're considering doesn't respond like he knows what those are; walk away. Better yet, ask the tech to do a sector copy of the hard drive to a new hard drive before doing anything to your data. If they don't know what a sector copy is; run don't walk.

I'd poop if one of my drives were in the state yours is in...that's how much disk failure scares me. Solid state hard drives are around the corner and we won't see this problem anymore! Can't wait :)

I would offer to take care of it for you, as most data recovery houses charge $400-$2500 for their services but I'd be afraid that shipping a miffed hard drive would cause more damage than the drive could take. If you come to your wits end and want to try it despite damage that might be incurred on your hard drive during shipping; send me an email. I won't charge you an I won't guarantee anything either.

However...toot toot.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Mar 03, 2010 07:02 pm

thanks quincysan! can we chat for another few posts here about it?

i was planning to remove it from the enclosure, but the enclosure is sealed--no screws. but if this is what i must do, then i will destroy the enclosure with a screwdriver to get the drive out.

the drive makes these noises/behaves this way: there's the normal disk access sound, but this sound continues indefinitely. in other words, there are the normal clicking 'access' sounds, at the usual volume. the normal whir is there as well. when booting up, the drive does this stuff for about four minutes (and doesn't show up in 'my computer)'. after those four minutes, the drive spins down and just sits there in one of two ways:'ll now show up in my computer and the light on the front will be solid--which is how it's supposed to work--but the drive can't be accessed; or 2. the light will flash and the drive won't show up in my computer.

freezing would be the very last thing i'd try. when you've done that, though, can you describe what happened? in what way were you able to get to the data--by normally browsing the drive as if it's working again? also how long after freezing did you have access?
Since: Nov 11, 2007

Mar 03, 2010 08:04 pm

It still sounds like it could be the enclosure.

Mangle the enclosure if you have to; but also keep in mind that a lot of these manufacturers hide screws under rubber feet or strips of cosmetic rubbery type stuff. If all you have is seemless hard plastic to work with...I dunno, you'll have to get creative but don't be afraid of breaking the exterior, carefully saw or pry it open I guess? Try your best not to jostle the contents more than necessary; that's why I'm thinking some sort of saw or prying with a screwdriver might be best. In my experience; there's typically been some sort of screw/release lever accessible after some investigation...

My problems with using freezing as a go-to for data recovery is:
A.) If the drive isn't over heating...what does this accomplish? I don't know the answer, but I'd guess nothing. Some techs swear by it...but I hate most computer fact I hate most musicians. I work in computers and spend all my free time in is it that I still manage to enjoy life? Hah, back to the subject at hand...
B.) The hard drive heats up in about 3 minutes after coming out of a cold freezer; and for the size of what you need to recover and the fact that the drive seems to be failing...3 minutes won't be long enough. Now if you were to run data/power cables to a minifridge with the ailing hard drive in it that might make more sense but...probably not, especially if overheating isn't your problem.

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