Self explanatory video:
- hard disk failing and screaming

It seems this is a well know failure of this model:

Main problem with Toshiba drives so far is bad quality of bearings lubricant in some of the 2.5 inch families(most often GAS and GAX). We see this hard drive failure since 2007 with its peak later that year.
Typical symptoms are:
- drive spins up with loud grinding/buzzing/rattling/whirring noise: , or in worst case it appears to be dead and doesn't spin up at all

source: Toshiba MK3021GAS HDD2181 30GB Data Recovery Information

There is also a temporary fix by blowing hot air over the bearings:

This is only a temporary solution for that drive to spin. If you stop heating it, it will most likely seize up again.

source: how to perform a Toshiba HDD recovery

Is there a permanent repair solution?

Hardware Specification

Hard Disk
- Toshiba Corporation
- Made in China
- 30Gb
- HDD2181 MK3021GAS

USB to IDE Bridge
- ViPower, Inc
- Made in China
- Model no: VP-2528SA2

  • Its not clear whaat your exact problem is or what you are trying to achieve. When a hard drive starts dying, you get a new one - its not practical or a good idea to repair it. If you are trying to recover data off it, you have your solution to get it working long enough to do a bit copy to another drive (for example using ddrescue). – davidgo Mar 25 '19 at 4:19
  • @davidgo > "its not practical or a good idea to repair it." Therefore, this might be one answer to my question. – Mark Messa Mar 25 '19 at 4:21
  • @davidgo > "If you are trying to recover data off it" Nope, the data is safe. The issue is just whether it is possible to permanently repair the hardware. – Mark Messa Mar 25 '19 at 4:22

No, there's no repair to it. The drives were badly engineered from the start and since it is a bearing issue there's no fix -- the bearings are already galled, and that can't be repaired. Pull the data off the drive, then take a hammer to it so that there's no temptation to use it again for anything.

With brand-new SSDs selling for $50 for a 500 GB unit, and good EIDE hard drives dirt cheap on the fleabay, there's no point in tolerating a bad drive for any reason. When it fails it'll cost more in lost time dealing with it than it does to proactively replace it.

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  • > "the bearings are already galled, and that can't be repaired." Ok, no problem. I'm just wondering whether it would be much difficult to design a hard disk which you can replace the most common parts to fail ... – Mark Messa Mar 25 '19 at 12:53
  • 1
    A manufactured item in which parts could be replaced would complicate the design and manufacturing and drive up costs. Engineers have known that for a long time. For an expensive item like a car that is necessary. For an inexpensive item like a hard drive it makes no sense. In a competitive market any manufacturer trying that would soon be out of business. A data recovery professional will repair a hard drive only for the purposes of data recovery. It is considered a temporary repair and the drive is nor sufficiently reliable for continued service. – LMiller7 Mar 25 '19 at 14:10

Attempting to repair this drive is a bad idea. It is highly unlikely you will ever be able to make it work reliably, and it has a tiny capacity by modern standards. Hard drives require extremely fine tolerances and clean rooms. The cost of accessing one of these is way higher then the value of even a new drive with much greater capacity. Opening up the drive in the absence of a cleanroom will result in dust killing the platters.

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