I did a surface test on a 40Gb Maxtor to make sure it was ok - and it passed. Took 29min.
I then remove the cover of my HDD exposing the platters and did the same test. I might add at this point my room is in no way clean to the point of having no dust nor is it a clean room.
Any takers on what happened when I did the surface test with the platters exposed?
Will post the answer tomorrow.