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Archive for January, 2016

Unresponsive Hard Drives in Birmingham

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As if once wasn’t enough I’ve just had to deal with another computer problem…

As readers of my blog will know, I work all over the UK and when this problem occurred I found myself in Birmingham. After my last computer problem experience with the data port working loose on my hard drive (see my previous post), this time I had an ageing Windows XP computer and its power unit failed. Rather than spend money on a repair, I removed its two Seagate 160GB hard drives which had been working perfectly and scrapped the rest. I bought a HDD docking station with USB connection into a new computer to retrieve the data but my new computer failed to recognise the existence of one drive and for the other it displayed a message that the drive must be reformatted! before it could be used!

Being in Birmingham I decided to look up my old friends at Data Clinic Birmingham who have previously helped me out with a hard drive that had become unresponsive with all my data saved on it.

Before I went along to see them I made a little bet with myself: I reckoned I’d diagnose what the faults with the drives were first and then see if what I thought matched their diagnoses. For the Seagate disk that was needing reformatting my guess was that I had a corruption of data, perhaps in the filesystem. I thought this because the hard drive was working fine, the problem came when the Windows were trying to read it.

For the second hard drive, I went for a firmware fault. Why? well as while ago Seagate drives had a firmware problem on their 7200.11 hard drives and my drive was a 7200.11 disk, so I thought it a logically assumption.

Well was I right? Well, I was totally wrong on the firmware fault issue. It wasn’t a firmware problem, rather it was a broken PCB. The guys at Data Clinic fitted a spare and my drive came back to life along with the data on it. For the other Seagate disk, I was sort of write – there was indeed a corruption, specifically of something called the Master File Table (known as the ‘MFT’) which keeps a record of the location of the files on a hard drive. When the MFT becomes scrambled the data can not be accessed anymore and Windows wants to format the disk. I learned that it’s possible to repair the MFT and this was done and my data was retrieved. For more information about the MFT check out this Microsoft link https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365230%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

Written by Betty

January 26th, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Hard Drive Port Loose – Help!

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Like many of us from time to time, I’ve had a couple of computer problems lately. I’ve written this post about one of them – I’d be interested to hear your comments too!

external hard drivesOne Tuesday last month, whilst I was packing my portable computer and hard drive up to leave work, I accidentally knocked the usb cable connected from my external hard drive and it caused the port to become loose. The model of HD is: WD Elements 2TB external hard drive and on opening up the drive it turned out I’d snapped off the USB port from the circuit board.

So, this put me in a bit of a tailspin. Rather than save my work to my computer’s hard drive, I tend to save everything to my external hard drive. You may think this is daft but the main reason I do this is because I commute between Birmingham, Leeds and London and rather than haul my main desktop computer with me, I instead use the computers at whatever location I am going to be at. Having the data stored on my external hard drive means I can use it on whatever computer I am sat at regardless of location.

The better solution would be that back everything up to the cloud but the reason I don’t is because I’m a videographer and I file of the data files I use is huge – often hundreds of megabytes, with some mastered video projects running into Terabytes. Streaming this from the cloud is too slow and therefore using this method of data storage is extremely slow.

Anyway, having lost the connection on my hard drive I needed to find someone who could fix it back in place so I could begin to use my data again. An internet search revealed several options, first up on my list of people to call were Emergency RAID Data Recovery who were very friendly and pointed out that they were more involved in rescuing information from failed server systems rather than fixing parts back on hard drives, before pointing me in the direction of Datlabs Data Recovery. When I spoke to Datlabs they were able to confirm that the problem I had was an unusual but fixable one. I asked the million dollar question: “Is my data going to be safe?” and they assured me it would.

The problem with my hard drive was not related the the data, it was an electronic fault that fortunately meant my data was not under threat. With that I was able to breathe a sign of relief knowing that my data was going to be ok and my hard disk would be fixed.

Written by Betty

January 13th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Hard Drive Repair