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Trying to recover files from maybe dead laptop hard drive


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#1 bludshot

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 09:17 PM

My friend has a dell laptop, and now when they turn it on it just gets a black screen. I tried it, it just has a blinking cursor in the top left corner.

 

I booted to a linux mint cd, but when you try to mount the hard drive, it gives an error about the file system being half broken or something (sorry I don't have the exact error, but basically it said it couldn't mount and you should run chkdsk /f in windows)

 

So I took the hard drive out and put it in my usb drive dock. At first it seemed to add the drive, but, in explorer it only showed the dell recovery partition drive, not the main boot drive. I looked in computer management, and it doesn't show the drive at all, and then in explorer the dell recovery drive disappeared. Now explorer won't respond.

 

If I go to safely remove hardware it does show it as E and G, so I guess it's sort of seeing both the recovery and main drive partitions. I just clicked on it to safely remove but nothing is happening. Explorer is still not responding.

 

How should I proceed?


Edited by hamluis, 06 October 2014 - 03:45 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 bludshot

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 09:29 PM

10 minutes later safely remove finally comes up and says its safe to remove the drive (and explorer is no longer frozen) haha. I'm going to just turn off the dock for now and wait for some replies here because I'm not sure what to do next.



#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 09:33 PM

I would download the windows version of Testdisk and follow this guide. When going through the menu screens look for the one with an Advanced Option. Select that and then boot. Does is say if the Bootsector is okay and if not is the backup BS okay? I would download v6.14. Version 7 is still in beta.



#4 bludshot

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 02:33 PM

In the guide, he says to check the drive health with Gsmartcontrol. And then he says "If there is no indication of physical damage then you can continue" [with testdisk etc] Well, it does have an indication of physical damage, and it fails the short test.

 

Should I continue, or should I maybe try seatools (dos bootable cd) to repair the drive first?



#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 04:44 PM

There are two options at this point. Go to a professional data recovery service, expensive, or try to recover anything you can using software like Easeus Data Recovery. This will scan the drive and try to recover any files that is is able to. You get 1GB for free to see if it can recover anything. After 1GB, you have to pay for a key that will let you recover the rest. Depending on the drive, it could take awhile to finish the scan. A person on the Forums was able to recover about 70% but your recovery may be different.

 

Another Program that does the same type of thing is Active@filerecovery. With the promo code the pro version is about $35.

 

There is a sister program to Testdisk called PhotoRec but any file recovered will have a generic name with the correct extension. You would have to open the file to see what it was. When using PhotoRec, you should select what extension you want recovered as it recovers everything including dll files if you do not tell it what files to recover. It also recovers files in real time so if the data recovered is more than your internal drive, you would need to get it off the drive during the recovery process.


Edited by hamluis, 07 October 2014 - 11:50 AM.


#6 ICT_Tech

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 01:05 PM

100% JohnC_21

yes this is what I would suggest to Easeus Data Recovery is a great program and had never failed me.

 

be careful doing it yourself if they need the data I would take it a specialist that can work on it in a clean room, where they have all the tools and equipment not to mention the expertise.

 

the more you play with the hard disk at this point the more likely the data will become unrecoverable with a specialist.

 

Good Luck



#7 bludshot

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 02:15 PM

I tried seatools boot disk and seatools for windows, but neither of them could see the drive at all. So then I tried EaseUS.

 

EaseUS short scan found a bunch of files, but none of the ones I needed to find (it did not find the desktop or the documents folder etc).

 

Then I did the EaseUS long scan, and it found some files (possibly some same files as the short scan) but none of them appeared to be the files I was looking for, plus they were totally unreadable, corrupt etc, so it doesn't matter anyway.

 

EaseUS is pretty impressive though, nice to have it as an option in future.

 

 

Then I tried the Active@filerecover scan, even though imo there is no reason to think it would find anything EaseUS didn't. It ran for a couple hours and only found bad sectors. It would take something like 140 hours to finish though, so I cancelled it. Then I tried the super scan, but it was the same. Doing the last chance scan now, but, likely it will be the same.

 

Then I may try Photorec just to see if it has any success at all - but, after EaseUS not finding anything useful, I'm quite sure the data is lost. The data in question is sort of of the importance level of trying these things but not so important to spend $1000+ at a data recovery specialist (or if it is they shouldn't have given it to me lol)


Edited by bludshot, 07 October 2014 - 02:17 PM.


#8 bludshot

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 08:01 PM

Yeah, nothing could be recovered unfortunately. Photorec said it was going to take a year (or maybe 10 years), literally. Luckily the files weren't precious, so, oh well.

 

Thanks for the good advice guys



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 10:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Always good to have files in two locations, even if you need to put them on the cloud. If there are something private, you can always encrypt them before you upload.






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