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Data recovery from unallocated HDD

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March 5, 2014 10:12:13 PM

I have a 1.5Tb Seagate Barracuda drive that I've been using as a backup drive and for extra storage. Recently, it stopped showing up in My Computer (worked fine one day - next day nothing) In Disk Management it shows up as unallocated with all right click options greyed out. I unfortunately don't have a back up of my back up and I'm trying to recover the data. Any solutions as to how I may access the data would be really helpful.
March 6, 2014 1:39:34 AM



Thanks for the response. I checked out the thread and followed the instructions using Piriform Recuva. However that program doesn't scan unlisted disks. As the drive I'm try to fix is currently unallocated it doesn't show up in Windows Explorer or the list of Drives to scan in Recuva.

Do you know any other methods of accessing HDDs that aren't directly accessible through the explorer? I've read that a Linux Live Boot Disk might work - I got a copy of Hiren's Boot CD (15.2) - but I'm not sure what program on it to use.

Any further recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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March 6, 2014 9:06:28 AM

Windows Data Recovery software is a crackerjack solution for recovering data from the deleted, damaged, formatted and re-formatted partition of the hard disk. Using this software, the user can even restore the data lost due to virus attacks, partition damage, MBR loss or corruption in file system(FAT or NTFS). This Windows data recovery software offers wondrous options like 'Find Files' - which allows the user to search a particular file of a specific file format and 'File Filters' - which allows to find multiple files of different formats such as PDF, DOC, XLS, etc. at the same time. For more information : http://best-datarecoverysoftware.blogspot.com
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March 6, 2014 9:33:20 PM

Seems like no one is really reading OP's problem here. He said the drive is not showing up in any of these softwares or even in Windows explorer. There is a great chance here that there is some mechanical failure.

You can learn more about the different levels of data recovery and symptoms here: http://www.sertdatarecovery.com/recovery-questions/comp...

Mechanical failure will mean you need to repair the drive and/or have a hardware level cloner, which all of the utilities and equipment for this is expensive. ie: requires professional recovery help.

A company that provides free phone consultations is SERT Data Recovery http://www.sertdatarecovery.com
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March 6, 2014 11:08:17 PM

operate1 said:
Windows Data Recovery software is a crackerjack solution for recovering data from the deleted, damaged, formatted and re-formatted partition of the hard disk. Using this software, the user can even restore the data lost due to virus attacks, partition damage, MBR loss or corruption in file system(FAT or NTFS). This Windows data recovery software offers wondrous options like 'Find Files' - which allows the user to search a particular file of a specific file format and 'File Filters' - which allows to find multiple files of different formats such as PDF, DOC, XLS, etc. at the same time. For more information : http://best-datarecoverysoftware.blogspot.com


BillyDataGuy said:
Seems like no one is really reading OP's problem here. He said the drive is not showing up in any of these softwares or even in Windows explorer. There is a great chance here that there is some mechanical failure.

You can learn more about the different levels of data recovery and symptoms here: http://www.sertdatarecovery.com/recovery-questions/comp...

Mechanical failure will mean you need to repair the drive and/or have a hardware level cloner, which all of the utilities and equipment for this is expensive. ie: requires professional recovery help.

A company that provides free phone consultations is SERT Data Recovery http://www.sertdatarecovery.com


I think this is closer to my problem. I've read that article and unfortunately I think my problem might be a Physical Data Recovery issue. I think my problem was the result of a static shock to the drive. The HDD I'm trying to salvage is an internal drive mounted in an external hot swap dock. I recently moved to a new city and its a higher altitude and dry, so static build up is quite common.

The drive shows up in Disk Management window and using Hiren Live Boot CD I can access the S.M.A.R.T. data which says the drive is nearing failure but still operational.

I'm trying the Kernel for Windows Data Recovery program recommended by operate1. So far it seems to have successfully scanned the drive and now its searching for lost data. Its taking a long time so I will report back after it concludes.

The article you linked to, BillyDataGuy, stresses the importance of professional data recovery. It that absolutely necessary? I would absolutely like to recover the data (some of it is irreplaceable) but I'm not sure I can justify the hundreds of dollars it costs for professional recovery.
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March 9, 2014 3:31:08 PM

Ok, I can report in success today! I was able to use Kernel for Windows Data Recovery as recommended by operate1 and mini1950. The program was able to identify a list of active hard drives in my system, scan for recoverable files and let me save the contents of my damaged drive to a different drive. In my case it seems that there was no physical damage to the drive just a corruption of the partition.

Thanks to everyone who commented and provided advice and I'm now happily saving this data to two other different HDDs to prevent a reoccurence of this issue from being so dire.
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March 18, 2014 10:00:48 PM

Systematic454 said:
Ok, I can report in success today! I was able to use Kernel for Windows Data Recovery as recommended by operate1 and mini1950. The program was able to identify a list of active hard drives in my system, scan for recoverable files and let me save the contents of my damaged drive to a different drive. In my case it seems that there was no physical damage to the drive just a corruption of the partition.

Thanks to everyone who commented and provided advice and I'm now happily saving this data to two other different HDDs to prevent a reoccurence of this issue from being so dire.


Systematic454, I apologize for the late response. Also, I am glad to hear that your attempt was successful.

To answer your question, after watching drives get recovered with professional data recovery equipment in the same circumstances where I have also seen MOST fail using software, I have come to understand that having the right tools is the key to successful recovery and happy times.

The lesson here: You did not know what was wrong with the drive. That is the main thing anyone needs to know before they choose what utility to use to try to recover the data. Otherwise you might as well be standing in a room blind, shooting a pistol trying to hit the door knob and you don't even know where it is or if the door is even closed.

The reason for defaulting to a professional recovery company is because they have the tools that are able to test the hard drive at all points without causing more damage to a potentially failing drive. For example, there are devices that can read the information about a drive from a PCB detached from the drive, and without having to spin the drive up. These same devices are also able to shut down heads and also read certain parts of the platters without reading others.

Also what recovery programs do is first scan the whole drive, which wears out all the mechanical parts and potentially makes failing parts fail faster. Then once the scan is done if everything holds up, then it has to actually read and write the data to another location. So essentially it has to scan the drive twice. If you have a mechanical failure or even just enough bad sectors this will cause the drive to become unrecoverable, or fail at the very least, requiring a hardware replacement to continue the process.

At this point you will need to go with a recovery service, only you have just made their job potentially impossible, or at least a lot harder and more expensive for you.

The myth here: the consensus is that the end user (or even some of your computer repair shops) can try to recover the data, and then when the drive fails, they can always send it off to the pros, who can recover it.

The truth of the matter is this: Once the platter has been damaged enough the data is gone no matter how much money you pay.

Head crash - scratched platter = DATA GONE FOR GOOD.

So the moral of the story is you can play Russian roulette all you want. If there are six chambers and one bullet you have about a 16% chance of killing your self. However i don't think the odds are as good in data recovery.
:D :) 

If the data is important to you, its worth the investment and the rest at night.
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