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Hard-drive Crash Recovery


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#1 mike=)).

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:57 PM

Hi again....

About a year ago I had a serious accident with my PC. The case toppled taking two external harddrives with it. I lost one internal hard-drive and one external hard-drive. As it happens, the external hard-drive was the back-up of the internal one, so I lost the lot in one go.

Both drives have been to an expert who told me basically that the internal drive has been frazzled, but the data on the external drive may be recoverable. He would need 2 weeks to do the work. As this was during my holiday in Russia summer 2007, there was not enough time. And it would be a seriously expensive affair.

A friend fom the US told me that the hardest part of data recovery is opening the drive-cases. The frazzled one will be no problem. The other, a Toshiba may be more difficult. I have heard that this work should be done under clean-room conditions. On the other hand, right now I have nothing to lose. There is about a years work on those discs.

There is the "click of death" on the Toshiba, so as a last resort I could try the freezer method (20 minutes in zip pack, then if it starts, fast download of priorities). On the other hand, it may be a "head-crash" with little damage to the disc itself.

So.... if anyone has any experience with drive or data-recovery, or can point to some tutorials or other helpful information, I will be most grateful.

Thanks upfront, Michael.

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#2 arcman

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:40 PM

Data recovery from an end-user standpoint can be done through various software programs, but this is dependent on the drive being in at least some form of working condition. If the BIOS cannot detect the drive, or if the actuator arm no longer functions properly, you are pretty much sunk.

In some cases you can save yourself if only the controller interface has failed (found on the bottom of the drive) and you can get an identical card from the manufacturer, although this is rare.

I would recommend a trial run of GetDataBack and see what you come up with. In my experience it's been one of the more reliable data recovery tools. If it actually recovers usable data you can pay for a license so you can actually do the retrieval.

If GDB comes up with nothing, or the drive isn't even detected in the BIOS you're out of luck. The only remaining option is to have the device sent to professional data recovery, which more than likely will put you out on the order of thousands of dollars.
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#3 Sneakycyber

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 03:53 PM

You could try Easeus Data recovery its the software that I use. You can download the software for free and see if your files can be found. You won't be able to save them until you register, but at least you can find out if they can be saved.

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#4 perr

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 03:55 PM

If the disk will spin this will recover the data.
http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

#5 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 05:20 AM

Data recovery from an end-user standpoint can be done through various software programs, but this is dependent on the drive being in at least some form of working condition. If the BIOS cannot detect the drive, or if the actuator arm no longer functions properly, you are pretty much sunk.

In some cases you can save yourself if only the controller interface has failed (found on the bottom of the drive) and you can get an identical card from the manufacturer, although this is rare.

I would recommend a trial run of GetDataBack and see what you come up with. In my experience it's been one of the more reliable data recovery tools. If it actually recovers usable data you can pay for a license so you can actually do the retrieval.

If GDB comes up with nothing, or the drive isn't even detected in the BIOS you're out of luck. The only remaining option is to have the device sent to professional data recovery, which more than likely will put you out on the order of thousands of dollars.


I have some time on hand, so I'll start from the top..

I've checked the GetDataBack page and started reading up.

The drive is a 250 GB Western Digital WD2500JB WD Caviar SE that was originally built into a Toshiba external HD-case. The date of manufacture was 23 July 2006.
I've removed the drive, and unplugged the case connections and switches. Then connected it up to a USB2 port of my main PC and connected to an external power-source.
The drive whirrrsss very slightly, then gives 3 loud clicks, then silent. About a minute later the PC gives a short signal that it recognises something connected, but fails to see what.

Start>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management
no drive shown.

The drive itself vibrates very slightly (hope it's not my imagination).

I'll get the trial version of GetDataBack next and report on that later.
I don't know whether to get the FAT version or NTFS ???
-> appears to be a FAT system

(also should still be under warranty (if unopened). WD do a 3 year warrant. But it's the data I want, not the refund)


Any help on the next steps would be great !!

Edited by mike=))., 04 October 2008 - 06:22 AM.


#6 perr

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 11:23 AM

If you don't want to use spinrite you can try this.
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

#7 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 11:41 AM

I think i need to find out two things first:

1. does the disc spin?
2. can my PC communicate with it?

#8 perr

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 12:01 PM

Spinrite runs from a DOS boot disk, as does one of the testdisk programs. The hdd is not involved in the boot and if the bios sees it spinrite or testdisk will access it. I have recovered data from a hdd with spinrite that everyone else said was dead and impossible to recover.

Edited by perr, 04 October 2008 - 12:03 PM.


#9 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 02:58 PM

ok... I'll try installing spinrite.....

GetDataBack simply does not see the drive.

I've connected the fault drive to my laptop... there is more free working memory, and i can leave it running for a long period if neccesary. I have most of a 400 GB external HDD available for data transfer.

EDIT:

... thanks Perr :thumbsup:

It seems that there is no trial version of spinrite. So no way to check if spinrite will find the drive BEFORE purchase. I'll willingly buy the software IF I can actually recover (some of) the data....
I would however prefer to make sure that the software will find the drive first.
I am not a computer expert, and may need a layman's guide to help me thru the process, or an experienced recovery specialist to help ;-)

Edited by mike=))., 04 October 2008 - 03:07 PM.


#10 perr

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:00 PM

I didn't think it would. spinrite may take a looong time. Don't get discouraged.

#11 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:08 PM

what woud you suggest... buy anyway?
(version 6.0 at $89,00)

Edited by mike=))., 04 October 2008 - 03:10 PM.


#12 perr

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:15 PM

Depends on what your data is worth. It has never failed me and I know Musky uses it frequently in his shop and has always worked.

#13 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:20 PM

Depends on what your data is worth. It has never failed me and I know Musky uses it frequently in his shop and has always worked.


There is 5 months of photoshop work on a few thousand images, plus about 500 original photos. So fairly important.

Frankly I would like to check if the drive is alive first.... I've checked in BIOS, but it doesn't show up there.

EDIT
The damage to the drive was physical. One possibility is that the arm is broken. In that case, I don't think any software will help.

Edited by mike=))., 04 October 2008 - 03:26 PM.


#14 perr

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:26 PM

There is a money back guarantee.
http://www.grc.com/cs/prepurch.htm

#15 mike=)).

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:41 PM

ok, convinced....

I'll get the software and write here later..

EDIT
I checked with Testdisk, but the HDD does not show up there either...
...I'm not convinced the drive is spinning

...and the telltale 3 loud clicks, then nothing :thumbsup:

Edited by mike=))., 04 October 2008 - 03:53 PM.





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