Back in February my Seagate Barracuda 200Gb died. All pictures, music and videos had gone with it. I’ve been using it with an USB external case since my laptop has limit storage (60gb), I had no backup, nothing.

The first thing that I did was jump into Google and  look for a hard drive recovery service in my area. Lucky me, the first result was relatively close to my work, so at lunch time I was there dropping the HDD to get a quote. Half a hour later I got an email with the quote of AU$ 1600, which is almost the price of buying 10 hard drives of 500Gb each.

I was completely horrified, I knew that data recovery services were expensive but even expensive has a limit, that quote was very far beyond from my limit.

So, back to Google again. This time looking for how to recover a hard drive. I knew (as you can see from the picture below) that the issue was on the circuit board, which had a burned part, so I was looking how to replace a PCB (Printed Circuit Board). It is amazing the amount of forums that you can find with people asking for tips how to fix their HDDs.

In one of those forums I have learned that I should match the model, part number and firmware, other than of course the hard drive capacity and RPM. Once I could get hold of a PCB with these settings I could replace the faulty one with the new and it should work.

fixed hard drive

The hard drive with the new PCB and the old PCB with the black mark.

Now I was getting close, I started to believe that it would be possible to fix my hard drive, all that I needed was another hard drive with the same specifications and functional and that shouldn’t be difficult to find, right? Wrong.

Long history… short…, after months on eBay trying to find a HDD that would match I gave up and went back to Google trying to find another solution.

That was when I found the Dead Hard Drive website, created by a guy that had the same problem that I was facing but back in 2002, along with the site there is an awesome forum where I found “light” to my problem.

Someone has posted a link on the forum where to get hard drive PCBs and that’s how I got to Ultratec a company in UK that sells hard drive parts. I found exactly what I needed. I ordered and 3 days later and with AU$ 151 less on my pocket the new circuit board was on my door.

To replace the circuit board was very easy; I had just to unscrew a few screws and screw back in the new part, connect everything back, turn it on, and “voila”, all the data was there.

Note that I have spent less than 10% of what the data recovery company had asked for the service, and the highest cost was mostly shipping from UK to Australia.

So that was my story about how I fixed my hard drive. Now, let’s start making backups. ;-)