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Do It Yourself ideas about mending hard disc drives!
If your hard disc drive has failed, don't do anything drastic to it! It's much better to get it treated professionally, for example by these disc recovery experts rather than risking mucking it up.
However, if you dare, then at your own risk be it!
Even if a disc drive claims to be wiped, ruined, blank, etc then it is still most likely recoverable. Don't format it! If it's a software problem, then it's possible to put the drive on another machine as a second drive and recover the data. If a virus has got it, don't run any executables on it.
If it's a hardware problem, and the drive appears "knackered", it does not mean the data is lost. Professional experts usually take the drive apart in a space-age clean room and extract the data in a forensic style.
Don't believe it when people say it's no good. It IS possible to swap circuit boards, provided the drives are identical. When buying hard disc drives it's best to buy a matched pair of identical drives. Then if one of them fails it's possible to swap the boards and sometimes to recover the data. This is all a bit tricky and is to be done as a one-off to get the data back, not for continuing to use the drive! Maxtor D540X Hard Disc Drive Circuit Board for sale
If you're not into techie stuff, it's best to do only what you are sure is not going to make things worse.
The hope of resurrection is improved or at least unchanged with time, in a sense like cryonics. A damaged hard disc drive can remain on the shelf for a long while without getting any worse, the data still being on it, and ultimately the data can be recovered. Even if you can't afford to have it recovered now, you may at some time be able to afford it.
It's best not to open up a hard disc drive, because the environment required is "clean room". However, I have heard of a situation where someone transplanted the platters from a hard disc drive into another drive and IT WORKED! But this is really not to be trifled with.
Other references on this site:
Ontrack Recovery for immediate data recovery NOW!
ESS Data also in the "NOW!" disc drive recovery technology business
Palmer Data Recovery affordable data recovery by professionals
Xytron Data Recovery affordable data recovery by disc drive microsurgery experts
Data Rescue - general category of data recoverers
Future data recovery - Save yourself in advance.
Another helpful thought: Lost data on a "dead" hard disc drive is usually not truly lost, but more like something important which you've accidentally locked in a safe and lost the key/combination. Don't dynamite it. Best to crack it by skill, or call for the locksmiths!