Oli Warner About Contact Subscribe

Your hard drive is failing

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 hardware

It happens… it always happens… right when you want it least your HD crashes, refusing to boot…

Up until now you may have thought that its the end for your little HD… well not any longer… I’ve got some tried and tested methods that will get your drive spinning for 20-30 minute periods so you can get all that stuff you really didnt want to lose…

There are 2 main methods…

1. Cooling/Freezing

Before we start beating the hell ouf of a disk, let’s try a low-stress physical option. When a HD refuses to spin on boot may be that the bearings that help the platters inside the drive spin have got stuck inside their rails and so causes the platters to sit unevenly and so the heads rub against the platters causing noise (and accute discomfort to those of you that have witnessed the noise first-hand).

Freezing the HD in a waterproof bag will allow the metals inside the HD to shrink, in turn giving the HD’s read/write heads clearance to work…

This method takes from 6-12 hours in a standard freezer and will give you about 30 minutes run time…
It can sometimes be repeated up to 6 or 7 times, but that really depends on how bad the problem really is…

2. Physical abuse

What can I say? This is the way I fix everything… But I never knew before that it can work for HDs…

As explained above, bearings cause millions of people excruciating heart-ache every year when they fuck up.

Holding the drive about 7" above a desk and dropping it on each of it’s sides, rotating it can sometimes help to get a bit of life out of a dead drive, mainly because it can realign the bearings in the drive, and so it may work permanently, but it may not work at all, or maybe only once…

This method is non-scientific and should be used as a last case scenario, but it does work from time to time, and gave me 40 minutes of HD time, enough to get otherwise-unrestorable data somewhere safe.