Have you ever booted your computer and gotten the message “No boot device found”? So, you boot the computer again, and get the same message, only this time you notice that the POST does not list your hard drive as one of your boot devices? Where did it go? What happened? It was working yesterday when I shut down, why isn’t working now?
There are several reasons why your hard drive will disappear from the POST list, and the BIOS will refuse to list it. The following is an explanation and a remedy for one of these reasons.
Every hard drive is unique. What I mean by that is every hard drive, even though it may be the same make, model, size etcetera they are unique in reference to performance. As an example, you may have a Seagate 80 Gb hard drive that says it is 7200 RPM. Well, not every drive will spin at exactly 7200 RPM. In order to make the drives affordable to us the drives are built to a certain set of tolerances. At the factory the drive is ‘burned in’ and these tolerances, as well as many other pieces of data are saved on a special area of the platter called the system area. This area can only be addressed in an ‘engineering’ mode and is transparent to the end user. Sometimes this system area gets corrupted, and the hard drive will not register itself with the BIOS during POST so that you get the message “No Boot Device Found”. Here is a fast and easy fix for a corrupted system area.
First find an exact duplicate of the hard drive that has crashed. When I say exact, I mean exact. Make, model, firmware rev, and lot must all match. If you have an older drive you have to find a hard drive clearing house to buy the matching drive. The clearing house will know why you want the drive, so the pricing of the hard drive may be as high as $500.00 depending upon the size, age, and rarity of the drive.
Second using a switchable power/IDE cable you place both drives on the cable with the power switched onto the good drive. You then boot the system with the BIOS recognizing the good hard drive. Once the hard drive is recognized and you are in the operating system, switch the power on to the hard drive that has crashed. The BIOS and the operating system will not know the difference and will try and address the drive.
Third, once this has been completed, using a piece of drive imaging software to clone the drive from the crashed drive to any other drive that is the same size or larger. This may take several hours depending upon the size of the hard drives.
Lastly, once the hard drive cloning process is complete, shut down the system, take all the drives off except of course for the newly cloned drive and then reboot the system. Using a piece of data recovery software, tree the cloned drive and copy all of your data onto another drive.
There you have it, a drive that has lost its system area recovered and your data saved. Instead of paying $2000.00, for hard drive recovery, you saved yourself a lot of money and time. Good Luck!