Reviving old hard drives

From: Barry Watzman <>
Date: Sun Jan 2 18:08:01 2005

Yes, there is something that can sometimes be done in cases like this (hard
drive won't spin up).

SOMETIMES, the problem is that the lubricant used on the platter surface
has, over time, effectively "glued" the heads to the platter, a problem
called "stiction".

SOMETIMES, when this has happened, you can "break the platters free" and get
the drive to work again. Two things to note, not all instances of "not
spinning up" are caused by this, and sometimes the adhesion is so strong
that the heads will rip off of their positioning arms before they will let
go of the platters. But, in any case, there is nothing to be lost by

The procedure is to hold the drive in your hand and give your hand (wrist) a
sharp, impulsive "snap spin" centered around the axis of the platter.
Sometimes, if this doesn't work with the drive powered off, it will work if
the drive is powered up while doing this. The point here is to use
rotational inertia to break the "bond" of the head to the platter.

One other note, some early Seagate drives (esp. ST-225, 238 and 251 series)
are VERY sensitive to the voltage on the 12 volt rail, and the drive won't
work (either the spindle or the servo system won't work) if the +12 volt
supply is even one-quarter volt low.
Received on Sun Jan 02 2005 - 18:08:01 GMT

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