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A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?
  • The laptop was W8 when purchased, but I did a free upgrade to W10 a couple of years back. The repaired laptop was back on W8 again. Has it somehow reverted? Or has the repairer done a fresh install?
  • I have plugged the failed HD in as an external via a SATA cable, but it is not recognised/showing. The drive spins though (or sounds like it is). Anything else I can try?

Thanks.

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Hard drives fail in several ways.

Can't be seen in bios. The hard drive is dead. Easy to diagnosis 

Some laptops have hard drive smart technology which indicate hard drive failure. Usual easy to see on start up

The last one is more by gut. You can hear hard drive clicking and making odd noises and pc is slow because hard drive constantly trying to be read. Usual find this in performance monitor. Also pc can't boot because lost data

 

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You can try to put it in the freezer for six hours, then try it. I had one that failed and was able to get it running long enough to do a transfer of data from it. Old Indian trick. 

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4 hours ago, Grab_Some_Popcorn said:

A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?
  • The laptop was W8 when purchased, but I did a free upgrade to W10 a couple of years back. The repaired laptop was back on W8 again. Has it somehow reverted? Or has the repairer done a fresh install?
  • I have plugged the failed HD in as an external via a SATA cable, but it is not recognised/showing. The drive spins though (or sounds like it is). Anything else I can try?

Thanks.

very simple to diagnose really.   i repair laptops as a hobby and for a bit of cash on the side.

if it`s a w8 machine it will have a digital licence embedded in the bios of the machine so will be easy to upgrade to win10. 

i would have used the opportunity to upgrade to a ssd drive, they are much faster and more reliable than spin point ones.  

sometimes the hdd can be repaired, but usually only if you have a supply of the same model of drive, i had two of the same one with a damaged motor and the other one with a dead logic board, i swapped the two over and have one spare working drive now. most of the time it`s just easier to bin them. 

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11 hours ago, Grab_Some_Popcorn said:

A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?
  • The laptop was W8 when purchased, but I did a free upgrade to W10 a couple of years back. The repaired laptop was back on W8 again. Has it somehow reverted? Or has the repairer done a fresh install?
  • I have plugged the failed HD in as an external via a SATA cable, but it is not recognised/showing. The drive spins though (or sounds like it is). Anything else I can try?

Thanks.

looks like a fresh install using the machines recovery DVD.

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7 hours ago, longgone said:

very simple to diagnose really.   i repair laptops as a hobby and for a bit of cash on the side.

if it`s a w8 machine it will have a digital licence embedded in the bios of the machine so will be easy to upgrade to win10. 

i would have used the opportunity to upgrade to a ssd drive, they are much faster and more reliable than spin point ones.  

sometimes the hdd can be repaired, but usually only if you have a supply of the same model of drive, i had two of the same one with a damaged motor and the other one with a dead logic board, i swapped the two over and have one spare working drive now. most of the time it`s just easier to bin them. 

agreed about ssd.

they are an absolute godsend!.

best solution is a small-is ssd for boot-up( 30-60GB is fine, you can pick them up for £20-30), and then normal HDD for other programmes +files for the extra capacity.That way you'll have a machine you can pile loads of movies,games etc on that will be up and running in a couple of seconds.

just watch the read/write speeds of ssd's, the cheap chinese ones are sometimes ok- the kingspec ones are ok, but kingfast as a bit suspect....best ssd's I know of are kingston,crucial or intel....Better still if your motherboard will permit and has the feature, but an M2.0 SSD...they are blisteringly fast.

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12 hours ago, Grab_Some_Popcorn said:

A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?
  • The laptop was W8 when purchased, but I did a free upgrade to W10 a couple of years back. The repaired laptop was back on W8 again. Has it somehow reverted? Or has the repairer done a fresh install?
  • I have plugged the failed HD in as an external via a SATA cable, but it is not recognised/showing. The drive spins though (or sounds like it is). Anything else I can try?

Thanks.

Download a utility from the HD manufacturer's website and see what that reports about it. 

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13 minutes ago, Democorruptcy said:

Download a utility from the HD manufacturer's website and see what that reports about it. 

I did have a programme that showed all boot up options, licences etc but I've forgotten what I've done with it.

should be quite simple normally. If you can get hold of one of them programmes if it doesn't register your HDD including serial no etc then it's not talking.

you can go into your "run" menu on the startup homepage and type in cmd.   you should get the DOS menu come up..then you can just type in  CHKDSK (drive name):

so for instance most computers start on C drive so as below:

 startup homepage (windows logo in bottom left)- type cmd in the text box at the bottom.

then: CHKDSK C:

CHKDSK C:

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2 hours ago, oracle said:

agreed about ssd.

they are an absolute godsend!.

best solution is a small-is ssd for boot-up( 30-60GB is fine, you can pick them up for £20-30), and then normal HDD for other programmes +files for the extra capacity.That way you'll have a machine you can pile loads of movies,games etc on that will be up and running in a couple of seconds.

just watch the read/write speeds of ssd's, the cheap chinese ones are sometimes ok- the kingspec ones are ok, but kingfast as a bit suspect....best ssd's I know of are kingston,crucial or intel....Better still if your motherboard will permit and has the feature, but an M2.0 SSD...they are blisteringly fast.

i bought a 256gb sandisk  ssd from amazon warehouse for £25 2 years ago no need for tiny ssd.  m.2 drives can be faster depends on the brand and chips used. new ssd drives are much better and reliable than when they first came out, i remember some crucial branded ones that would forget data :lol:

those kingfast ones are a bit hit and miss , i used to use those to upgrade and repair oem car navigation systems as they still make ide ssd drives, and are less susceptible to heat and vibration than normal hard drives in vehicle usage.  

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15 hours ago, Grab_Some_Popcorn said:

A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?

 

Pretty much all the HDs you'll come across store stats about themselves using a standard called SMART:

Quote

All modern drives have a monitoring technology called S.M.A.R.T. (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) that continuously monitors a number of parameters on a hard drive. Many parameters can be monitored by S.M.A.R.T. including read and write error rates, seek error rates, spin up time, temperature and much more.

To effectively warn you when certain parameters are degrading or reaching their threshold you need a program that can track these changes and show them to you. Allowing you to test and see whether a hard drive is capable of storing your data safely, giving you time to backup your important files and start looking for a replacement drive should you need to.

- http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-disk-health-monitoring-utility.htm

 

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12 hours ago, oracle said:

I did have a programme that showed all boot up options, licences etc but I've forgotten what I've done with it.

should be quite simple normally. If you can get hold of one of them programmes if it doesn't register your HDD including serial no etc then it's not talking.

you can go into your "run" menu on the startup homepage and type in cmd.   you should get the DOS menu come up..then you can just type in  CHKDSK (drive name):

so for instance most computers start on C drive so as below:

 startup homepage (windows logo in bottom left)- type cmd in the text box at the bottom.

then: CHKDSK C:

CHKDSK C:

I agree with all that but sometimes the manufacturer's own utility can do more. I once had to use Maxtor's to assess a drive and cured it with a low level format.

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On 07/08/2017 at 9:31 AM, Bossybabe said:

You can try to put it in the freezer for six hours, then try it. I had one that failed and was able to get it running long enough to do a transfer of data from it. Old Indian trick. 

BTW, if you're thinking this is a funny post it really does work, I managed to get 1200 family photos off a hard drive by mounting it inside a camping fridge whilst reading the data off. It took nearly two days.......

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I just replaced a failed HDD in a tosh laptop with a 500gb WD Blue SSD @ £130. Much faster booting and operation by my teen when playing Sims, and much more damage resistant to the rough handling kids dish out. Should get another 2 or 3 years out of it.

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All my HDD fails started with increased blue screens of death, and then the drives got noisy. Then the were intermittent recognised in the BIOS. I have never had a PC where the HDD had not failed!

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4 hours ago, wasbuckers said:

BTW, if you're thinking this is a funny post it really does work, I managed to get 1200 family photos off a hard drive by mounting it inside a camping fridge whilst reading the data off. It took nearly two days.......

Thanks for the backup, wasbuckers. I was aided and abetted in this by the late lamented Daft Boy a few years ago. 

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3 hours ago, Ash4781 said:

All my HDD fails started with increased blue screens of death, and then the drives got noisy. Then the were intermittent recognised in the BIOS. I have never had a PC where the HDD had not failed!

Kiss of death??? 

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3 hours ago, Ash4781 said:

All my HDD fails started with increased blue screens of death, and then the drives got noisy. Then the were intermittent recognised in the BIOS. I have never had a PC where the HDD had not failed!

I've not had an HDD fail completely since the days of the IBM Deathstar. They usually give sufficient warning to get your data off, unlike SSDs. Having said that, I have SSDs in all my machines but make regular image backups onto a USB HDD. 

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On 07/08/2017 at 7:47 AM, Grab_Some_Popcorn said:

A relative's laptop was diagnosed as having a failed internal HD. The diagnosis was done very quickly by someone at the counter in Currys/Dixons or whatever they're called. A friend then replaced the internal HD, and laptop now up and running. A few questions:

  • Is a failed HD that easy to diagnose? How? Is there a beep code or something? Or just fail to power up?
  • The laptop was W8 when purchased, but I did a free upgrade to W10 a couple of years back. The repaired laptop was back on W8 again. Has it somehow reverted? Or has the repairer done a fresh install?
  • I have plugged the failed HD in as an external via a SATA cable, but it is not recognised/showing. The drive spins though (or sounds like it is). Anything else I can try?

Thanks.

 

Have you/relative got important data/photos on the failed hard-drive?  

If you're simply trying to make use of that old hard-drive (rather than recover data) then it's probably not worth hassle of messing around with it.

There are things I can suggest (if you're looking to recover data).  

I did some pretty advanced repair work last year.... to a hard-drive with click-of-death.   Broke after a powercut.  Click of death when power came back on.

I rang a professional at first but he quoted me £500... and I thought worth trying to do myself.  All the experts were like "don't open it up... needs to be in a clean-room"... I took my chances.   

(Still got loads of notes / how-to stuff and tips that I researched before attempting).

PCB Swap from a donor near identical hard-drive.  = Didn't work.  

Headstack swap = didn't work (thankfully just one-head on one platter so not complicated... wouldn't have attempted to repair a hard-drive with multiple platters / multi heads)... wasn't recognised in computer/BIOS..... yet click of death had gone.  

 

Also wasn't recognised/showing via docking station/USB-to-SATA cable.  

 

....Then doing something else allowed me to recover all data from broken hard-drive.   Still thrilled about that... had been lazy and hadn't backed up 6 months of data..... recovered it all. :)

If you've not got click of death, then you might not even have to swap parts from a donor hard-drive.

That something else was trying DMDE, with hard-drive plugged into a docking station.  It recongised/found the drive, scanned it, and then found all the files I wanted.

I had to buy the 1 year licence ($16 at the moment), for it would have been a pain to recover each file individually on the free/trial version.  

https://dmde.com/

 

 

 From there... full data recovery.  And now have a better backup system in place.  Not going through that again.  (Although I now use an SSD as main hard-drive so no way of doing anything like headstack swaps there anyway).   Very happy to recover files/photos.

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On 08/08/2017 at 10:43 PM, Bruce Banner said:

I've not had an HDD fail completely since the days of the IBM Deathstar. They usually give sufficient warning to get your data off, unlike SSDs. Having said that, I have SSDs in all my machines but make regular image backups onto a USB HDD. 

SSDs are prone to sudden death? This computer is the first I've had with an SSD, so that's a little alarming (I've never had an ordinary hard disc fail). Most of my data is on the larger standard disc though, and it's only photos I'd be upset with if I lost, and they're all on the laptop too. Suppose fire or theft would still leave me stuffed.

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7 hours ago, Riedquat said:

SSDs are prone to sudden death? This computer is the first I've had with an SSD, so that's a little alarming (I've never had an ordinary hard disc fail). Most of my data is on the larger standard disc though, and it's only photos I'd be upset with if I lost, and they're all on the laptop too. Suppose fire or theft would still leave me stuffed.

SSDs are intrinsically more reliable than mechanical HDDs, but, if they do fail, it's likely to be without any warning.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it though, just make regular image backups of all your laptop drives onto an external USB hard drive using your favourite disk imaging software (I use Macrium Reflect Free Edition and backup every month) and if a drive fails you can be up and running in the time it takes to obtain and fit a replacement drive.

You can also copy your image files onto as many external drives as you like and keep them in different places to protect against fire or theft. One at home, one in your case if you're on holiday and one at work should cover pretty much any eventuality. Another advantage is that if you screw up the settings, or a software update goes wrong on your laptop, you don't need to spend hours sorting the problem out, just boot from a USB stick with your image software on it, plug in your USB backup drive, restore your latest backup and the machine will go back to how it was when you made that image.

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