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Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

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Carpet_pissr
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Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

Is there any hope at all to recover, or at least LOOK at an image of what was previously on a mechanical drive that has failed (clicking, Windows and BIOS do not see drive)?

This happened to me recently (1TB/7200RPM/32M SATA if that matters) and though I use iDrive to do auto backups daily or even more often, I foolishly had not directed the program to just back up this drive at the root level down.

In hindsight, that decision looks (and is, in fact) moronic, but I guess the thinking at the time was "should I ever have to restore in the future, I don't want to have to go through gigabytes of stuff I can easily re-download, or things like temp files, the downloads folder, programs that can easily be re-installed, etc. Just the essentials."

The now obvious problem with that thinking is "Oh SHIT. I think I probably left a TON of photos in folders on the root drive instead of in my designated backup folders!!! ARGGGGGHHHHHH!!! I probably put a bunch of other "non-media" shit on there as a temp holding place while I freed up space, or finally decided to install that new drive that's been sitting on my desk for a year..."

The dead drive was my media drive, which was originally ONLY supposed to house MOVIES (almost all family videos, not really movies I guess), MUSIC, and PHOTOS...just those three folders. I am pretty sure I was not dilligent enough to put ALL my downloaded pics (from my SD cards, taken on my DSLR) under the PHOTOS folder.

Several cases I am sure where I was rushing out the door to go to some event, or holiday, or kid function, etc. quickly downloaded whatever was on my SD cards (to make space on the card) onto the now failed drive, and thought to myself "ok, I will come back later and put that in the PHOTOS folder. I need to go through those photos anyway to purge the bad ones before I save it "in the right place". Well that is anathema to me and my particular brain. Specifically, I have a SUPER hard time finishing that "last mile" on almost every task I take up. The intention is there...the will is there, the system is in place...it's just the DOING that LAST part that is the killer.

Anyway, if anyone has suggestions other than sending off to a service (but if that is the only option, is there a "value" version of that? I would hate to pay $300 for the service only to find out there was nothing of value on the root drive).
Last edited by Carpet_pissr on Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LawBeefaroni
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by LawBeefaroni »

If it's internal, try an external adapter. If it's external, remove from housing and try adapter and/or internal.

Avoid the freezer trick.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Daehawk »

I used that freezer trick many years ago...like in the 2000's and it worked for me. But that was then. I froze it for a while and hooked it up. It worked for a few minutes...maybe 10. And died again. Froze it again and got another few minutes but after that it wouldn't work. Got my data though. Either all of it or most of it. Someone on OO I think recomended the trick to me at the time I think.
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Carpet_pissr
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

Well crap. Can a get a tie breaker? :P

For reference, the drive was made in 2011, if that matters (and according to that article that LB posted, it might). Not sure at what point the tolerances they mentioned tightened so much that makes the freezer trick obsolete.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

Carpet_pissr wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:11 pm Well crap. Can a get a tie breaker? :P

For reference, the drive was made in 2011, if that matters (and according to that article that LB posted, it might). Not sure at what point the tolerances they mentioned tightened so much that makes the freezer trick obsolete.
If recovery of the data from the faulty drive is your priority, I would strongly recommend AGAINST attempting to recover the data yourself. Because this risks creating further potential damage, and the first rule of data recovery is to do no harm. As things stand, your data is likely still fully or mostly recoverable, depending upon the extent of internal damage. But for best results, you will need to deal with a professional data recovery service.

FWIW, I had multiple drives recovered by Advanced Data Solutions several years ago, and I found them great to work with. Ontrack is another rock-solid choice, definitely also worthy of consideration. I would suggest obtaining a quote from both, along with a reputable local professional data recovery service, and see how they compare. Then go with whomever you feel most comfortable with.

Also, if you need help locating legit professional data recovery specialists in your locale, try asking for reliable recommendations on the /datarecovery Reddit group.
Last edited by Anonymous Bosch on Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by LordMortis »

What is dead? Does it spin? Does it make grinding noises when it spins? Is the drive internal or external? How does it connect? If it's corrupted but spins fine then there are bunches of partition viewers out there. I can't remember the name of the last one I used. Many are try before you buy. They let you download and look at the date before charging you for their magic recovery... possibility... If it's physical damage or encryption that's beyond my paygrade.

If you say drive is clicking in a way that sounds like damage, then I would defer to pro. They can get costly quick.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

LordMortis wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:10 pm What is dead? Does it spin? Does it make grinding noises when it spins? Is the drive internal or external? How does it connect? If it's corrupted but spins fine then there are bunches of partition viewers out there. I can't remember the name of the last one I used. Many are try before you buy. They let you download and look at the date before charging you for their magic recovery... possibility... If it's physical damage or encryption that's beyond my paygrade.

If you say drive is clicking in a way that sounds like damage, then I would defer to pro. They can get costly quick.
Good questions: I guess by dead I meant that noises were heard, and suddenly Windows nor Bios sees the drive. Clicking, specifically was heard. No idea if it spins or not. Internal. SATA. I assume physical damage since I heard...stuff.

One very uninteresing, but surprising to me side note: when I opened up the case to pull it out and replace with the new drive, I noticed an identical drive (disconnected) sitting at the bottom of my case. At first I was overwhelmed with joy because I saw it and thought! YES!!! It's just disconnected! Just need to plug this bad boy back in. But nay, apparently many moons ago I had bought two identical drives and ran them in RAID 0, until one of them failed, so instead of pulling the dead drive out, I just left it in there like a lazy bum. :P
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Carpet_pissr
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

Anonymous Bosch wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 4:20 pm
Carpet_pissr wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:11 pm Well crap. Can a get a tie breaker? :P

For reference, the drive was made in 2011, if that matters (and according to that article that LB posted, it might). Not sure at what point the tolerances they mentioned tightened so much that makes the freezer trick obsolete.
If recovery of the data from the faulty drive is your priority, I would strongly recommend AGAINST attempting to recover the data yourself. Because this risks creating further potential damage, and the first rule of data recovery is to do no harm. As things stand, your data is likely still fully or mostly recoverable, depending upon the extent of internal damage. But for best results, you will need to deal with a professional data recovery service.

FWIW, I had multiple drives recovered by Advanced Data Solutions several years ago, and I found them great to work with. Ontrack is another rock-solid choice, definitely also worthy of consideration. I would suggest obtaining a quote from both, along with a reputable local professional data recovery service, and see how they compare. Then go with whomever you feel most comfortable with.

Also, if you need help locating legit professional data recovery specialists in your locale, try asking for reliable recommendations on the /datarecovery Reddit group.
Thanks! Will check those out
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by The Meal »

Carpet_pissr wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:11 pm Well crap. Can a get a tie breaker? :P

For reference, the drive was made in 2011, if that matters (and according to that article that LB posted, it might). Not sure at what point the tolerances they mentioned tightened so much that makes the freezer trick obsolete.
Don't.

It was a fine hail Mary in the CSS era, but with the move to ramps, it's a new era. 2011 has actuators parked off disc.

You could try connecting to a Linux box as an unmentioned hail Mary.
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LordMortis
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by LordMortis »

The Meal wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:59 am
It was a fine hail Mary in the CSS era, but with the move to ramps, it's a new era. 2011 has actuators parked off disc.

You could try connecting to a Linux box as an unmentioned hail Mary.
That's similar to the premise of using some of the fremium services. You get some software that you boot to a media that lets you look at the disc and file it can get to in different ways. I've had good luck but I don't remember what I've used and I don't want to endorse anything when I don't have a good understanding, especially if it comes to physical damage.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by coopasonic »

Send it to Putin. I hear he has some guys that are good at that sort of thing.
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Carpet_pissr
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

The Meal wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:59 am I have no Linux box. I do have a seconday dektop that I built for the kids, but they NEVER use it. It's currently running Windows 10. Could I set up some kind of dual boot thing easily?
A good question for OS experts.
And why Linux specifically? Appreciate any additional details you have, or even links so I can read up on it. Thanks
I'm parroting advice that would have been given out in the era that HDD was built. I'm guessing (but without full education) that it uses less OS overhead in attempts to communicate with the drive.

[edit:] The Meal somehow edited this post rather than quoted it. WHOOPS!

Very, sorry, C_p, but I edited your post rather than reply to it, and I can't undo it. You lost a good chunk of text. :(
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LordMortis
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by LordMortis »

You can try Hiren's.

https://www.tomsguide.com/how-to/how-to ... ens-bootcd

I haven't used the utility in looonnngggg time so do your diligence.
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Re: Mechanical hard drive recovery options?

Post by Carpet_pissr »

Carpet_pissr wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:35 pm
The Meal wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:59 am I have no Linux box. I do have a seconday dektop that I built for the kids, but they NEVER use it. It's currently running Windows 10. Could I set up some kind of dual boot thing easily?
A good question for OS experts.
And why Linux specifically? Appreciate any additional details you have, or even links so I can read up on it. Thanks
I'm parroting advice that would have been given out in the era that HDD was built. I'm guessing (but without full education) that it uses less OS overhead in attempts to communicate with the drive.

[edit:] The Meal somehow edited this post rather than quoted it. WHOOPS!

Very, sorry, C_p, but I edited your post rather than reply to it, and I can't undo it. You lost a good chunk of text. :(
No worries, I think the part that was lost pertained to the response I got from one of the repair specialists up thread. It's about as spendy as I thought I guess. Next step I think is to just call around to see if any local places will just look at it.

I'm torn because I have no idea what, if much was in the root directory. This would be so much easier if I KNEW for instance, that the PHOTOS folder was gone, or something, because then it would be a no brainer to pay to get it repaired. I have NO idea how much content I am potentially missing.
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