The hard drive making noise was a Western Digital WD3200AAKS model that came to us from a lawyer in Goddard whose secretary’s computer stopped working. They reported the computer stopped working but they could hear some clicking noises coming from the machine when they tried to boot it up. The drive was the main drive inside the computer and held important data as well as the operating system and programs the firm needed to run smoothly.
Recovering a hard drive making noise
The symptom was reported as the hard drive making weird noises and not showing up on any computer. This drive did indeed go to a computer repair shop before us, and that shop told the client the drive would likely need a lab recovery due to the clicking noises it was making. Most computer repair shops will listen to a drive like this and automatically think it has an internal problem of some kind. It sounds like a motor issue, heads issue, or some other major issue requiring a platter swap or similar.
We discussed the recovery with the client and told them about our affordable Lab recovery rate if indeed it needed internal parts replaced as they suspected. They agreed to drop off the computer and let us know they would be happy to pay for a Lab recovery if it was needed.
Inspecting the Western Digital drive
Once the drive was dropped off, I started with an inspection as usual. I noted everything looked good on the inside of the drive. No damage to the heads and no platter damage at all. I connected the drive to my PC-3000 to check on firmware, but it would not get ready and I could not access any of the firmware on the drive.
Swapping the 2060-771590-001 REV A PCB
With this WD4300AAKS model hard drive, sometimes this “hard drive making noise” behavior is actually due to a problem with the printed circuit board (PCB) rather than something internal to the drive. I had a compatible donor PCB in stock (I try to keep as many parts as possible in stock), so I swapped the original PCB for the donor PCB. Moving the ROM over went smoothly and the drive booted right up with no odd noises!
Safely imaging the hard drive
Even if the PCB is likely the only issue, you still treat every drive like a delicate recovery. I continued to the PC-3000 to prepare the drive for imaging. Configuring the drive for imaging just means turning off all the features that could cause problems during the imaging process. In this case, I was able to get 100% of the sectors on the drive during the first imaging pass.
Cloning the recovery
The client requested that I attempt to clone the data to another 3.5 inch drive directly and they would see if it would boot their original computer. Booting a computer from a cloned drive doesn’t always work, but in this case, an exact clone did the trick and the computer booted right up off the new drive and they were able to get back to work right away.
Recover hard drive making noise
Drive info: Western Digital, WD3200AAKS, 320GB 3.5″, WWN: 50014EE057E09055, WD4300AAKS-75L9A0, DATE: 30 NOV 2010, DCM: HBNNNTJCH, DCX: 0001LD292, R/N: 771590, Firmware A0