30 November 2010

Hard drive recovery project, part 1

Back in August 2009 I bought a new Dell Desktop as part of a back-to-school special and loaded it up with a ton of RAM and a few other nice upgrades.  Everything had been working great until I came home a few weeks ago and was greeted with a black screen and a message that there was no bootable drive available. Oops!

Figuring it was just a one-time error, I rebooted the computer.  Same result.  I power-cycled the computer.  Still no joy.

At this point I am getting frustrated, but there are still a lot of possibilities.  I powered off the computer, opened it up and checked and re-seated the power and SATA cables.  Fired the computer back up, nothing.  At this point I should add that the desktop had not been moved at all, so the possibility of physical damage to drive, while possible, was not high on my list of suspects.  And yes, I recognize that physical damage could indeed occur without moving the drive.  It just seemed (and seems) an unlikely culprit.

I pulled the drive and found a friend whose computer was SATA-capable (all of my older computers were not). I figured that I could further isolate the problem if the drive worked in his box.  The answer was that no, the drive did not work in his box.  In fact, to our best observation the drive wasn't even spinning up, at all.

To be continued...
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