Recover Data from Damaged Harddrive - how? ideas?

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Hi,

I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home that has
significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital 200Gig) in our
desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking" sound as it tries to
read, and the BIOS does not even recognize the drive is present half
the time. The other half the time, when it finally does recognize it...
it recognizes the drive but thinks it is only 8 gigs. We tried placing
it in an external harddrive case and let our good computer access it...
but that computer was unable to access the drive either.

No recovery software has succeeded in being able to recover any data..
because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries to read (just
clicks and clicks).

What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can be
bare losing all our family photos, financial information, databases,
etc.

Thank you for any ideas and help.
12 answers Last reply
More about recover data damaged harddrive ideas
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    crispywafers@yahoo.com a exposé le 2005-07-20 :
    > Hi,
    >
    > I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home that has
    > significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital 200Gig) in our
    > desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking" sound as it tries to
    > read, and the BIOS does not even recognize the drive is present half
    > the time. The other half the time, when it finally does recognize it...
    > it recognizes the drive but thinks it is only 8 gigs. We tried placing
    > it in an external harddrive case and let our good computer access it...
    > but that computer was unable to access the drive either.
    >
    > No recovery software has succeeded in being able to recover any data..
    > because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries to read (just
    > clicks and clicks).
    >
    > What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
    > professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can be
    > bare losing all our family photos, financial information, databases,
    > etc.
    >
    > Thank you for any ideas and help.


    I was 2 times succesful in placing the drive in a ziplok and storing it
    on a freezer for a couple of hours (well, in one case, 12 hours).

    After you get it out and put it back in the computer, it *may* read the
    data correctly (you may have to reboot more than once before it works).
    In that case, be prepared to clone the partition on another drive as
    soon as possible, because that luck don't last for long.

    For other ideas, I suggest to read the following article
    fromTechRepublic : 200 ways to revive a hard drive, availiable at
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5029761.html

    As long as the BIOS recognize the drive, there's hope..

    Good luck -- let us know how it worked !
    Michel

    PS: for recovery software, may I suggest to take a look a True Image
    from Acronis. It was succesful for me in cloning and recovering a
    damaged NTFS partition where other softwares (Drive Image and Ghost, to
    name a few) failed.

    Always clone the partition(s) to another disk and make the recovery
    attempt on the clone. This way, if the recovery fails, your disk is
    still availiable for other tools to try.
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    A brown-out should not damage any computer component.
    The ATX spec requires the PSU shutdown until the line is stable.
    A bad PSU can give you out of spec voltages and spikes.

    I would start with the WD diagnostics. It will likely say "toast".

    <crispywafers@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1121895844.954144.209300@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home that has
    > significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital 200Gig) in our
    > desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking" sound as it tries to
    > read, and the BIOS does not even recognize the drive is present half
    > the time. The other half the time, when it finally does recognize it...
    > it recognizes the drive but thinks it is only 8 gigs. We tried placing
    > it in an external harddrive case and let our good computer access it...
    > but that computer was unable to access the drive either.
    >
    > No recovery software has succeeded in being able to recover any data..
    > because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries to read (just
    > clicks and clicks).
    >
    > What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
    > professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can be
    > bare losing all our family photos, financial information, databases,
    > etc.
    >
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    crispywafers@yahoo.com wrote in
    news:1121895844.954144.209300@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home
    > that has significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital
    > 200Gig) in our desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking"
    > sound as it tries to read, and the BIOS does not even recognize
    > the drive is present half the time. The other half the time,
    > when it finally does recognize it... it recognizes the drive but
    > thinks it is only 8 gigs. We tried placing it in an external
    > harddrive case and let our good computer access it... but that
    > computer was unable to access the drive either.
    >
    > No recovery software has succeeded in being able to recover any
    > data.. because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries
    > to read (just clicks and clicks).
    >
    > What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
    > professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither
    > can be bare losing all our family photos, financial information,
    > databases, etc.
    >
    > Thank you for any ideas and help.
    >

    There is a company in the UK that does data recovery for more
    reasonable prices: <http://www.retrodata.co.uk/>

    They have done a very good job for a couple of my customers, for
    less than 20% of what the others charge.

    20:20 hindsight:
    A brownout may have been what you observed (lights dimming), but I
    doubt a dip in mains voltage would physically damage a disk drive.
    It's more likely that there were surges on the line as well that
    caused it. You may want to consider installing anti-surge and UPS
    protection to avoid recurrence. Regular backups of your data would
    also be prudent because a disk drive can fail without the help of
    line surges.
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Ann <nnn@invalid.jp> wrote:

    ....

    > A brownout may have been what you observed (lights dimming), but I
    > doubt a dip in mains voltage would physically damage a disk drive.
    > It's more likely that there were surges on the line as well that
    > caused it. You may want to consider installing anti-surge and UPS
    > protection to avoid recurrence. Regular backups of your data would
    > also be prudent because a disk drive can fail without the help of
    > line surges.

    After my last UPS died, I bought a 1200 W line conditioner (voltage
    regulator). It is much more wattage than my system requires. I heard
    they get hot, but it is barely warm. I also use surge suppression. I
    bought the line conditioner instead of a UPS because I never produce
    irreplaceable data over the course of a few minutes, which is about
    the longest interval data stays unsaved to the hard disk drive here.
    Combine that with the fact that hardware failures are rare, a UPS
    just isn't necessary here. I realize other's circumstances may
    require a UPS.

    It's too bad about the original poster's lack of backups. I guess
    that is one of the benefits to hanging out in a user help group, if
    you didn't already know, you learn to keep backups.
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    crispywafers@yahoo.com wrote

    > I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home
    > that has significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital
    > 200Gig) in our desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking"
    > sound as it tries to read, and the BIOS does not even recognize
    > the drive is present half the time. The other half the time, when
    > it finally does recognize it... it recognizes the drive but thinks it
    > is only 8 gigs. We tried placing it in an external harddrive case
    > and let our good computer access it... but that computer was
    > unable to access the drive either.

    > No recovery software has succeeded in being able
    > to recover any data.. because the software stalls out
    > when the harddrive tries to read (just clicks and clicks).

    > What are some options we have besides
    > sending the drive to a professional?

    None basically, thats what backups are for.

    > We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can be bare
    > losing all our family photos, financial information, databases, etc.

    Then you should have backed up what matters.
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Michel S. <NoSpam@msn.com> wrote:
    > crispywafers@yahoo.com a exposé le 2005-07-20 :
    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home that
    >> has significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital 200Gig)
    >> in our desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking" sound as it
    >> tries to read, and the BIOS does not even recognize the drive is
    >> present half the time. The other half the time, when it finally does
    >> recognize it... it recognizes the drive but thinks it is only 8
    >> gigs. We tried placing it in an external harddrive case and let our
    >> good computer access it... but that computer was unable to access
    >> the drive either. No recovery software has succeeded in being able to recover
    >> any
    >> data.. because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries to
    >> read (just clicks and clicks).
    >>
    >> What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
    >> professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can
    >> be bare losing all our family photos, financial information,
    >> databases, etc.
    >>
    >> Thank you for any ideas and help.

    > I was 2 times succesful in placing the drive in a ziplok and storing
    > it on a freezer for a couple of hours (well, in one case, 12 hours).

    Unlikely to help with a drive killed by a brownout.

    > After you get it out and put it back in the computer, it *may* read
    > the data correctly (you may have to reboot more than once before it works).
    > In that case, be prepared to clone the partition on another
    > drive as soon as possible, because that luck don't last for long.

    > For other ideas, I suggest to read the following article from TechRepublic :
    > 200 ways to revive a hard drive, availiable at
    > http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5029761.html

    None of those will help in this situation either.

    > As long as the BIOS recognize the drive, there's hope..

    Not when even when it is recognised, it still cant read anything.

    > Good luck -- let us know how it worked !

    > PS: for recovery software, may I suggest to take a look a True Image from
    > Acronis. It was succesful for me in cloning and recovering a damaged NTFS
    > partition where other softwares (Drive Image and Ghost, to name a few) failed.

    The drive is FAR too dead for that to work.

    > Always clone the partition(s) to another disk and make the recovery attempt on
    > the clone. This way, if the recovery fails, your disk is still availiable for
    > other tools to try.
  7. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Rod Speed a présenté l'énoncé suivant :
    > Michel S. <NoSpam@msn.com> wrote:
    >> crispywafers@yahoo.com a exposé le 2005-07-20 :
    >>> Hi,
    >>>
    >>> I hope someone can help me out. We had a brownout at our home that
    >>> has significantly damaged the master drive (Western Digital 200Gig)
    >>> in our desktop. The drive is making a ominous "clicking" sound as it
    >>> tries to read, and the BIOS does not even recognize the drive is
    >>> present half the time. The other half the time, when it finally does
    >>> recognize it... it recognizes the drive but thinks it is only 8
    >>> gigs. We tried placing it in an external harddrive case and let our
    >>> good computer access it... but that computer was unable to access
    >>> the drive either. No recovery software has succeeded in being able to
    >>> recover any
    >>> data.. because the software stalls out when the harddrive tries to
    >>> read (just clicks and clicks).
    >>>
    >>> What are some options we have besides sending the drive to a
    >>> professional? We don't have a grand to pay someone, but neither can
    >>> be bare losing all our family photos, financial information,
    >>> databases, etc.
    >>>
    >>> Thank you for any ideas and help.
    >
    >> I was 2 times succesful in placing the drive in a ziplok and storing
    >> it on a freezer for a couple of hours (well, in one case, 12 hours).
    >
    > Unlikely to help with a drive killed by a brownout.
    >
    >> After you get it out and put it back in the computer, it *may* read
    >> the data correctly (you may have to reboot more than once before it
    >> works). In that case, be prepared to clone the partition on another
    >> drive as soon as possible, because that luck don't last for long.
    >
    >> For other ideas, I suggest to read the following article from TechRepublic :
    >> 200 ways to revive a hard drive, availiable at
    >> http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5029761.html
    >
    > None of those will help in this situation either.
    >
    >> As long as the BIOS recognize the drive, there's hope..
    >
    > Not when even when it is recognised, it still cant read anything.
    >
    >> Good luck -- let us know how it worked !
    >
    >> PS: for recovery software, may I suggest to take a look a True Image from
    >> Acronis. It was succesful for me in cloning and recovering a damaged NTFS
    >> partition where other softwares (Drive Image and Ghost, to name a few)
    >> failed.
    >
    > The drive is FAR too dead for that to work.
    >
    >> Always clone the partition(s) to another disk and make the recovery attempt
    >> on the clone. This way, if the recovery fails, your disk is still
    >> availiable for other tools to try.

    Considering the highly useful advice/suggestions you are giving (that
    is: nothing) I consider my suggestions as having a higher chances of
    success than yours.

    Maybe his drive is completely lost anyway, but at least he will have
    tried something before abandoning.

    I salvaged (at least partially) more than one drive that were dead
    according to "the book". I even had a client who had an "expert"
    declared all his data lost for whom I recovered all but a couple of
    files.. It was pure luck, not science, but at least I tried and it
    worked.
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "Rod Speed" <rod_speed@yahoo.com> wrote in news:3k86fbFt8v0qU1
    @individual.net:

    > ... the basics of what happens to a drive when killed by a
    > brownout.
    >

    Please would you share your knowledge of what you consider a brownout
    to be, and what happens to a drive when killed by same?
  9. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    McSpreader a couché sur son écran :
    > "Rod Speed" <rod_speed@yahoo.com> wrote in news:3k86fbFt8v0qU1
    > @individual.net:
    >
    >> ... the basics of what happens to a drive when killed by a
    >> brownout.
    >>
    >
    > Please would you share your knowledge of what you consider a brownout
    > to be, and what happens to a drive when killed by same?


    Brownout Definition: A reduction in the mains voltage without a
    complete loss of power. A brownout is a steady lower voltage state. An
    example of a brownout happens during peak electrical demands in the
    summer, when utilities can't always meet the requirements and must
    lower the voltage to limit maximum power.

    When this happens, computer systems can experience data corruption,
    data loss and premature hardware failure.

    Source: http://www.asi.com.au/technology/powermgt/UPSPowerIssues.htm
  10. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "Michel S." <NoSpam@msn.com> wrote in
    news:mn.a9337d5793bec4f3.33676@msn.com:

    > McSpreader a couché sur son écran :
    >> "Rod Speed" <rod_speed@yahoo.com> wrote in news:3k86fbFt8v0qU1
    >> @individual.net:
    >>
    >>> ... the basics of what happens to a drive when killed by a
    >>> brownout.
    >>>
    >>
    >> Please would you share your knowledge of what you consider a
    >> brownout to be, and what happens to a drive when killed by
    >> same?
    >
    >
    > Brownout Definition: A reduction in the mains voltage without a
    > complete loss of power. A brownout is a steady lower voltage
    > state. An example of a brownout happens during peak electrical
    > demands in the summer, when utilities can't always meet the
    > requirements and must lower the voltage to limit maximum power.
    >
    > When this happens, computer systems can experience data
    > corruption, data loss and premature hardware failure.
    >
    > Source:
    > http://www.asi.com.au/technology/powermgt/UPSPowerIssues.htm
    >

    Michel,

    Thanks. I found several others, see below. Take your pick.

    About the only thing the definitions agree on is that a brownout is
    a reduction in supply voltage. So why would that cause damage to
    the electronics of an IDE disk drive powered through a regulated
    PSU?

    McSP.


    Brownout: A sudden, unexpected reduction in electrical power,
    usually lasting just a few seconds, but long enough to cause
    computer equipment to fail from insufficient power levels.
    Source:
    <http://www.psps.com/pages_frames/tech_talk/telecommunications_dict
    ionary.htm>

    Brownout: A short-term decrease in voltage levels to below 80% of
    their nominal value.
    Source:
    http://www.cyberresearch.com/content/static/glossary.aspx#B

    Brownout: USA term for a dip: a reduction of the supply voltage
    well below its normal tolerances, followed by a recovery to the
    original level. The voltage during the dip does not reduce to zero.
    Brownouts can last for seconds, minutes, or even hours.
    Source: http://www.iee.org/Policy/Areas/Electro/core.pdf
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    McSpreader <invalid@hotmail.com> wrote
    > Michel S <NoSpam@msn.com> wrote
    >> McSpreader wrote
    >>> Rod Speed <rod_speed@yahoo.com> wrote

    >>>> ... the basics of what happens to a drive when killed by a brownout.

    >>> Please would you share your knowledge of what you consider a
    >>> brownout to be, and what happens to a drive when killed by same?

    >> Brownout Definition: A reduction in the mains voltage without a
    >> complete loss of power. A brownout is a steady lower voltage
    >> state. An example of a brownout happens during peak electrical
    >> demands in the summer, when utilities can't always meet the
    >> requirements and must lower the voltage to limit maximum power.

    >> When this happens, computer systems can experience data
    >> corruption, data loss and premature hardware failure.

    >> Source:
    >> http://www.asi.com.au/technology/powermgt/UPSPowerIssues.htm

    > Thanks. I found several others, see below. Take your pick.

    > About the only thing the definitions agree on is
    > that a brownout is a reduction in supply voltage.

    Thats what a brownout is, stupid.

    > So why would that cause damage to the electronics of
    > an IDE disk drive powered through a regulated PSU?

    Basically a brownout can be accompanied by spikes on the
    mains and those can damage the power supply, and that can
    see the output rails way out of spec and damage the drive.

    You can also see badly designed power supplys produce
    some pretty bizarre output rail excursions even with just a
    big sag in the mains, and that can damage the drive too.

    And whatever the detail, we do know that the OP did
    see a brownout and that the drive did die at that time.
    The detail of how the drive got fried is quite academic.

    > Brownout: A sudden, unexpected reduction in electrical power,
    > usually lasting just a few seconds, but long enough to cause
    > computer equipment to fail from insufficient power levels.
    > Source:
    > <http://www.psps.com/pages_frames/tech_talk/telecommunications_dictionary.htm>

    > Brownout: A short-term decrease in voltage
    > levels to below 80% of their nominal value.
    > Source:
    > http://www.cyberresearch.com/content/static/glossary.aspx#B

    > Brownout: USA term for a dip: a reduction of the supply voltage
    > well below its normal tolerances, followed by a recovery to the
    > original level. The voltage during the dip does not reduce to zero.
    > Brownouts can last for seconds, minutes, or even hours.
    > Source: http://www.iee.org/Policy/Areas/Electro/core.pdf

    Those are all saying the same thing in different words.

    And they fail to mention that brownouts are often accompanied
    by over voltage surges and spikes, particularly when some fool
    manages to bring a power pole down and the power system
    sees reclosers attempting to bring the power up again and failing.
  12. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "Eric Gisin" <ericgisin@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:dbn0d40te0@enews3.newsguy.com...
    > A brown-out should not damage any computer component.
    > The ATX spec requires the PSU shutdown until the line is stable.

    Of course before the brownout the line WAS stable. The brown out itself
    might not have caused the problem with the PC but the same event that caused
    the brownout could well have caused the problem with the PC. Who knows what
    actually caused the brown out. Perhaps a lightening strike? Perhaps some
    local heavy electrical plant went off line and spiked the supply?

    > A bad PSU can give you out of spec voltages and spikes.

    or just let through spikes on the mains that a good one wouldn't.
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