As for me, I have had good success with this method (about 50-50).
I take the drive, and suspend it 4″ over a plastic carpet tool (one of those things you see in an office to help the chair wheels go). I then let it “fall” while still holding it, twice on each long edge, then once flat on top and bottom. You want firm, but not too hard raps on the plastic. I find that the carpet underneath seems to cushion the blow just enough. This appears to work on drives with stuck read-write heads most of the time. If the center bearing is locked up, nothing short of a miracle will bring it back. In any case, have a second drive ready to receive your files when you attempt to restart.
Dead disk drives?
There’s a bunch of steps I would take if the drive weren’t being recognized by either the auto setup or manual entry.
1) Check your Master/Slave/Standalone jumper settings and make sure they are correct and don’t conflict with another device on the same IDE channel.
2) Check for bent pins on the connectors.
3) Try a known good cable—Floppy and IDE cables often seem to go down the gurgler at the worst possible time for some unknown reason.
4) Try a known good drive on your IDE channel and check the channel. If it doesn’t respond:
• Try another IDE port (if there’s two)
• Disable onboard IDE and try another I/O card (one that’s known to be good of course)
5) Try the disk in another PC.
6) Here’s where it starts getting tricky. By now you must be reasonably convinced you have a bad case of galloping disk rot. On some drives (not all), if you have an identical same model drive, you can swap over the logic board. This will let you know if it is the embedded controller on the logic board. With luck, your disk will roar into life and you can suck the data off onto somewhere safe.
7) If your disk is making a hideous noise like a peg-legged man with a vacuum cleaner on a wooden floor (whirrr, clunk, whirrr, clunk….), then it is likely you have a dropped head. This is where you have start making decisions about how much your data is worth, because to go any further is going to cost big time and may require factory technicians to try and repair the disk in a clean-room environment. If your data was that important, then it would have been backed up. (Of course it would have been, they all respond in loud voices)