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Invisible Laptop HDD

1337 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DavisMcCarn
I 2nd hand bought a 1 TB Toshiba laptop HDD, 2.5 Inch but thicker and nothing seems to see it. It's not a scam because it was all through public/legal channels, the post was professional and offered a 5 day warranty, just that I didn't use it straight up cause I was busy.

The whole laptop can't see it, right from Bios. Neither Windows 7 nor Linux bootable environments and I tried 2 so if I can't even get Gparted to see it then wtf. This was both inside the laptop, and while turned into an external HDD with a rack.

There was only one time that it was seen, in Windows 7 connected to USB as external, so that's why I know it's not busted. The entire thing appeared (with size and all empty too) but I couldn't format it at all and Windows said something that I forget exactly but about it being read only.

So how do I handle that? I tried a few software for seeing it but Google searches often suck for this so I came here asking.

I am looking for some more advanced techniques and tricks for getting it seen, and also I need to ask. The guy said it was tested, but he did it on a MAC. Do MACs have some sort of special file format for their partition too, like ext/swap and that's why I can't see it?
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When it's connected by Usb does it show up in Disk Management (DM) ? Are you sure the Usb caddy/rack works ok ?

It should show up in the Bios and in DM even if it has a Mac filesystem on it.
Yes, Mac uses a different format. Ref:

But the drive should be visible, just not readable.


If it's not recognized by Windows, that would seem to indicate a hardware fault (ie: faulty drive).
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If GParted couldn't see it when it was inside the laptop, it is either defective or something is really hinky in your BIOS. My bet is that the drive is bad.
Well the hdd does screetch pretty sharply when starting but I somehow think that's normal cause I saw big HDD's do that and this is a thicker one at 1 TB, and it says on label that "rattle sound is normal". In any case I see it now, so thanks for the links Oddba11, those helped. I still can't partition it tho'.

So it took a bit of time and a couple plug in and out with rack on USB but Disk Manager managed to see it. It's full empty Unallocated space but when I right click it all options are faded out except seeing properties. I did the command prompt to clean it and made a new MBR but it still wouldn't work to use options and make a new volume. Initializing disk again gives "Data error (cyclic redundancy check)". Oh and the disk does say "not initialized" all the time.

Maybe I should do GPT? I also didn't try those installable drivers/programs for Apple because I don't need to see inside its files, but the one that could format it uses Java Script so I won't risk it until a few days later when I am done with some stuff.

I think I get a feeling for the problem: the HDD takes a while and a few cycles to be seen, so when I try to enter in BIOS (as rack) it just stalls the computer startup, and Linux can't see it still. I think with Linux it's because maybe I need a more stable build and not just bootable, or a different distro (Ubuntu Mate so far).

So updating info and asking for more ideas if there are any? Doesn't Linux have commands similar to the ones I just used and/or Diskmanager (besides Gparted) that might help me see/format it? I want to try from a different distro, but do you guys know one geared towards troubleshooting and rescuing?

I have some screen captures if you want, or let me know what is needed. I'll try again with the same methods tomorrow too just to be sure as well.
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That CRC error, plain and simple, means that the drive is bad (period - and I've been fixing these things for over 41 years, now.)

If you want to prove it, you'll need to cycle its power so it reappears, then go to and download hdtunepro_560_trial.exe which is free for 15 days. I'd suggest you save it before you install it; but, either way, you need to install it and run it.

Select the 1TB drive from the dropdown list at the top.

Look first on the Health tab. The most important numbers are what is in the data (fourth) column for (05) Reallocated Sector Count and (C5)Current Pending Sector. If either one of them is not zero, plain and simple, the drive is failing. As long as it's there, you might want to look at (BF) G-sense Error Rate. The number in the data (fourth) column is how many times the drive has detected excessive shocks.

Even if (05) and (C5) are zero, I would strongly suggest for you to go to the Error Scan tab and run it by clicking Start. It may take hours if you have a one or two TeraByte drive; but, that is the surest test to verify the drive's operation. If even one red box appears, you found the reason.
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Since you don't care about the data on the drive and as a last resort I would try deleting the partition table with TestDisk. If it works it will make the drive seem new and you will have to initialize, partition and format it in Disk Management.

If you want to try it this downloads the best Windows version :-
It asks for a donation but will download even if you don't make one !
Unzip the download to a folder then run testdisk_win.exe

Select No Log (with up down arrow keys) then press Enter
Select the correct drive *THIS IS VITAL*, make absolutely sure it's the correct one.
Proceed (default) then press Enter
Intel (default) press Enter
Select Delete (check Again that it's the correct drive) then press Enter
Enter Y to confirm
Now reboot the computer.

If all went well open Disk Managment to Initialize, partition and format the drive.
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CRC means Cyclic Redundancy Check and consists of the sum of all of the one's bits in the data for each sector. Once in a blue moon, I see a hard disk drive where this can be fixed by rewriting every sector on the drive (its called a disk wipe); but, in combination with the drive disappearing when you get the error, says to me that the drive is bad. Since it is completely impossible to repair a modern hard disk drive, the drive is toast and you need to get another one.
@DavisMcCan You're probably right but there's no harm in trying the TestDisk partition table delete.
I was hella busy so didn't even get around to working on it more, but sucks to hear that. I was worried it might even be something like the guy himself not figuring it out, if all he did was a basic check on a HDD he happened to recover.

I should still try out some stuff just in case and for kicks, so thanks for the suggestions. Wanted just to update on why I was not responding.

Although Davis, the drive doesn't disappear when I get the error, it just never shows up in the first place, soooo..better or worse? Lol. At least one time Windows was able to see it but said it could only be read or whatever. I was kind of skeptical so far because the laptop is old too so maybe they just don't match that well.
If a hard disk drive appears as a device (SATA, PATA, eSATA, USB, SCSI, FireWire, it doesn't care), HDTune is the test to find out if it is healthy or failing. The SMART attributes are reported from the drive itself and the error scan simply reads every sector on the drive. I use it on an almost daily basis and especially like that you have to jump through hoops in order to make it write anything.
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