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BSOD while defraggling, hard drive gone


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I was defragging a hard drive that was rather substantially fragmented. Apparently WoW alone will cause quite a mess on a hard drive. The process was nearing the end, Defraggler was going through numerous 1GB files in a row and then there was a BSOD.


It flashed by before I could even react. PC booted up just fine afterwards, except not all of it. One Hard drive (physical one, on which the drive being defragmented was) didn't show up in Windows. Nor did it show up in BIOS anymore.


There is an ungodly amount of event spam in event viewer,

An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk1\DR1 during a paging operation. (event ID 51) all within two seconds. 48654 events to be exact.


Seems like something somewhere didn't go according to a plan.


What should/could I do now? Other than buy a new hard drive. I'd like to salvage the data there. Not just Wow, it was a 2TB drive after all.

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If the HDD is not being detected by either Windows nor your BIOS then it's not a good sign. Could be an issue with the PCB failing to even power up and identify itself. 


Defragging a large amount of data is very taxing on the HDD and can bring about failure if a drive is already nearing death. Always keep that in mind when it comes to defragging HDD's that won't see a benefit from increased seek/read performance (i.e. backup drives that aren't often accessed). In your case that's not really applicable since you were defragging your games HDD, but keep it in mind for future HDD's.


Usually if you've got bad sectors or even a catastrophic physical failure, the HDD should still at the very least self identify in the BIOS. If you don't see anything and don't want to spend money recovering, start off with these basic steps. This might not be scientific but this is what i'd personally do if i was in your situation.


1. Disconnect the HDD and replace the SATA cable. Plug the HDD into a different SATA port on your motherboard and test. Try to use a port which you know is working (i.e., where another HDD is plugged in, or your CD drive, etc).

2. Failing the above, try another computer if you have access to one.


If that fails, move on:


1. Disconnect all other hard drives and peripherals, and any case fans if applicable to reduce the amount of noise your computer can make.

2. Turn on your computer with the drive connected and see if you can hear it spin up, if it's making any ticking noises.

3. If you don't hear anything, try removing it from the case, but leave the power and SATA cables connected then turn it on again and put your ear up against it. Any spin up sound or ticking?

4. If you can hear ticking, is it a constant ticking/knocking noise in a rhythm?


If you can hear constant ticking (i.e. the tick of death), then you've got a mechanical failure which will need professional data recovery.


If no ticking noise but you can hear it spinning up OR, if you can't hear anything at all and it seems to be dead:


1. Remove the HDD from your computer

2. Install it into a USB caddy (3.5" HDD USB caddy, can be bought for cheap)

3. Boot into windows and connect the drive, test again.


If still nothing, then try reseating the PCB (printed circuit board).


1. Remove the PCB from the HDD by undoing a few screws (usually little torx screws) on the belly of the HDD.

2. After you've removed the screws it can sometimes take a LITTLE BIT of force to pop off the PCB as it might be stuck down with thermal paste, light glue, or sticky thermal pads. It shouldn't require excessive force to remove.


It will look like this once removed:




3. Check the gold contacts and ensure they're clean.

4. If not, clean with high purity rubbing alcohol and a q-tip then reattach.

5. Start at the top and try testing again.


If still no luck,

1. Remove the PCB again, and note any part numbers, revision, firmware, etc, on the PCB

2. Jump onto eBay, or contact a data recovery centre and see if you can purchase a replacement PCB.

3. MAKE 100% SURE to find the exact same PCB again, including part number, firmware, and revision.

4. Once you purchase a new one, once again, fit it back onto the HDD (after cleaning the gold contacts), and test once more.

If after all that it's still dead, you can start trying weird stuff like putting the HDD into a freezer (Google "HDD freezer") and so on, or look into professional data recovery.


Hope that helps.

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