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Tech Helproom

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Running old external hdd + formating etc


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Hi gang,

I want to check the contents an old hdd before I get rid of it. It’s taken me 2 days to remove it from the Polar Tower case – not sure what the form factor is, but it takes a large Legend QDI m.board. I had to strip the whole case down to get at one retaining screw in the base of the drive !

The drive is an IBM DTTA-351010 E182115HG (IDE). I’ve Googled it & it seemed to be a good bit of kit – at the time.

I’ve connected it to a USB via an Adapter Cable kit – to my SATA desktop. I’ve used this on other HDD’s, & it was o.k.

The drive starts & runs o.k. The lights on the adapter work o.k. The machine recognises that I have another drive (set to Master), but won’t let me open it. It says it needs formatting. I’m guessing that its formatted to FAT/FAT32 – my machine is NTFS.

Of course, if I format it, I’ll lose everything on it.

I don’t recall having this problem with the other hdd’s that I’ve looked at, but I can’t really remember what either they, or my machine, was formatted to at the time.

Any ideas how to get round this please ?

As a last resort - and if I can find a PS2 rodent & k.board - I may be able to get it running in the original Polar case.

Many thanks

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Cheers LV:

I've just been looking at the pros'n'cons of the freezer method. If all else fails, that will be a last resort.

When you say make an 'image', I'm assuming you mean when or after I get to read it ?

Again, if all else fails, I'll get a cheapo to put in the old kit,,,, in fact, I have a couple that came out of my current desktop when I rebuilt it.

Its just that it'd be nice to finally see what's on it before I lose it.

thanks again

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yes, you need to be able to read it to make an image, hope you manage get access to it.

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I took the cover off & started it up. I knew it was spinning, but wanted to see if anything was physically jammed/broken.

Before I plug in the data cable, the platter just spins – with the arm at rest near the outer edge.
When I plug in the data, I see the arm skim across the platter.
The Red LED (USB) on the data cable/adapter lights up confirming connection to USN section. The Green LED (IDE/BUSY) lights up sometimes flickers, like a PC/Drive lamp when its ‘reading’, which I think shows that its reaching the ‘Computer’ Drive list.

Now I have the cover off, I can see what makes the ‘clicking’ – it is the arm moving across the platter. It goes once, then twice – repeatedly: 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 . After each travers, there is a noise a bit like scraping. This occurs twice each time. Although I can’t see what’s causing it, I don’t think it has anything to do with anything touching the platter, as that’s spinning too fast. If anything was touching, it would be heard a lot faster.

When I unplug the data, this noise stops and the platter still spins. When I unplug the power supply, the arm returns to the centre of the platter.

I was half thinking of removing the platter to look for more evidence, but because the noise stops, I don’t think its worth it.

a) I don’t think I’ll try the freezer method. Even if wrapped/sealed fully, the ambient moisture in the unit would condense.

b) I might try to get another unit - if cheap enough - & transfer the platters. Hopefully this would enable me to retrieve my data, then have a hdd to sell – whichever one works.

c) If all else fails, I might just give up, and re format it – though it’d be a shame to miss what might still be on there,,,,,

Thanks all for your help so far.

I’ll update when I have more.

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