I have a western digital caviar SE16, when the drive is plugged in it spins up for about 10 seconds and then stops, does this indicate a problem on the controller I am wondering should I attempt to replace it or does this problem sound like a different issue.
migrated from serverfault.com Jul 31 '12 at 11:45
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This could be caused by several different failures inside the hard drive.
If your data is important to you, stop what you are doing now and contact a data recovery service. Your attempts at diagnosing or fixing it may make the problem worse.
With it shutting down after a few seconds, just about anything could be wrong. Most hard drives will shutdown when they detect a severe error to try to prevent further damage.
The controller board could be bad, and swapping it with an identical one may solve the problem. For some drives, it doesn't need to be just the same model - it needs to be the same revision and firmware level as well.
The spindle motor could be seized or partially seized causing it to draw more power than it should and shutting down. If this is the case, put the hard drive in a freezer for a few hours. The cold will cause the metal to contract slightly, and may allow the drive to spin properly for a little while until it heats up again. Be sure to put it in an antistatic bag and make sure it doesn't get wet. When you plug it in, recover your most important files first.
The heads could be stuck or damaged, in which case there isn't much you can do.