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Why mechanical failure causes HDD being undetectable by bios or OS ?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by andy, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. andy

    andy Guest

    Could someone please explain why in the case of *mechanical* failure HD
    becomes sometimes undetected by BIOS and/or the operating system (e.g. win xp
    or linux)?
    If it was an electronic failure then such behaviour would be obious, but why
    the same happens with some mechanical failures? When electronics is working in
    my opinion it still should be detected by bios and/or the system (win xp or
    linux), but often it is not.
    I could recover about 80% of the data from my HDD (which apparently has a
    mechanical failure - plates spin up and down, heads create bad noises) if only
    the disk could be seen by the system all the time. But often during copying of
    the data heads hit with a loud sound so badly that sometimes even the plates
    stop rotating, and the disk then dissapears from the system. It is then very
    difficult to make it detectable by the system again, sometimes the sytem can
    detect it but only after several minutes of copying it freezes and then
    dissapears again.
    Recently, I was unlucky, and even after several dozens of retries it's still
    undetectable by the system.

    Could you please advice what to do to make the disk detectable by the system
    all the time?
    What causes that it is not detectable although the failure is in mechanics not

    BTW, if someone has the same disk model (Quantum Fireball ST64A011), please
    let me know.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
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  2. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Consider the options available to the HD designer. What do you want the
    user to see during POST about a HD that knows itself that it can't possibly
    work. The HD designer knows that many BIOSs have no ability to detect and
    display a HD error status during POST. The BIOS may only be able to report
    'there' or 'not there'. If you were the HD designer would you want the HD
    to report 'there' during POST even when the HD itself really knew that it
    wasn't there? How would you answer the query of a poster in this NG who
    wanted to know why a HD reported 'there' during post but was not there for
    all intents and purposes for any booting steps after POST?

    Did the HD designer make the correct design choice in the first place which
    would likely cause a competent user to try another HD and assume that the HD
    was dead dead which in fact it is?
    What on earth for? Such would be highly misleading and a very poor design
    The drive is DOA!
    Ron Reaugh, Sep 3, 2004
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  3. andy

    andy Guest

    Thanks for your reply.
    But I could then recover 80% of my data, and now I can recover 0% of my data.
    Does it make sense for you now?

    Is there any way to disable that feature? (I mean to make the malfunctioned
    HDD visible to the system again?)
    Don't get DOA.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  4. andy

    Joep Guest

    *Sometimes* ... So, maybe it's the nature of the problem that prevents the
    disk from being detected.
    It is hardly a matter of opinion ...
    How do you know? How did you come up with the 80%?
    You should try to clone it as long as you can see it. However, every read
    may worsen the condition of the disk, in general it is advised to cease DIY
    recovery attempts (if the data is important to you) when a disk is maing
    unusual and scary noises.
    Your issue is a psychological one. You can not accept that there are
    situations you can not resolve and have no control over. Apart from
    contacting a data recovery lab, you also need to work out this problem.
    Why do you want to know?
    Joep, Sep 3, 2004
  5. andy

    andy Guest

    Failure to mechanics seems to be the problem causing the non-detection
    Unfortunatelly the "sometimes" is now "nearly always".
    When the disk was detectable then about 20% of files could not be read.
    This was not because bad sectors (the disk did not have any AFAIK), but
    because of the mechanics failure (when it started to have the symptoms of the
    failure also 20% of data became unavailable).
    Yes, it seems that the condition very quickly became much worse.
    How can I know that? If they designed it that way that it should not be
    detectable when mechanics fails, then maybe also for the service purpose they
    designed it also to be possible to disable that feature, making the disk
    visible despite mechanical failure.
    I hoped that someone knows how to disable that feature.
    If someone has such disk with bad electronics, but good mechanics, then I
    could use the mechanics to recover my data. Just for one time recovery even
    opening the disk in not sufficiently clean condition possibly could work.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  6. andy

    CJT Guest

    Maybe it stores part of its own software on the platters.
    CJT, Sep 3, 2004
  7. andy

    andy Guest

    It doesn't make sense to me. Even if part of the surface is destroyed, most of
    it is not, why then not to detect the disk?
    I opened it now (I don't care about the dust, since it's dead anyway), and the
    surface of the first plate is in perfect condition, I can't see surfaces of
    other plates, though.
    I know it's broken down, but still, this behaviour of the disk is mysterious.
    If it was like you said, then the disk would be dead all the time, but as I
    described before sometimes it was possbile to detect it despite this failure.

    Someone designed it that way, but perhaps there are ways to come round it.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  8. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Perfect sense and no you couldn't recover 80% of your data.
    Dead On Arrival
    Ron Reaugh, Sep 3, 2004
  9. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    No, now 100% is unavailable.
    Isn't that what I said.
    Ron Reaugh, Sep 3, 2004
  10. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Most all current HDs do that.
    Ron Reaugh, Sep 3, 2004
  11. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Nonsense. Once any part of the surface is destroyed then then rest dies
    VERY soon thereafter.
    Ron Reaugh, Sep 3, 2004
  12. andy

    andy Guest


    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  13. andy

    andy Guest

    It depends what you mean saying that.
    When the disk was detectable always the same data was unavailable, therefore I
    assume that if only the disk could be detectable then I could recover 80% of
    the data.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  14. andy

    andy Guest

    Only because the disk cannot be detected.

    andy, Sep 3, 2004
  15. Nope, "most all current HDs" probably do not.
    My IBM DMVS does not and that drive is already ~5 years old.
    Flashrom has become cheap enough to take all the firmware, not
    just the bare minimum part to spin the drive up and load the rest.
    Folkert Rienstra, Sep 3, 2004
  16. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Ron Reaugh, Sep 4, 2004
  17. andy

    andy Guest

    So what. The data could not be recovered not because of bad sectors (there
    were none before failure, not sure whether there are any now - not possible to
    test it), but because of the bad movements of the heads, and bad spinning of
    the plates.

    andy, Sep 4, 2004
  18. andy

    kony Guest

    LOL, since you seem to be an expert at it, recover the data and
    then you have proof!

    Your drive is dead, the data is gone... move on, you're just
    wasting time now.
    kony, Sep 4, 2004
  19. andy

    Ron Reaugh Guest

    Ron Reaugh, Sep 4, 2004
  20. andy

    andy Guest

    I will if you only tell me how to make the disk visible in the system.
    Most of the data (perhaps even all) is not gone - all plates (or most of the
    plates) are not damaged, so the data are still on them and just wait to be
    recovered. I will recover it if I buy another such disk model.

    But in one thing you're right - I'm wasting my time talking to you. :/

    andy, Sep 5, 2004
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