Hard Drive Failure – Possible Fix by Cleaning Contacts

As a computer repair technician that has years of data recovery experience, with a hard drive failure, I thought I would share a possible fix. This fix may NOT be permanent. However, at the very least this tip may give you enough time to get that all important data off of your hard drive.

Many times mechanical hard drives start failing, even though you cannot hear any noises that may indicate a failing hard drive. You will most likely need a hexadecimal tool as most desktop mechanical drives have hexadecimal screws. These screws are also known as star screws.

What you want to do is remove the circuit board from your hard drive. I had a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 80 gigabyte mechanical hard drive that started failing. I could NOT fix Windows 10 installation on it.

Windows 10 would NOT boot properly. Also, I tried wiping this hard drive with Darik’s Boot and Nuke program, but that program failed pretty quickly. I thought I would try to clean the contacts that the circuit board connects to the hard drive.

You are NOT working on heads, platters, etc. so you do NOT need a cleaning room for this tip. Once you get the circuit board removed then look for the connections on the board. Match them up with the hard drive.

You will want to either use a pencil eraser and or rubbing alcohol, which is also known as isopropyl alcohol. I would recommend 99 percent isopropyl alcohol. You can purchase this type of alcohol at grocery, hardware, and other retail stores.

I would NOT use any kind of liquid cleaning agents. Clean the gold contacts that connect the circuit board to the rest of the hard drive. You will notice that these contacts get dirty and look brownish.

Even just an eraser will clean off this grime. On some hard drives these contacts will be silver instead of gold. You want to rub enough to remove off this oxidated buildup.

Make the gold and or silver contacts shiny again. Now just connect the circuit board back properly and tighten all screws. Some contacts are more like a slot where by small pins snap into them.

These contacts can just be metal on metal contacts. Just try to line up the circuit board to the screw holes and press down making sure the board is flush with the hard drive. You can try this trick with mechanical laptop hard drives as well.

Now you can go ahead and try to boot off of this hard drive and or try to access date from it. This trick does NOT always work, but I have experienced enough successful tries, that it is worth trying. Again at the very least you might be able to access your data, have a still failing hard drive, or one that will last a little while longer.

The Seagate hard drive I mentioned earlier in this blog post, actually now works and I was able to install Windows 10 on it. This tip is in case you need to get data off your hard drive, not necessarily as a permanent fix.