My hard drive has vanished

Maxtor / No clue. 250gb
June 5, 2009 at 20:05:29
Specs: Windows XP, AMD quadcore 2.5ghz
To explain how I got to the point I'm at now might take a minute. So,

The computer I'm using right now was my first ever build. I did everything from the ground up. Everything but the hard drive. The hard drive was the sole piece of hardware I tried to salvage from my old HP. At the time of the HP's death, the hard drive was fine.

I thought that I'd be able to install this old HD with my old OS in the state it was in before I tore the old machine apart. I thought it would boot up and everything would be peachy. What happened upon the first few boot ups was the hd would get stuck in the boot cycle. I did a lot of research and found out that because I had made so many drastic changes, well everything changed, that basically there was no way my hd would boot.

After this research and me having done most everything people suggested on forums, the drive simply disappeared at one point. The boot cycle wouldn't even start.

So I broke down, bought a new hd, new copy of xp, and here we are. Once the 100% new machine with the new hd and fresh OS were up and running with the new hd at C, I installed the old hd to get the data off it. My computer wouldn't even recognize it in bios. Like it just wasn't there. I tried two sata slots, no dice.

So I just bought an external enclosure to see if that would work and when I turn the thing on, nothing happens outside the led on the aluminum case turns on. I've tried both the sata and the usb connection. Nothing.

When I turn on the external hd, I can hear it spinning. The same thing happened when I tried to use it as a secondary non boot drive inside my current machine.

Also, something weird but the external enclosure seems to be shocking me when I touch it in certain spots. That can't be normal.

Am I up a creek or do I have a chance at getting this data back?



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June 5, 2009 at 23:12:37
A new enclosure shouln't be doing that, it could be your old drive has short to earth.
It looks as if you're up the creek without a paddle.
Just to check the enclosure try another drive in it if you have one or can get hold of one, otherwise if you purchased it locally, you may be able to get the shop to check it.

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June 6, 2009 at 05:05:58
Your two issues MAY be unrelated. The external enclosure may be defective or your house wiring polarity may be wrong.

As far as the old SATA drive is concerned there could be a couple of reasons why the BIOS is not recognizing the drive.

First one is if the controller you are connecting to is not enabled in the BIOS. Second is the port may be configured as part of a RAID array. One other possibility is your SATA controllers will only recognize SATA II drives and your old drive is probably SATA I. I don't know if that is even possible but thought I would throw it out. There are SATA II drives that will ONLY work on SATA II controllers. In other words are not backward compatible.

So, verify you have all SATA controllers enabled and the BIOS settings are set as required when installing internally.

What is the brand and model of your motherboard?

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June 6, 2009 at 13:22:45
Would it make sense though that it would initially see the drive, then at one point it didn't? I know the port isn't configured as part of a RAID array. I knew going into this mess that I was too much of a novice to figure out a RAID array.

This drive is a SATA 1 drive.

My motherboard is a ASUS M3A78-EM

The link to the specs can be found at

Thanks everyone for sharing your wisdom!

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Related Solutions

June 6, 2009 at 14:03:45
Hard drive is bad period. I have had limited success putting a bad hard drive like that in the freezer for like 6 hours and immediately plugging it back in and trying to retrieve data off of it. This usually doesn't work. Next option is to buy a working hard drive of "THE EXACT MODEL OF THE BAD HARD DRIVE" from ebay and swapping the controller boards on them to see if you can get it to work. You will need a star wrench to remove the old board.

BTW Raid Arrays are pretty easy. Basically a RAID 0 takes 2 hard drives and makes them into one big drive that equals the size of both of the drives. RAID 1 is called Mirror RAID and it writes the same data to 2 hard drives at the same time so that in the event of a hard drive failure you still have all the data intact on the other drive. All that needs to be done to install it is (recommended) 2 of the same hard drives and preferable a pci RAID card as opposed to an on board controller. It's generally not recommended not to install your OS on a mirror raid drive but I have had a lot of success either way. To setup a raid array with a PCI Card you will see a new screen upon bootup and you hit Ctrl + S usually and just make one. The rest is pretty easy. Best of luck on this.

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June 7, 2009 at 12:14:19
I think I'll try the freezer method first. Then try to find another maxtor like this one and go from there.

I guess that raid business doesn't sound hard at all.

Thanks again everyone!

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June 7, 2009 at 12:55:13
You won't find many here that promote the use of RAID 0.

If the hard drive in question is spinning up then the freezer trick will not help. That is used for drives that are NOT spinning up. Your circuit board may be bad.

I don't think you have determined with any certainty that the drive is bad.

Trying it on different SATA ports doesn't prove anything. Do you know for a fact that those ports are functional? Did you try a different data cable. SATA data cables are sensitive to tight bending. Can cause poor or no data throughput.

Check in the BIOS to verify the ports you try are enabled.

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June 9, 2009 at 11:03:47
I think I may have found the problem. I inspected the board on my hd and there is a part on the board that is scorched a little.

I just found another drive just like mine on ebay for $35 shipped. I'm going to switch the boards and see how that goes. Either way I could always use another hd even if it doesn't work.

Thanks again everyone.

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June 9, 2009 at 11:04:25
Also, turns out the drive wasn't spinning at all.

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June 26, 2009 at 21:42:18
Turns out if was the board on the hd. I bought a used one on ebay, swapped them, changed the permissions on the folder to give myself full access, and I have all my data back.


Thanks all.

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June 27, 2009 at 05:58:22
Glad you were able to recover your data. Thanks for getting back to us.

Hope that scare makes you think about maintaining backups of data you need.

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