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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Recovering data from broken hard drive
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02/15/2012 10:23:43 AM · #1
Does anybody know a way to pull data off of a damaged hard drive? I dropped my laptop last night and the HDD is now damaged <clack> <clack> <scratch> <clack>.

I've tried to access it as a slave drive on my desktop by plugging it into the eSATA port. My computer can detect the drive, but I just can't read the file structure and access the files.

Anybody know of good software/programs that I can download to help pull my data off of it?
02/15/2012 10:33:03 AM · #2
Ouch..

I have used a number of different utilities in the past with varying results. Lately i've been recomending Recover My Files as I have had the best results after a few others could not get anything back.

02/15/2012 10:34:43 AM · #3
I've used Easeus Partition Master to restore lost partitions before. I'm not sure how it handles individual files.

//www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm
02/15/2012 10:44:50 AM · #4
Get data back worked for me in the past, I've only used it for NTFS drives and CF cards.
02/15/2012 10:55:06 AM · #5
put it in a freezer bag suck all the air out and freeze it for couple of hours. then put it back in and boot it up, it may work long enough to get some files off of it.

if the drive is damaged you need to get the platter spinning again and freezing it sometimes helps.

Message edited by author 2012-02-15 10:56:28.
02/15/2012 11:23:02 AM · #6
Originally posted by mike_311:

put it in a freezer bag suck all the air out and freeze it for couple of hours. then put it back in and boot it up, it may work long enough to get some files off of it.

if the drive is damaged you need to get the platter spinning again and freezing it sometimes helps.


I've been in the computer sales & service business for almost 27 years and never heard of this, but I just looked it up. I may need to give that a try sometime.

Thanks.
02/15/2012 11:34:14 AM · #7
Originally posted by mike_311:

put it in a freezer bag suck all the air out and freeze it for couple of hours. then put it back in and boot it up, it may work long enough to get some files off of it.

if the drive is damaged you need to get the platter spinning again and freezing it sometimes helps.

I have done this and it works. I had to do it three times with the failed hard drive. The freezing causes the platters to contract enough that they spin again. As the hard drive warms up, it fails again. That's why it can take several tries.
02/15/2012 02:16:54 PM · #8
Originally posted by gcoulson:

... the HDD is now damaged <clack> <clack> <scratch> <clack>.

If you are getting clacking and scratching noises you should probably not turn the drive back on at all, frozen or not* -- you can/will do physical damage to the platter surface and perhaps make the data completely unrecoverable.

The expensive but reliable option is to turn the job over to a professional disk-recovery service; they can take the drive apart in a clean-room and recover data directly from the platters (basically build a new drive with your disks inside).

The one I'm most familiar with is DriveSavers -- you can call them for a free estimate (and maybe advice). Be sure to check out their Museum of Bizarre Disk-asters ...

*BBspot Labs: Report on Hard Drive Cooling
02/15/2012 08:19:29 PM · #9
I believe Paul is on the right track here. Yes, freezing a failed drive can work, but not when the damage is from mechanical shock and when it is making those kinds of noises. What's needed is a "donor" drive into which the platters can be swapped... and if they are damaged, it's curtains. Don't turn it on, contact a data recovery service that deals in mechanical failures. It will be expensive.
It doesn't help now, but *never* be caught without a backup, most especially on a laptop drive.
02/15/2012 08:25:15 PM · #10
when i was at Sun i remember hearing quotes of something silly like $10 a mb but im guessing these have come down, i've always done low level recoveries and always got the data back, you can and i have seen drives sat in freezers wired up and running not recommended though
02/15/2012 08:30:27 PM · #11
Just got a quote for $700. Ouch. Now just need to decide if the data on the drive is worth it.
02/16/2012 12:04:42 AM · #12
I use online and local backups for my computers. I currently am finishing up my seed backup with backblaze and I think it was about $50 a year for unlimited backup. My original backup is over 1.5TB and that doesn't include the older stuff I have on dual external drives. Cheap insurance should something happen.

Matt
02/16/2012 04:15:15 AM · #13
i had it drummed into me working at enterprise server level for banks and governments, redundant failure, backup,cross location backup, offline backup, archive off site

i back mine up with time machine to a 2x2 tb drives, one is in my office one is in my cellar, i dont offsite as if my house goes well my laptop will be the least of my worries
02/16/2012 06:14:08 AM · #14
When you're up and running again look into jungledisk.com.

Only $0.15 per gig of space, runs every night on my work pc and web servers - really is fantastic!

I'd also recommend an additional back-up, treat the jungle disk as disaster recovery (fire, flood etc!).
02/16/2012 06:49:45 AM · #15
slightly off topic and not directed at anyone, but it just got me thinking that instead of home ec and woodshop every student should be required to take some form of internet safety, basic networking and data backup class. seems far more relevant nowadays, far too many people don't think about this and they should.
02/16/2012 09:24:39 AM · #16
Originally posted by mike_311:

slightly off topic and not directed at anyone, but it just got me thinking that instead of home ec and woodshop every student should be required to take some form of internet safety, basic networking and data backup class. seems far more relevant nowadays, far too many people don't think about this and they should.


+1
I wish!
02/16/2012 09:30:46 AM · #17
its covered in basic IT over here gets taught to all 11-15 yr old and they're now teaching them basics that parent should teach like bank account and apr etc, the continued dumbing down of society hehe

theres a famous quote or saying roughly loosely something like this

all the best lessons in life cost you, the ones you get away with you forget......

so those of us who have suffered a loss of data etc are more keen on our backups than those who never have, i had a laptop stolen form my house, as well as my folm camera and video cameras while shooting a wedding luckily they unplugged the external disk and left it, so got another mac through insurance plugged it in did a time machine backup and i had the exact same machine as before but a newer model :)

Message edited by author 2012-02-16 09:33:41.
03/06/2012 05:05:57 AM · #18
Kernel for Windows Data Recovery is a result-oriented and magnificent tool that works on both FAT and NTFS file systems and recovers data from the lost or inaccessible partitions. With the help of quick and advance scanning facility, this tool searches and restores lost data within few minutes. It also displays the recovered results to the user.
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