Each sector of the industry has different standards that they work by. A professional data recovery service will never use the freezer trick because it will make further recovery efforts more difficult for them. For a local shop (who doesn't have access to those tools), it's the last resort that they've got. Personally, I've only tried the freezer trick once, and it didn't work - and the customer didn't want to pursue further data recovery efforts.
You can try all the software tools that you want, but each use of the drive will increase the risk that the data may become unrecoverable. The professional data recovery places are expensive for a reason. They've got high tech tools that they've invested in, and it's alsovery labor intensive to try and recover data, and then to reconstruct it so that it's in a usable form for the customer.
From what's been related, it seems as if this is a catastrophic failure. But the use of the Hitachi DFT may be able to give you a bit more info. In the event that it says it's a sector error - it'll give you the option to rebuild the sector. Doing so will erase all the data on that sector - which seems contrary to what you're trying to do.
In that event, you "may" be able to recover something by using SpinRite, HDDRegenerator, and a bunch of different recover tools. I can't recommend any freeware tools, but I do recommend the use of GetDataBack from http://www.runtime.org
. They have a diagnostic tool that'll tell you what it can recover - then you'll have to pay to recover it. Last I checked the program was $80 US for one of the versions (NTFS or FAT32). Just remember that each access of the disk decreases the chance that you may be able to recover something.
Consulting with a professional data recovery service is probably your best bet at this point. If you continue to try and recover the data on your own it may make it more difficult for the professional service to recover it (and that'll increase the price significantly). I've got an 80 gB paperweight on my desk because I couldn't afford the professional services to recover the data on it.
All of this is predicated upon the assumptions that we're making. Since we can't see the actual action that's making the hard drive fail, we can't be sure about anything until we try it. For example, if the read/write head of the hard drive is dragging across the drive platter (where the data is stored) - you're not going to recover the data, and each use will make it much worse. OTOH (On The Other Hand), if it's a problem with the circuit board on the drive, the error correcting mechanisms in the recovery software may make some degree of data recovery possible. But that depends on the extent of the problem with the circuit board.
EDIT: To burn an ISO file to a disk, you'll need an ISO recorder. This free little plug-in by Alex Feinman is my recommended method: http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/v2.htm
Also, if you're got a CD/DVD burning program on your system, it's likely that it can burn ISO/image files.
Edited by usasma, 16 August 2008 - 07:28 AM.