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Revive old hard drives?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Brian666, Sep 3, 2004.

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  1. Brian666

    Brian666 Thread Starter

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    This sounds crazy. I had a system that started doing flakey stuff and it killed my boot drive. By process of elimination, I found that my Ethernet card was the problem. In the course of isolating the problem and determining that the Ethernet card WAS responsible (don't ask me how), I destroyed SIX hard drives tht were working fine previously. Fortunately, they were little ones and leftover from other computers.

    What I'd like to know is, is it possible to bring any of those drives back to "live?" The BIOS doesn't "see" them and FDISK won't work.

    What can I do, if anything, to restore one of those "dead" disks to working order?
     
  2. norton850

    norton850

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    If those drives are truely "destroyed" then there is no way to make them reliably functional again. There are expensive ways to get the data off them.
    I know you say that you don't know how the ethernet card destroyed the hard drives, but how was it determined that that was the problem?
     
  3. Brian666

    Brian666 Thread Starter

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    I removed ALL add-in cards, then reinstalled them one by one. Everything worked fine until I put in the Ethernet card and it "ate" the hard drive - i.e., it was on longer seen at boot time or at any other. FDISK reported no drive present.

    I did this with two separate machines. A little over a year ago I had the same problem and determined Ethernet card was at fault. When the Ethernet card was replaced, everything else the same, the problem was "cured."

    Last year's Ethernet brand was "ASOUND." This year's is Siemens. Both manufacturers were notified and asked to speculate on the cause. Neither responded.
     
  4. norton850

    norton850

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    OK I admit I don't understand this. Maybe someone else will comment.
     
  5. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Did the 'faulty' ethernet card by any chance have a boot chip on it?
    If you look at a network card you will see there is an empty chip slot. This is to take a BIOS chip that will allow a machine to boot from the network. If there was one there on the faulty card it is possible (not likely) that some code in there was corrupting the hard drives. The only way I can think of possibly recovering them may be to try to do a low level format on them. But do it with them on their own in an old machine.
     
  6. Brian666

    Brian666 Thread Starter

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    Both have an empty socket that I presume would hold a chip of some sort, but none installed.
     
  7. junker39

    junker39

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    I use a USB enclosure to clean up old HDDs. I've got an old CD-RW enclosure that I took apart and just hook the hard drive to it. I've had a 85MB all the way to a 120GB drive hooked up and it works great. (a little slow on the larger drives) (USB 1.)
     
  8. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Have you tried the drives recently? It may only be the file system that is corrupt on them. If they are detected then do a low level format on the drives using the manufacturers diagnostics or tools(such as PowerMax form Maxtor) and then repartition and reformat them.

    Personally I find it hard to belive that a Network card would physically damage 6 hard drives and do no other harm to the computer other then possibly corrupting the data on the drives.
     
  9. Brian666

    Brian666 Thread Starter

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    I agree it's strange a card would cause the trouble.

    I would do a low-level format, but the machine fails to recognize that the drive is even there. FDISK reports "No fixed disk present." SETUP does not report the drive as being present. In a different machine, SETUP stops and gives the message, "1780 Hard disk not found," or something like that. Likewise, Partition Magic Rescue disk gives an error that the drive referenced cannot be found. :-(

    Know of any tricks to make the machine "see" the drive?
     
  10. MysticEyes

    MysticEyes Banned

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    With 120G drives going for $70 it's time to move on.
     
  11. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Certainly anything connected to the system busses can interact with almost anything else. I have had the experience more than once of hard drives being undetected due to faulty graphics cards.

    There are a few places that claim to be able to rejuvenate damaged drives and even to repair bad clusters. The HDD Regenerator claims that by using some high-speed alternating magnetic fields that it is able to repair drives. I've actually tried this one but was never able to get the program to operate well enough to actually use it on a drive. It looks like mumbo-jumbo to me, but desperation makes a lot of things look more reasonable and if it gave you 20 more minutes of disk access to retrieve data, that would be something.

    http://www.pcnet-online.com/downloads/hddregerator.htm

    The other one that I've used is Spinrite6. At least it comes from someone who, though possibly prone to bouts of paranoia, at least has his feet planted in reality. How this one works is also a deep mystery. I've only used it once for maintenance purposes, running the full 20-hour scan of a drive. The drive seemed much faster afterward, but I didn't use a stopwatch or anything. The testimonials are interesting.

    The only reason I don't actually use this one more often is that 20 hours of work will no doubt shorten the life of the drive. So, it's set aside for recovery operations.

    http://grc.com/spinrite.htm

    But, these are dependent on the drive being recognized by BIOS. If it isn't, something has gone wrong with the onboard electronics and something serious. It is possible for something on the PCI bus to actually burn out components of the EIDE and that looks like what has happened to you. Perhaps not even the manufacturer can predict or reproduce the problem, so that leaves you looking like a nut-case that they simply ignore. But stranger things have happened.

    Time to listen to MysticEyes sage advice, though I know I would try to rejuvenate them, too, if for nothing more than the challenge.
     
  12. norton850

    norton850

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    We all know that anything is possible but I think what still doesn't make sense to me is that the drives weren't just not recognized or corrupted but "destroyed" Who knows!!
     
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