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So I know I have a bad harddrive as the OS won't load up. But I am not sure if it is totally broken. So to save the data I booted up a ubuntu remix live cd to recover the data on the harddrive, however I can't see the harddrive in /dev or when I do a fdisk -l. I looked for anything that even began with "hd" or "sd" in /dev but I don't find anything except for "hdc" which the dvddrive. Any ideas? I even loaded up gparted and it doesn't see anything. What do you think?

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migrated from Dec 12 '09 at 2:14

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Ok, this might sound a little crazy, but it saved my bacon after a power failure: Try freezing your drive.

Wrap it in a paper towel and a plastic bag and put it in your freezer for 20 minutes. In my case the drive only appeared in /dev for about 10 minutes after being frozen, but I was able to spend about 4 hours DD-ing the data to another drive with a recovery disk. The first time I interrupted the dd process (was using USB and it was just too slow), and the drive didn't show up in /dev until I froze it again.

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+1 This has worked for me many times. Sometimes it takes a bit longer that 10-20 minutes. Sometimes takes a few trips to the freezer to get things back. – Dave M Dec 11 '09 at 19:14
Thanks! This worked!!! – Juba Jan 9 '10 at 16:05

If your hard drive isn't showing up in the OS, then most likely it isn't being detected on your system via the BIOS. Check your BIOS settings and make sure that the hard drive is listed when it is booting up. If it isn't, there is an error with your bios settings, or there is a physical problem with the cable, or the controller card on your HD has died.

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