VOGONS


First post, by Miphee

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I have a Samsung HD321KJ HDD. It is recognized, I can copy a few files then the clicking starts and eventually the drive disappears from the device manager. After restart it reappears again. I start copying and the same thing happens.
Any techniques I can use to save the data? It's nothing important so feel free to suggest crazy ideas. Thanks.

Reply 6 of 19, by cyclone3d

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Maybe remove the circuit board, clean the contacts on the board and on the drive where the board connects to the drive itself.

Make sure the MOLEX plug on the drive doesn't have a cracked or broken solder connection.

I have actually opened up drives before to help them start spinning when they were dying. Was always able to get the data off. IF the drive is spinning up that won't help though.

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Reply 7 of 19, by derSammler

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cyclone3d wrote:

Maybe remove the circuit board, clean the contacts on the board and on the drive where the board connects to the drive itself.

This. It's a very common problem with post-2000 hard disks, especially since we have that RoHS crap. There are spring contacts coming from the head and motor assembly that connect to the pcb. The pads on the pcb however start to oxidize, causing the contacts to fail. You can easily clean the pads using IPA and the hard disk should run fine after that. I saved many modern hard drives (mainly 2.5", up to 1 TB) by this which were trashed by other people. They all run fine to this day. 😀

Last edited by derSammler on 2019-10-15, 15:24. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 19, by konc

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derSammler wrote:
cyclone3d wrote:

Maybe remove the circuit board, clean the contacts on the board and on the drive where the board connects to the drive itself.

This. It's a very common problem with post-2000 hard disks, especially since we have that RoHS crap. There are spring contacts coming from the head and motor assembly that connect to the pcb. The pads on the pcb however start to oxidize, causing the contacts to fails. You can easily clean the pads using IPA and the hard disk should run fine after that. I saved many modern hard drives (mainly 2.5", up to 1 TB) by this which were trashed by other people. They all run fine to this day. 😀

Where those HDDs clicking?

Reply 12 of 19, by konc

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derSammler wrote:

Yes

imi wrote:

interesting, I never thought that could cause clicking, I always thought that that would make the drives just refuse to work outright.

Exactly, that's the exact reason I asked

Reply 13 of 19, by Tiido

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I have done the contact cleaning on many drives with same sort of positive effects, it is most certainly worth to try ~

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Reply 14 of 19, by Miphee

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Well, I told you I was desperate and I mean DESPERATE.
I tried the freezing method, no change after 1 hour of freezing. Same clicking and the drive eventually shut down.
I then took the PCB off and cleaned all contacts thoroughly, no effect.
I started shaking and (not so) gently tapping the drive while copying, it worked a little! Sometimes instead of clicking the copying resumed for a second. Unfortunately it only worked a few times and the drive shut down again before any change.
At least I knew it was a mechanical problem so I took off the lid to look inside, nothing special. I even plugged in the drive with the cover open (did I mention I was desperate?) but it started beeping like a motherboard with errors and the drive wasn't recognized in BIOS at all, must be some failsafe. I put it together again and nothing changed of course.
Then I took the lid off again and started playing with the head to find out what makes it click.
I saw a Youtube video where a guy explained that the clicking is made by the head hitting the platter axis or something, so I took a piece of paper and put it in there (picture).
Surprisingly it worked and the drive didn't shut down while copying. Copy speed was in the amazing 13-240 KB/s range and the drive clicked the whole time but it copied everything I wanted. When it got stuck for too long I unplugged the power and plugged in again and resumed copying, it worked.
I wanted to make another copy to be sure but it never worked again so I used up the last chance on this drive.
I put old clicky to sleep for good. Thanks for the tips.

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Reply 15 of 19, by FAMICOMASTER

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imi wrote:

interesting, I never thought that could cause clicking, I always thought that that would make the drives just refuse to work outright.

If there's no signal from the head assembly at all, the drive will still spin up and attempt to seek, but when it finds that the heads "aren't moving" or that they are not in the position they are expected to be in, the drive will snap them back to the home position very quickly.

Hence "clicking" or "ticking" or "click of death," whatever you want to call it.

Cleaning the contacts is a great solution, even some older drives can benefit from this. It's by no means permanent and after a drive starts having problems I typically back it up daily until I can get a replacement, at which point I wipe the original drive and toss it out or pull the PCB (sometimes the PCB can be bad).

Sometimes, replacing the PCB can assist in making some of them work again. Sometimes things like amplifiers or actuator electronics will fail and cause it to click. If you've got another drive of exactly the same kind, you can always try putting the other board on.

Loose or dirty contacts and broken solder joints are the most common issues I find with hard disks of any age, and I mean any age. Micropolis 20MB hard disks all the way up to relatively modern WD 500GB SATA disks so far.

I've never really been able to get the freezer method to work reliably. Some drives will "work" after (run for about 2-3 minutes and die again), some will """work""" (spin up but not be recognized or appear as unformatted / empty to an OS), or just have no effect at all.

Reply 16 of 19, by imi

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glad you got the data off 😀

FAMICOMASTER wrote:

I've never really been able to get the freezer method to work reliably. Some drives will "work" after (run for about 2-3 minutes and die again), some will """work""" (spin up but not be recognized or appear as unformatted / empty to an OS), or just have no effect at all.

I used that method successfully on at least 3 drives that started clicking to get the data off but that was like 15-20 years ago with really old drives, and according to most information on the internet newer drives have way too tight tolerances for this method to really make any difference.

glad to still learn new stuff though ^^

Reply 17 of 19, by Predator99

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Interesting...didnt know you can open a hard disk and you are still able to read the data. I had in my mind that the heads get stuck very soon because of dust gathering between disk and heads.

Maybe I will also try with one of my hard disks that has lots of read errors and I havent been able to recover the data so far. Had linux ddrescue running for days...

Reply 18 of 19, by FAMICOMASTER

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Predator99 wrote:

Interesting...didnt know you can open a hard disk and you are still able to read the data. I had in my mind that the heads get stuck very soon because of dust gathering between disk and heads.

Maybe I will also try with one of my hard disks that has lots of read errors and I havent been able to recover the data so far. Had linux ddrescue running for days...

Nope, they're typically just fine. In fact, you can even close them up again and they will likely live yet.

Hard disks (especially older models) are not nearly as fragile as some would lead you to believe.

Reply 19 of 19, by Miphee

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Predator99 wrote:

Interesting...didnt know you can open a hard disk and you are still able to read the data.

It's not something I recommend if the data is important. I was lucky this time. One thing is sure: I didn't open it in a dust-free room and I wasn't gentle with it. Didn't use any gloves and moved the head back and forth with my hands instead of precision tools. I didn't touch the platter though. Dust can be a problem if you want to use the drive later but I don't think it matters when you just want to save the data. It's better to leave a few dust particles on the platter than trying to blow the dust off and spitting on it accidentally.