Hard drive crash - geek input needed

Thread Starter

kdillinger

Joined Jul 26, 2009
141
My hard drive crashed today and I have several gigabytes worth of coolness that I would like to save if possible.

When my computer boots, BIOS starts to go thru its normal routine and looks like it finds the hard drive at least initially:

"Auto detect 3rd master....IDE hard Drive."

Then the hard drive begins to click pretty loud and after the third click you can hear the drive powering down.

BIOS pauses for about 15 seconds and then continues to give me an error "Problem detected for 3rd master IDE hard drive." It then asks me to reboot from a new drive or use a boot disk.

This is repeatable.

I changed the primary boot drive to the DVD so I could see if I could select repair Win XP just to try to access the drive and it says there is no drive connected.

Geek Squad tried (for free - how nice) to access the drive with no results. They would send it off with a non-refundable deposit of $60 and then costs could be anywhere between $800 to $1500.

My buddy told me that it could be possible that it is the hard drive controller card. I could buy an exact model and swap out the controller card.

Anyone have experience with this route? I will have to buy a new drive anyway, but if there is still a *cheap* way of saving my data it would be nice.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,840
Ever been to MajorGeeks.com? This is bread and butter to them.

Gotta tell you though, it doesn't sound hopeful.
 

studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
5,003
My buddy told me that it could be possible that it is the hard drive controller card. I could buy an exact model and swap out the controller card.
I have done this with Western Digital drives but;

Exact being the operative word. Even the controller from a different year batch may not work. And of course this will only fix it if the controller is at fault.
 

Thread Starter

kdillinger

Joined Jul 26, 2009
141
Looks like there is only one cheap option and that is to try to do it myself. I will have to get an exact model number, preferably the same date of manufacture, and a similar DCM number (whatever that is).

I also called ACS Data Recovery in Temple, TX and it would run $1100 if it is a mechanical failure which most likely it is.

Sad really. I had ALL my old school work, pictures, and some work files on there.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,201
You might try using SpinRite. It's not cheap, but it's less than the other options you're considering.

Data recovery is neither quick nor cheap.
 

Paulo540

Joined Nov 23, 2009
188
This is why my house is strewn with multiple backups. The things I treasure most are backed up on several types of media, including offsite. Of course, this doesn't help with your current problem, but it will keep disaster from happening again.

Best of luck to you.
 

someonesdad

Joined Jul 7, 2009
1,577
I have to agree with Paulo540 -- I have two extra disk drives on my computer that are used exclusively for backup. I also have 2 or 3 flash drives that get really important stuff. This happens automatically every night. This stuff is cheap compared to the pain of losing data. One is a second internal disk drive and the other is a USB drive that sits on the window sill. Oh, pictures and key data also get backed up to DVD once or twice per quarter and stored in a fire-proof safe. Some key business stuff also gets stored in an outbuilding that would survive even if the house burned down. I'm suspenders and belt when it comes to saving my data, as I know how many of thousands of hours of cumulative work it represents.

I know this won't help the OP (my condolences), but the advice is for the others out there that mentally know they should back their stuff up but haven't gotten around to it yet. When it happens (and it eventually will -- all hardware will eventually fail), you won't have to have that sinking feeling in your abdomen that you're pretty sure you're toast.

And, most importantly, I know these backup methods work, having been through a number of disk crashes and messed up OS disks...
 

retched

Joined Dec 5, 2009
5,197
Did you ever solve the problem?

It hurts. Its true. With the price of on-line backup solutions being so low, and so user friendly, it is hard to convince one not to do it.

I use a few folders on each drive that is backed up every night, automatically. Most backup services use software that allows you to select backup times for individual files or folders, or even the whole drive.

You can even write-off the cost of the service for a business expense. Carbonite is $55us a year. Unlimited storage and online-banking style encryption.
 
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studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
5,003
With the price of on-line backup solutions being so low, and so user friendly, it is hard to convince one not to do it.
Most broadband users have ADSL. This severely limits upload speed and hence online backup.
 

GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
1,623
you could specify less heads/cyl in your setup, possibly avoiding corrupted areas. You of course would boot from another device.
 

retched

Joined Dec 5, 2009
5,197
Most broadband users have ADSL. This severely limits upload speed and hence online backup.
Yes, however, non use times, or 4am to 6am then the 8hours at work. There is plenty of time to backup. AND after the initial backup, only changed files are backed up. It really helps out.

PDFs and word docs, the biggies are a snap to backup. The music files, movies, they are time consuming. Like I sad, after initial backup, it is pretty doable. Their software is very non-intrusive. So even with dialup, you are most likely not downloading more than you can backup while you sleep.

[ed]
And if you are one of the ones who are online all hours and don't sleep, you should have a backup solution..or faster broadband :)
[/ed]
 
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studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
5,003
I am aware of the pros and cons,

But I am just pointing out things the advertisers (and your mama) won't tell you.
 

retched

Joined Dec 5, 2009
5,197
hahahhh.... Speaking of mom, I'll have to give her a call. (It is valentines day after all) So, you should too.
 
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