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How to Recover Data From Crashed Hard Drive


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#1 EducatedGuess

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:18 AM

Hi. I recently had a small, 40GB HD crash from an older Gateway Laptop. I didn't lose anything essential, but would still like to recover what files I can. I am a teacher, and I lost some assignments that I am having to recreate from memory and from scratch.

On power up, the screen reads "Disk Read Error" and won't open up. I have tried this multiple times, and have also loaded it into a Sabrent External HD box with the same results.

Any quick or easy tricks to recover this data, or any software problems you can recommend that will perform the trick? I do not have a lot of money, and cannot really afford to pay someone to do this for me.

Thanks Very Much, EducatedGuess.

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

Does it get detected when you first turn the computer on?

When does the Disk Read Error Occur?

#3 EducatedGuess

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 12:00 PM

The disk read error occurs IMMEDIATELY on start up. It is the first thing you see. This happens ten times in a row if you hard boot. Why do you ask? Thanks!

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:26 PM

Well if it happens right at boot up the drive is dead. Means the circuitry on the board is having issues telling the drive what to do.

#5 EducatedGuess

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:51 PM

And therefore the drive is completely dead and unrecoverable? Is there any way to pull out the actual disk inside and plunk it into another drive or some kind of enclosure for recovery? Or am I most likely just at a dead end and need to junk and toss it? Thanks.

#6 cryptodan

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:57 PM

Well you could do that, but I would recommend taking it to a technician that is some delicate work.

#7 Plastic Nev

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

Before actually dismantling it, this has been known to work, it may not in this case as it looks to be more electronic than hardware failure, but still worth a try and nothing lost if it doesn't.
The trick is to freeze the drive, and to do that wrap the drive itself in a polythene bag and seal it so moisture cannot get in, then place it in the freezer for at least four hours, better still if overnight.
Once removed from the freezer it needs to be connected and tried as quickly as possible before it warms up. Data has been recovered by this method in some circumstances.
Nev.
Why all the fuss, I already have Windows 8. Three windows at the front, and five at the back since I bought the house.
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#8 EducatedGuess

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:40 AM

Plastic Nev:
Actually, someone just told me about this, but not freezing, just refrigerating. I tried it and it didn't work. In a few days I will try freezing it overnight and see what happens; I will report back to you after I try this. Thanks for taking the time to post. EG.

#9 BarleyBo

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 01:09 PM

I realize I am 3 weeks late, but before you go putting your drive in the freezer, try accessing your drive with a USB enclosure, here is some info on how they work :

http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/04/17/access-hard-drive-using-usb-enclosure/

You can get them off E-bay at ver affordable prices.

Also, can you get to a recovery partition? Or get to recovery console? Often times I have fixed a Disk read Error at boot with a simple Fixmbr or Fixboot command.

Edited by BarleyBo, 07 October 2011 - 01:10 PM.


#10 EducatedGuess

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 02:58 PM

BarleyBO:

Thanks for posting. I already tried the USB enclosure approach, and it still wouldn't read the drive. Thanks very much, though.

#11 Bailifei

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:36 AM

this kind of situation can happen to everyone, so do back up everything before u lost them.
u can backup to an external hard drive which would be used less, and so is much safer for data.
and this article about recovering data from crashed hard drive might help.

#12 nesrinamb

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 02:43 PM

I recommend the refrigerator method as a last ditch effort if you cant afford data recovery service. What I would do is use the usb adapter with a Linux live CD. You would be surprised how often I am able to extract the data form hard drives that where almost completely dead. I don't know why that works all I know is that it does work very often.

#13 dpunisher

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:28 PM

You have a hardware failure. The nature of the failure could be either electronic or mechanical.

Your situation may have a bright spot in that you didn't hear the "click of death", and the error is detected immediately on bootup. Usually a mechanical error will allow the drive to be detected in the BIOS, but either won't boot, or throw a hard drive error/no OS found. On the other hand, a bad controller board often won't even be detected by the BIOS.

If you have the time and desire: Shop around for a duplicate of your drive. Google the model number, see what is available. I have bought drives that had bad heads/platters/motors, but the controller boards were in good shape. Be aware that the controller board, and often the firmware revisions need to match as well. I have saved every drive I ever pulled from clients' systems. Laptop drives are especially prone to problems as they generally get banged around, and that kills heads/platters, but lets the electronics survive. If the controller boards are the same, even if the firmware is different, you might luck out for cheap.

Pro data recovery can run from $300 to swap controller boards and save data in the format of your choice to $1K+ to pull the drive apart in a clean room and swap platters.

Something else you can do is reflow/resolder all of the joints on the circuit board of the controller. Hard drives heat cycle, they vibrate, and that can play havoc on solder joints. Just using a small/cheap iron to melt/reflow what you can get to (be careful of SMD devices). A heatgun can reflow SMD/ICs.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

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