Hard drive crashed, what are your options?

I searched and only found one thread from 07, and didn’t have any information I was looking for. My hard drive on my laptop just crashed the other night. At least I’m pretty sure its the hdd. I noticed some weird noises, like a few beeps and light grinding noise, and then it froze. Now it will not reboot. At first I thought it was my dvd drive going out. But I don’t think that would cause my computer to not boot up. It powers on, but gets stuck on the dell logo trying to load up windows, and you can hear a light grinding that is not normal. So I’m pretty sure it’s a hard drive crash. Any body got any ideas how to make certain it is the hard drive? I tried going into bios, but it always freezes before bios will load and I can see if the laptop recognizes the hdd. Also, I’m interested in data recovery. Anybody have any past experience with having a company retrieve info or doing it yourself after a physical hdd failure? I have like 300gb’s of music and movies and photos I’d like back. = [ I know I should have backed it up, and I do back up stuff, but I just hadn’t done a back up in a few months, and had acquired a lot of stuff in that time.

Other than sending it out to a data recovery place I don’t think there’s a way to recover lost data from a mechanical failure. If you unplug the drive completely and are able to load into the bios i’d say the drive is probably dead. Or you could buy a drive enclosure and hook it up to a second computer via usb and see if it’s recognized.

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Your data is probably lost unless you take it to a professional data recovery service and even then it isn’t guaranteed. The best tip I can give you is to buy a new(and larger, you have a reason to buy one) HDD and run frequent backups after you restore. Out of curiosity, what brand is it and how long did you have the HDD? I swear by Western Digital as I have had too many issues with other brands but I have an 11 year old western digital drive that still works fine to this day. If you do get a Western Digital as a replacement, avoid the Green, get a Black Drive, they will last longer and work faster.

That light grinding noise does infact imply the HDD was what died.

Swap the hard drive out for one that works. If it works, then it’s definitely the hard drive.

Though your symptoms sound worse than a hard drive crash. Most laptops have a speaker that will play a very loud and obnoxious noise if either RAM or hard drive are not working, and even if your hard drive is dead you should at least make it far enough to be able to select a different boot device.

If you can’t even reach the BIOS… I’d check to see if you’re still under warranty.

Wow, thanks for all the input guys!! :pray:

If it is recognized by another cpu can I pull stuff off of it just like an external hdd?

Idk what brand HDD it is, haven’t opened it up yet, its in a dell studio 1745 that I’ve had less than 2 years. I’ve heard hdd’s go out before, and they were louder grinding then this, and more beeping. But idk what else could cause this light grinding noise and not booting up.

Idk if I’m still under warranty. Will find out today. I’ve had it less than 2 years I’m sure and some dells do come with 2 year warranties. It was an awesome laptop and never had a single problem with it till this, and a few weeks ago I notice the cd drive was acting funny, not wanting to take in the discs. I also find it strange that it freezes up before I can get into BIOS. To be honest I care more about the data I’ve lost than the laptop, even though it was a really nice laptop.

From my experience (12 years in IT so far) that sounds like a dead hd. I have seen laptops with grinding hd’s fail to get to the BIOS - it’s like the hardware fails to get up to speed because the hd is dying. I know that doesn’t make sense because of what a BIOS should do, but replace the hd and you can rebuild it.

Don’t hold out much hope for your data tho, sadly the light grinding sound is likely to be the head dragging on the platter, slowing down the platter from speeding up. The head starts (and ends) in the landing zone, so it could be keeping the data from getting harmed, but I’m yet to see anyone get everything back when this happens… normally the data recovery guys have to dis-assemble the hd in a clean room and replace the motors and heads. This is expensive…

…but do able!

I had a hard drive go bad recently, though I don’t think the situation was quite as bad as yours, but I could no longer boot off of it and I couldn’t access it from windows. I used this program to get all my files off of it. Perhaps it’s worth looking into if you want your files.

Get an enclosure or a USB adapter to hook that baby up. If it makes the same nasty sounds in the enclosure then you’re likely hosed. Dell’s will generally have 3 year warranties. They’ll ship you a blank drive to replace your dud. For reference the last drive we shipped off for recovery ran $1700. It is definitely not a cheap venture.

Makes me wonder why someone would pay that much in the first place. Nice to know that dell hands out HDD’s when they die though, it may have renewed what little faith I had in that company.

its usually for big business. I dont think any consumer would ever want to shell out that much money.

Best of luck with the warrenty, if you cant get anything from it, i suggest a usb adapter, use a different computer to burn a linux disc, and try to mount the usb drive to hopefully get the important data you need.

What I can tell you is this:

Get a piece of software called:
Recuva - from PIriform, the same people that brought you CCleaner

Put the HDD in an external casing, plug it in, and run the software. I’ve managed to pull out data from thought-to-be-dead hard drives. Keep at it until the disk can read, and just make it back up EVERYTHING. As such, it will obviously not be able to do it all, but it’s a free way to get a good chunk back.
If the needle went out, you’re out of luck.

Thanks again for all the input from everyone! :rock: Well I checked and I’m out of warranty on my laptop. It only had a year, probably because it was a replacement for a previous laptop I had problems with. So because I was out of warranty I opened her up. Took out the HDD and I was able to get to my BIOS now, and no more grinding sound. So seems to be a HDD failure. It was a seagate if anyone is wondering I guess I can just buy any 2.5 HDD for laptops to replace it right?

@Kyle: :eek: $1700 … I had no idea it could get that expensive. Wow. I am saddened by my loss, but luckily I had nothing I cannot live without. Yah I had lots of stuff on it, but not $1700 worth.

I am going to try and get the data off, but try something more affordable like J.Scogz, BlueMario, or Twinniss said, even though I won’t get my hopes up too high. I just had no idea data recovery was so expensive.

Thanks a million again for all the helpful input. I love tech talk!! :smiley:

Yep. Data recovery is expensive as hell. Even businesses turn it down most times when they get an estimate, let alone home users. Most people don’t value their data at 3x the cost of the PC.

The grinding noises are not a good sign but you’ll have to hook it up to something else to know for sure. And yeah, you should definitely be able to buy another laptop drive and toss it in. You’ll need an Windows disc to reload the OS.

I just ordered a case for the old drive to hook it up to another computer from newegg. Will buy a new drive shortly, but going to wait because when I do I want to buy two, so I can constantly back up, instead of hooking up to an external HDD every few months like I’ve been doing. Should have put a second HDD in my laptop a long time ago! Oh well, you live and you learn. I have all the discs that came with it so I should be golden. I’ve reformatted HDD’s before and reinstalled windows a few times. Just never replaced a HDD. Well my desktop is happy its getting use. It’s actually a really nice desktop, just my laptop is better and more convenient, so haven’t used my desktop in over a year. hahah Couldn’t imagine how lost I’d be if that was my only computer. I should get the case sometime next week, and fingers crossed I can get some of the stuff off of it. Not going to hold my breath though, cause like you said, grinding noises bad. = ] This HDD crash sort of has me itching for a new laptop though…