Access data from faulty internal HDD

RichMilo

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 31, 2013
6
0
About 10 years ago I had a PC disk die on me, a Maxtor DiamondMax 160gb sata drive with an error code 7 reported by the BIOS.

I was quoted £800 at the time to recover it, so it was carefully stowed away by myself for future investigation.

I've connected just now to my iMac via USB, but nothing is reported or acknowledged by OSX. The disk powers up and the platters spin, and I was told at the time it was not hardware damage but more likely virus or corrupted FAT.

Is there anything available to perform deeper diagnostics on OSX, and perhaps let me recover whatever data there may be left on the disk?

Apologies if this is the wrong forum to post this question. Any help or pointers would be appreciated.

Rich
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,209
5,552
Some thoughts:

When you say "nothing is reported or acknowledged", do you mean you get no alerts at all?
By that, nothing that says "this disk is unreadable"?

If you open Disk Utility, can DU "see the presence" of the drive "on the bus"?
Or, again -- nothing?

If you open "System Profiler" (also called System Information on some Macs), and check the "USB" connections, does it show anything at all?

Additional thoughts:
If nothing shows up anywhere (even though the drive seems to be powered up and the platters are spinning), I'm thinking "bad controller board" on the drive.

It -might- be possible to swap the controller board WITHOUT opening the drive and exposing the platters.

It's possible to find used controller boards. You'll need the exact model number off the drive to get a matching one.
 

RichMilo

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 31, 2013
6
0
Hi there - thanks for replying.

Yes meant not a trace of info anywhere, either in Disk Utility nor System Information. Really what I'm asking I guess is, is there anything that can pry or dig a little deeper into connected devices, a more thorough scan than maybe a device that isn't behaving itself ... if you see what I mean.

I'm sure the guy back then said it was not hardware damaged .. but it was 10 years back and I've drunk a lot of fizzy pop since then!

I have done a logic board swap on a faulty disk many years ago - and you're right it has to be exact. Which means not always easy to find. I was kind of hoping things had progressed, smarter software to access such a disk .. or something :)
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,286
127
Hi there - thanks for replying.

Yes meant not a trace of info anywhere, either in Disk Utility nor System Information.
If it's not showing up in Disk Utility at all, then short of sending it off to professional data recovery service, there's little you can do.
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
....I've connected just now to my iMac via USB, but nothing is reported or acknowledged by OSX. The disk powers up and the platters spin, and I was told at the time it was not hardware damage but more likely virus or corrupted FAT....Is there anything available to perform deeper diagnostics on OSX, and perhaps let me recover whatever data there may be left on the disk?...
Does this mean your Mac boots on the internal drive but you have an external USB HDD which cannot be accessed?

By "FAT" do you mean the external drive is FAT or FAT32 formatted? If so there are many Windows-based recovery tools which you could theoretically try or have a local recovery service try. If the drive is HFS+ then you're mostly limited to OS X tools (built-in or 3rd party) for low level work.

As a general principle, if the data is highly valuable to you, do not keep poking around with different steps. You can easily further damage it where even an expert cannot recover the data.

OTOH, if the value of the data is "nice to have" but not sufficiently critical to warrant paying a recovery service, then you could try various self-directed steps. What these are will depend on the disk format used.
 

RichMilo

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 31, 2013
6
0
Does this mean your Mac boots on the internal drive but you have an external USB HDD which cannot be accessed?
Yes the Mac boots on its own internal SSD as normal. No problems with the Mac at all. The faulty disk is Windows XP (or maybe Vista.. can't remember), and I've hooked it up using a USB to SATA cable. Cable is fine and I've connected various old HDD's using it.

Disk in question was the primary boot disk on the pc, and one day it just stopped working - all I got from the bios was this error code 7.

What are the self directed steps you refer to? I don't mind giving anything a go tbh, it's been around 10 years and I'm just curious about whats on it more than anything. I know there are a few family photos which would be "nice to have"

cheers
Rich
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
...What are the self directed steps you refer to? I don't mind giving anything a go tbh, it's been around 10 years and I'm just curious about whats on it more than anything...
Windows:

SpinRite: https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm
Zero Assumptions Recovery: http://www.z-a-recovery.com/

OS X:

Data Warrior: http://www.alsoft.com/diskwarrior/
Data Rescue: http://www.prosofteng.com/datarescue4/
EasUS Data Recovery Wizard: http://www.easeus.com/landing/mac-data-recovery-software.htm?gclid=CjwKEAiAveWnBRCzjqf4zpuUkGYSJABcoZbHV9l-Q3aYEofjVrN74f5ldFRVFTCX13VZYWz6BebO8RoCIC3w_wcB
R-Studio: http://www.r-studio.com/