1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Laptop hard drive data recovery

By mikescorpio81 · 9 replies
Apr 30, 2007
  1. Hi all,

    Yesterday my clients laptop HDD became corrupt and unreadable. Unable to boot to Windows or recognise disk through WinXP re-install process. I replaced the HDD and software re-built his laptop. All went well.

    My problem is that of course, he has alot of data on the old HDD and did not have a back-up in place. I have a USB - IDE tool that I connect the old HDD up to my laptop with, and WinXP does recognise the disk, but when you try to access the disk it says the file table is corrupt or unreadable. chkdsk returns a message saying master file table is corrupt, and it does not run the chkdsk after that.

    The disk is in trouble I know, but it is not making any strange noises and My PC picks it up straight away, so there is a chance I may be able to salvage some data from it somehow.

    Any ideas or programs would be appreciated.

    Cheers :grinthumb
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,231   +234

  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    We have very good success with this old fashioned procedure... unless the bearings are frozen on the laptop drive.
    Buy an adapter which converts a laptop drive for use in a desktop. It has a portable socket, and the wires to connect to a desktop power supply. This extra power helps. You can get these at www.geeks.com, Outpost, compUSA, CyberGuys, and other sources... for as low as $2.99 and has high as $12.00... whatever the market will bear.
    Then figger out how to jumper the laptop drive as slave and your hard drive as master... Cable Select does not work well.
    Put the laptop drive in the refrigerator or freezer over night, then put it in the desktop.
    In about 75 to 85 percent of the cases, we can make that laptop drive turn reliably long enough to drag and drop all the data to a folder on the good desktop hard drive.
    DO NOT turn off the computer once you start this, as you may never be able to get the laptop drive to turn again once it has come to a halt.
    The laptop drive probably will not boot, but it will turn, and will be detected by your desktop long enough to recover key data.
    Also, on a Windows VISTA with Premium or Ultimate, it will often find the data and transfer it by itself.
  4. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 292

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I'm looking into Tmagic's link provided and I may try one or more of the programs suggested.

    The freezr trick i have heard of, but I'm a little scared to be honest! If all else fails with the programs, I'll definately try raybay's idea.

    Thanks again, I'll let you know in the coming days how it all goes.

  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    ah- that's old school - putting it in the freezer..... hahaha

    I remember really old school when you put 5 1/4 floppies in the microwave for 3 seconds to get rid of bad sectors.
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    Old, but tried and true in long and extensive tests... particularly useful with laptop hard drives for which all else is failed. Don't laugh until you have tried it when nothing else works.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    Sounds like a job for spinrite :


    Should recover most HDD problems, even the click of death - at least long enough for you to copy any data off.
  8. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 292


    After spending 4 hrs trying all sorts of different programs and whatnot to retrieve the data, it is beyond me. I can't justify spending more time than I have on this data recovery job, so I'm billing him for the 4hrs of my time and suggesting that he send it off to a data recovery centre.

    Costs are roughly AUD$1500-$2000 flat fee and they don't guarentee success. But in the past I have used them 5+ times and all were successful.

    Thanks for the help :grinthumb
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    We have rarely had to spend more than $450 to $700. There are about 80 firms out there now doing this work... the best we have found are in Canada
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,231   +234

    I don't know why people with important data that they can't afford to loose... don't invest in a backup drive either internal or external... $160 is a lot less than all these firms charge
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...