These are some real problems experienced by Hitachi hard drives 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.
IBM(later Hitachi) is widely known in data recovery business for their line of DeskStar HDDs also known as DeathStars. These hard drives, mostly DTLA and AVER families, became infamous for their reportedly high failure rates. It is believed their problems were mainly connected with glass platters - new technology introduced by Hitachi in these hard drives. After some time magnetic layer started to fall off the platters creating dust inside the HDA(Head Disk Assembly). This led to a massive number of bad sectors, eventually killing the heads making all data inaccessible. If you happen to hear that unmistakable repeating scratching noise from your hard drive then this is exactly your case. 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", "USB Device malfunctioned" error, "S.M.A.R.T. Capable But Command Failed" or some other hard drive error on boot. It's critical at this point to stop reading from such drive and bring it for diagnostics to the professional data recovery lab. Any further attempts to read from these areas would shorten the drive's life and may result in further unrecoverable data loss.
Another common problem for all Hitachi hard drives is burnt components on the circuit board(PCB). Hard drives are very vulnerable to power surges and overeating and bad power supply unit combined with power streak is usually enough to burn spindle driver chip on the hard drive electronics. Should this occur the computer would reboot or turn off completely, you would normally notice acrid smoke and smell coming from your PC and upon power on the drive would not spin up at all.
If this is the case you can try to swap PCB from another drive of the same model but the chances are close to zero. Moreover, donor board could "lock" itself causing a good working donor drive not to spin. 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 located in the NVRAM to make donor PCB fully compatible with failed drive.
Another quite common symptom Hitachi drives experience is clicking or knocking sound. The drive spins up and the head starts clicking from the start: , . Most often this a sign of bad heads and the drive needs head assembly swapped from a matching donor. Before doing any clean room work, it is very important to perform accurate diagnostics and eliminate a chance of possible firmware corruption that sometimes can also cause clicking.
Hitachi laptop drives(HTS models) share some typical 2.5 inch HDD problems. One of them is heads sticktion to the platter surface.
Heads are normally parked on the parking ramp outside of the platters, but sometimes after a fall or abnormal termination they fail to return to their regular parking position and are left on the surface sticking to the ideally smooth surface. It is absolutely impossible to correctly release them without proper tools and experience. Don't attempt to open the drive by yourself - you could easily scratch the media and this will make all your data unrecoverable.
If you hear your Hitachi hard drive making some other unusual noises visit our Hard Drive Sounds page for more typical sounds these drives make.
If you experience any of the problems above with your Hitachi hard drive and need data recovered from it please fill out Fast Quote Form to get free upfront quote on data recovery from your failed HDD.
Please keep in mind that above information is based solely on experience of Datacent staff. We see mostly failed drives in our Lab and therefore we don't have complete statistics. All brands have their specific problems and there is nothing more reilable than regular backup.
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