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Old 08-04-2008, 11:01 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,727 posts, read 11,309,113 times
Reputation: 7700

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Does anybody have any recommendations for somewhere to send a hard disk to have data recovered? My brother's laptop hard drive died. It was replaced on warranty, but he would like to get his data back. My first thought was to read the hard disk with a USB adapter, causing it to run with a new controller, but it just sat there and clicked at me. Then a friend tried some hardware he had, but no results. Then we bought an identical hard drive so we could swap out the controller boards. That didn't work either.

We're not interested in forensics here. We just want to recover the files that are readable, once the disk is put in a lab where it can be read. If you had one of these, where would you send it?

(BTW: My brother is now learning to burn CD's and I'm going to make him an external USB hard disk using the extra drive we bought.)
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:02 PM
 
Location: US
1,189 posts, read 3,645,370 times
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If it is clicking then swapping boards won't help. Have you tried freezing it? First wrap the hard drive with some paper towels to try and collect the moisture, then put it in an anti-static bag, tape it and throw it in a ziploc bag and put it in the coldest freezer possible for at least 24 hours(I normally wait 2-4 days) then immediately try reading it with an IDE to USB device. This worked for me twice.

Unless he has his dissertation on that hard drive I don't think he would really want to pay the price of a clean room data recovery service.

Last edited by J Arp; 08-04-2008 at 12:09 PM.. Reason: edit
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:16 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
Reputation: 37303
I've dealt with these folks and have been very pleased as have my clients.

This link lists their North American locations

Data Recovery in North America - Data Recovery Labs and Cleanrooms - Kroll Ontrack (http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.com/data-recovery-locations/north-america/ - broken link)
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:48 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,727 posts, read 11,309,113 times
Reputation: 7700
I, too, have frozen hard drive and recovered data before. On the other hand, I Ihave had it fail more often that it works. When considered against the cost, it is a no-brainer to try. We did, but got nothing. No dissertation on this drive, but some impossible to replace pictures make it worth SOMETHING to recover.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:19 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,604,922 times
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An experience:

Client had a drive fail. Doing the clicking bit like yours.

I added it as a second drive at the shop and spent the weekend turning the computer on, waiting for the drive,then turning it back off if I couldn't access the drive. Wait 10 minutes, try again.

Took me the entire weekend with the drive finally revving up about every 20th time. I had less than a minute each time it would kick in so I was primed to copy asap. I got all her baby's pictures back. Every one they had ever taken from birth (literally) to age 2 1/2. They were not stored any where else.

When I returned the PC with the new drive in it I handed her a 4gb flash drive and told her to use it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,727 posts, read 11,309,113 times
Reputation: 7700
Two experienced tech's have tried with this drive. It is a laptop drive and I have an external USB cable, so it was simple to restart the drive many, many times, but all I ever got for the effort was click-click-click.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, TN
11 posts, read 38,288 times
Reputation: 20
I have also had mixed luck with the freezing trick and the intermittent power up/power down. Changing the geometry of the drive platters by freezing them or trying to get around a potential intermittent internal connectivity issue only goes so far if the drives actuator is simply not functioning.
Sounds like you are pretty much down to weighing out the cost of the recovery shops with the data that would be lost.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,070 posts, read 9,077,804 times
Reputation: 1632
One thing about these recovery outfits, is that they will quote a price beforehand. If I had things I never wanted to lose, I'd back them up someplace else. There are a number of free places on the Internet, though I've not had experience with them. I'd want to make sure they are going to be around awhile, and if they plan on shutting down, I'd like to know ahead of time.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 37,795,478 times
Reputation: 3806
Interesting thread here.

My 1+ year old Mac Mini died yesterday (probable hard drive issue) and am pondering what it would take to recover a bunch of pictures (cars, trucks, etc).

I am typing this post on a brand new Windows Vista machine (at least I have 4 Gig of RAM so Vista is minding its manners thus far ). Suffice to say; I have a legit Windows XP SP II disc on hand complete with its Key Code..........just in case
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