HDD Data Recovery Experience

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by iONic, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. iONic

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 16, 2007
    Anyone have any HDD Failures to the point of needing a Data recovery service?
    I've been searching around a bit and found that the prices are High...even astronomical. But I knew that fro some time. I've contacted places like Kroll - Ontrack, DriveSavers, CBL out of Canada, and Dataclinic out of the UK. So far I think my best option would be to pay $65 for Kroll - Ontrack to generate a file list of the drive. They are the only one that will do this. This way I can know whether I would even bother with the recovery process. Has anyone had work experience with respect to data recovery? Has anyone used any of these services or another service? What would you recommend?

    The Drive is an old IBM Deskstar 120GB and has either the "click of death" or another known IBM Drive issue related to the NV-RAM chip on the Drive itself.
  2. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    The drive recovery services ARE expensive. It is a complicted process, whereby they dissassemble your HDD platters and rebuild them in a clean room environment. Takes a lot of skill, custom equipment and a specialized environment. That's what drives the price up. I have paid $3,000 approximately for some critical data...
  3. colinb

    Active Member

    Jun 15, 2011
    iONic, sorry to hear you have a dead drive.

    However, I will take this to heart and remind myself to make sure my drives are backed up... an ounce of prevention and all that.
  4. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    I have found that most disks that will not read under windows will read fine (or mostly fine) under Linux.

    In the worst case, if the filesystem is completely corrupted, I can still collect most of the bits I need for important files.

    I don't think I've ever had a drive crash so hard that I couldn't get *anything* off the disk.
  5. thatoneguy


    Feb 19, 2009
    What you can try is putting into an external USB enclosure, then put that into the freezer for an hour.

    Take it out, power it up, plug it in. You can often get 20 minutes of file copying done this way, more if repeated.

    If that doesn't work, a recovery service is your only option.

    16GB and 32GB thumb drives are very cheap now, so there's no excuse to not have everything backed up in 2 or more places. :)
  6. iONic

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 16, 2007
    Well, back them up anyway, cause you will...

    This particular drive has a mechanical error and no Operating System can make a drive function under these conditions. If the drive turned on and spun correctly but could not be accessed by windows, then I could see trying a Live linux distro for salvaging the data, but it's not possible by this method.
  7. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
    Tossing an alternative to the table...

    Done it successfully at work about a dozen times but not with that HDD brand :

    Replaced the PC board from under the HD with another known good PC board of the same model HD. It is worth buying a healthy used drive for canibalizing.
    If the problem is on the board, including the circuitry preventing the mechanics to perform well, solved. If the problem is in the internal moving parts, then go to plan B for data recovery.

    The Linux suggestion from joey is interesting ! Set as a second-non booting drive could work.
  8. iONic

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 16, 2007
    There are places that sell pc boards for just this purpose, but my brand seems to be hard to find. There is also the issue with the Non-Volatile RAM chip, which could be the problem. This is where important information of where data sectors began and ended...etc. and the chip's firmware version needs to be the same. But with the bad chip, thee is no way to find the firmware version. I'd have to shoot in the dark with respect to the firmware, id I could even find the board replacement.