Troubleshooting Hard Disk DriveMarch 23, 2010
There are many troubleshooting problems in your computer. There might be a problem in your operating but problem such as cannot read sectors error while reading the drive; it is an indication that there are some bad spots on the drive. These bad spots normally are fixed by reformatting the hard drive. A good alternative is to purchase a program from the company Gibson Research which has pioneered the hard drive test software. There is various troubleshooting instruction.
There may be some type of electrical connection problem Make sure the cable connections are correct. Check the 4-wire connector that carries power and makes sure it is properly plugged in. This connector has a taper on one end and cannot be put on backwards. When power is first applied to the computer, the hard drive light will momentarily come on which is a good indication that the drive is getting power.
Also the vibration of the spinning platter and the slight hum will verify that the drive is plugged in. Next check the data ribbon cable. This cable is a flat cable with a one edge colored red or blue to indicate the location of pin 1.
There may be some problems in the cables and they might be having a small tab in the center of the connector’s edge. On many hard drives pin 1 is the pin closest to the power supply connection, but not always, so check the hard drive documentation or look on this site in Hard Drives and locate your model.
You can find hard drive documentation on this site simply by using the index on top of each page to find the manufacturer and then on the manufacturers page will be a listing which would have links to each product and the technical support documents. Older drives are on different pages then newer drives. Once you find the page where the manufacturer’s products are listed, look at the top of the page for a link that says Older Models and you will find them listed there.
If all the cables are connected properly, and power is applied, you should be able to hear and feel the drive spinning. If the drive is not spinning, turn off the power and try using a different power plug. If the drive is not spinning then it is probably bad. The hard drive controller has failed A controller failure is usually indicated by an error at boot up. There is not much that can be done except to replace the hard drive. See hard drive error codes 3.
The hard drive has failed physically There can be two indications for this condition. The drive is not spinning. To troubleshoot this condition you need to physically access the drive while the computer is on. With the cover off, look at the drive and find the side which has NO components. With your hand touch that side and try to feel the spinning of the hard drive platter.
A typical hard drive has a small amount of vibration and a slight whine. The hard drive head has crashed onto the platter. This usually causes the drive to emit unusual sounds sometimes grinding and many times repeating on a regular basis. A normal hard drive has a smooth whine so it should be easy to identify the bad drive by just listening.
The hard drive has failed electronically. This will be indicated by an error message during the computer boot cycle. Not much can be done in this condition other then replace the drive. In most of the cases, the electrical fluctuations causes the problems in the hard disk.