Fixing a Failing or Dead Hard Disk

What is a failing hard drive? How do you know that your hard drive is failing? Is there a chance to fix hard drives? These are the common questions one may ask regarding a failing hard drive.

Let us now try to answer the common questions above and let me give you some friendly and sometimes aggressive and slightly dangerous procedures just to save your hard drive from failing or sometimes reviving it. What is a failing hard drive and How do you know that your hard drive is failing? A failing hard drive is a condition where you will be having limited operations on your computer due to system crashing and stalling contributed by a over-heated, mechanically failing, read/write errors, and so on.

There are few indications that proves your hard drive is failing, but be very careful because hard drive errors are also relative to RAM, Operating System, or even PSU errors. A defective hard drive has similar indications with virus infection like system hang-up or freezing and constant restarting. So before doing the procedures to fix hard drive errors provided here, ensure and verify that your hard drive is really the component that is failing. Hard drive mechanical errors are not hard to detect, you can determine it by simply listening to it. Overheating also contributes to hard drive failure. Here are some of our tested procedures in trying to fix failing or defective hard drives.

Please be warned that on our tests, only less than 30% of the procedures done proved success.

Fixing Noisy Hard Drive

A. Before turning on your system unit, listen closely to your hard drive. Turn your system on and if you hear a brushing or sometimes accompanied with little sharp squeaks, your hard drive is already in very bad condition and you need to have file backups and replace it. The brushing sound is caused by a slightly bended actuator arm due to heat. The read/write heads then touches the platters's surface thus producing sound from the friction. To "fix" the bending of the actuator arm, we need to reverse the effects of heat by freezing it. Yes freezing "might" relieve the bending. Here's how its done.

1. Remove your hard drive from the system unit. Wrap your hard drive tightly with a newspaper and secure it with a tape. Then wrap it with a plastic bag or similar that will restrict moisture from getting in. Have multiple layers of plastic wrappings enough to prevent moisture from getting into the hard drive.

2. Set your fridge to a lower temperature. Place your hard drive vertically in the freezer. Leave it their from 24 to 48 hours. 24 or 48 hours after, remove the hard drive from the freezer and just let it open in the air for a day. Please don't remove the plastic yet, the hard drive is cooled down and the moisture will build up in the cold.

3. After settling the hard drive for a day, remove the wrappings and put it back to your system unit and power it up. If there is no significant reduction on the brushing and squeaking sound, then its time to buy a new hard drive.

System Stalling or Freezing Contributed by HDD

B. Over-heating can cause some components to fail. It doesn't exclude the hard drive, an overheating hard drive can cause a system to freeze or stall or even sometimes constantly restarts a computer. How to determine if the hard drive is overheating? How to resolve this type of problem? Here's how.

1. To determine whether the hard drive is overheating, while your computer is in operation place a piece of paper on top of your hard drive. Touch it paper covered part of your hard drive with the back of your palm. If it gives you a burning sensation, your hard drive is overheating.

2. Removing or reduction of the overheating can easily be done by installing a hard drive fan. It costs a little and it works effectively to reduce to heat of your hard drive. Recommended to be used by specially by gamers and people who works on graphics and animation. If this won't give you significant results, buy a new hdd.

Hard Drive can't be Detected Sometimes

C. A dirty and corroded terminals and data paths on the hard drive controller board can cause problems like hard drive is unable to be detected on POST and other unusual hard drive error. This can be resolved by:

1. Remove the controller board from the hard drive, the PCB with components held by three or four screws is the hdd's controller board. Clean the controller board by using an old toothbrush and a lacquer thinner. This will in turn wash away the varnish and also the accumulated dirt. Let the controller board be completely dried before reinstalling it back to the hard drive and test it. If it doesn't work, try reheating the components with a hot air or with a hair dryer. And if again it doesn't work, buy a new hard drive.

Hard Drive Error is Neither Nor Here

D. That's good, your desperate. :-) The last option that I recommend is for you to find another hard drive exactly the same as you are having, the size, brand, and series. You can have an old and defective hard drive. What should you do with the other hard drive? Here's what:

1. Remove the controller boards of both hard drives, swap it. Test each hard drive to determine which will function. If this still doesn't work, BUY A NEW HARD DRIVE :-)

These are the most common way of approach of fixing a failing or dead hard disk.