First I'm going to show you a picture, just to get your attention.

I have a rather old computer case that I've been lugging around for years. It's a Hush Technologies Mini-ITX. I don't think they even make these systems anymore – I got mine many, many years back, and it was one of the first they produced.

The Hush Mini-ITX was a near-silent computer, before silent computers were anywhere close to as easy to build. It used a Mini-ITX board, a small quiet low-power motherboard that frequently had a small fan for cooling, but instead of the standard fan it used a heat pipe connected to the side of the case. The case itself acted as a large heatsink and radiator for the CPU. The hard drive was enclosed in a heat-conductive but noise-silencing frame. Overall, a clever design.

It's been a hardy case. I can't say the same for components put inside of it. It runs hotter than I really want – so far it's on its third hard drive, its third motherboard, and its second power supply. Last time I swapped the hard drive when it started getting a bit noisy – not "there are things banging around in the hard drive case" noisy, but "its hum is getting louder". I figured the same thing would work this time, so in my recent upgrade I included a spare hard drive for it. Standard replacement deal – turn the system off, plug the extra hard drive in, toss a SystemRescueCd in the drive, and it refused to detect either hard drive.

Eventually I figured out that my old hard drive was deeply, deeply unhappy. It wouldn't show up in BIOS (and neither would any other drive on that IDE chain) and it wouldn't even initialize – it would just sit there and click. Click. Click. Click. Click-whir. Click. Click. Click. It was spinning up just fine . . . although after enough clicks, it would spin down again. It just wasn't showing up as a hard drive to the computer.

I did a lot of research and tried the standard recovery tricks. Apparently there's a rather infamous hard drive Click of Death, but it's more of a general symptom than a specific cause, and the causes can be anything ranging from "your hard drive is somewhat old" to "your drive head is now bent at a ninety degree angle". So that didn't really help me diagnose it, much less solve it.

The tricks are, to be said, odd, but I tried them anyway. Freezing the drive didn't help – if anything, it made the click noisier. Banging the drive gently didn't help. At this point I had kind of given up, so I tried banging it more emphatically and that didn't help either. That's most of the standard tricks.

So I sat there, with a slowly thawing hard drive sitting on the desk in front of me, and thought.

One of the possible reasons for the Click of Death was that the heads had gotten misaligned, either vertically or horizontally, or in some combination of the two. Another possible reason was that the heads had actually gotten stuck on something. If I could jar the heads loose, or get it started, it might function fine after that. And it had been working just peachy-keen in the computer beforehand – I hadn't even realized it was defective, just old.

So if the heads are just stuck . . . and freezing the drive makes it louder . . . well, brief diversion. If you have a jar that you can't open, there's a trick to getting it open. You run the jar under hot water. The lid expands, and the neck expands, and that also means the gap between the lid and the neck expands. And that makes it easier to open. Now, if I heated up my hard drive, perhaps the same thing would happen. On top of that, the drive had been quite a bit warmer when it was working – it had been encased in that soundproof frame I mentioned before. What if I brought it to near that same temperature before trying?

Obviously I didn't want to melt the drive, or burn it, or get it wet. This is exactly what a double boiler is for, and you can approximate a double-boiler easily using two pots. Thus the picture at the beginning of this entry.

I heated the drive up until it was bordering on "hot to the touch". I figured that was around how hot it was before. I plugged it in, and . . .

. . . well, apparently I've now invented a new way of repairing hard drives. I copied over the most vital stuff, moved it to a different computer quickly (I've never been afraid of a component cooling down before, but I suppose there's a first time to everything) and successfully took a disk image of it. Worked 100% perfectly. I can't find any references to this technique online, so perhaps I really am the first one to try it.

I can't say I recommend this as a standard repair method, and obviously this is no substitute for professional repair services. But if you've tried freezing your hard drive, smacking your hard drive with a hammer, and all the other "normal" tricks . . . maybe it's time to try double-boiling it.

 

On another subject, I will admit that this has little to do with Mandible Games. I've just been kind of busy lately, in entirely uninteresting ways. First off, Mandible Games almost has a logo – I'm just asking for a few minor changes before I finalize it and put it up. Second, I've been doing a lot of work on the interface to D-Net. I want people to be able to change the game's resolution and aspect ratio, and that takes a lot of effort to make the menus work sanely. Third, I got a new computer and almost lost a lot of data – obviously that's a bit of a slowdown as well.

My todo list, however, is getting shorter and shorter. Right now there's only six items left before I actually release a public demo version. The first version is going to be Windows, since that's what I develop on natively, but D-Net builds perfectly fine on both Linux and OSX – all I need to do is figure out how Linux and OSX packaging and installing works.

The first version also isn't going to include online play or single-player play, just to warn you, but it should give a sense of what the game is like, and if you have some friends who want to blow you up in tanks (and, ideally, some USB game controllers), it'll work just fine for that.

I think that's the current State of Mandible. Double-boiling hard drives and writing uninteresting UI code. Yep. That's about the size of it.

  • [...] How to recover a hard drive by double boiling. [...]

  • zaph

    2007, November 25th 1:36 PM

    Well in computing centres they sometimes use(d) flat irons to heat the drives up after a blackout…

  • Zorba

    2007, November 25th 2:43 PM

    Oh man, this entry has given me more trouble than I ever expected. To make a long story short: the website seems to be responsive again, and you can even leave comments! It's amazing!

    I think I'll be making a post about the horrors of suddenly getting reddit'ed, but for now I think the pain is over. Unfortunately now the post is already falling off the reddit page, but so it goes – perhaps the next one will end up ranked well :)

  • Jesse The Space Cowboy

    2007, November 25th 6:34 PM

    What's horrible about being reddited?

  • Zorba

    2007, November 25th 8:21 PM

    When your entire website decides to stop responding, leaving your poor overworked server with a load of . . . 0.03. Just figuring out what was going on was tough.

    At this point I'd gladly do it again, though, I'm curious how well it would withstand the early rush. I think it might not have any issues at all, and that would be pretty darn neat.

  • Pooya Karimian

    2007, November 25th 9:54 PM

    smart!

  • Anonymous

    2007, November 26th 4:50 PM

    when the harddisk spindle motor spins,
    that means the head is not stuck to the platter.

    when you hear clicking sounds,
    it means the read/write head cannot read the positional id.
    hence the read/write arms are hitting the 'crash-stop'.
    this could be due to misalignment due to aging.
    hence change of temperature might realign it.

    however, if the head has crashed onto the platter,
    the whole magnetic media could be scraped off.
    hence nothing can be salvaged.

  • [...] a hammer, or your are too cheap to pay someone to recover your data, this may be something to try. [Mandible Games via [...]

  • mmr

    2007, November 26th 9:00 PM

    I just may try this…

  • [...] a hammer, or your are too cheap to pay someone to recover your data, this may be something to try. [Mandible Games via [...]

  • [...] a hammer, or your are too cheap to pay someone to recover your data, this may be something to try. [Mandible Games via [...]

  • [...] fellow from Mandible Games found his hard drive failed to show up in the BIOS but would still spin. And there was a distinct [...]

  • Zorba

    2007, November 27th 8:51 AM

    One of the pages I found claimed that the click of death was often caused by the head being stuck on the very innermost track (and, yes, scraping off the magnetic media). Since the hard drive had never once been filled, I guessed that there wouldn't be any data on the innermost track, or indeed on the entire innermost third.

    I don't actually know if it would have been able to read that area or not – the SystemRescueCD knows enough about NTFS that it doesn't bother reading the areas that don't have data. So it may have been a head crash on the innermost area, or it may have been stuck some other way, or it may have been stuck off the disc itself.

  • SKHI² » Bidouille - Mon disque dur est HS

    2007, November 27th 12:50 PM

    [...] Ce clik est émit par la tête de lecture qui est peut être coincée ou non alignée. En fait, il suffit de chauffer le disque dans un "bain marie" pour faire se dilater la tête de lecture. Et ça marche ….. plus d'information ici. [...]

  • DeadlyDad

    2007, November 27th 9:30 PM

    …I would also advise getting a copy of SpinRite(http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm)to check it out. It took three weeks of 24/7, level 5 testing, but it got 96% of my data back from an 80GB hd that would only click and grind beforehand. That was a year ago, and it is /still/ working well.

  • Zorba

    2007, November 27th 9:35 PM

    In my case, SpinRite would have done nothing – it wouldn't even show up in BIOS, to say nothing of WinXP. I did find a utility that took over the IDE controller and sent commands directly to the drive, and that couldn't determine that the drive existed.

    I suspect something like SpinRite would be fantastic if the drive showed up but had bad reads (although I would personally use one of the open-source tools, I hear there's a good one called dd_rescue.)

  • [...] Mandible Games StumbleUpon [...]

  • Giodude

    2007, November 28th 12:02 PM

    That sucks, also I think my pc may end up dieing soon. The reason why i'm saying this is first of all there is a fairly new video card on a 7 year old mother board. Second this computer has crashed many time in its life. Third, my bro has corrupted this pc 4 times already. Ever since then, this computer hasn't been acting right, like the sleep function won't work correctly (it won't get out of sleep mode). I probably should get this pc fixed before the unimaginable happens.

  • DeadlyDad

    2007, November 28th 1:42 PM

    I understood about the BIOS not recognizing it before. I meant that you should check it /now/. (BTW, dd_rescue & SpinRite have two /very/ different jobs; dd_rescue is primarily a copying utility that can recover from some hardware errors, while SpinRite works more like the hardware scan part of Scandisk – only on steroids – and only copies data in bad areas into good ones.) I've used its various versions for almost twenty years now, and can testify to its efficacy.

  • Zorba

    2007, November 28th 1:52 PM

    Well, considering that the data is all entirely rescued, I don't really need SpinRite. I wouldn't want to use the hard drive again anyway, that's just asking for trouble – hard drives never start working better.

    I also highly suspect that the BIOS will stop recognizing it again if I were to try it.

  • [...] That sounds harsh, and I can't vouch for its validity, but in that scenario, freezing a drive made some clicks inside the drive louder. We normally would associate that to a drive with a worsening level of health. Okay, freezing didn't work…how about boiling? [...]

  • berg125

    2007, November 30th 4:26 PM

    That picture sure did get my attention.

  • [...] [Read this article on Mandible.com] [...]

  • Mad Ivan

    2007, December 15th 9:58 AM

    Quite a while ago I had a very similar thing happen to my Mac Classic II. I had left it running for months at a time, but shut it down during an extended vacation in thunderstorm season (since I didn't want it to crash in a power failure). When I went to boot it again, all I got was the old Mac "gimme a boot disk" icon. Panic! (Backups?! Who are you kidding!!) So I went to work and groused about it to my colleagues, one of whom mentioned that he had been able to rescue a drive by "baking´´ in a closed auto on a warm day.
    So I went home, tore the Mac apart, placed the disk drive in a brown paper bag (to keep it sorta clean), and put the whole thing into my oven. The oven had some new-fangled "digital controls", and I set it to bake at the lowest possible temperature. (I seem to remember about 175 degrees F.) Left it there about 45 min. while I cleaned out the rest of the chassis and fiddled around with some floppy-based diagnostics, _then_ whipped the drive out of the oven, plugged it into the Mac while still warm, and Lo And Behold! it booted.
    My wife and I then spent the next 5+ hours backing the entire thing up onto more than 80 floppies. (That's why I hadn't had a backup before – too freaking much work and media!) After I scrounged a newer drive from left-overs at work, everything was back to normal.

  • links for 2007-12-21 at DeStructUred Blog

    2007, December 20th 7:19 PM

    [...] Mandible Games » Blog Archive » How I recovered my hard drive by double-boiling it (tags: Fun Blog) [...]

  • Cool Content for Today : Zigzo Zlinks

    2008, January 21st 3:27 PM

    [...] [WoW] Dude boils his harddrive to fix the "Click of Death". Totally awesome. [...]

  • Edward Mantey

    2008, February 5th 1:27 PM

    My guess is that the problem was an HD controller board failure and not something mechanical. AFAIK if the controller board works then it shows up in the BIOS report. By heating the drive up the components are powered up at operating temperature versus having to work towards attaining operating temperature.

  • Andrew

    2008, April 22nd 3:46 AM

    I had the click the of death. I tried freezing for 24 hours, dropping it from 8 inches, hitting it on the sides…. everything. None of it worked. As a last resort, I stuck it in the oven and heated it for 30 minutes at 200F. Plugged it in and BOOM, it worked. I did this last nite and the drive is still alive today! Saved everything!

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Zorba

    2008, April 22nd 10:59 AM

    That's awesome. I'm glad this is helping people :)

  • Chris

    2008, May 19th 6:38 PM

    I'm so tempted to try this – got a disk suffering the click of death, not recognised by the BIOS, loads of family pics I need to salvage – but what's the chances it could destroy all the data beyond repair by the experts?

    Original plan was to keep the disk in a safe place until the prices of repair come down a bit :)

  • Zorba

    2008, May 19th 7:06 PM

    Certainly greater than zero. Doing pretty much anything to a dead hard drive might cause further data loss.

    However, if you're hoping for repair prices to come down, I'm not sure I'd hold my breath – repair is expensive because it requires a lot of skilled labor, and that's not going to change anytime soon. If anything, you might have to worry about your hard drive getting more obsolete, causing costs to go up.

  • [...] Mandible Games – How I recovered my hard drive by double-boiling it Pekka Järvinen | Muu [...]

  • Troubled

    2008, September 5th 11:55 AM

    To me this makes me want to go and invest into an SSD – Solid State Drive that uses memory similar to RAM. Some of them are guaranteed to last 40 or more years and that is reading/writing many GB of data to them daily. Since there are no moving parts they become reliable.

    Windows Vista has crippled my drive with its superfetch so I should really buy a new HDD. Today I had to look inside my box and the STA cable came out. I put it back in properly and booted back up or tried to and it would not load my HDD but had some read error several times. I think I will be buying an SSD ASAP when funds permit. Fusion IO look quite good but quite a few manufacturers are more competitive now.

    I did once try the freeze method on a HDD that was damaged – clicking. A Lacie extern HDD RAID – yes they let the case overheat. Now it would have cost me £750 to have data recovered and the data was not of that value so why bother! And the freeze method just killed the drive.

  • Triumph360 Voice

    2009, September 1st 12:46 PM

    [...] could get the head loose.  No luck either.  Finally, I read an article on mandible titled "How I recovered my hard drive by double-boiling it".  I figured, I've heard some crazy things that have worked before – why not try it!  [...]

  • Hochush

    2009, October 8th 8:58 PM

    Любопытно, а есть хоть кто-то, кто не согласен с автором?

  • Unsavory Maggot

    2009, October 31st 3:53 AM

    Sounds like I'm in the same boat! I'm not sure what a laptop looks like on the inside, but I'm certain I'll have to find out sooner or later, as several projects (game development, artwork, some ASM projects, etc.) I'd been working on for 6 years are hopefully still on it. I don't have pots or even a burner available to attempt this with, or really any kind of funds to pay a professional to take care of the problem. If it is infact the head's alignment, wouldn't it be possible for me to physically readjust it — or would that damage the (clearly sensitive) data?

  • Zorba

    2009, October 31st 4:53 AM

    In this case it (probably) wasn't the head's alignment, it was some very subtle mechanical jam inside. If it really is the head's alignment in your case you're probably pretty much fucked – you're looking at micrometer tolerances inside, and if you get a single speck of dust on your hard drive while working on it, the thing is probably trashed.

    Hard drives are really really delicate gizmos.

  • Mike b.

    2009, November 27th 6:58 PM

    OMG, I tried this with my wife's fragged drive (double-pot on the stove and all) and it actually WORKED!!! Contents of her old drive are transferring to a USB drive now and I hope to be able to get it all before the drive cools. THANK YOU to whomever made this post!

  • Zorba

    2009, November 27th 7:03 PM

    You're welcome, I'm glad it worked :)

    Note that, if I have indeed diagnosed the issue properly, you don't have to worry too much about cooling – its own internal heat and inertia should keep it running pretty much indefinitely.

    Still, I wouldn't, you know, put it off.

  • lenteevubre

    2009, December 18th 2:52 AM

    Your welcome everyone,
    My PC worked not correctly, many mistakes and buggs. Please, help me to fix errors on my computer.
    My operation system is Windows7.
    With best regards,
    lenteevubre

  • Canadian Jimmy

    2010, March 14th 9:27 PM

    Thank you very much for 'directing' this idea into our heads; the picture certainly helped.
    (if you don't want to read my entire story….the bottom line is THAT IT WORKED!!!)

    About a month ago, my computer failed to boot with a "Drive not Found" error or something. I tried a couple of times to reboot and it finally loaded the OS. There was 'clicking' but I didn't think anything of it. Then, a few days later, it consistently had the dreaded "Click of Death" and I didn't have access to any of my files. I really should have backed up at least ONCE in the last 5 years, but I didn't. Anyway, I bought a new hard drive, reinstalled the OS, and started doing research.

    A recovery firm would be upwards of a thousand dollars, and a local computer shop didn't say anything other than getting professional assistance. I had already tried whacking, tapping, and dropping the drive while it was spinning up, all with no success. I had hesitated from 'freezing' it cause I thought there must have been other options out there. I eventually stumbled across this very page, and after reading some success stories in the comments, I decided to give it a try.

    I used a double-boiler at first, and after trying it 3 seperate times, I had no success. Maybe it just wasn't getting hot enough internally, but I was getting a little discouraged. I figured that I needed to heat it "all around" at once. So, I immersed it in boiling water. I did put it in 3 plastic sandwich bags of course, just in case. 5 minutes later, I popped it in, tried to boot, and…nothing. Finally, I tried rebooting once more, and, wouldn't you know…..it worked! Immediately, I 'imaged' the entire drive over to a seperate partition on the new drive and all was good.

    So, Thank you once again for bringing this idea forward.
    I learned quite a bit over the experience, but to sum it all up:

    — 1) Back Up your data…..NOW! Your mechanical hard drive WILL fail, it's just a matter of when?
    — 2) Try, try, and try again. Sometimes…it will just WORK!
    — 3) NEVER type a comment this long….(I have to learn to be more concise)..

    Thanks Again

  • Zorba

    2010, March 14th 9:46 PM

    Jimmy, glad it worked out for you! I have to admit that I'm not sure I would have been able to steel myself to put it in boiling water, even in three bags, but that's a good idea and I'll have to keep it in mind just in case it ever happens again.

    Also, now I do indeed back up that computer ;)

  • Todd

    2010, June 2nd 2:28 PM

    OK – I know this is an old thread, but this may be valuable to somebody desperately searching 'hd data recovery'.

    That 'kerlunk… kerlunk' 'CLICK OF DEATH' sound is not necessarily physical 'head' damage. It may also be simply a transistor or chip going out on the green circuit board that is part of the hard drive. I had the same problem (kerlunk…kerlunk…kerlunk – computer not recognizing WD400 hard drive). The freezer trick wouldn't work, and numerous inquiries to 'data recovery' specialists quoted me anywhere from $1800 to $2400 (US) to recover the data. Swallowing hard, I figured the digital photos still on the hard drive (yeah, I know it was stoooopid for not backing up the last couple years of data) were worth saving up to get them recovered. But I sure didn't have the bucks on hand to do it immediately, and from what I could tell none of the 'data recovery' experts could say with certainty that they could recover anything.

    I started searched high and wide on the internet and eventually found the same hard drive on eBay. It had the same MDL number, same DCM number, and same number printed on the circuit board! It was like a needle in the haystack from the number of close but not exact hard drives I saw on numerous other sites. IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIND AN EXACT MATCH! I bought the hard drive immediately for $55 (US – shipping included), and when I received it 4 days later I undid the 4 torx screws on my defunct HD's circuit board and switched it with the circuit board from the HD I just purchased off eBay. 4 torx screws later, popping the drive in an external HD enclosure, powering up and plugging the USB into a laptop and WAH-LAH!! My hard drive was working again and I IMMEDIATELY backed up all my digital photographs to the laptop.

    Not saying that this is the norm – I don't know, all I know is it saved me at least $1,745 and a LOT of stress. I can't remember yelling as loud or celebrating as loudly as I did when that HD spun up and showed up on Windows Explorer. I was celebrating like I had won the mega-lottery when that WD hard drive spun up and was recognized….. Hopefully this works for somebody else someday. I've learned my BACKUP lesson well and thankfully it didn't cost me upwards of $2000 US to learn it.

  • Diii

    2010, June 15th 12:42 AM

    Wow i think i will have to try boiling my hard drive too.It is better to experiment than just read.But i think before i do it,i will have to transfer my files to the other files i backup online with safecopy online backup.Because i don't think everything will work out well for me.
    thanks for the informative experiment.

  • Chad Garrett

    2010, September 20th 6:37 AM

    Another success story! I put mine in a brown paper bag and into the oven at 175° for 45 minutes. Drive worked perfectly all night during recovery. I unplugged it and powered it down and rushed to the computer it came out of, and it was back to ca-KLUNK, ca-KLUNK, ca-KLUNK. So it looks like it's going back in the oven to get it up and running again until the new drive arrives.

    Mine was a 160GB hard drive in a home theater PC that stopped working after a 5 second power outage (and maybe surge?). This drive worked perfectly for years right up until that outage, so it likely was the controller board that's so thermophillic now.

  • brendhan

    2010, September 26th 1:47 PM

    hi i have the click of death myself since yesterday actully but i also had the click of death a few months ago porably around julyish i know it was in the middle of summer. so we tired reinstalling windows and then we had to get the service packs by transfering to them to a cd from another computer and installing them from the cd (i could not access the internet without them) and it worked but then i decided to put in my hard drive it was being detected and since then i had no porblems even though i knew it could happen agian. so it happened agian last night. and well idk what to do. because for all i know leaving it alone could have fixed it or just being pulged in while the service packs where all installed could have fixed it. or a combination of all the other things i tired frezzeing it hitting it etc. all i know is one min it was clicking like today and then a few days later it works like nothing had happened. and lasts a few months before happening agian.

  • dawn

    2010, November 15th 12:12 PM

    thank you so much for this info!! i had a clicking hard drive that was not readable as a slave drive or with an external enclosure. i tried the freezing method and hitting it to no avail. out of desperation i thought i would try heating it as a last resort and it worked! im copying files off of it right now and am hoping it stays running until i finish. for anyone else who may want to try this, i put it in the oven at about 150 degrees for an hour or so (it would have been less but i forgot it was in there); when i got it out it was very warm to the touch but not extremely hot.

  • Data Recovery companies? - FreddysHouse

    2011, March 12th 3:33 PM

    [...] [...]

  • bsmith54

    2011, April 21st 3:40 PM

    I used my wifes' hairdryer on my 160GB WD My Books without the cover on, everything else still intact, for about 5 minutes and to my surprise My Books was recongnized by my computer and is now being backed up to my C drive on my computer. so thankful i found this post. Geek Squad wanted $800.00 to retrieve my data and i was going to have to buy another external hard drive from them (Best Buy). so glad i didn't give that "GEEK" my hard earned money! i'm going by there just to tell him how i fixed it and that he'll never get any of my business again!

  • Richard M

    2011, August 23rd 12:18 PM

    Well, I have to say this this the best "trick" I've seen. My 6 year old WD SE2500 250gig drive was making 6 clicks at startup, would spin down, then would make 2 clicks, spin down, and one more try with 2 clicks, then spin down. The SATA controller in BIOS was reporting it as a "HAWK" drive, which other research lead me to believe that the drive was indeed good, but that it could not read the info it needed to startup.

    I was able to get it to startup once, after repeatedly trying, I prayed, and 10 tries later, it started! Then, I began backing up all that I could. As luck would have it, in a major act of clumsiness and bad fortune, my cat toppled the PC while I had everything opened up, and it rebooted the PC. Then it was clicking like before. I read everything from freezing, to swapping cables, to checking power, to tapping and hitting the drive forcefully. I didn't try freezing, but was about to when I found this thread.

    I just heated my drive in my oven. Set oven to warm, put a cooking thermometer in it, and when the oven got to about 165 degrees, I took the drive out with a towel, plugged it in, and got 6 clicks. Then I powered off and on, and it worked! The problem never affected my use of the drive once it was able to read it's boot up info. It's all good once started… but obviously, that's not a way to operate a computer… the drive is failing.

    So I'm back in my computer now, finishing the backup. I'm also going to try some disk mirroring software that seems to be free from the WD website to move all of my stuff, en masse, over to a new drive.

    THANKS A MILLION FOR THIS THREAD!

  • Big Al

    2011, August 24th 6:39 PM

    To all of you who could retrieve their files from their dead HDD, don't forget to return it to the maker to get a new one. I have myself a click of death case here for a Seagate Barracuda bought a year ago, when I'll be through with the retrieval (if I succeed with the present method), I'll send it back for sure for a replacement as this drive is supposed to be garanteed for 5 years. I have to admit that I'm also considering the SSD solution, as there are no moving parts in these drives, but they're still very expensive. I'll also change my PSU as this is the second Seagate that I lose this way in a year (the other one was replaced for free where I bought it) and I'm afraid that underpower could be the reason why this happens.

    Best to all,

  • KeithFromCanada

    2011, August 25th 11:55 AM

    Hey, you! Yeah, you. Right now, this *second*, look at the label on your surge protector, and see how many 'Joules' it is rated for. If the answer is 'it doesn't say anything about Joules', the protection light isn't on, or the rating is for less than 1800, GO GET ONE RIGHT NOW!!! I'm *serious*. It is the cheapest insurance you can buy for your electronics. Take a look around you and figure out how much it would cost to replace everything you own that plugs into a wall outlet. Quite a $$$hock, isn't it? You should have 1 'whole house' surge protector on your electrical panel, and *everything* should be plugged into a surge protecting power bar, to double your coverage. (Many insurance plans will give you a discount if you have surge protection; check yours out.)

  • Big Al

    2011, August 25th 12:21 PM

    Keith, my surge protector says 2,000 Joules (Fellows 99073)and I've even got a Cutler-Hammer CHSP-3 Way surge protector on the mains of the house, can I be considered protected? I've had this kind of surge protection since at least 2005. Checked regularly.

  • KeithFromCanada

    2011, August 25th 12:33 PM

    Big Al, *clearly* I'm not talking to you, then. :biggrin:

    Bravo, sir!

  • Chad Garrett

    2011, August 25th 4:15 PM

    Just a warning to those of you that think that your surge protector protects you against ALL surges – Think again! Look for the "clamping voltage." It's usually between 350 and 375 Volts. This means that if there's a small strike – say a lightning strike a mile or two away, you might get a 200 volt surge. Your surge protector will happily pass that right through to your electronics.

    The only way you're safe against that is with a line conditioner. I lost ~$500 worth of equipment due to a low-voltage surge that came in through my computer even though it was protected with a 2,000 joule with a "$50,000 connected equipment warranty." That warranty only protects you if the the surge protector ends up as burnt toast. If 200 volts comes through and wrecks your electronics, you're still going to be paying the replacement bill.

  • Merovign

    2012, May 18th 7:45 PM

    I said to myself, "One in a million chance." Worked first time out! No guarantee it will always work, but I've restored about 45 gigs of data already.

    I think it may actually work better if you freeze first and then warm in something like a very low oven (mine goes down to 170 degrees). For added just-for-fun thermal shock.

    Even if some plastic on the outside gets warped, you haven't lost the "expensive" option – 170-200 degrees is *not* going to wreck the platters! If you leave it too long you could affect solder (unlikely) or varnish/coatings on motor coils. I wouldn't heat longer than 45 min or higher than 170-175.

    I'm totally jazzed about this, I'm wondering how many bad drives I have in boxes around here. :)

  • Rick

    2013, January 6th 1:51 PM

    So just to clarify, I double boil the broken hard drive, but for how long and temp range?(I'm using an electric stove by the way) My hard drive clicks every two seconds every time I try use it. I've tried freezing it, didn't work, my oven is broken and my last resort is the stove!

  • Zorba

    2013, January 7th 6:56 PM

    To be honest, I don't have a good answer for you there :)

    When I took the hard drive out of this computer, it was hot to the touch – slightly unpleasant to hold, but not actually painful. I figured I'd gradually heat it up until it reached about the same temperature that I remembered. A quick Google search tells me that hard drive maximum temperature should end up around 50c/122f, which roughly jives with what I remember, so I'd aim for that heat point.

    Remember the goal isn't to keep the hard drive at that temperature, it's just to bring it to that temperature in the hopes that this will loosen up the lubricant. Also remember that you want to be totally paranoid about heating it too *much* – melted plastic or melted solder is not going to make your hard drive work any better – so for "how long", the answer is "as long as it takes you to do it safely without overheating".

    Good luck! And don't blame me if this completely kills your hard drive ;) If you *really* need the data, fork over the money for a data recovery specialist – this is solely for people whose data is worth some work, but not worth *that much* work.

  • Rick

    2013, January 7th 7:38 PM

    Thanks for your quick response Zorba. I only have about forty family pictures on it since I was using it on a spare old laptop my family pick up at a garage sale months ago. I tried putting the hard drive into my neighbors oven at 160f for just over ten minutes, there's no clicking sound anymore, the disk spins, just doesn't want to load up onto the laptop or my other one as a slave drive. I'll guess I'll go to the experts on this one, thanks again for your help, it was worth a shot :)

    For anyone else trying this at ago, all the best, good luck but make sure if you try the other freezing method, do it for over 24hrs. I have a friend computer technician who quoted me $800 for the data recovery. So far, I'll try the heating option one more time, see how it goes but those photos don't really mean a whole lot to me so letting go won't be too hard.

    Lesson learned: ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR DATA DAILY!!!!

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