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Re: [tlug] Dealing with a possibly busted external HD

Disclaimer: I work with a data recovery company, though not employee.

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 4:55 PM, Daniel A. Ramaley
<> wrote:
>> * The disk dying after 4 years of inactivity seems to kinda defeat
>> the purpose of a backup disk :-/ any suggestion on how to avoid this
>> happening in the future?
> Does it still spin? If left for long periods of time, drives will
> sometimes not spin up. I think it is because oil in the bearings
> sublimates away over time, or possibly because the drive heads stick too
> firmly to the platters over time. (I've read multiple explanations for
> the cause of drive stiction; not sure which is correct.) If this was the
> problem, to avoid it happening in the future just power on the drive
> every so often (maybe semi-annually?) and let it spin for an hour or two.
Not spinning drives are very rare these days (past 1990).

Heads are always parked away from the platters, the platters actually
need to spin so that a wind cushion is formed under the head. Failing
to park the heads means 99% head crash, but such scenario is not
possible for stored drive. (Well, if you hit it while working, then
just unplug and store it... bad SOP :-)

The oil in the bearings scenario is also very unlikely for a
power-down drive stored normally (i.e. not baked in oven).

What I see most often for "unrecognisable drives" are ones failing to
initialise, since part of the firmware is on the platters and cannot
be read. For common drives, it is relatively trivial to replace the
firmware if you have the right (=expensive,professional) DR tools
(e.g. PC-3000). Then data is copied to a new drive, for best results.

BTW, another slightly time-consuming, BUT FUN, way is to open and
disassemble the drive. Use the magnets on your fridge (write GEEK on
them), bend the platters or sand them.


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