Introduction

Piece-of-cake repair that might resurrect an unresponsive Hard Disk.

Sometimes high-tech falls victim to the lowest of troubles: Plain air moisture...

Panic! The old back-up Hard Disk refuses to mount! The operating system does not "see" it at all and it does not make the happy spin-up noise! What could have happened? You just used it for a succesful back-up last month and stored it again in its quiet sleeping drawer! Why doesn't it wake up? Before you start going through HD cradles in frenzy or just give up thinking "doh! there goes my rare music pieces collection" (at least like I did) do have a closer look on the logic board. Any bare metal point not shining in the light as it should? A-ha! The red circles here denote what I saw when I exclaimed this.
  • Panic! The old back-up Hard Disk refuses to mount! The operating system does not "see" it at all and it does not make the happy spin-up noise! What could have happened? You just used it for a succesful back-up last month and stored it again in its quiet sleeping drawer! Why doesn't it wake up?

  • Before you start going through HD cradles in frenzy or just give up thinking "doh! there goes my rare music pieces collection" (at least like I did) do have a closer look on the logic board. Any bare metal point not shining in the light as it should? A-ha! The red circles here denote what I saw when I exclaimed this.

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So, find an earthing spot to discharge yourself from possibly damaging static charge and take out your Torx screwdriver! The logic board is usually interfaced to the hard disk mechanism through contacts - when you unscrew it from the metal body there is usually no cable or plug you need to remove.
  • So, find an earthing spot to discharge yourself from possibly damaging static charge and take out your Torx screwdriver!

  • The logic board is usually interfaced to the hard disk mechanism through contacts - when you unscrew it from the metal body there is usually no cable or plug you need to remove.

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When you take the logic board off the hard disk body, inspect the flip side for any signs of serious trouble, blown chips etc. (Back in the day of hard disks of 1-2-6 GBs capacity if the motor control chips were blown, we would swap logic boards from same model functioning disks and all was good again! This technique stopped working as disks grew bigger - logic boards must have gotten married to each disk's personal geometry and no longer generic-swappable.)
  • When you take the logic board off the hard disk body, inspect the flip side for any signs of serious trouble, blown chips etc.

  • (Back in the day of hard disks of 1-2-6 GBs capacity if the motor control chips were blown, we would swap logic boards from same model functioning disks and all was good again! This technique stopped working as disks grew bigger - logic boards must have gotten married to each disk's personal geometry and no longer generic-swappable.)

  • If all chips look good, look carefully at the contact points denoted by the red circles in the photograph. In this case the metal PCB pads were looking dull because of mild superficial corrosion (but I took the picture after the repair - doh!)

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So take out a flat head screwdriver or some more fancy scraping tool and scrape the dullness out of the contact pads - just do it carefully not to damage the PCB elsewhere. (...and please do not laugh at my "fine" scraping quality :-) When done with scraping, screw back the PCB to the hard disk body. Chances are it will happily spin up again and the computer's operating system will be able to use it as usual. '"Yoo-hoo, music saved, hurray!" me went at this point!
  • So take out a flat head screwdriver or some more fancy scraping tool and scrape the dullness out of the contact pads - just do it carefully not to damage the PCB elsewhere. (...and please do not laugh at my "fine" scraping quality :-)

  • When done with scraping, screw back the PCB to the hard disk body. Chances are it will happily spin up again and the computer's operating system will be able to use it as usual. '"Yoo-hoo, music saved, hurray!" me went at this point!

  • I hope the luck goddess smiles to you and this ultra low tech repair saves the day for you too! Happy iFixing, mates! :-)

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Conclusion

Easy, wasn't it?

15 other people completed this guide.

MiKa

Member since: 01/25/2013

1,170 Reputation

1 Guide authored

4 Comments

It looks simple but the thought of losing 40 years of family videos and pics scares me to the point of spending 700.00 and having it retrieved professionally.

John Tiernan - Reply

If no bother, I am curious if you could peek around the disk's PCB and report back when you receive it back (of course after double-coping the retrieved data!).

MiKa - Reply

My hard drive was completely unresponsive. Nothing happened when I plugged it into my PC. It didn't even spin up. I did this and now it spins up and I can access all my data! Thanks!

Charlie - Reply

:-) ... super simple isn't it? Just have in mind that over time, this can happen again in the future requiring another pass of hi-tech ... scraping

MiKa -

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