Hard Disk Repair and Diagnostic

Hard drive detected by Windows or Mac

Look for a data recovery software solution to recover your videos, photos and files.

Hard drive not seen by Windows or Mac

The problem is more complex. See below for potential failures and fix.

The hard disk is not visible in any OS. What to do?

To check if your drive is visible or not in Windows.
Go to: Disk Management

To get there press, the Windows Key and R at the same time. Then choose “Disk Management”. You should then see something like this (with your disk listed (good news) or not.

windows disk management

To check if your drive is visible or not on Mac OS.
Go to Disk Utility.

Go to the Finder, then Applications, then Utilities, and you will find the Disk Management Icon. You will get something like that with your drive visible or not.

disk utility mac os

Which part of the drive failed and what does it mean?

Firmware issue

Check if your drive is a Seagate 7200.11 or 7200.12 . They are well known to have firmware issues. A “simple” firmware issue could appear like a mechanical failure with a proper clicking sound of the drive’s head stack.

Check our data base of hard drive clicking sounds.

PCB Failure

A PCB (printed circuit board) is easy to unscrew. Check if you see some damaged or burnt chips. A few PCBs have TVS Chips (to prevent overvoltage to damage the board or head or preamplificator). They are known to stop drives from working. Most of time they will be burnt or smell burn, in such case, just remove them using a soldering iron. Then your drive might be back to work. See below to know what those chips look like below. In case you want to swap the PCB of your hard disk, remember that a simple swap is not enough, you will need to move some chips (ROM and for WD drives U5 and U12 as well) of the old PCB to the new one.

disk utility mac os

Head failure

If one or several heads are dead, then it is recommended to use a clean room class 100 ISO5 to open the drive and swap the head stack. (MHDD can tell you if a head is dead or not. See above)

Engine Issue

In most cases, we don’t fix a dead engine or change it. We swap the magnetic platters to a new drive.This operation need a special tool (expensive too) that keep all the platters well aligned. If platters are removed one by one, then data are lost forever.
In some cases, it s possible to drill a small hole in the engine and lubricate it, this might do the trick.

Magnetic Platters damaged

The worst case is when the platters are scratched, which can happen when a hard disk is dropped on the floor. In most cases, when platters are scratched, the recovery is partial or impossible.