Hard Drive Recovery – How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Disk

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I have a Seagate ST3500620AS (Barracuda 7200.11) hard disk:

  • SATA
  • 500GB
  • 7200 spindle speed

I've used this disk for about 2 years now. But today it happened that my computer wouldn't wake up from sleep state. I hard turned off my computer and after turning it back on, I couldn't load the system and after some time of waiting a message came up, that OS can't be loaded from the network.

Checking my BIOS settings I can see that disk is not recognised by it. I unplugged it, put in another disk which got recognised just fine.

Then I tried connecting faulty disk to a different computer via USB (because I have a SATA-USB dock for a portable Seagate) but it didn't get recognised by the system either. I also run Disk management in case disk wasn't partitioned or anything so it would be recognised but not displayed in Explorer. No luck either. Disk doesn't show up anywhere…

So my conclusion is that this disk is now officially dead (RIP my working friend)… But I'd still like to recover more than valuable data from it. Bank certificate is just one of them…

How can I do anything to get to this disk's data? Is there any software that can actually bypass BIOS and access a device directly? Is that at all possible on an everyday machine? Should I start thinking of a data recovery service provider that would do it for me and recover valuable data?

Additional notes

  1. Disk physically isn't completely dead because on power-up it spins-up, heads get positioned (by the sound of it).
  2. Network related boot is most likely initiated by computer BIOS, because boot priority is
    HD > Floppy > Network…

Best Answer

Sounds like you've been bitten by the BSY bug (the drive event log location has been set to an invalid location by an off by one error in the firmware). This contains a reference to your model being affected. At one time, you could send the drive into Seagate and they'd revive it by updating the firmware, you'd end up paying only for shipping. Hopefully they're still doing that. If not, you can do it yourself (another link). If you've got more of theses drives, get the firmware updated while they're still operational.


Here are some additional links. This one seems to be a good general introduction that discusses the cabling / voltage requirements for communicating with the drive. This one has more details / discussion.

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