How can I fix when a hard drive is not recognized by BIOS

By squidwardd ·
I had a perfectly functioning computer. I have no backup of any kind. I rebooted the computer and the hard drive is not being recognized during the boot up process. I was downloading files but I wasn't doing anything to system files, etc. I desperately need help because there is so much on that hard drive that I need and do not have a backup of.

My question is: Is there any way to rebuild the MBR or anything like that using hard drive tools to allow the hard drive to be recognized without reformatting? I would love if it could be fixed so that it boots up just like the past, but I will absolutely be thrilled if I could just get the data off of it.
I have used Hirem's BootCD tools in the past but I am a novice and I desperately need some help.
What would cause a hard drive full of data not to be recognized during the boot up process anymore?
Thank you in advance for your help.

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Hardware Failure

by TheChas In reply to How can I fix when a hard ...

Generally, if the hard drive is not recognized by the BIOS, you have a hardware failure.

Either the IDE or SATA controller on the motherboard, or the controller board on the hard drive.

Start with the simple things.

Replace the IDE or SATA cable.

Check the drive jumpers.

Reseat the drive power cable.

Enter BIOS setup and make sure that the drive is not set to disable.

If none of this works, try a different hard drive and see if the BIOS will recognize it.

If the BIOS does recognize a different hard drive, it is decision time.

How valuable is your data?
While data recovery services are expensive, the cost will be lower if you do nothing more to the drive.

If the data is just of personal value, I would start by buying a used hard drive of the same model and try swapping the controller card. If the controller on your drive failed from a bad motor, this will not fix it.

If changing the controller card brings the drive back, back up the data right away.

Replace the drive on your computer, and remember to make periodic backups.


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BIOS and motherboard are fine

by squidwardd In reply to Hardware Failure

The BIOS finds other hard drives just not this one. I tried the same hard drive on another computer and it also is not recognized. That used a new motherboard, cable and power connection. It does not click or do anything like that. And to answer your question, the data is very valuable. Work files, personal files, etc.

I was really hoping that I could boot up to a Boot CD and somehow fix the "boot sector" and at least enable me to view the files. I don't need to boot off of the drive, I just need to have it recognized by the operating system and allow me to get the files back.

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hard drive not seen in BIOS

by cjwolff In reply to BIOS and motherboard are ...

I have used this quicky a number of times and it works most of the time ,take the exsisting hard drive out ant put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes ,reconnect it and with luck you can copy your data. no guarantees

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OK here you are describing a HDD that has gone to Silicon Heaven

by OH Smeg In reply to BIOS and motherboard are ...

It's died and is no longer working provided that the other M'Board that you tested it on is actually working that is.

If the data is really Important you don't have any other option contact your local Data Recovery House and send it to them to recover your Data. You need to check that they can work with Dead HDD's as if they can not you'll need to find another Place to do the recovery.

If you mess with the drive now you will make the recovery harder to perform if it's at all possible and increase the expense dramatically int he process.

If the drive is not making any noise something has died on it and the most likely is the Circuit Board on the bottom of the drive. A Professional Data Recovery House will be able to get your Data off the drive.

However if you freeze it the likelihood of doing even more damage internally tot he Drive is very large and this will adversely affect the Magnetic Storage Layer on the Platters which will passably render it impossible to recover anything at all.

You need to understand that these drives are not sealed and they do have normal atmosphere in them which can contain moisture. If you freeze it you will freeze any water inside the drive and this can kill the Magnetic Covering on the Platters which is where the data is stored.


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As I and OhSmeg Said

by TheChas In reply to BIOS and motherboard are ...

As I stated in my original replay and Oh Smeg restated, your drive has had a hardware failure.

No CD or utility is going to recover your data. It is not a boot record or MBR issue.

The freeze method works sometimes for the click of death and other mechanical failures.

What you have is a dead hard drive controller board. Possibly caused by a failed drive or head motor.

You "might" recover the drive "IF" the damage is limited to the controller board.

What you can try is to swap the controller board from an identical hard drive and see if the drive then powers up.

Still, your best option is to select a reliable data recovery service and pay the several hundred dollars it is going to cost to recover your data.

Remember, the more you do to the drive that does not succeed, the more expensive data recovery will be.


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The last data recovery I did on a dead drive

by Michael Jay In reply to BIOS and motherboard are ...

was with On Track, 1400 bucks American, all data was recovered.

Your mileage may vary.
Look around for others, the amount they charge can be negotiated.

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Thank you for all the replies

by squidwardd In reply to The last data recovery I ...

I did some further research and found out that my Seagate 7200.11 with firmware SD15 had a known issue where this exact sympton occurs. I contacted Seagate, the serial number checks out that it could be affected, and they are doing the firmware upgrade for free. If that does not solve the problem then I will have to go through data recovery but it sounds likely that it is this issue because it powers up fine and does not click or do anything that a failed drive normally does. And I've had a few click-ers in my time. I am totally crossing my fingers that this is the only issue and everything is returned in working order. I will of course immediately transfer all files to a new drive and demote this one to some low risk duty just to be safe. I should find out tomorrow or the day after if the firmware upgrade is successful and the only issue.

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SATA or IDE with a USB connection

by OLD_ET_Man In reply to Thank you for all the rep ...

Before you spend any more time, get yourself a SATA/IDE to USB adapter at:

This little gem will save you lots of time. You hook the drive up to the adapter - outside of the host machine - and read the drive from another system as if it where just another USB mounted device. If you can't get a response then you'll have to go to the Data Recovery Specialists. It works for MS WIndows or any flavor of 'Nix that you may utilize.

Good luck!

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External drive

by SPC_TCOL In reply to How can I fix when a hard ...

Did you try if it still works as an external drive?
Sometimes this still works, if so, start downloading all the files you need. But do it folder by folder or if you have big files, file by file. Because when you come to the damaged part of the harddrive the computer you are using it with could freeze or crash.

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by albert001 In reply to How can I fix when a hard ...
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