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Computer Crime / Digital Discovery / CCTV Image Recovery / Computer Forensics

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