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Hardware Hacking Data Storage

Hard Drive Window 380

Xx Shinwa xX writes "This guy has done what was thought to be impossible: he has opened his hard drive and installed a clear acrylic window. And it still works. I would love to try this, if I had the guts."
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Hard Drive Window

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  • Yippy-Skippy. (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:13PM (#14213308)

    I was impressed with this, until I read the following:
    This is the unmodified hard drive, a Western Digital 3 GB drive (Caviar 33100) made in 1997.
    I hate to be a buzzkill, but BFD. I regularly disassembled these drives for data recovery purposes back in the salad days, when I was a carefree computer repair technician. We had an excellent level of success with any drive smaller than 4 GB, and one 2 GB drive, on which I replaced the head assembly for data recovery purposes, happily ran for over two years after the surgery.

    I thought this mod was going to be performed on a contemporary drive, which would have been duly impressive. Heck...perform this mod successfully on a drive as big as 30 GB, and I'll tip my hat. But 3 GB? Sorry, but no.
  • this is news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by davez0r (717539) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:13PM (#14213319)
    i thought this had been done before...and indeed it has []

    from 2002

    and that was just the first result on google for "hard drive window"
  • This is news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DaHat (247651) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:14PM (#14213327) Homepage
    People have been doing it for years, just do a Google search for "hard drive window" [] or better yet an images search [] for the same string.
  • by Janitha (817744) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:17PM (#14213364) Homepage
    I have to agree, this has been done over and over and over again. I saw a windowed hard disk in TXGF Austin 2004 and many tutorials online (just google now)
  • Re:Vacuum? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:20PM (#14213391) Homepage
    Yes, you are wrong.

    The inside of a hard drive is at atmospheric pressure, but must be kept extremely clean. The tiniest particle of dusr/smoke/whatever can cause a head crash.
  • by tgd (2822) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:20PM (#14213393)
    No, its not news, its one of four Slashdot front page stories copied from Digg.

    And like the last one (which I pointed out and got moderated as a troll), it wasn't one of the good ones.

    There are definitely better ones that could've gotten onto here for the sake of those who don't read both sites, there's some great scuba photography linked on there and a very funny 720p vs 1080i thing.

  • MTBF (Score:2, Informative)

    by Massacrifice (249974) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:20PM (#14213394)
    He must have seriously reduced the reliability of the drive doing so. It still works, for now. Give it a few months, though and it'll start to wither.

    A friend had once removed the entire sealing rubber strip around his HDD (circa 1995) because it was coming off by bits anyway and we were all very impressed that it was still working! But after a few weeks, he started to lose more and more data.

    With hard drives, errors are not as black and white as with CPU or other "live" components of the computer. Most of what you need (and what can be damaged) on a HD is dormant and thus, hard to know the exact moment of failure.
  • by impactdni (937320) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:26PM (#14213432)
    I did this a while ago... Worked nicely... Quite nice for a PVR box (watch the needle go to town on the platters) - []
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:31PM (#14213475) Homepage
    The heads actually "float" above the platters on a tiny layer of air. Remove the air, and the heads would never lift off the surface, and would be destroyed in seconds.
  • by hazzey (679052) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:33PM (#14213489)

    One article I read with regards to modding a harddrive said to do it in the bathroom. The idea was that turning on the shower to make the room steamy, also worked to remove floating dust. You have to wait until the steam is mostly gone though to do the work.

    Does anyone know if this would actually work?

  • Re:Yippy-Skippy. (Score:2, Informative)

    by GatorMan (70959) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:37PM (#14213515)
    Newer drives with increased capacity won't make this mod any more difficult. They still use the same physical size platters, same physical size casing, still has a spindle, motor, read/write assembly, and circuit board on back. If anything, just the abnormal case design on that series of WD Caviar is more difficult because of how the top cover extends down around the sides of the drive casing.
  • Air (Score:3, Informative)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:38PM (#14213529)
    As the others have said, the head needs air to float. In fact, last time I checked, hard drives actually list a maximum operating altitude, I think only 15,000 feet usually, not all that high. But I could be wrong about the actual altitude.
  • What are the odds... (Score:3, Informative)

    by digid (259751) * on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:39PM (#14213541)
    What are the odds that an old story be posted on the front page of digg and slashdot on the same day. The only difference between Digg and Slashdot mirroring each other now is that the so called "digg effect"(I wonder where they got that name) didn't even put a scratch in their server. 5 minutes after it hit the front page of slashdot grand daddy "slashdot effect" finished the job.
  • Mirrors! (Score:2, Informative)

    by demon411 (827680) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:41PM (#14213552)
    well mirrordot only has a mirror of the first page so here is a mirror of the 4 pages, skip to the last one for the finished product ;)

    1 [] 2 [] 3 [] 4 []

  • "dupe" from slashdot (Score:5, Informative)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @03:44PM (#14213586) Homepage Journal
    The Incredible Invisible Case []

    Another hit from'02.
  • Re:Usefool (Score:4, Informative)

    by ReallyNiceGuy (721792) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:25PM (#14213933)
    The size does not matter. Actually, a laser chip is really small. But the fact that it is infrared and tightly focused creates a hazard if you stare at it. I believe that lasers used in CD players are class IIIC, meaning safe for handling, but not for staring. At around 1mW, it is quite powerfull to actually burn your retina.
  • by javamann (410973) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:34PM (#14213999)
    Higher density means the heads fly closer to the platter and small dust particles would 'crash' the head. This means the head will hit the particle and either drag it, or bump over it. Kinda like hitting a body with your car. I wouldn't worry too much, both the heads and platters are covered with a diamond like coating. Also, any 'floating' particle would be spun off when the disk started to spin up. I once took apart a working 6G WD drive and the inside looked like my car's brake pads with all of the dust in the drive.
  • by parasonic (699907) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:52PM (#14214159)
    I heard from one friend that one of the best ways to get dust out of the air to perform this procedure is to be in a low-dust bathroom with circulation restricted. Get a hot shower going and let the steam rise and occupy the room. Turn off the shower and wait for several minutes. Then, once the vapor has settled, much of the dust has been knocked out of the air, and it is now a lot safer to open the drive and do the quick "surgery" ... longer MBTF I suppose. This process has been done in photography for years.
  • Re:Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by flatface (611167) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:52PM (#14214162)
    WOW, that's bad video quality. Yes, I know it's old. Takes a bit of a hack to get it working, though:

    For mplayer, edit codecs.conf. On my system (Ubuntu), it's in /etc/mplayer/. Search for ffh263 and add the following line:

    format 0x3336324D


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