hard drive arm not moving

October 4, 2008 at 19:52:11
Specs: Windows XP, AMD

I'm trying to recover some files from a WD1600BB-98DWA0 that is inoperable. It doesn't seem that the actuator arm is moving, based on the sounds it's making and the heat being produced. It powers on ok, and I can hear the spindles spin up, but the arm is clicking and it sounds like it's locked up.
I've tried it as a slave in systems running XP Pro, Ubuntu, and DOS. Also tried it using a USB to IDE converter in XP Pro. It doesn't even show up as a drive in any of these situations. Now after running it a while (and it's heating up), the USB to IDE is no longer triggering as a device in Windows. I'm assuming because the converter can no longer see the drive attached.
Are there any solutions out there for this, other than sending it to a pro?

Thanks in advance.

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October 4, 2008 at 22:43:09

It's been said that putting a drive in the freezer for awhile and then hooking it back up can wring a little bit of usage from it.

Although this method is mentioned often I don't recall anyone saying it actually worked for them. And if it sometimes does work it can't possibly work for every way a drive can fail. But I guess you have nothing to lose. (Be careful of condensation on the circuit board after removing it from the freezer.)

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October 5, 2008 at 06:15:00

I have used with good results the freezer method (when the actuator arm is clicking) but if it does not work it may causes the hdd non recoverable by a pro. also. You will have a short time to get data off if it works.

If you have the $$ to send to a pro. and data is important do not use the freezer method just send it in. The more you try the more it will cost.

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October 5, 2008 at 11:56:55


Just recently here I told a poster about that method and it did work for them. They were able to recover their data.

I think the freezer trick would be most sucessful on a drive with bad bearings. If the heads are not moving and the drive is not recognised in the BIOS screens I don't think anything the OP can do will help.

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October 5, 2008 at 17:09:51

That was me that it worked for!

I got the HDD to work for about 30 minutes after pulling it out of the freezer. Be sure to put it in a ziploc bag, suck all the air out of it, then freeze it for 24 hours. BE READY TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT OFF THE HDD!!! Try doing what I did and just image the drive. Then restore the files you want. Connect it to seperate IDE cables if this does work. This works twice as fast compared to one single cable for two HDDs. Usually a DVD/CD drive works on an IDE cable.

William E C
"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!" - Anonymous

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October 5, 2008 at 17:11:34

Oh yeah, if/after you get the data off it, try taking the HDD apart to see how it works! I did with the one that crashed on me and I got two super strong magnets out of it!

William E C
"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!" - Anonymous

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October 6, 2008 at 06:05:53

If all else fails, do what i do, over the years iv had many of these hard drives fail on me and when nothing else works, i open the thing up and try to figure out where the fault is, usually you cannot identify it but i have managed to temporarily fix about 80% just to get the data off them. I know its not recommended but hey if you cant get your data off it in the first place then why not give it a go?

what i do it plug into the PC, open the HD up, and power on the pc (obviously you must know what you are doing to mess with live power) and with a bit of luck and watching the drive you can help the arm move with a cotton bud or something similar.

Dunno what everyone else here will say to this, but it works for me, so it cant be all that bad.

Be careful tho.....


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October 6, 2008 at 06:19:40

AND, next time keep backup copies of your person data.

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October 6, 2008 at 06:43:10

This is how I solved mine

William E C
"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!" - Anonymous

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October 6, 2008 at 06:48:37

Thanks for all the tips. This is for a customer, so that's why I don't have backups.
I've got the drive in the freezer now, so I'll give that method a shot.
Someone else has told me they've been successful at getting the disks & arm to move after taking the case off and poking around a little. I've taken drives apart before (not for this reason), so I might as well give it a shot if the freezer trick doesn't work.

Thanks for the help.

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