Witness the death click of a Maxtor hard drive

December 20, 2007, 2:57 AM PST | Length: 77


TechRepublic member Wally Bahny shares with us the tragic death of a Maxtor hard drive. In the video you can clearly hear the tell-tale sound often called the click-of-death. I don't think this hard drive is coming back from the dead.

28 comments
tschonen
tschonen

This Heatwave from a couple of weeks back really seems to be a problem. I came into the office on Monday and it was absolutely boiling hot in there after the whole weekend. We have a couple of servers in a rack and one of them was whining away. It was totally hung, and when I rebooted it my heart sank as it said missing NT loader. So I left it off for a while and thank god it booted up. It really makes me consider getting a some air conditioning for the office or the cabinet ? I don?t want to go to the expense of some industrial stuff so I had a look around and you can get a decent little portable air conditioner unit from http://www.iceboys.co.uk I am thinking that this would certainly help things without costing the earth. Of course, nothing replaces a good backup strategy, but it is really about the inconvenience as well .

marius
marius

In most cases we have found that the biggest cause of this type of problem is heat. The hard drive platters swell as they become hot, which is normal. But extreme exposure to heat will cause them to swell to the point where they come in contact with the read/write heads. When this happens, the heads will start failing. A common symptom is that the laptop will start acting very slowly, hang or crash. When rebooting, you may see a blue screen or just the Windows logo hanging. For help and advice restoring your data, please visit our main site: http://www.mvidatarecovery.com http://blog.mvidatarecovery.com/

WilliaMITCHELL
WilliaMITCHELL

Ahhhhhh...empiricism! Same thing happened to me, just TWO weeks after purchasing a 250GB Drive! Tried to return it from purchase site, but was told to contact the Maxtor site. Did that, and the HD wasn't even listed...sent an e-mail to "Support" and have never heard from them! Customer Service! Customer Relations! Company Relations! Aren't they GREAT?!?!!!

brian.catt
brian.catt

TIP?? In case it helps you techies, I had a premature HD failure on my HP nc4000 laptop, I think the victim of antivirus software that kept it cycling all the time (I have switched that OFF and rely on my router NAT and daily network disconnect to get a new Internet address ). I found I was able to keep the HD running cleanly long enough to make an image of it with Acronis True Image (already installed) by standing it on its side which probably changed the HD bearings load. It sounded like a lightweight version of dodgy wheel bearings. Wouldn't help a head failure. Might always be worth rotating the system in 3 dimensions to see if there is a place an HD will run for long enough to get a current image - unless you back up every few hours, that is. I appreciate many techies won't be able to hol;d a desktop up that long, but you can get a Jock to do it for you :-). Images suck. Isn't it great to have a MAC and just drag your entire installation from one hard disk to another for backup. One day Windows will work like this, well work.

drhesq
drhesq

Maxtor; the bane of any technician. Just yesterday I pitched three. These things are like Bic lighters, except they don't last as long. I am so happy that Seagate purchased whatever Maxtor had left to sell, but one thing is sure, it did not include their "good name." Anyways, they are now gone and hopefully, never to return. See, no matter the tragedies of life, we all have cause to celebrate.

david
david

It reminds of the time when I heard the noise of the heads scraping along on the surface of the platter on an old Panasonic laptop (and no I had not just dropped or bumped it - it was a spontaneous occurrence).

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

They should make the beep go into a flatline tone too. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep :)

maxdev
maxdev

Nothing like this to make you realize how vulnerable we all truly are. I've been through this about 5 times already. And sadly, I don't think it will be the last. Yes, we are talking damage recovery costs of thousands, and precious little guarantee of recovery. If only manufacturers will go back to jacking up the quality ... I'd gladly pay more!

gagetlover38
gagetlover38

That's what happened to my usb hard drive when the electricity went off and on for a quick second. It was my backup drive and had lots of baby pics too. :( Any way to get the data from the drive? Note the electricity also burned out an HP ZD8000 media center laptop. $1400+ gone!

LightSpeed
LightSpeed

Yeah, had a 4 gig do that 3 months after I bought it new. Had to buy another one that came with a 30 dollar rebate. Still waiting on that money...Har ! ( no - DOUBLE Har ! )

Auisce
Auisce

Macs can do that? I thought they had to use third party software like "SuperDuper". I don't think Windows will ever do that; Linux maybe, but not Windows.

dixon
dixon

...and won't help at all if the board's burnt, but if the drive's clicking and is inaccessible, try this: remove the drive from the enclosure, place it in a zip-lock bag, and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take it out and connect the USB and power connectors from the enclosure, but instead of putting the drive in the case, wrap it in a paper towel and sandwich it between two zip-lock bags full of ice. I can't tell you how many times this trick has allowed me just enough time to grab the data off of a badly knocking drive before it died completely. Good luck!

BobLaw1275
BobLaw1275

That is what you get for not using a UPS to protect your $1400.00 dollar Laptop - just to be on the SAFE SIDE. ALWAYS use a UPS for protection on ALL computer equipment, unless of course you can afford to replace it just any old time. A UPS is a lot CHEAPER than a Laptop and added protection against power problems. I believe you may have learned a valuable lesson. I believe you may hav

k.balsor
k.balsor

If you take the drive out of the enclosure and obtain another drive from that series you can swap out the controller board and it should work fine. I`ve done this with several drives that have been taken out by surges. The board just unscrews and you can swap it quite easily.

cjc5447
cjc5447

Every laptop has an internal battery, which effectively functions as a UPS. I've never heard of a power spike going through a laptop power brick and damaging the laptop, I thought I was immune to power spikes with a laptop. Must be a combination of a crappy power brick (allowing the spike to get on the DC power side), AND the laptop not having enough power filtering capacity. Man that's scary.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Or as I called them..."Mi-Crap-Olis" drives because they were SCSI based, cost thousands of dollars, and crashed more times than an intoxicated celebrity in a vehicle. If this keeps going on with Maxtor, they're going to go the same route that Micropolis did...bankrupt and defunct! :^0 I also recall how a company I worked for purchased one of those Iomega NAS servers which used Maxtor drives and how we had to replace this darn thing every few weeks because it crashed. The proof is in the pudding...Maxtor sucks!

LightSpeed
LightSpeed

Tough break Gadget. Hope you can recover from that disaster as painless as possible. Anyway, I remember a place in Massachusettes called Hard Drive Recovery that took your platters and attached it to working servos. They could recover most of the data depending on the extent of the damage. Its pricey tho, but probably worth rescuing your pictures. I'd have to do some research on this. They may or may not still be around. Good luck 2U

Justjokin
Justjokin

I took a "clicking" Maxtor diamondMax drive, and used an upside down can of air duster and directly froze the circuit board. Rebooted the machine and it booted right into Windows. The entire circuit board was frosted over with frozen condensation. Over the next minute or so, there was one particular integrated circuit that dissipated the frost faster than the others. Once that IC was clear of frost, the clicking started again, and Windows froze. I powered down the system, refroze the drive, and booted to Windows again. This time, I kept refreezing the circuit board. I was able to keep the system up and running for about 20 minutes, while I recovered my very first MP3 collection. I learned this trick doing component level repair on CRT monitors. Find the part that gets too hot, replace it, and you have a working monitor... that will be $129.99, thank you, drive through.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I believe you don't need a UPS for a laptop.. the laptop have special circuitry and a battery. If you lost power in your home, the laptop never loss power because the battery.

marius
marius

We do see alot of these problems. On certain hard drives it is possible to swap the PCB, but with most western digital or the newer seagate drives it is not possible. THe firmware on the boards are unique to translator codes in these drives. If you do not have any success, please visit us. http://www.mvidatarecovery.com http://blog.mvidatarecovery.com/

TDinSD41
TDinSD41

A NAS with such frequent drive failures probably shouldn't be marketed to an enterprise network. Shame on Iomega. There have been a number of makers who have experienced dips in quality over the years. It was announced on December 21 of 2005 that Seagate was to purchase Maxtor, and they are just completing the merger this year. Maxtor drives currently have a one year warranty whereas the Seagates, a five year. And now seeing Maxtor 500GB drive for under $120, that says to me that they intend on making the Maxtor line a lower cost product, with a shorter lifespan.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

While I've never personally used it and don't know how good it is you can have a look here for details:- http://tinyurl.com/2vcbs9 However if it is just a Electronic Failure you can sometimes get away with using a Circuit Board off an identical Drive and that will allow you to recover your DATA, but if that works do not trust the drive ever again and get your Data Off Immediately. Provided that the actual Platters are not damaged you should be able to recover 100% of what is on the drive but if the Platters Need to be removed and read on an External Unit in a Class 1 Clean Room it is expensive. If you need a Forensic Recovery which can read every layer of Data ever written to a HDD they pull the Platters coat them with some gue and allow it to dry then place the platters on a Special Machine and allow it to run till everything that was ever written to the drive is recovered. This process is [b]Expensive[/b] and generally speaking only ever used by the Authorities in Criminal Cases as the cost is Hundreds of Thousands $ and a bill for 45K looks positively cheap in comparison. However if you know someone who works at a place that does this Forensic Recovery it is possible to give them a drive and allow them to use it to Test the Machinery used for Court Cases. It can take a lot of time though and there is no guarantee that they will actually recover anything. Personally I prefer On Track as they work quite well and offer Exceptional Service. They also have a different Cost Rate depending on how urgent the recovery is so it's cheaper the longer you can wait normal longest time is around a week where as the Premium Recovery can be done in as little as 12 hours but it costs you for the faster service. Col

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

if not more depending on the amount of data. Also, there is no guarantee that any data will be recovered, but you'll still get charged for them attempting to do so.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

surge supresor is good for a laptop because the pulse power supply is autovoltage (100-240v) but can be damaged with peaks.

Wally Bahny
Wally Bahny

You don't necessarily need a UPS, but you do need a good Surge Suppressor. Laptops do not have very good built-in surge suppression. Belkin makes a good 2-plug surge suppressor that fits good in a laptop bag.

bheite
bheite

I have used Maxtors for years and swore by their quality. I also found higher failure rates on Seagate in the past over Maxtor, but I have switched in the last year to Seagate, mainly because of the warranty issue. If I am paying for a drive to use as external storage, I definitely do not want it to die, so the no brainer is 5 years or 1 year? Let's see, duh... Seagate also seems to have better access times as well. Bottom line though has always beeb cooling. Any drive kept cool with a forced fan will last longer, and a lot of machines I have worked on died and you open them up and fine a nice thick layer of heat retaining dust, and one overworked 80 or 120 mm fan in the rear. Cleaning and cooling will make even a nasty Hitachi/IBM drive last longer than their 3 month average.....

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Any server built with those drives is a disaster waiting to happen. I strongly discourage anyone from buying anything with Fujitsu drives.

dixon
dixon

...and have been very pleased. For a relatively small upfront fee, they do a preliminary evaluation which includes a list of everything they think they can recover. Once you give them the go-ahead, they send you a USB hard drive containing your data. Plus, they hang on to a copy for two weeks to allow you to verify that your stuff is in good shape. Add to that great personal service and a price that's lower than OnTrack, and they're hard to beat.