Yesterday I performed a hard-reset while Linux was booting. This led to a hard issue with the HDD (UNC while recovering journal). I had to use ddrescue instead of dd because dd crashed on I/O error.

I did the following:

# ddrescue -f /dev/zero /dev/sda

It went through the whole 250 GB of /dev/sda. After rebooting, both BIOS and LiveCD didn't see the HDD.

When I launch a LiveCD, there is no /dev/sda, and no HDD in /dev/disk/*.

SATA controller is fine:

$ lspci | grep -i sata
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 02)

Question is: did I dg too deep? Is my HDD gone forever or is it fixable?

  • 3
    The ddrescue command you posted in your question would have overwritten your entire HDD with zeroes, thereby destroying all data irrevocably. Nov 7, 2013 at 0:47
  • I don't care data. Do I need jedi-power to reuse HDD ? Or is it death forever ?
    – Scony
    Nov 7, 2013 at 0:50
  • Please check dmesg in more detail, it might have some message about problems recognizing your disk. If there's nothing at all, check/replace cables. If it's still not recognized, it's probably dead. If you can get it to be recognized, have a look at the SMART data. Nov 7, 2013 at 0:53
  • If your HDD was already failing and you don't care about the data on it, it's about time to get a new one and trash this one as it is obviously broken. Nov 7, 2013 at 0:53
  • See this post for instructions on destroying a harddrive: security.stackexchange.com/questions/11313/…
    – user26112
    Nov 7, 2013 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


Usually when a HDD fails it's one of four things:

1. HDD hardware failure

  • Problem: HDD encountered a physical hardware failure and it's pretty much gone.
  • Recoverable: NO

2. Cabling & Controllers

  • Problem: The cabling or controller card that the HDD connects to has failed or is failing, in which case you can either swap out the cabling for new cabling, move the HDD to a different controller or replace the controller in the system with a new one. Often times doing any of the above will enable you to recover a supposed failing HDD.
  • Recoverable: Highly likely

3. Software corruption

  • Problem: The software on the drive has gotten corrupted. This type of failure "might" be recoverable.
  • Recoverable: Possible

4. HDD medium defects

  • Problem: The medium that the HDD platters is made from starts to fail over time, which typically will present as a supposed failure, mainly through the system appearing as being either not bootable or as strange lockups etc.

    These types of defects are part of a larger symptom typically due to a HDD's age. These types of failure often have a high percentage of being recoverable, assuming you act quickly and correctly.

  • Recoverable: Very likely

Recovery methods

For #2 I'll typically attempt to move the HDD to another system or swap out the cabling to see if that was the root cause of the issue.

For #3 & #4 I've only ever used 2 methods to recover drives. I typically use either HDAT2 or Spinrite to attempt to repair the HDD.

  • From the HDAT2 site I didn't get what have it to do with drive recovery, neither do I know how to give an access to DOSBox (or whatever emulator) to… well, what — the drive isn't even seen? Nor do I sure whether it is even a good idea.
    – Hi-Angel
    Oct 28, 2015 at 7:14
  • @Hi-Angel - not really following what you're asking. I've used it to recover data from HDD's, that's what it's for.
    – slm
    Oct 28, 2015 at 10:53
  • Well, then that is what confused me — the question was about a disappeared drive (not data).
    – Hi-Angel
    Oct 28, 2015 at 12:15
  • @Hi-Angel - I understand that. My answer covers all the types of failures one can run into and and provides guidance on each of them.
    – slm
    Oct 28, 2015 at 13:36
  • I think you would want to change «used 2 methods to recover drives» → «used 2 methods to recover data» (it isn't obvious for which part of recovery methods you're referring to).
    – Hi-Angel
    Oct 28, 2015 at 14:35

To supplement.

The dd and ddrescue commands have not physically destroyed the disk, only wiped it. The fact that you had I/O error using dd can have numerous reasons.

Or, yes, it can have destroyed it, but then only if it was faulty to begin with. As in driving a car where someone has put sugar in the tank.

Some systems, typically laptops and tablets, can have extra utilities stored in hidden partitions on the disk, (such system diagnostics tests). If this is the case your dd commands most likely wiped this as well.

I would first check the BIOS. Ensure that HDD's are enabled. Reset BIOS to default settings, etc. Most systems also utilize beep codes. That is beeps at start of boot where one beep is one type of error, two beeps are another etc. Check manuals.

If still no HDD in BIOS start physical inspection detach and re-attach the HDD. Test it on a different system (if possible) etc. (Read @slm's answer.)

As an additional collection of tools you could also check out Hirens Boot CD which is a collection of a few tools o n a live image. It has, amongst others, HDAT2, but not Spinrite.

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