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A couple of days ago i noticed that a disk had failed on my windows homeserver, (thanks for telling me whs)

The disk is not responding at all in windows, so i took the disk out and tried to mount it under ubuntu, there i can access the filesystem for a couple of seconds until it stops the device and the mountpoint becomes unusable

If i then do a search for bad blocks (using badblocks) it reports every single sector as being unreadable, even if they're obviously accessible for a couple of seconds after connect..

Does this seem like a controller issue on the disk as the motor sounds just like normal and all, if so, i'm pretty sure i have an similar disk somewhere, or could find one of the same model, would it be possible to swap the controller boards without ruining the disk? or is there electronics inside the disk that needs to be swapped also?

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migrated from serverfault.com Sep 7 '10 at 23:12

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4 Answers 4

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I've done this in the past with good success. We had a ton of white box computers with exactly the same hardware, and several spare hard drives. There were at least 2 of the drives that had the same symptoms you describe, and we are able to take the boards off the bad drives, connect boards from fresh drives, and everything powered up with no issues. As long as the drives are exactly identical, you should be ok.

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Yeah, if you have another identical drive, the swap should work. Bear in mind, though, that you might end up exposing the platters in doing so... and if you do that, kiss your data goodbye. I would suggest sending the drive to a data recovery service (google for a local service). It won't be cheap, but you could easily render everything irretrievable if you do the swap wrong.

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Please don't advertise with your product if it's not critical to the solution, read the faq on this :D –  BloodPhilia Sep 7 '10 at 23:17

It's possible to swap controller cards from one disk to another, provided the disks are the same model, capacity, revision, firmware, etc. You should make sure that the model numbers on the disk labels are exactly the same, although I've never damaged a drive by doing this.

You'll probably need a Torx T8 bit to do it. Be gentle. Most of the time, the interface between the controller card and the drive electronics is just a set of spring contacts, so make sure that the card is aligned properly before you screw it down.

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bear in mind with either solution, you will want to have a drive ready and able to do a complete mirror. As you don't know what the problem is or how long the drive will last or whether it will power up on a second attempt, you want to be ready to move that data off.

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