Any good programs for getting data off failing HDDs?

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by strantor, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I have a stack of hard drives here that I've collected out of my computers over the years. They still have data on them that I'd like to copy, mostly pictures. When a hard drive starts making noise or gives me other reasons to be suspicious of it, I just go ahead and replace it before it fails. Then I try to copy all the data from it to the new hard drive via external HDD case and USB, but usually the transfer takes several hours, and somewhere in the middle, there will be an error. Thanks to Windows' genius file copy, this one error ends the entire transfer, leaving me with corrupt and/or missing files and folders. I want a program that has the good sense to skip the failed file and go ahead and continue the copy operation and inform me of any errors afterwards. Does anybody have a recommendation? Preferably freeware, but I'll pay for inexpensive shareware if it's worth it.
  2. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    I usually miss those signs,and the disk dies. When that happens,I boot the computer with an USB stick with Ubuntu. In Ubuntu I mount the failing disk and copy the files to another USB,or network station.

    It's been a while since last time... :eek:
  3. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008
  4. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    I usually use PartedMagic, or similar, making am image of the drive...
  5. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    Linux is excellent at recovering data on hard drives that are not terminally broken. This is what I do:

    Use a SATA/IDE to USB adapter to attach the drive to a pc.

    On the command line, type:

    Code ( (Unknown Language)):
    1. sudo fdisk -l
    Find the device in the list that represents your drive (i.e. /dev/sdb).

    Copy an image of the entire drive to a file (replase sdb with the proper device name):

    Code ( (Unknown Language)):
    1. sudo dd if=/dev/sdb of=/path/to/new/isofile/drive.img
    I do this step because now I have a complete backup of the drive in case the drive decides to fail terminally.

    Now, you can mount one or more of the partitions of the drive from the file using a loopback device (i.e. /dev/loop0). I can help you further if you need it.

    From there, copy away!
  6. paulktreg

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 2, 2008
  7. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    Strantor, did you find a solution that works for you?
  8. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I haven't gotten around to trying any of the suggestions yet. I'm going to need a full day to do this I think. I did however discover a disk in my filing cabinet; Acronis Drive Image. I believe I bought that disk sometime last year when my last drive crashed, after I posted a very similar or identical thread, asking for recommendations. I apologize for the duplicate thread; I have memory laspses. I can't even remember if I used the Acronis or not, or how well it worked.
  9. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    I believe I got a copy of Acronis with a new HDD purchase and I was quite happy with it. You can put several backups in a single partition and there is plenty of room to describe which version it is when you start the process, like a whole page.

    PS, Old people spend a lot of time thinking about the Hereafter. I walk into a room and think to myself, "What did I come hereafter?" When it comes to some thread I started some time ago, I can't even remember the subject matter!
    strantor likes this.
  10. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    Well I'm going to be an absolutely worthless geezer. I'm only 27 and I can identify with all the chain emails (geezer topics) that my dad sends me. I pride myself on recognizing when he sends me the same one he sent me last month - I know I'm not as senile as he is. I don't even make it into the next room most times; so it's a "thereafter" - What was I going to go thereafter?

    I've gone to the store before for 2 items and when I got there, couldn't remember either of them. I would have called the wife, but I forgot my phone. Then I had to decide whether it is better to return with nothing or with something entirely different than I was dispatched to retrieve. I don't remember which option I chose, but it wasn't the right one.
    #12 likes this.
  11. square wave

    New Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Another vote for Linux from me. I consider myself only reasonably PC literate but I managed to save my Dad's laptop files with a USB copy of Mint last year.
  12. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    XCOPY in a CMD box. Use the /C parameter to continue if an error occurs.
    strantor likes this.