HDD failure and recovery

Discussion in 'iMac' started by onesh0t, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. onesh0t macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2011
    I had a HDD failure on my iMac. It's a May 2011 bought late October last year. The HDD is the basic 500gb. Now I have some data on that drive that I would like recovered which unfortunately wasn't backed up. After complaining to the Apple Store 3 times they decided to give me the drive just to get rid off me ;) HDD recovery procedures are extremely costly, so I'm tempted to try it myself.

    What happened to the drive?
    I powered up the iMac in the morning just to hear a big grinding noise. I powered it down. I powered it up again after a few minutes, but same thing occured, so I powered it down and took it to the Apple Store in the afternoon. After booting it in the Apple Store, there was no noise, but the iMac wouldn't boot. The drive wasn't visible from Disk Utility either.

    What's your guess? Head crash?

    Most companies quote between £300 and £1000 for data recovery. A drive from Amazon is £45 with super saver delivery and I'll be proficient enough to replace bits inside of it and test. Especially if anybody had a diagram handy.

    All tips would be greatly appreciated.
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Sadly, I think it is a complete loss.
    No way you can change the internals of the old HHD to the new one, they are assembled in a clean room, any spec of dust will influence the HDD.

    Edit: What you could try is to put it in an external casing and try if the system sees it, if it shows up backup ASAP, the faster the better.
  3. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    As said already buy an external box to put it in and try to mount it on your desktop. When you're finished get a new drive an build that one in your box and set up time machine or another backup system like super duper or carbon copy cloner.
  4. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    So, I'm presuming you've got your iMac fixed and that what you want to do is change bits of your old hard drive until it works. In the first place you'd need something to connect the old drive to your iMac. You can get an enclosure that will allow you to mount your old drive as a USB device, which means that you can start tinkering with it.

    But, from your description, it sounds like a mechanical failure. I wouldn't hold out much hope for a repair.
  5. twistedbydesign, Oct 1, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012

    twistedbydesign macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2008
    I know this sounds VERY strange. However, my room mate used to work at geek squad at bestbuy and he said they used to have a freezer where they could put failed hard drives and they would work temporarily after being in there for a while. I don't know why this would work (shrinking of the components maybe?) and I doubt it worked every time.
    If you run out of options it's definitely worth a try. I dont think it would cause any damage.

    I've never tried it myself, I'm just going off what he told me. He's not the type to make up stories so I assume there's some validity to it. It's something to consider as a last ditch effort i suppose. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
    I guess it'd be more complex with an imac since by the time you put it back together the HD wouldnt be cold. So maybe an enclosure would be a good route if you did try this.

    Good luck!


    Just so you know I'm not making this up: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Save_Your_Hard_Drive_by_Freezing_It

    Actually, There is a disclaimer on that one saying that freezing is a BAD idea. I guess proceed at your own risk. Like I said, I never tried it. it was just something i heard of.
  6. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    Yep, this is a very popular "last resort" type of procedure. I did it to one of my drives years ago before I became more judicious about backing up. As a matter of fact, this WAS the event that got me convinced that I needed a true back up strategy and not just some haphazard cobbled together process. I was able to get most of my data off of it before it heated up and stopped working. Subsequent freezings did not help.
  7. JootecFromMars macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Unfortunately I feel this could be another lesson learnt the hard way. How many people don't think they need to back up their hard drive until their first failure? There have been a number of similar posts over recent days.

    Apple make it so simple with Time Machine. There is no reason not to. External HD's are quite cheap these days. And easily worth it for peace of mind and no heartache later.

    Some use Carbon Copy Cloner - I use it to back up an external HD used solely for my iTunes library to another external HD every day - but IMO Time Machine is your best option for backing up your internal HD.
  8. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    I'm sad for you.
    My friend used to say there were two types of people: Those who back up and those who will.

    Outside of the expensive data recovery I don't have anything helpful to add.

    Time Machine makes it SO easy to backup, get a second drive, plug it in, turn it on and never worry about this again!
  9. thestickman, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012

    thestickman macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
    Got the email from Apple about the drive issue. Mine's not been in my iMac for months since I installed a SSD in it. Anyway, I thought what the heck and called Apple support cuz I still use the drive externally.<shrug> There's a 10 minute queue to talk to someone. I ain't waiting 10 minutes on hold, hearing gosh awful music for anything.

    So I decided to try online and found the "we'll call you" thing. They called me and "auto-voice man" told me it would be 15 minutes before I spoke with anyone.

    You'd think the wealthiest and most creative company on the planet would prepare a bit before sending out that email. :rolleyes::

    EDIT: Got another call from Apple. Someone picked up the line right quick. They determined I was eligible for a new drive & I asked that one be sent to our home. The fella said just a minute then told me he needed to speak to a supervisor about how to do that. After 2-3 minutes he came back on the line to apologize cuz' there was a 10 minute queue before he would get to speak with a supervisor. Tonight must be circus night at Apple lol

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