MK3265GSXN HDD2J13 UL01

HDD Failure: Toshiba MK3265GSXN – firmware or heads?

In Blog, Hard Disk Drive Recovery Case Study by Administrator

MK3265GSXN HDD2J13 UL01Mixed symptoms of failure – Toshiba MK3265GSXN

This article applies to MK3265GSXN disk and many other ’65GSX’ series of HDD.

CDR has seen a high incidence of a very specific symptom of failure in the 65GSX series of Toshiba HDD. The procedure and symptoms are as follows:

  • Power on; HDD spins up, and makes are very quiet tapping noise.
  • HDD enters a ‘ready’ (RDY) state in the status register. It is still possible to hear a tapping noise.
  • Sending any command via ATA results in the drive becoming ‘busy’ (BSY) and unresponsive. This includes an identification (ID) command.
  • It is possible to read CP firmware, but not the G-List.

Typically these symptoms would indicate a failure of the read-write heads – a mechanical failure of the hard disk drive. Toshiba HDDs can often reach a RDY state as most of the firmware is stored on the printed circuit board (PCB) rather than the platter surface. However, when attempts are made to read data from the platter the HDD will start to make a clicking noise, and no data shall be readable.

An exception to the norm

CDR has established that in many cases of ’65GSX’ series HDDs the read-write heads have not failed, despite these symptoms. To resolve the issue it is necessary:

  • Power on; HDD spins up, and makes are very quiet tapping noise.
  • HDD enters a ‘ready’ (RDY) state in the status register. It is still possible to hear a tapping noise.
  • No commands should be sent to the HDD. The HDD should be left in this RDY state until the tapping noise stops. This typically takes between 10 and 30 minutes.
  • Once tapping has stopped HDD will accept ATA commands and a drive ID can be obtained.
  • HDD should then be cloned using disk imaging hardware (PC3000, Deepspar) with the ‘power drive off on read error’ function disabled. Allow only ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ reset.
  • There are likely to be a significant number of unreadable sectors on the HDD.

Full recovery

In these cases it has been possible for CDR – Manchester Data Recovery Services – to make a full recovery of the required data. Please note that the technique used is not possible to achieve without the appropriate data recovery equipment. If a HDD is attached to a computer, either by SATA or USB, the computer immediately start sending commands to the HDD. This will result in the HDD enter a ‘busy’ (BSY) state.