Any way to retrieve data from crashed HD?

By macx
Feb 29, 2016
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  1. Hi

    Fairly new 1TB drive (WD1001) I've been using for backup, has about 500g on it. Hooked up externally via USB adapter and external power source (kit). Worked great for some time.
    Windows 7 Home Premium

    All of a sudden refuses to run, sounds like the drive mechanism is stuck. Buzzes intermittently like it's trying to run but is stuck.

    Any way short of paying some shop an exhorbitant amount to pull the data off? I.e. is there available any device that's within the price range of the average home user? I had some data retrieved a number of years ago by a shop and I know there has been special - very expensive - equipment and software available for some years but was hoping somebody had developed something that was more affordable, maybe even a DIY for a mechanically experienced person?

    Or, short of that, any recommends for a reasonably priced shop?

  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    You could try the freezer method.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,003   +656

    Depends on whether it is mechanical (head crash, etc) or electronic (lost its accuracy, etc) - if you can see the HDD in device manager and it is properly identified then the controller board is likely to be good and the problem is mechanical. Some folks can make that diagnosis by sound, but I haven't had enough experience to tell you how that is done. This guy does (we hope)...

    If the controller board is the problem, try to replace the controller board by locating a working used unit of a duplicate and doing a swap...
  4. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    I just had success recovering files from an external drive (Seagate)
    using software by EaseUS.

    • They say the trial will allow you to recover up to 2gb for free ($0.00).
    • The Trial is free, but in order to recover any files, I needed to buy the package.
    • The Trial IS free, and you can see if it will work to recover files, before you buy.
    • The purchase price is, to me, nominal; especially considering it allowed full data recovery.
    MORE Notes:
    • It may not work in all cases.
    • In some cases the mere effort may make your damage worse, and make professional recovery impossible.
    • So: YMMV, Caveat Emptor and all that.

    EVEN MORE Notes:
    In my case...
    I had dropped this drive... not a hard landing, but fearing the worst I immediately made a backup.
    Not having any symptoms, and SMART, CHKDSK, CrystalDiskInfo etc consistently showing it good,
    I decided to leave it in service.
    The failure (MONTHS later) was sudden and complete/catastrophic.
    Symptoms ... clicking and perhaps failing to spin up?
    I had NOT done a backup for over two months (Bad on my part! I know better.)
    So, I really did want to recover files if I could.

    Learning that the USB to SATA bridge supplied with the drive is often a cause of failure,
    (I have been told that WD external drives are different in this regard, but not certain of the details).
    I tried two separate usb to sata cables, (one by Apricorn, for doing cloning operations)
    I tried a direct internal connection to a sata port on my desktop mb. (and power, of course)
    None of these were successful. AND
    File Manager and other programs would freeze ("Not Responding")
    while the system was trying to access the drive.

    Fortunately, I did have a thumbdrive with most of the files, all but about 6 weeks worth.
    SO... I figured I could scan those documents back in,
    and recover them via my Omnipage program (a workhorse for me).
    That meant this drive was less crucial...
    After the above was unsuccessful, I had just set it aside and was trying to decide what to do.
    With it being less "mission critical" I felt I could experiment freely, even recklessly if I chose.
    I tried the technique of the video listed above...
    but my heads were properly parked, not stuck to the platter.
    Now what?
    Any professional data recovery is going to charge more since I opened the drive.
    I experimented with Disk Management...
    (right click on My Computer -> Select Manage -> Left Pane of Computer Management -> Select Disk Management.)
    Sometimes (after long delays), the drive would appear, showing it had a RAW partition...
    Okay... I learned that EaseUS MIGHT be able to recover data from a RAW partition,

    And in my case it worked.
    But it took more than one run.
    After the first run, EaseUs software found my drive, not as a "lost drive", but as one of the others.
    And then it was able to build a file list.

    I am pretty sure I was just very lucky / the exception.

    I would repeat...
    If you do what I did, you may find that you have damaged the drive further,
    making file recovery impossible, even by a professional.
    It just depends on your particular situation.
    Added Information:
    did not seem to be able to rebuild the NTFS partition; too many read errors.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
    Cycloid Torus likes this.

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