These are some real problems experienced by HD501LJ and Samsung hard drives in general that we see in our lab. We are not affiliated in any way with hard drive manufacturers. All the information below is based solely on our experience and we do not make any claims regarding reliability of the specific model. We see mostly failed drives in our lab and therefore we don't have complete statistics.
The drive is a Samsung. The electronics on the drive have a dead short and shuts down any power supply the drive is connected to.
South Dakota, USA
One of the most common problems Samsung SpinPoint hard drives experience is burnt cuircuit board(PCB). Samsung drives are very vulnerable to power overheating and power surges. Often bad power supply unit combined with power streak is enough to burn spindle driver chip on the electronics and make data inaccessible. Should this occur the computer would reboot itself or shutdown completely, you would normally notice acrid smell and smoke and the drive will no longer spin up.
If this is the case you can try to swap PCB from another hard drive of the same model but the chances of success, especially on newer hard drives, are close to zero. The problem is that logic board on modern hard drive is adapted to the head disk assembly it was manufactured with. In our lab we use specialized software and hardware to rebuild these adaptive parameters in ROM to make donor PCB fully compatible with damaged drive.
What I think happened is my power supply malfunctioned (now dead) and fried the logic boards on my two drives. So, they don't spin up; no sounds. I'm looking for a ballpark estimate here. It was all personal data, but it's a lot of years worth of stuff I've accumulated. So, I'm trying to decide recovery is worth the price. Drive is a Samsung(HD501LJ).
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Samsung hard drives could also suffer from firmware problems. If part of firmware becomes corrupted the drive fails to initialize correctly and stops working as expected. The drive usually sounds normal but does not identify in BIOS or shows up with zero capacity. If you attempt to boot up from such drive or read any data from it you would get "Primary Master Hard Disk Fail", "No operating system found" or "Disk boot failure" or some other SMART error on boot up.
Another quite common symptom Samsung drives experience is clicking/knocking sound. The drive spins up and and the head starts clicking right from the beginning with a constant or intermittent sound: , , . Most often this a sign of damaged heads and it means this drive needs to be opened in class 100 cleanroom in order to swap head assembly from matching donor. Don't try to open the drive by yourself - most likely you will damage the platters and make your data unrecoverable.
There is one more problem that is typical for all hard drives and Samsung drives particularly: bad sectors. After some period of time magnetic media starts to degrade and bad sectors appear.
I accidentally touched a screwdriver to the circuit card on the bottom while the drive was energized and running. I know, it was a bone-head thing to do and I know better. However, the damage is done. The board let out a puff of smoke and the drive ceased to operate. I believe the platters are fine and the board has no noticeable damage but obviously it has been damaged to some extent.
North Dakota, USA
Whenever the drive hits such unreadable area it could start freezing, ticking, scratching and sometimes even clicking: . This leads to further damage to the media and causes more data loss. As soon as you start experiencing such symptoms while reading important files stop your computer immediately and consider talking to a professional. Any further attempts would just add up to the problems. In our lab we use special imaging hardware tools that are capable of reading raw sector data ignoring sector checksum check. That's usually the only way to retrieve as much data as possible from these sectors.
If you experience any of the symptoms described above with your Samsung HD501LJ please feel free to contact us to get upfront quote on data recovery from your failed drive.
If you hear your Samsung hard drive making some other unusual noises visit our Hard Drive Sounds page for more examples.
We have seen a number of websites lately cloning information from our pages.
Stay away from those companies. They can steal information but they can't steal knowledge and experience.
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