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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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  • Vacuum? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RedACE7500 ( 904963 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:14PM (#14213333)
    I thought the inside of a hard drive was a vacuum.. am I wrong?
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:15PM (#14213347)
    I wouldn't do it in a dusty basement but if you are in a relatively clean area, and don't leave the drive out facing the elements (The guy who did it put his drive in a zip lock bag.) A clean room would be preferred but just a "clean" room with little dust should work for most cases. Companies that do this a lot (Opening Harddrives/creating harddrives) will use a clean room because have say 10% failure due to dust but for a modder who is using an old drive, it would a 10% chance of dust is pretty good. You could probably make your own clean room with some clear plastic, DuctTape, Rubber Gloves, and coat hangers, Some felt and a vacuum cleaner. Hmm I may have a new SlashDot article for the future.
  • Re:Video (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drewzhrodague ( 606182 ) <drew.zhrodague@net> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:24PM (#14213415) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, it's been a while! I did mean to say m, not g, as in megabyte. Here's the vid. It is in a format of which I have no idea: []
  • Re:Yippy-Skippy. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by imboboage0 ( 876812 ) <> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:36PM (#14213503) Homepage
    Just for reference, I am 15 years old. Over the summer, I was bored. So I took a WD 10 gig and did this. works great to this day.

    In an odd coincidence, My friend just asked me yesterday to mod his 7200RPM 80 gig barracuda. This drive is BRAND NEW (still in the static wrap) sitting right next to me as I type this. Personally, I think the hardest part of this whole mod was gluing (Did I spell that right? lol.) the plexi back onto the drive cover. If you have a little spare time and wanna do something crazy with those drives, try this. It was rather fun.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:37PM (#14213520) Homepage Journal

    I did something on the top side about 5ish years ago, seethis pic [] of what I called "cleardisk"
  • They need the air (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mary_will_grow ( 466638 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @04:41PM (#14213549)
    Disk drive heads ride on a blanket of air over the media. With a vacuum, they wouldn't have this air and they'd ruin the media. Thats why they have filtered vent holes.

    Some drives even control the ability of the heads to move with a wind-driven interlock mechanism (sort of like the governor on a lawnmower engine), forcing the drives to stay in the proper area when the drive isn't spinning.

  • by blakehew ( 937337 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @05:07PM (#14213762)
    Why has no HD manufacture made windowed w LEDs Hard drives? Is it the shielding? I have seen clear materials that provide EMI shielding! That would be sweet. Then all the case manufacutres would start rearanging their drive bays so you could take advantage of them. I think something like a comercial windowed HD would sell like crazy.
  • Digg vs Dot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @05:11PM (#14213800) Homepage
    Digg vs Dot is a simple website that was put together to highlight the act of crossposting articles among two very popular sites, and

    Points are scored in the following manner:

    +3 for first post
    +1 for ties (within 50 min)
    -1 ripping off the title & url.

    Have a look at the scores :)

  • by watermodem ( 714738 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @06:14PM (#14214337)
    Why didn't you do your mod the following way.

    1) find the same type of drive in a junk box.

    2) take off the cover and use it as a mold over some mold material like clay

    3) drill air holes through the mold material

    4) put plexiglass into a warming oven

    5) clamp warm plexiglass over mold on a vaccum table and suck out air. This molds the hot plastic to the exact same internal shape as your old drive lid

    6) after cooling. Machine and fit it to same flatness and holes as original lid.

    7) test fit on junk box drive

    8) when a perfect and clean fit... do your lid swap in a clean environment

    9) Seal

  • Bluetack (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glowworm ( 880177 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @06:48PM (#14214625) Journal
    Meh, back in the heady days of $5,000 5MB hard disks (Circa 1982) when I was a lowly PC technician we had a doctor come in with his drive that had crashed and that he hadn't backed up.

    He just had to have his data back. Being the game sort of guy I was I opened the drive case, cracked the drive and powered up to see what was happening. When the power was applied the heads would stutter and not load properly. The obvious fix was to use a little bit of bluetack to hold the counterbalance mechanism a little more firmly. The drive span up, the heads loaded and I was able to copy all his data off. Not one lost bit. Got me a nice little bonus for that. As the drive was useless to him he let me have it. I kept it running on my desk (because the business only allocated me a floppy drive computer) storing all my WordStar files and StarTrek hand copied from a magazine in GWBasic. It ran for about a year after opening - still with the bluetack inside, still with the cover just sitting on top (Not screwed down) so I could get to the mechanism easily.

    A few years later the Seagate ST225 came out. (The drive with the 120% failure rate) After working out the perfect solution for sticktion (A large hammer) we got a couple where the guard band had been overwritten. The solution for these was pretty much the same. Take off the lid. Power up. Manually load the heads. Put the lid back on. Grab all the data.

    I really can't see how this teenage n00b who has the "guts" to disassemble his drive is newsworthy when any tech worth his salt has been doing it since the HDD was invented, AND with live and valuable data!

    After all, Mainframe disk packs from the 70's and before (Which I used to load & unload on the nightshift) are open to the air devices and they ran for years.
  • Re:Yippy-Skippy. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @07:54PM (#14215086) Homepage Journal
    The coil driving the heads is called a voice coil for a reason; it is very similar to the windings of a loudspeaker. If the heads jam then the resulting vibration against whatever obstruction exists can resonate the platters or the drive case itself, amplifying the sound.
  • by rew ( 6140 ) <> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @07:57PM (#14215106) Homepage
    Even with a cleanroom it's not trivial: I've ruined two drives trying to do this, using the cleanroom. Twice I managed to get the window too close to a running drive, so that the hub would scrape off some acrylic. From then on, it's game over.

    I should take the time to create a sufficient spacer, so that this doesn't happen again.
  • by Crizp ( 216129 ) <> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @08:24PM (#14215280) Homepage
    Elsewise, slashdot will find itself becoming increasingly irrelevant
    However, the "discussion" on digg sucks. On Slashdot, you always get some good comments with replies. Digg doesn't even _have_ a "reply to this" function.
  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @09:06PM (#14215559)
    Only idiots think that opening a hard drive will somehow destroy it. Hard drives can be opened, left that way, and run for quite a long time. It's not recommended, but having a running hard drive in the open air is nothing special. It's even less special if you cover it back up again.
  • by parasonic ( 699907 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:49PM (#14276461)
    This just in. The drive may have died. I suspect that a piece of dust contaminated the drive. RIP drive. $null to $null

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