Hard drive failure

February 12, 2010
Seagate Barracuda ST15150WD 4.26GB 7200RPM SCS...

Image by purpaboo via Flickr

This week I have been asked to fix a computer by someone that I know, he has the computer a little over a year now and it has suddenly stopped working for him. Once the computer starts up you see the manufacturers splash screen, then nothing! It just stays there.

I thought it was a bit strange after a while of looking about I saw that the computer was not recognising the hard drive that was in the computer! Next I popped open the computer and with great difficulty I managed to get out the enclosure that holds the hard drive in place.

This was now the perfect time to use my external hard drive cables that I bought a while back, I connected the cables up and into my computer and turned the power on and the drive begun to spin, but no usb drive was detected. I thought that was a bit strange because every drive I connected before always got picked up by the computer.

So my last test was to power down my pc, disconnect my hard drive and plug in his hard drive, when I did this I got the same problem as his computer, it would boot to the manufacturers splash screen and go no further, this is when I knew the hard drive had failed. So I reconnected my hard drive and after a bit of online searching I found that the make of this hard drive had actually being given an unbelievable amount of problems, everyone had the same problem as the hard drive I have.

It turn out this hard drive (Seagate Barracuda) would work perfectly one day and you would shut the pc down normally and the next day it would just not work. So basically the hard drive is bricked. The problem apparently was to do with the firmware on the hard drive itself, there is now a fix released for the hard drive which will prevent this from happening, however if your hard drive has already been bricked then there is no way to flash the new firmware onto it.

There is a way to fix these hard drives, someone found this hack that would work involving getting a Nokia Mobile cable and connecting it to the hard drives pins and using HyperTerminal or putty to send commands to it, I think it looks a bit complex so decided not to give it a go.

After a while of looking for a new hard drive online I quickly realised how expensive some people are selling them for. I decided I would go for a Western Digital hard drive as they are the most reliable.

Most hard drives I looked up cost around €70.00 , The current hard drive in the computer had a capacity of 500gb so I asked him if he wanted more space, and since he does a lot of multimedia work he said he could do with a bit more, so we went to the next available size which was 640gb.

The cheapest place I found this hard drive was on Komplett where it was just €54.78, not bad so before I ordered it I said I will have a look in Pc world here in town and the price was just mental, they were selling a 500gb hard drive for around €140.00! Not a chance I was going to buy it from them, so I ordered it from komplett.

The funny thing is that the UK PC world are selling the same hard drive as the Irish PC world for only €70.00! It is ridiculas the way they can have such a huge difference in their prices, so much for a chain store, I thought they all kept their prices the same!