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Non-responsive HDD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Zakk, Oct 10, 2014.

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  1. Zakk

    Zakk Thread Starter

    Oct 10, 2014
    (I'm sending this from wife's laptop so TSG Sysinfo not much use!)
    System: 'Advent' tower PC, Intel Core i7 3440 3.4Ghz Quad Core CPU; 12Gb RAM (DDR3); 2Tb HDD (Seagate)(SATA), using Windows 7.

    Sequence of events:
    1 Attempted to reboot PC following a minor update but PSU did not power up - it wasn't a particularly quite unit so silence pointed to a PSU fault. On removing the cover, the CPU cooling fan was not operating either, confirming no power.

    2 The OEM PSU (CWT GPA450P) was not easily replaceable. Having had to replace PSUs in earlier PCs, I opted for a Corsair CX500M. At this point, I committed the cardinal sin of not practising what I used to preach before I retired - having replaced PSUs before, I did not think I needed to RTFM! Having removed the faulty PSU, I unpacked the replacement and fitted the black box in position before noticing that there were some significant differences between the OEM PSU's 'open' cable loom and the Corsair's sleeved loom. One of these difference was that instead of the 'old fashion' direct cable links to the SATA devices, there was a variety of alternative modular connectors. Had I read the Manual, of course, I would have seen that these plug into the PSU via black sockets on the face of the black CPU box but at this point, they were now hidden in the dark depths between the PSU and the back end of the DVD drive housing. Instead, I looked around for a connector that fitted a 4-pin connector on the motherboard from which I had earlier removed a cable from the faulty PSU. I found one that would fit and it had two SATA connectors on its ribbon, too. I made all the other connections then powered up - the CPU fan sprang into life but the glow and smoke coming from a motherboard component next to the 4-pin connector brought an 'Ooops' followed by an immediate power-off! On reading the Manual, I then discovered the SATA sockets on the side of the PSU and reconnected using the proper connectors. On powering-on, the system failed to boot, I assumed at this point that I had not been quick enough in powering-off at the sign of the glow and smoke and that the motherboard had been damaged.

    3. I eventually took delivery of a replacement motherboard (MSI B75MA-P45), read the instructions(!) fitted it and made all the correct connections. On powering up, the MSI 'CLICK BIOS II' interface appeared and on checking the boot devices, I noted that the HDD was showing as 'Not installed'. The new motherboard came with some new SATA data cables so I swapped these and rebooted with no success. I tried using one of the 3Gb/s SATA sockets on the motherboard instead of the 6Gb/s SATA socket but that made no difference.Skipping the BIOS interface cause a simple screen message along the lines of 'insert a system disk'. The DVD drive, using the same type of connector, is visible as a boot device and remains so if I swap over the power connector for the DVD and HDD at the PSU end.

    Would it be reasonable to assume that as the SATA power connectors and the 4-pin connector were on the same cable whatever damaged the motherboard also damaged the HDD? And if so, what next? In addition to my (backed-up) data, the HDD also has the Windows OS files, and, in a separate partition, the OEM's Recovery programs. I have system back-ups on 16GB flash drives, as prompted by the system, but they need to be able to access the HDD from which it was derived in order to make any restorations. In addition to the cost of the replacement PSU and motherboard, I can now see costs for a replacement HDD and replacement OS looming up, too. (Although if things got that bad, I suppose I ought to take the opportunity of using a SSD for the OS.)

    I know that the mistake which started it all was stupid but I'll be grateful for any tips to try before I incur even more expenditure!
  2. CleaverX


    Sep 27, 2012
    Hello, unfortunately there is a very good chance that the HDD was damaged by the psu incident. The easy way to determine that would be to remove the hdd and then hold it while the pc is turned on. You should be able to hear and feel the platters spinning. After that, just to make sure, you can use a sata to usb adapter and plug it in to a different computer and see if it detects it.
  3. Zakk

    Zakk Thread Starter

    Oct 10, 2014
    Hi CleaverX. Thanks for the response. As suggested, I removed the HDD from the case and powered on but heard and felt nothing so I assume that testing it with another computer - necessitating the delay in purchasing of an adaptor (if I can get one 'off the shelf' rather than mail order) - will simply be putting off the inevitable conclusion? Clutching at straws, are the HDDs totally sealed or, assuming that it's the HDD control system that's damaged, could the platters be removed and relocated to another drive unit to recover anything missed since the last back-up?
  4. Frozwire


    Jun 20, 2014
    If the drive is not detected in your PC's BIOS then the drive probably has failed. It could be possibly the PCB or an internal hardware failure on the hard drive. If some important or critical files were missed in your last successful backup then I think your best possible chance of retrieving those data is to send your drive to a reputable data recovery lab. We've had successful results with WeRecoverData so far in recovering files from a failed hard drive. Usually if your data is still recoverable , the cost of recovery depends on how extent is the damage on your hard drive.
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