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An external IDE harddrive that I have has recently stopped working quite suddenly, when tried in other computers it is not even recognised by the BIOS or by a Linux recovery disk. I assumed that the fault must be with the PCB, but there is no visible damage to the board.

In my research, the problem seems to be often caused by a fried chip on the PCB but the board looks fine to me. The drive may have made some unusual noises briefly before it died but honestly I can not be sure. One day I turned it on and it just did not spin up and was not recognised.

For your information it is a WD Caviar, model number WD2500BB-22GUCO with board number 2060-701266-001 REV A.

What could cause a drive to no longer recognised by the bios, and what are some fixes I can try? Is it possible that the PCB is still the culprit despite me not being able to see any visibly damaged components?

Many thanks, Ben

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It is unlikely that you would be able to see any fault with the naked eye, beyond a blown capacitor. A chip that has been fried by a static charge is not going to look any different than a functional one. – Don Simon Dec 6 '12 at 15:26
Register the drive with WD and replace it under warrenty if its eligible. You might even be able to purchase recovery insurance for a very good price ( WD offers reasonable price recovery services ) and get a replacement and your data back. – Ramhound Dec 6 '12 at 16:40
@Ramhound thanks for your help. Unfortunately it is well out of warranty, which hints towards it being a problem with the hard disk itself. But thanks for the info on WD insurance, I did not know that. – Ben Jackson Dec 6 '12 at 16:54
@DonSimon Well that is good news, perhaps a PCB replacement could still be fruitful. Can I just confirm, a static charge could happen all by itself before I touched it, right? The only static charge problems I am familiar with is when someone has been working on the drive, but this happened well before I removed it. – Ben Jackson Dec 6 '12 at 16:56
@BenJackson - If you had dust it might be possible but ESD requires a non-grounded transfer point which is unlikely unless its being touched. I should point out WD has specific eligability terms on their recovery services. – Ramhound Dec 6 '12 at 17:27

Actually I would say the problem is with the hard drive itself especially since you say it made a funny noise. In my experience with this issue 95% of the time the hard drive ended up being replaced.

Some things you can try to verify this:

  • Hook up the drive to a working computer and run chkdsk on it.
  • If you have a know good drive you can try to boot up your machine with that.
  • Try to boot up your pc with a linux boot disk

If the computer boots with a boot disk then the hard drive is almost definitly the problem

Also if you have to replace the drive and recover data this tool works excellent!

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Thanks for your help, but as I mentioned, the drive is not recognised by the bios in any PC, so I am unable to run chkdsk. Booting was not mentioned as a problem, instead the problem is that the drive is not recognised by the bios even if I attach it as a slave to another PC which does boot. – Ben Jackson Dec 6 '12 at 17:00
ok ya i missed that you had tried it in other computers but i think that further proves the drive is bad. Are you saying that drive will boot fine? – MalwareManiac Dec 6 '12 at 18:01
The drive was never a boot drive (it doesn't contain an operating system). But no the drive does not spin up. What solutions could I personally pursue if the problem is with the drive itself? – Ben Jackson Dec 6 '12 at 18:38
If the drive doesnt spin up that is a huge problem cause that also rules out data recovery unless you wanna pay the couple hundred bucks to send it somewhere... i would just buy a new one and start fresh – MalwareManiac Dec 6 '12 at 18:44

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