Firmware hard drive: step by step instructions

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Firmware hard drive: step by step instructions
Firmware hard drive: step by step instructions

The most common reason why the computer does not recognize an external hard drive is that the external drive is not well formatted or the drivers need to be updated. But you need to understand that miracles do not always happen. When a hard drive's firmware is badly damaged, even the most experienced repair company cannot restore the data on it.

Check for damage

Check for damage
Check for damage

Firmware on a PC's internal drive is the software responsible for its basic functions, including accessing data, as well as reading and writing to it. It is recorded in the system area of the drive and consists of a group of information modules responsible for certain functions. Some of them can repair others if they are damaged.

Sometimes it is not possible to visually determine the status of the hard disk firmware, but there are some symptoms that indicate damage:

  1. Disc won't start.
  2. Noise whenwork.
  3. The drive is slow to respond.
  4. The disc is not working properly.
  5. The disc is not recognized by the computer.
  6. Scratched platters.
  7. Deleted data.
  8. Clicks or beeps.
  9. Hard drive firmware update failed.

Hard drive repair often requires special equipment that only a data recovery specialist has, but also requires expert knowledge and skills to learn how to identify and repair damaged modules.

Boolean type errors

Hard drive boolean failures are those caused by errors or inconsistencies in the underlying file system that prevent the user from accessing data. A hard drive with Boolean errors has the following symptoms:

  1. Several files or folders have disappeared without notice.
  2. When trying to access the hard drive, the system indicates that it needs to be formatted.
  3. The system denies access to certain files or directories.

These failures can be mainly caused by computer viruses and other malware, human error, and can be the result of other common hard drive firmware failures. There are also viruses that encrypt information, in which case data recovery becomes difficult or even impossible.

Electronic board failure

Faults in the electronic board or circuit board of the hard drive prevent starting and replacinghard drive firmware. This usually happens because the drive is not supplying the required current signal to various parts such as the motor, the microcontroller on the main board, or the entire circuit board. When a printed circuit board is damaged, 99% of the time it is not replaceable. During the manufacturing process of each disc, there are microscopic differences in the shape, position and adaptation of the read and write heads, which require individual calibration of each device.

The results of this calibration are partly stored on the circuit board, and without them, the drive does not know how to work, so it is very important to have the original circuit board. There are very difficult cases when the affected electronic part is inside the hard drive. In these cases, the most affected component is usually the pre-amplifier for the signal coming from the heads, usually located in the internal mechanical arm.

Symptoms of defeat

Damage symptoms
Damage symptoms

These are more difficult cases to repair and diagnose. Hard drive electronic board failures typically present with the following symptoms:

  1. The disc emits smoke or a burning smell when turned on.
  2. The disc has visibly burnt areas.
  3. Hard drive shows no signs of life or does not respond to electrical stimuli.
  4. When the hard drive is connected to the computer, it does not turn on.
  5. The disc is spinning but the heads do not leave their parked position.

Failures in the printed circuit board and in the rest of the electronics can be associated mainly withpower surges, improper cable connections, drive operation, and sometimes bumps and drops.

Unsuccessful HDD flashing

Failed HDD firmware
Failed HDD firmware

When the drive shows no symptoms of other failures, and the computer cannot recognize it or access data, the failure is most likely internal software and requires a hard drive firmware update. A hard drive with firmware errors is difficult to diagnose because there are hundreds of firmware that can fail. Sometimes a small electronic glitch could cause a firmware module to become corrupted, resulting in the drive not being able to properly initialize again after being turned off.

It is also possible that the hard drive has a weak or defective head, either due to use or a slight impact. The drive registers numerous bad sectors that overwhelm the defect tables, causing a general firmware failure.

Most firmware-related failures are due to faulty or damaged heads, as some of the modules required to initialize the hard drive are damaged due to them. For successful data recovery in these cases, a modified hard drive flashing program is required.

The Consequences of Bad Programming

An error in the disk firmware stops it from working. Firmware is a set of logical instructions that allow the drive to manipulate the information stored on it. The goal is to have the necessary instructions on the disk to read and write information. The firmware also controls the electronic circuits. Firmware failures should be interpreted as a problem in the drive's internal software. The decision must be made by an expert in charge of reprogramming failed components to get the drive working again, at least temporarily, to back up the information it contains.

Typically, firmware failures are caused by voltage spikes that, while not damaging the mechanical components or the boards themselves, are powerful enough for the firmware data. Other causes of firmware failures may be due to shock or vibration that damages the readheads. Internal drive wiring failures are also a common cause of firmware failures.

Hard drive test

Hard drive testing
Hard drive testing

Most hard drives do not require a firmware update. Firmware is defined as a computer program that is hard-coded into a hard drive and contains the basic programming of RAM. It is a software intermediary that allows hardware to interact with software and manages behavior and factory settings. Before updating the hard disk firmware, it is recommended to test the device well.

All latest generation actuators come with SMART (Self-Monitoring and Analysis Technology) monitoring technology. This tool is designedfor continuous monitoring of a certain number of parameters on the hard disk. With SMART, you can effectively monitor various parameters, which also include read and write error rate, spin-up time, seek error rate, temperature, and other important items.

Best Software
Best Software

Best software to check if you need to repair hard drive firmware:

  1. IOLO System Mechanic Pro.
  2. HD Tune. PassMark DiskCheckup.
  3. Samsung HUTIL.
  4. Seagate SeaTool.
  5. CrystalDiskInfo.
  6. Bart test.
  7. GSmartControl.
  8. Fujitsu - diagnostic tool.
  9. HDDScan.

Drive reprogramming algorithm

Before updating the software, you need to know the serial number of the drive and enter it into the Download Finder to see if an update is available for the product. If the user detects an update, then all instructions on the PC monitor must be followed.

Flashing algorithm:

  1. In Windows, select system properties. This screen will display information about which version of the OS is installed - 32-bit or 64-bit, as well as the brand of the motherboard processor - Intel or AMD.
  2. Before you find out the firmware of the hard drive, open the Device Manager in the upper left corner and Disk Drives.
  3. Open the drive by clicking on it and select properties.
  4. Check for firmware updates, it should match device manager.
  5. If requiredupdate open a web browser and go to the hard drive manufacturer's website.
  6. Access the support or download section and find the correct model number of the computer or hard drive.
  7. Click on the link to download the firmware update.
  8. Transfer the firmware update file to a floppy disk, USB, or other external drive that the PC accepts.
  9. Double-click the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the ISO program.
  10. Open the program after installation and follow the procedure to get a copy of the firmware update on a rewritable CD.
  11. Reboot the computer and wait for the new menu screen to appear, and cycle through the options using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
  12. Select the hard drive and press the Enter key.
  13. After the operating system has finished loading, open the "Computer" icon on the desktop.
  14. Go to external storage.
  15. Double-click the executable file saved on the disk and follow the on-screen instructions to update the hard disk firmware.

Pro Tips

Pro Tips
Pro Tips

If the user is not a hardware engineer or technology savvy, he should be more concerned about how to recover valuable files, instead of finding out the exact reason why the hard disk firmware has crashed. The most important tip for regular users to avoid data loss is to always use a backup system.copy, which keeps the document file separate from the originals.

If a dead hard drive contains an operating system it needs to be connected to a PC. Desktop computer owners can open the case and plug in the damaged drive using a SATA cable, which is a computer bus interface that connects HBAs to storage devices. You can buy a SATA cable online or at your local hardware store. One end of the cable goes to the hard drive and the other end goes to the motherboard. The design of the connection is made in such a way that there is no possibility of connecting something wrong, so users do not have to worry about it.

Notebook owners can purchase an external USB cradle designed for all types of hard drives. The advantage of such a base lies in its convenience. The hard drive just gets inside, and the base itself connects to the laptop via a regular USB cable. When a failed drive is attached to a working PC, the user has everything they need to assess the extent of the damage. In some cases, it will show up as another storage device, you can transfer all files from it. This can happen if it is not the hard drive that is faulty, but the operating system installed on it. Unfortunately, most cases of data recovery are not so easy to perform. The contents of a hard drive are often visible, but Windows or Mac OS X cannot transfer data from it. Worse, the disk may be empty.

Data recovery
Data recovery

When all options fail, thenDisk Drill software comes to the rescue. The software features a huge number of file recovery programs and applications thanks to its carefully crafted user interface that allows anyone to recover files from a damaged disk or SD card, or just from any other storage device.

In fact, it only takes a few seconds to tell Disk Drill what to do, followed by a short wait while it applies its advanced data recovery algorithms to over 200 file types for all occasions.

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