WAY OT –Data Recovery Services for a failed Hard Drive - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-18-2008, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a 500 GB Western Digital SATA Hard drive (Model No. WD500KS) that died. The computer was operating fine, and then I glanced over a few hours later and saw a blue screen of death with text messages stating something to the effect of “hard drive error – unable to access data”. This computer has been running XP Windows for home.

I then tried rebooting a couple of times, but the computer came back with “unable to find boot disk” (or something similar). During the two attempted boot ups, I heard the unmistakable clunking / chattering as the drive attempted to access data. Based upon what I have read, this means that the issue is with the heads themselves.

Questions:

1. Does anybody know if it is possible to recover the data on this drive ? I did weekly backups of the important personal stuff (family photos, bills, etc.), but I did not backup my 250 gigs of transferred Replaytv Shows. So the main interest here is to recover the Replaytv shows.

2. Anybody know of any reasonable cost data recovery services ?

3. Since this drive contains relatively sensitive personal data, should I just forgo the WD warranty and eat the cost of a new drive ? Or should I go ahead and send it back to WD ? (I am going to call WD on this issue as I have heard that you can obtain a wavier on sending the drive back if it contains sensitive data).

4. Any tricks that I should try before sending the drive out ? I am going to try the freezer trick. If that works at all (like for five minute before the drive warms up), then I will see if I can rig a cooler to stick the drive in while still connected to the PC.

Thanks in advance,

RW.

RW
And a Helluva an Engineer !
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-18-2008, 03:40 PM
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Try SpinRite ($80) from Steve Gibson. Google it since I can't post URLs :-)

Smiley (a yellow belly)
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-18-2008, 08:27 PM
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Even if the drive is toast, companies such as Ontrack can usually extract the data from it. Unfortunately, this type of service isn't cheap. It really just depends on how important the data is to you. If it's irreplaceable stuff like home movies or photos, it might be worth it.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-18-2008, 10:55 PM
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Recovery is several hundred dollars to $1000 and if the data is THAT important, I would not touch it. Ontrack will most likely recover everything unless you muck it up more.

Tony
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-19-2008, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys !

I figured out that it was going to be expensive to get the data off the disk using the recovery services. As all I really want off the disk are the Replaytv shows, I am not going to pay that much.

Thank God for the Windows Nt backup utility that came with Windows95 - WindowsXP. I set that sucker up to do weekly backups of the MyDocuments folder (which was where we kept our photos and all the essential user data), and it worked liked a charm. I restored the family data from the network disk and it was all there.

I will try the freezer trick today, and I will also call Western Digital about the "sensitive" data aspect, i.e., as this disk contains personal information such as SSN's, resumes, bills, etc., I don't think I want it going outside my house. So if WD will not let me either keep the disk or drill a hole in it, then I will not be exercising my warranty.

This damn disk only lasted 10 months, and it has a 3 year warranty....

RW

RW
And a Helluva an Engineer !
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-19-2008, 11:26 AM
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in case the disk is good, but the OS is corrupt (unbootable), you may be able to boot off a CD or another disk and then treat the original disk as a data disk. If the disk is clicking, then likely it is toast and you'll have to use another method

good luck ....
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-19-2008, 11:47 AM
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I have had some luck with recovering data from clicking drives, in some cases nearly 99%. As long as you are not going to exercise the warranty, then I would get a new boot drive for you system, then put the bad drive as a second drive in your system. I would then create a directory on the new drive called "OldWD" or something like that, then cut and paste everything from the bad drive to that new directory. Any file that can't be moved this way is probably toast enough that you may not be able to save it.

Once you can't sucessfully move any more files, then you can sometimes get them to copy using lower level commands. Here is the contents of the batch file I would use from a command prompt on the new drive;

c:
cd\\
MD OldWD
CD OldWD
xcopy e:\\*.* /s /d /c /y

The beauty is that you can keep running it over and over and it will still try to copy files. When it repeatedly hits the same file and won't stop clicking, I then delete that file and run it again.

I would do the freezer trick last since it usually is only good for just a few minutes. I have sucessfully done the freezer trick many times, just use it as the last try at recovery when all else has been exhausted.

Hope that helps.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-19-2008, 02:53 PM
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I used h**p"//www.dtidata.com in the past and saved some important things on one of my drives.

O==wrench==C
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-19-2008, 03:11 PM
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I worked on a circa 2001 WD 20GB drive Friday that blew out the boot sector and some other data.
The computer failed to boot and when booted with the UBCD4WINDOWS CD (http://ubcd4win.com) the computer didn't even see the old hard drive. Removed it from the computer and connected it to my Vantec SATA/IDE to USB adapter on my computer. Was able to get all the doc's except one, all the photos and all but two mp3's off that failing drive. I've used this adapter several times now on bad drives with pretty good results.
One strange thing that I've found is that once you see and navigate around the bad drive using windows explorer- only select 10-20 files at a time to transfer off the drive. If you try to just copy and paste the whole folder off the bad drive to your computer the transfer will likely fail, but if you instead just go into that folder and select several files then let them transfer then select some more and let them transfer... eventually you may get 99% of what you're looking for. Just don't be in a hurry using this method...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812232002

"If we ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space."
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-21-2008, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quick update.

The drive is totally toasted. I tried the freezer trick, and then installed the drive as secondary drive in another computer - but no dice. The drive clicked a couple of times and then stopped, and the computer did not see the drive during the bootup process.

I called one of the data recovery services

(http://www.nationwidedatarecovery.com/p2/)

that is advertised in the sticky just below my post (thanks to the moderators), and they quoted me prices of $199 for a level one servcie (supposedly ~ 75% are level one). They also quote $499 for a level two service, and supposedly 99.99% of the disks can be recovered between these two levels of service.

These prices are extremely low compared to other recovery services (if something seems to good to be true...), but they are still way too much for my budget.

So, as this disk is toast, it's just now a question of if WD is going to make me return the original disk. I have an email into WD asking how they handle "sensitive" disks.

I will update on the "sensitive" disk issue once I hear back form WD.

Thanks to all for the suggestions.

RW

RW
And a Helluva an Engineer !
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-21-2008, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblinWreck View Post


... it's just now a question of if WD is going to make me return the original disk. I have an email into WD asking how they handle "sensitive" disks.

Do you happen to have access to a high powered electromagnet? That should do the trick!
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post #12 of 22 Old 01-22-2008, 08:23 AM
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Yes, because the Russian mob is constantly trying to infiltrate WD and use some big guns for hire to steal your Aunt Jane's email address.

Tony
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-22-2008, 10:07 AM
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yep. just magnetize the sucker and you're good to go. Use the warranty.

This space for rent.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-22-2008, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyker View Post

yep. just magnetize the sucker and you're good to go. Use the warranty.

Actually, you have to DE-magnetize it, which is why you need an electro-magnet...

Henry
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-22-2008, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblinWreck View Post

So, as this disk is toast, it's just now a question of if WD is going to make me return the original disk. I have an email into WD asking how they handle "sensitive" disks.

I will update on the "sensitive" disk issue once I hear back form WD.

So just how much porn did you have on that disk?


PS: Everyone has already seen Britney Spears go commando, so there's no sense hiding your nude pictures of her.

Still no news from New Zealand.
If we ever get any, we'll be sure to let you know.
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-18-2008, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smileyhacker View Post

Try SpinRite ($80) from Steve Gibson. Google it since I can't post URLs :-)

Smiley (a yellow belly)


Ditto. Very quick recovery from most disk hardware failures.


And if that doesn't work - try this:


http://www.r-studio.com/


You will of course need a working PC and a big drive to implement option #2.
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post #17 of 22 Old 08-19-2008, 02:13 AM
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Your drive is physically damaged.But still your data may be recoverable.You can try Stellar Information System Ltd data recovery service.They are providing good data recovery solution for both physical and logical damage hard drive.They provides solution for Windows (Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, 2003, XP), Apple Macintosh, Novell, Linux, Unix operating system and FAT, NTFS, NTFS5, HFS, HFS+, NWFS, EXT2 and EXT3 file systems.
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-21-2010, 10:59 PM
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The hard drive recovery services by stellar are really appreciable. I have used the Stellar software for windows platform named stellar Phoenix windows data recovery software , would say only three words - cheap, user friendly and fast. First i tried the free download version and after that I got the complete one . U can get it here http://www.windows-data-recovery.net/

U may also search for some other data recovery software at very low price than mentioned in above replies

All the best
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-09-2012, 09:25 AM
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Try TestDisk: hatch tee tee pee colon slash slash dub dub dub dot cgsecurity dot org slash wiki slash TestDisk

It's free.

It might restore your drive, and if not, it might copy the contents to another drive.

I have an external drive that lost its partition table. It tried to fix it but couldn't. It did copy all the data off the disk.

I have the Gibson utility. It hasn't been updated in years, and it failed miserably on my drive.

Good luck.
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-09-2012, 09:27 AM
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post #21 of 22 Old 02-14-2012, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tirebiter View Post

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Further on TestDisk.

I'm running it now to recover several hundred GBs from an external drive that lost its MBR or partition table or something. TestDisk couldn't repair the drive, but it found all the files. I'm using its copy feature to transfer all the files to another disk. It is pretty slow at less than 3MB/sec, so I expect it will take a couple of days to finish, but on the plus side, it keeps the original timestamps on files and directories. It runs in a DOS shell with a minimal UI and no progress information of the current folder\\file or % complete, but bells and whistles aside, it's doing exactly what I want it to do.

It was free compared to $80 for GRC, and doesn't require a boot floppy *AND* it works, which GRC did not. I'm actually very disappointed with Gibson Research. I bought their product over 3 years ago, and it is still the same version they provide today.

When I have the drive backed up, I'm going to use some of the other features it has to try and repair the disk before I reformat it. I'm interested to see if it can rebuild the damaged structures and restore the disk to its former state. I avoided these choices prior to the backup because they seemed risky.
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-28-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gweempose View Post

Do you happen to have access to a high powered electromagnet? That should do the trick!

Actually not. Very few people have access to a magnet powerful enough to erase bits from outside the drive case. A common permanent magnet, tape eraser, or TV degausser won't do anything. An MRI machine's magnet might work.

P.S. To all the people spamming/promoting your favorite data recovery adware, read what the OP wrote - his drive is totally dead. No software is going to help him.
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