Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So I have a 500gb Seagate HDD that, after powering down my computer one day, stopped being read by ANYTHING. It's not a mechanical error that I could diagnose; it spins up and down quietly and makes no strange noises of any kind, and continues to spin as normal for as long as it's got power. The BIOS on two different computers and an HDD->USB adapter do not detect it. I've tried using SpinRite 6 and Puppy Linux to try and find the drive; neither see it.

I'm totally lost as to what I can do at this point. I've read countless amounts of information about what it could be, but most are about obvious mechanical errors (eg: Clicking, grinding, no spinning at all), but this drive just stopped working out of nowhere and as far as I can tell works fine mechanically. I don't have hundreds of dollars to get it professionally recovered, and I don't need the drive itself; I just want to be able to recover some amount of data off of it. I'm very close to trying the old freezer trick, but that's definitely a last resort.

When I powered down my computer, it was for Windows Update... could that have done something to some part, somewhere?

And yes yes, I know "You should have had backups"; I was planning on setting up some level of backups in the near future before this happened. Too late now.

share|improve this question
If you've tried it with a USB adapter and 2 PCs and it's not detected by the BIOS itself, no software (SpinRite or whatever) can do anything. I'm not sure what sort of failure this might be, but unless a PC detects it I don't think there's any chance you can get data off it. (And no, Windows Update cannot cause a failure like this.) – Karan Dec 3 '12 at 7:57
That's what I've been afraid of. I've basically resigned myself to the fact that the data is lost for good, but I thought maybe someone could shed some insight, because as far as I can tell, my problem is not one that happens often, unless I'm missing something -very- obvious. – Kurt Dec 3 '12 at 9:24
A recommendation, though not really an answer: put the hard disk somewhere for a while, disconnected. It doesn't have to be in the freezer (though I've never had a problem as a result of freezing the disk, double-bagged with the air sucked out) but it should be cool and out of the light. A drawer would probably work fine. Leave it a few days, then power the computer down entirely and reconnect. Use a different SATA port on the PC than you used originally. If it doesn't show up again, there's not a lot you can do, but it's worth a try... – CBHacking Sep 4 '15 at 7:05

The most possible issue is something wrong with sata port on your HDD. Take a detail look around sata port on hdd. I've seen similar issue, it was fixed by replacing HDD controller for same but from other mechanicall broken HDD.

One more variant, not sure if it will help, but try to use Victoria/MHDD software to make sure that your hdd undetectable

share|improve this answer
It could be that, but I'm inclined to doubt it, given that the drive failed while still in the computer and without any kind of power failure or physical disruption. Even if that were the issue, I don't know how I would go about diagnosing and subsequently fixing the issue. – Kurt Dec 3 '12 at 9:23
Drive will work by itself, even if you wont connect sata at all. What i suggested to you, is to check everything around sata port on your hdd, maybe you find something, that will help you later – sanny Sin Dec 3 '12 at 9:31
Nothing at the sata port seemed amiss (no broken/bent/corroded pins), so I don't think the problem lies there. – Kurt Dec 3 '12 at 17:31
Well, in this case better option would be to go to some service center, and they probably can tell you for sure what is wrong with your hdd – sanny Sin Dec 4 '12 at 7:58

Seagate has their own tool to diagnose and fix their hard drives.

Download it here:


If your drive is a Barracuda drive 7002.11-14 drive then you should know they are prone to failure. If the tool's long fix option does not work then I suggest you return it to manufacturer or buy a new drive.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .