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I few days ago, I started seeing this message during boot:

NOTICE - HD SELF MONITORING SYSTEM has reported that a parameter has exceeded its
normal operating range. Dell recommends that you backup your data regularly. A
parameter out of range may or may not indicate a potential hard drive problem.
Press F1 to continue, F2 to enter SETUP

When I hit F1, it used to boot normally but then I noticed that my secondary hard drive is not visible in Windows Explorer. Now this message isn't appearing anymore when booting and BIOS cannot detect that hard drive either.

The hard drive never showed any signs of normal malfunction (sounds etc.) and never had any physical damage etc. It looks as new except some dust it accumulated over the years.

I switched SATA cables to see if they were corrupted but in vain. I put that hard drive in an enclosure but that didn't work either. The hard drive does spin when I turn on power on this enclosure. The computer boots fine without any issue but the secondary drive isn't visible at all.

Question: How can I retrieve data from the secondary drive which has these problems?


OS: Windows 7 Pro
Primary disk: 250GB SSD internal
Secondary disk: 2TB HDD internal

migrated from serverfault.com Jul 7 '14 at 15:59

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

  • you have a failing hdd. You need to determine which drive is about to fail. It sounds like the drive that has failed is the secondary drive. – Ramhound Jul 7 '14 at 16:03
  • @Ramhound Yes I figured that part. I updated the question with what I want to know. – Farhan Jul 7 '14 at 16:06
  • The message told you to make backups, I take it you didn't? – JamesRyan Jul 7 '14 at 16:06
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    You can't; If the drive is not functioning then you cannot retreive the data. – Ramhound Jul 7 '14 at 16:07
  • possible duplicate of How to recover data from dead disk? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 7 '14 at 17:11
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If the device is not listed in the BIOS interface error has probably occurred. The interface board attached to the HD has possibly failed and will not initialize when the Disk Controller starts polling for hardware. I am assuming from your post that there is another drive present and can be seen so the channel that drive is assigned (physically of by round robin) to is functioning.

Were the spindle motor bearing failing you would hear it whining. If the platters do not come up to operational speed the read write heads will not be released from the parked position. Even though you hear/feel it spinning it may not be fast enough to complete initialization.

If the on hard drive interface has failed or you have a mechanical malfunction short of sending it to a clean room and paying a huge amount of cash there is little you can do.

  • Thanks Paul. Yes, the other drive is the primary with OS on it. – Farhan Jul 7 '14 at 19:44
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If it doesn't appear in the BIOS, or work through a USB converter, or work on other systems, and it used too, then it's failed (even if it still spins). You're going to have to replace it.

If you need data off it and don't have spare matching drive electronics around to try, then you'll need to send it in to a data recovery specialist. These places usually diagnose for free, determine if it's possible for them to recover things, and give you a quote; you just need to pay to ship the drive to them. If they can get data off and you want to go ahead with it, expect to spends hundreds to thousands of dollars to get your data back.

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