• I would be careful using this method if the data on the disk must be recovered at any cost
which I would then send to On-Track or some other expensive data recovery company.
• I have found this problem mostly with older servers, but a few weeks ago I ran into the same
thing on a two-year-old Compaq IDE drive that was only used a few hours a day.
From: Randy Forston
If the hard drive isn't making noise and when you place your hand on it (not on the PC Board
side, but on the metal casing), you don't feel any vibration from the drive, you may have a
sticking problem (some older drives with a variety of drive lube no longer used have this
problem). If the above describes the symptoms you're seeing, try rapping around the drive
case with the plastic handle of a screwdriver. This will quite often remedy the stiction and allow
the drive to come back up as normal.
A few things can be performed on a crashed drive before declaring it DEAD:
1. Touch the drive (or listen to it) to feel whether it's spinning. Some drives gradually suffer
from spin-up problem but otherwise work fine once spinning. If it doesn't spin at power up,
gently knock on the side the drive once or twice to jump start it. This works best if you knock
on the drive approx. one or two seconds after power is applied. Repeat the procedure a few
times and add a little more force if necessary. Remember that too much force can permanently
damage the drive, but again, you have nothing too lose at this point.
2. If drive spins normally and stays spinning, try listening for irregular sounds emitting from
the drive. A series of 'clicking' sound usually signifies multiple bad sectors including the boot
sector that can prevent drive from booting. If drive 'Auto Detect' is enabled, make sure that its
signature is shown at boot screen. If not, drive is certainly suffered from major hardware
3. Check system's CPU to make sure it's not overheating (CPU can run warm, but should not
be hot) due to a failed cooling fan, etc. Overheating the CPU can cause the system to be
unbootable or cause the system to reboot itself frequently.
4. You could use another system to test the problematic drive to make sure that the controller
is not at fault. Try both "Auto" and "User Type" (where you manually enter the drive's
5. Try booting with a floppy and run 'fdisk' to view drive information. Some drives suddenly
lost all of their data possibly due to corrupted FAT, but otherwise, continue to work fine once
initialized and formatted. In many cases, FAT can be restored by executing Norton Utilities
from floppy. If all failed and data from drive must be retrieved, you can try swapping its
hardware (drive's main board) with similar working drive. Though this procedure can void drive
warranty, but your data is more important, right? Or else, you try services that can save your
data from dead drive for a fee.
From: Lyle Giese
Put CMOS back to auto for HD and see if it sees an HD at all. Put in a bootable floppy—can you
see the HD? (Don't forget to write protect the floppy in case this was a virus.) Now try EZ-
Drive. Some versions (I have several on hand with different advanced options) show what
parameters the hard drive is set to in CMOS and what parameters the drive was formatted