How To Fix A Broken Hard Drive

by Rod Dunne on February 22, 2011

in Hardware

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Understanding how to fix a broken hard drive boils down to working out whether there are mechanical issues or simply software faults with the hard disk. Here I’ll show you some of the checks you can do and Windows instances should weekly contact data recovery expert instead of attempting any repairs yourself.

1. Hardware

The first thing to check for is hardware damage. This is often indicated by odd sounds coming from the system when the hard drive is operation (i.e. spinning). If the motor is starting to failed then it will probably start making a clicking noise. Likewise if the spindle, heads or platters are starting to seize up then they’ll start making a grinding noise.

These are the most severe types of broken hard drive faults you may experience and are best left to experts to repair. Any changes you make could in fact cause some data loss if the platters are for the damaged.

2. Cabling & Air Vents

Next, you should do basic check of all connector cables and IDE ribbons for signs of faults. Shut down your PC and open up the box to check the IDE ribbon is connected firmly from the hard drive to the motherboard. Check all pins and connecting cables are intact and broadband.

While the PC is open it is also worth clearing out air inlets of dust as well as the fan filters and fans.

3. BIOS Checks

Restart the PC and go directly to the BIOS menu. This will highlight if the hard drive is actually being detected by the BIOS in the first place. It also contains diagnostic information about fan speeds and the temperature of the CPU which can be used to check if overheating of internal components actually occurring.

Working out how to fix a broken hard drive once you have violated this information can be dependent on your brand of system. You should check the manufacturer details about how to get your BIOS to identify the drive. If you have recently installed new hardware then it may be conflicting with the hard disk to try removing the new peripherals.

FINALLY: It is also worth considering using data recovery techniques to get your data back rather than attempt any further repairs. Our post on broken hard drive data recovery techniques details how to do this. If you’re not comfortable making the repairs then you should always contact a computer service technician or data recovery service as your next priority.

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