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  • #2190134

    Swapping Platters


    by digitaldudex ·

    Hello everyone, I’m new to the site and apologize for any mistakes I may have made with this post.

    My notebook HD has just failed. I do not have a backup (interesting story on that if anyone is interested later). From the sound of the HD when I boot up it sounds like it is the motor (it sounds like it is trying to spin but something keeps it from doing so, then it tries again a few times, then stops).

    I was thinking, as I would have access to a clean room, to try and swap the platters from my bad HD into a new working HD. I have never disassembled an HD before and don’t know much on the topic.

    1. What is the proper way to do so?
    2. Do I need to have two identical drives? Someone told me that if they were the same manufacturer would be enough.

    So far those are the questions that come to mind.

    I have tried the freezing method and it did not work.

    Thank you for any help.

All Comments

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    • #3057670


      by digitaldudex ·

      In reply to Swapping Platters

      My apologized to the admin as I posted this three times accidentally. Please delete the other posts. Sorry!

      • #3057621

        I don’t recommend it

        by alangeek ·

        In reply to oopss

        Unless you are just interested in trying it for the heck of it, and you don’t really need any data from that drive, I wouldn’t recommend that you try this. I’ve disassembled drives just for fun, with no intention of getting them working again, and it’s my opinion that your chances of seeing any data from the disk would be about 1 in 100,000 if you try it yourself.

        Just for grins, you could take an old drive that still works and try taking it apart and putting it back together and see if you get anything out of it, but I wouldn’t make any bets on it. A drive from a desktop is bad enough, but if it’s a laptop, your odds are much lower.

    • #3057620

      If it some thing

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Swapping Platters

      You can not live with out from the drive. You can send it to a data recovery company. But it will cost you, easy ones might be $200 or so hard ones will cost alot more. You could try it your self but if you dont know what you are doing or you touch the wrong thing you could make data unrecoverable.

    • #3069491

      Big Fat Waste of Your Time

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Swapping Platters

      The distance between the platter and the head is too small for the human eye to visually calibrate, with tolerances measured in microns or smaller. Even with a clean room, you’re going to knock them out of alignment. The equipment to realign everything properly will cost more than a data recovery service. Next comes a head crash and damaged platters.

      I’m sure someone will correct me, but I thought the inside of an HD was either a vacuum or filled with an inert gas. How will you recreate that?

      If you care about the data, stop using the drive before you damage it beyond recovery. It may not be the motor, even if it sounds like that.

    • #3066195

      controller, not platters

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to Swapping Platters

      If you can change the controller card on the drive with an identical one, you stand a better chance of making it work (unless it truly is the motor, which is more rare of an issue). If you remove the platters, it won’t work again.

      • #3070135


        by digitaldudex ·

        In reply to controller, not platters

        I do not use the drive. I have pulled it out after it stopped working. gralfus, to me it sounds like it was the motor (just because it tries to spin and does not seem to be able to, then stops and attempts to spin again a few more times). Could the controller card cause that?

        zlito, do you know any data recovery centers that charge as little as $200? All I have found was at least $500 and up to $2000!

        Btw, hard drives have air inside. They actually have a breathing hole! Funny name…

        Anyway, I was just pondering the idea of swapping the platters. Obiously I do not know much on the subject and have done quite a bit of research since my question. Having access to a clean room just made it more tempting. I don’t want to risk anything.

        I actually sent the drive in for repairs when it started making noise (when you moved the laptop). They did not fix it since they deemed it fully functional. I sent it in again, same thing. They claimed it did not make any noise when they tested it. I got it back, reinstalled everything and it died when I was backing everything up. I have a partial backup, but all the critical files are on the drive. Tsk tsk…

    • #2644586

      Hard drive data recovery & platter replacement are delicate proceedures…

      by mail ·

      In reply to Swapping Platters

      after you have exhausted every other solution. Clicking can be cause by several things.
      The first thing to do is to obtain a donor drive. Check on ebay and find the identical drive. The things you need to look for depend on who makes drive. It needs to be made within 2 weeks of your original drive to have the correct specs. The first thing to do is exchange the logic card and try to access the drive. Remember that clicking can also be caused by bad heads so don’t run the drive too long. If the interface exchange will work you should know fairly quickly.
      If that doesn’t fix it then things get a bit more complicated but possible. Make sure that you have plenty of time and patience. The last thing you want to do is hurry and make a mistake and really lose your data.
      You’ll need a clean environment – a quick Google and some surfing and you’ll figure it out. It’s not too hard or expensive. You’ll need some tools – which ones depends on what you do. Some of the most expensive are a $30 magnet removal tool and a $250 platter removal tool. You’ll need teh magnet tool if you need to remove the actuator arm assembly or replace it. You’ll need to platter tool if you have multiple platters and plan to move them to the donor drive.
      As lond as you find a good working donor then – and your super careful and do the job corrrectly – then you’ve got a good shot at recovering your data.
      If your unsure in any way, I don’t recommend proceeding. Ebay has a number of ‘hard drive recovery’ services and there are plenty of experts out there that have done this before. Keep in mind that you are likely to mess up your first time. Experience is a great teacher and most of us mess up something the first time we do it. If your determined – like me – then be sure to practice several times on dummy drives to make sure that your familiar with all the steps. Do plenty of reasearch. There’s a wealth of information out there. is one of them. You’ll know when you have a complete and solid understanding when you are able to adequately explain the process or teach it to another person. If they are able to follow you and understand the process then you are ready. Don’t skip steps!!! There is usually a right way to do something – not just data recovery – if we skip then me make mistakes it’s that’s simple. You can’t affor to make a mistake here!
      Well I think that’s enough for now. This gives you plenty to chew on. Enjoy!!!
      There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done…esp data recovery!
      Your friend…

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