I have a WD3200AAKS HDD(320G). I was using it as a secondary hdd, so i have on it some movies and other big data.
Yesterday it crashed. When i start the computer, the BIOS don’t recognize it,  and the starting system freeze for some time at the beginning and then throw an error and  it ask me to press F1 and then resumes and boot normally. I hear the hdd is spinning for a while and  then is quiet. After that, inside winXP, the hdd is missing…i figure it out that if the Bios don’t see it, then the OS don’t see it either. So, how to see inside my hdd, How to recover the data from it?
i am desperate.
I have 2 hdd at (320G), and from the good one, i took the little board with the port and power on it, and i attach it to the broken one(they fit perfectly). The result is that Bios is not see it either, but the freezing and the error are not thrown anymore. Again, in winXP the hdd is not showing.
I am thinking to dismantle and take the disks, and put them on the one that is working already, but is a little dangerous business. What should i do ?


It sounds as if your HD has a head or media fault. :frowning:

When you say “dismantle”, what exactly are you thinking of doing?


I was doing another test :  i put the bad hdd on another motherboard and when i set the bios to its default configuration, the error disappeared,  but bios or OS did not see the hdd.
By dismantle i mean to open the bad hdd, take its disks and place them inside another good hdd.
I am conscious that i can scratch the disks with this operation, but other solution i don’t see it for the moment.
Any suggestions are welcome.


The moment you open that drive casing, those disks are trash.  You won’t even be able to recover the data.  The dust particles that will attract to and attach to the plates are probably 10 to 20 times the size of the drive heads.


then give me an alternative…


You’ve already tried the drive on another pc, so that would have been my only other recommendation.  If you tried different cables, different motherboard, different power source, and still nothing, then most likely the drive has failed.  If the drive spins up when you power it on, you may be able to get some data recovery software to recover data.  Otherwise, you’re looking at sending the drive in for data recovery, and then replacing the drive.


Further to what Bill_S has said, a DR company would not transfer the platters. Instead, they would replace the heads, but they would first attempt to clone as much of the drive as possible, using professional software and hardware tools. I’m not a DR guy, by AIUI, if there is a bad head, then it is still possible to read the data from the good heads. Afterwards the entire head stack can be replaced and the remaining head/surface imaged (aka cloned).

This article explains the procedure for a head swap:

Head Stack Replacement: Questions and Answers:

Be aware that removing the cover on its own is sufficient to disturb the alignment on some WD models. I have no idea why, but that’s what the DR guys will tell you. Realignment is a major, time consuming task.

BTW, the mark left by a fingerprint is high enough to crash a head. If a head has crashed, then the data at the point of contact will have been irretrievably destroyed. If the drive is making horrible noises, then this may be a sign that one or more heads are scraping on a disc. When I was servicing hard drives 20 years ago, what you would find after an overnight head crash would be a pile of aluminium shavings and the debris of disintegrated heads.


yup, nice article… i see that i don’t have any experience with this stuff, so i will broke it for sure.

But im interested only to see what i have on that hdd… not retrieve…I will retrieve later from other sources, but for now i want to see what to retrieve. This is another idea…but is worth if it will work somehow.

I am thinking  at some assembler directives(i don’t know this stuff,just i imagine) to retrieve the names from the data on the hdd , it’s possible?

PS I don’t have a DR company in my town or in my country so… i have no alternatives, and i try to do it myself…I will think further.  Why they do not put there(in a hdd) a solution for cases like this?(something like a usb retrieval data or at least something)…(the technology exist,but the laziness is greater)…i am just a pissed off customer.


There really isn’t much chance this will work, but you can try booting from a CD with some HD diagnostic and recovery utilities.

Ultimate boot CD for instance


If the BIOS doesn’t see anything on either computer it’s doubtful any of those tools would see it either.