Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked!

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles' started by Adrian Wong, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    That's the gamble you have to take if you are using cheap PSU. If I knew my PSU would blew up and kill every single thing connected, I wouldn't have a completely dead system requiring me to replace almost every single part.
  2. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    You should get those. Not expensive and it's better than having power cut from your PC.

    Huh.. Isn't that obvious? These are delicate electronics that can only withstand a small range of voltages. If you feed a wire too much voltage, what happens? It overheats and melts. Same thing happens to the computer components.
  3. Keiichi

    Keiichi Newbie

    motherboard problem

    My friend is a computer teacher and has five computers at home. One of his computers got nuked. A service centre suspected that the motherboard got killed. He then transferred his Lan card from the nuked motherboard to another machine and the new motherboard showed the same symptoms as the motherboard that got nuked before. Could it happen that his lan card killed his motherboard?
    And Can nuked motherboard be repaired ? Please answer, anyone
  4. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    I've already deleted your earlier post due to off topic and double posting. Please start your own thread in a relevant section. Thank you.

    This thread is meant for discussing HDD myths, not troubleshooting your motherboard problem.
  5. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked! Rev. 3.3

    This guide was written in response to the numerous fallacies about the hard disk drive that are still being propagated in many forum discussions. Although many articles have covered these topics, it is apparent that hard disk urban legends are still more popular than the simple truth.

    So, let's get down to basics and examine some of these common fallacies or myths and debunk them! Here are the latest list of updates :

    Link : Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked! Rev. 3.3
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  6. belikethat

    belikethat Just Started

    quotes for the LOLs

  7. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    LOL!! Glad you liked those. :haha: :haha:
  8. DXMage

    DXMage Newbie

    I would say on 25 that you can't really use a hard drive with out software that the hard drive manufactures cheated and should go to prison =)

    26 and 27 are not entirely accurate.

    26. On older drives where the bearings are not fluid and worn out the method has worked on more than one occasion (four different customers) . It isn't required to freeze the drive either. Only to get it MUCH cooler than normal. This is also is helpful with drives that are failing to recalibrate properly, you get a little more time cooling the drive down significantly. Again it isn't required nor recommended to freeze them. But if you are having issues getting data off the drive and you don't want to spend a thousand bucks on getting the data off it is certainly worth a shot and has worked for me. Cooling the drive to 40 degrees Fahrenheit should be a good start point.

    27 Actually Google did a study on this and found that cooling the drives beyond a certain point caused failure rates to increase slightly research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf The thing here is that at temps over 40c the failure rate shot up significantly at least at the three year mark. The report also mentioned that certain brands have a higher failure rate but Google wouldn't state what brands those were.

    Over all a pretty good read.
  9. Outcast

    Outcast Newbie


    Hi and Happy Holidays!

    Just a quick question/myth, does cloning hard disk reduce lifespan?
  10. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Thanks!! Will check out #26. As for #27, I've seen that study as well. Will relook into it as well.
  11. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Short answer - no. Thanks for the myth. Will add that to the guide.
  12. Grave

    Grave Newbie

    let me debunk the myth 25's myth :D
    hope you learn something new today because in IT the old and outdated knowledge is useless, you have to learn everyday :)

    more at Definitions of the SI units: The binary prefixes

  13. siberx

    siberx Newbie

    I would have also considered the "freezing trick" a myth myself - if it weren't for the fact that I'd successfully used it many times in my work to recover data from hard drives. I do tech repair at a computer store, and myself and my fellow employees have all found that cooling a drive down in a fridge/freezer can, occasionally, allow the drive to read for short periods to recover data.

    As ElBeano mentions, it is by no means a sure-fire fix, but I can guarantee it does occasionally work and allow an otherwise dead hard drive to perform some recovery before it warms up again. My best guesses as to the reason behind it lie with either cooling of nearly-failed chips on the controller board allowing them to operate stably for short periods, an expansion/contraction situation altering contact somewhere, or the lowered temperature altering the magnetic domains/alignment on the platter and permitting easier reading.
  14. basic

    basic Newbie


    As some people above have mentioned, "Myth #26" (Freezing a hard drive) is not a myth, it is just that some people try to use the 'freezing' trick on drives that it would never apply to.

    I will attempt to explain to you a situation in which the trick does in fact work.

    I've been working at small computer shops since I was 14 and I have personally had this trick work for me no less than 4 times.

    The last time I used it I remember extremely well so I will only detail it instead of the other times- my memory gets fuzzy when you start going in excess of 4 years back. Anyway, it was only about a year and a half ago:

    A woman I worked with had a laptop at home with all sorts of important data on it, and she kept telling me at work that occasionally her computer would squeak really loudly at her... I thought, yeah sure whatever bring it sometime. She didn't. So one day weeks later she frantically tells me that it made a loud 'clunk' sound and now it wouldn't start up into windows. So she finally brings it in.

    I take her laptop drive out, hook it up to a 2.5->3.5 IDE interface converter to hook it up to my workstation and I note that the drive simply is not spinning... I think to myself, 'Well. So much for that. Poor lady.'

    I give the drive a tilt and I feel (and hear) the platter make half a rotation. I realize that what is happening is that some part within the drive is causing the platter to be seized. I give it a few more shakes and the platter attempts to make a few revolutions- but the spins are never even remotely at 'full speed', I could sense that it was grinding and not freely spinning at all. I just happened to have a spare laptop drive of the same model in my office that had developed bad sectors- so just as a test (being rather certain that this wasn't the problem) I switched the controller boards. Not surprisingly, that didn't help anything, so I switched them back.

    Realizing that the platter is not able to freely spin I resorted to sealing the drive in a static bag and letting it sit in a freezer on top of ice for 24ish hours. After this 24 hour period I quickly move it from the freezer to my waiting workstation, I hook it up and the drive spins far better than it did the day before, but not at all 100% freely-- and as it does so it makes an insanely loud squeaking sound of metal grinding on metal-- I've heard literally hundreds if not thousands of 'bad harddrive sounds' in my days, but I have never heard a hard drive, much less a laptop drive, make a sound this loud before- nor have I heard such afterward. You could hear it from my office in almost the entire rest of the building. So the freezing trick certainly did contract the metal just enough to allow it to freely spin a little bit better- but not all the way. Realizing that this is her last hope (aside from sending it to a data recovery specialist who will take out the platters-- which she couldn't afford) I made the decision to go all or nothing- while the drive is plugged in and attempting to spin I dropped it roughly a foot and a half onto my desk, three times. (With the drive pointing up and down vertically -- NOT horizontally (if the drive were positioned horizontally there is a much greater likelyhood that the heads at the end of the actuator arms will literally 'crash' into the disc, possibly damaging both the platters and the heads. If the heads are damaged, you are toast.)

    The third time I dropped it onto my desk-- success.It's freely spinning making no bad noise at all. I restart my machine (which I had sitting in the BIOS, I wouldn't recommend doing what I did inside of windows. Removing or toying with most SATA or IDE devices inside of windows can cause very quirky behavior if the controller isn't specifically designed for that), verify that the drive is detected by the BIOS, allow the drive on my machine to boot into windows, copy her desktop and my documents, and very soon after the drive makes a loud clunk sound never to spin again. (Very likely the exact same clunk sound she heard when it stopped working the first time)

    Now, situations in which the freezer trick will not work are situations like the 'click of death'. That is almost always a problem with one of the actuator arm heads on your drive, and no amount of freezing will fix that.
  15. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hmm.. I don't doubt that there are many anecdotal evidence that this "freezing" trick actually works, but I wonder how does it actually help... Maybe we can get mikegas to help out with this. :think:
  16. mikegas

    mikegas Newbie

    I wanted to try this out before but didn't in the end. Have to kill a perfectly good drive to do this. I do not know what behind the theory but if the drive is in a freezer when it start defrosting, the water condensation might causes some particle to stick and kill the drives too.

    Another thing to try on the to do list, is to make HDD into speakers ... :)
  17. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    I have a recently deceased Hitachi mobile HDD, if you wanna give it a try. :D
  18. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked! Rev. 4.0

    This guide was written in response to the numerous fallacies about the hard disk drive that are still being propagated in many forum discussions.

    As you read through this guide, you may think that some of these myths may have been made up. We wished that was true. We collected these myths from various discussions we heard or read over time.

    So, let's get down to basics and examine some of these common fallacies or myths and debunk them!


    Link : Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked! Rev. 4.0
  19. zy

    zy zynine.com Staff Member

    I tried the freezing method before, it didn't work for me. Did you know what worked? leave the hard disk alone for couple of months. :haha:
  20. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Seriously?? You just left it alone for a few months and it started working?? What kind of problem did this HDD have in the first place?

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