Computer Trouble

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Computer Trouble

Post by Henrik on Tue Apr 20 2010, 21:55

Okay, I have been struggling a bit here since Friday as the hard disk on my main computer died Friday morning. I turned on the computer as usual, and it would just freeze on the HP welcome screen. Impossible even to get to the bios to see what was up.

After doing a bit of research, it turns out it is a well documented problem on the Seagate 7200.11 disks that has stricken mine. Basically all the data is still there and intact, but there is a bug on the PCB of the disk that is telling the computer that it is busy, precenting all access to it. I have found through my research a way to probably fix it, but it will require some creative work. I will need to connect to the disk to be able to reset it directly on the PCB. To do this, I need to get a USB to TTL cable that exists for mobile phones, and have placed an order for a Nokia cable that I hope to get by tomorrow.

In the meantime I have replaced the Seagate disk with a 1TB Samsung disk I had around, and I am slowly getting my computer back to normal. I suppose the good news is that I have installed it all with Win 7, which is certainly an improvement over the Vista I was running before. It is something I have been wanting to do for some time, especially since I already modified a number of my other computers around the house, but I was sort of waiting since all my stuff was nicely installed and it is always a hassle to re-install everything s you want it.

So far I am missing some data which is important to me, as I had been particularly active in my job hunting in the last week, and I am missing about a week of data and emails. Not the end of the world, but annoying enough for me to want to recover the data on the fautly disk before I chuck it in the bin.

I will keep you posted on how it all goes...

P.S. If any of you have Seagate 7200.11 disks installed, make sure you run the firmware update available from Seagate. If not, you are likely to have the same problem as me...

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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by Revs on Fri Apr 23 2010, 07:18

can you put it in an external harddrive thingy and get access via usb?
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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by Henrik on Fri Apr 23 2010, 08:20

No, that makes no difference. The computer still sees the disk as busy, and prevents the access.

I hope to get my Nokia cable today, and I will document the recovery on here.

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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by gueuzeman on Sun Apr 25 2010, 03:20

You sure it's not just facebook overload? Very Happy
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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by Henrik on Wed Apr 28 2010, 01:16

Okay, got my cable this morning, but was busy with some other stuff during the day, so only got around to working on the hard disk in the evening. Well, it is now 1:15 in the morning, and I have just finished copying all my data from the faulty disk, and have imported my Outlook data!

I will write a longer message tomorrow going through the details, because right now I am prettty exhausted, but happy!

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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by Revs on Wed Apr 28 2010, 11:43

well done Smile
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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by Henrik on Wed Apr 28 2010, 12:15

Yeah, it was a bit of a nightmare as basically everything that could go wrong in the fixing process did, but in the end it all worked out. Having spoken with an IT company last week about this issue, they had offered to recovery my data for a cost of around $ 1'500!!

Anyway, so I got the Nokia cable yesterday and began by removing the phone connector end, splaying out the five cables. Then the first problem began as the computer would not recognize the USB device and so I had no COM port available. It turns out that I must power the cable with 4.5 volts, so taping together three AA batteries and attaching these to the correct cables sorted this out.

Then I used a cable for the sound connection to an old CD player to prepare the connectors to the hard disk. The thing is that the pins on the disk are tiny, but by crimping a bit the connectors from the CD cable they finally fit.

I also needed to power the disk with a SATA power cable, and I took an old PC I am not using to get a power cable, and starting up that PC had the disk spinning. One of the tricky things at this point is that the PCB had to be removed from the disk, and a paper card inserted underneath it to cut the drive heads connectors. Finally when all this was done, and everything connected to another old laptop running Windows XP, it was time to fire up telnet so as to communicate with the hard disk.

Obviously it didn't work. Anything I typed would simply be echoed on the telnet emulator. After a number of attempts, I realized that the fit of the cables was so tight, that two of them were just touching, causing a short. Some electric tape and a few swear words later this was all sorted, and as I hit ctrl-z and got a response I knew I was close.

So, I then went on to enter the proper commands I had found on the internet, and a few minutes later I was done! I put the disk in an external SATA docking station, connected it to my PC and saw all my data!!! Copied everything over to my file server (that is set up in RAID5 for security) and then I was done.

Well I certainly learned a lot in this process, and yet again proved that you can actually fix a lot more with computers than you think, if you have patience and dare to try. Now I will keep my special cable ready to help out if I hear of others having the same issue...

I actually was planning on taking pictures to document the process, but as I got things hooked up I didn't want to jinx it, so no pictures..

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Re: Computer Trouble

Post by gueuzeman on Thu Apr 29 2010, 05:55

WOW! Intense. Glad to hear it worked, must make you feel good.

Bravo.

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