Petri Wessman's weblog

Disk recovery update

Got a situation update from DataPrey on the disk recovery attempt, with a nice technical explanation of the problem. Turns out the “service zone” of the disk had developed a physical fault, and even though the fault is tiny in size, since the disk “boots” internally from the service zone, any fault in it means that the disk flat-out refuses to work and just bangs the reading heads around. It’s sort of like the BIOS in a PC getting zapped.

This explains the sudden, no-warning crash of the disk – the fault was miniscule, it was just in the worst possible place.

The normal procedure is to hunt down a disk that is exactly the same model as the broken one, and copy the microcode from there. Problem is, this is an old 30G Maxtor disk that wasn’t too common even back then, let alone now, and finding a “donor” disk is proving to be troublesome. They have some leads (4 of them), but they need to find an absolutely exact copy. If they do, recovery should be possible. If they don’t, it will be extremely hard or flat-out impossible.

So we’re still waiting, we should know the status by next week.

Whatever happens, I’m impressed with the professionalism in the feedback I get from DataPrey, these guys at least sound like they know what they are doing.

Added: on the very slim hope that someone might have one lying around, the disk in question is a 30,7 gig (yes, tiny) Maxtor ATA drive, model 33073H3. It’s about 6 years old, and was originally sold with the “Maxtor Diamond Max” label.

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