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Failed hard drive

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#1 mfreedman


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Posted 02 March 2005 - 04:13 PM

As any of you may have noticed from the "Introduction" forum, I've only just joined, so if I'm in the wrong forum, please accept my apologies.

First, since I live in North London, England, any suggestions from those of you across the pond might not be of much help.

Now to my problem: I have a failed hard drive (MAXTOR) 60Gb which was replaced under the manufacturer's warranty, but have tried a couple of companies for data recovery. One replaced the "actuator" (is that the right word?) but then said they still couldn't recover any data. Another said that any work would cost a minimum of 400+ but couldn't even then make any promises.

Now, I'm not a business and haven't got that sort of money to spend. My problem is that I've got a lot of music written in MusicWorks which I have transcribed from very old handwritten manuscript, which is no longer available, which I give to my local religious community WITHOUT CHARGE, along with other letters and documents using Word and Wordperfect.

Since the hard drive was only a few months old, I didn't think I would need to back them up - hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I've looked on the internet at those companies advertising but can't find anyone in the UK who can offer a solution to my problem without asking for a lot of money.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to where I can find someone at reasonable cost please?

My email address is: mfreedman"at"blueyonder.co.uk

Many thanks,


edit: I changed your email address to prevent web crawlers from using it to send you spam, etc. A precaution we employ here. I haven't got an answer other than this:

I sure hope someone can come to your assistance, as the cause seems admirable.
In a period of time, perhaps research will prove that there is an answer, also. Joe

Edited by phawgg, 02 March 2005 - 04:24 PM.

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#2 Grinler


    Lawrence Abrams

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 11:19 AM


Unfortunately data recovery cernters are notoriously expensive. If I run across anything I will let you know.

#3 toastrack


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Posted 03 March 2005 - 08:43 PM

Hindsight is 20/20 Martin.
OK, first things first.

You say the drive "failed" what were the symptoms?

When you say was "replaced by maxtor" do you already have a replacement drive and have been allowed to keep the old one?
What was the "Drive failure diagnosis" by maxtor?

You also say that you have tried a couple of companies for Data Retrieval and that one of them "Replaced the Actuator" Who were they? That sounds like quite serious (and expensive) open disk surgery which requires a clean room environment. I would ask for my money back if they failed to recover anything from the disk.

Unfortunately without knowing the background it would be as hard for a recovery company as it is for me to give you an idea of your chances regarding how much data you are going to get back, if any. Also, Grinler is quite correct, Data Recovery is a highly specialist field requiring skilled technicians working in sterile dust free environments and their clients are often large corporations or desperate individuals, so they pretty much write their own cheques.

Simple corrupt filing systems and drives which have been accidentally erased are the easiest and cheapest to repair/recover. Indeed its possible to buy your own Data recovery software for both FAT and NTFS filing systems, at a reasonable price which do the job handsomely. Deeper, more complex "Forensic" software is mostly prohibitively expensive for the normal end user, and I have heard of other stuff that is only used by Law Enforcement agencies and requires special licensing.

Electro/Mechanical failure (which yours sounds like) is much more serious and the chances of recovery are varied, from quite good to none at all.
A UK PC magazine did a test to see how much data could be retrieved from a Hard Drive that was completely re-formatted, then driven over by a car, then set on fire and finally dropped in a bucket of water....I think they hit it with a hammer a few times for good measure too. In their case the Data Retrieval company had something to prove and recovered almost 100% of the data. (This would cost a fortune of you had to pay)
Also, there are guidelines for destroying Hard drives which have held sensitive data (government and military) which I believe involve completely dismantling the drive and physically detroying the "platters" which the data is stored on, such is their fear that data could be recovered/stolen from them even after breaking up the hard drive.

So, it figures that there may be some chance of recovery....however....it IS going to be expensive, and I mean HORRIBLY "you could buy a house for that" expensive.

I will keep my eyes peeled for a European recovery comapny, and if you can provide some more details regarding the actual fault and work done so far on this particular drive that would help immenslly.
However, In the meantime, get into the habit of regularly backing your data up, both to another Hard drive and also to storage media (CD/DVD)

#4 mfreedman

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for your interest and the trouble you have taken. You are the first to reply from somewhere other that the USA.

OK - here is the story:

I bought a new computer (Packard Bell but not that it makes any difference) and after less than a year suddenly, when trying to boot up one morning as usual, an error message appeared which stated that there was a serious error - I can't remember the exact details.

Anyway, the hard drive was replaced under the maintenance guarantee and after the usual reloading all the programs, all has been well since.

I then found a data recovery company on the internet, R and R, who have workshops in Baldock, Hertfordshire.

They replaced the actator but said that they still cound not recover any data and returned the original hard drive together with another hard drive of the same make, presumably having swapped the actuator between the two.

I found another company on the internet, who I e-mailed and they replied that the likely cost of a forensic recovery would be at least 470/6000 krona, most likely considerably more.

I then thought I'd ask around on the internet and found this forum which is how I we got to be in contact. I have had a number of responses to my posting on Bleeping Computer, one of which from "PHWARR" or something like that, attached a number of UK based companies, some of which offered a no fix/no fee deal, but they all have said that any recovery would cost about the same as I was originally quoted.

From my posting you have picked up, you will realise that in my financial position at the moment, that is not the sort of funds I have to spare. That is why I'm asking around to see if there is anywhere who might be be able to help me at a more reasonable cost.

From the replies I have received, including yourself, it would seem unlikely.

It just seems a shame that all the time and effort I put in, particularly with my music writing files, has now been lost for ever.

Thanks for your interest.



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