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I have a Samsung 7200 RPM 320GB hard disk that's not showing up in the BIOS after a power failure. I identified the damage in its board, so changed the board with another similar board and then identified that the platters inside the hard drive have pasted or locked together.

The lock doesn't seems to get released even though the hard disk starts up after changing the board and again the hard drive is not showing up in the BIOS.

How can I release the platters - is it okay if I release it manually with my hand or is there any other alternative methods to recover data?

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3 Answers 3

You can't do it by hand unless you have a clean room. There are data recovery specialists who can help you. If the data is valuable I strongly recommend using them.

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How have you identified the platters are locked? If they are locked in some way, you should still have the hard drive show up in the BIOS (assuming the controller works) - so my assumption would not be that they are locked, especially if you can hear the hard disk start!

As @Preet said, there are companies who retrieve data off faulty disks - from simple use of forensic tools, to clean-room platter removal and analysis. Cost escalates rapidly, so it's generally only worthwhile if you place a high value on that data.

It's going to sound trite - but seriously, backup, backup and BACKUP - because hard disks fail. You want that just to be a disposal of hardware issue, not a recovery of data issue!

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I have heard a large number of success stories from a product called SpinRite mentioned on a podcast called Security Now. From what I've heard it seems to fix most hard drive problems. Both Roy and Preet make good points with regard to staying away from attempting a physical repair yourself as this will surely damage your hard drive beyond any chance of repair.

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Those "success" stories are mostly bloated and irrelevant to the mechanical issues the drive might be having. SpinRite does nothing more for you, than a linux distro with an according set of freely available tools from the repository. In fact, the latter will probably do noticeably more for you, instead of blindly relying on a single piece of software with limited functionality. –  XXL Jan 7 '12 at 11:58

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