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What to do when an external hard drive is physically damaged

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April 1, 2010 8:50:40 PM

I had all of my professional photography work on an external WD 1TB drive and equal backup drive. Then in a week, one has been stolen and the other crashed to the floor and has a crack in the case (I wish this were an April Fool's joke, but sadly it's not). The cracked drive shows up on my system eventually, and also shows my five master work folders in the drive's main folder. But when I select any of those, I get "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error."
The LED panel on the front does light, showing four bars, recognizing that the drive is full. And there's a small drive drive-access light below those, which blinks on and off regularly. Most significantly, the drive does not have that telltale gyro feel that shows the drive disk is spinning. In summation, I'm hosed. What can I do about it?
April 1, 2010 9:01:06 PM

You will need to have the data extracted professionally by a salvage lab, they remove the platters and read the data off of the platters using a specialized system. However the cost per MB or GB will undoubtedly be expensive.

http://www.salvagedatarecovery.com/
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April 1, 2010 9:20:09 PM

I hope you're able to recover that data.

In the future I'd recommend having at least TWO alternating backups and storing the most recent one offsite. I use "portable" external drives that fit in my bank's safety deposit vault.

People seem to think it's overkill, but as you've unfortunately seen it really isn't...
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April 3, 2010 3:54:06 AM

The future's a bit off-topic.

A compounding issue is that I can't send my clients' work offsite unless I'm with it. I have about 70 confidentiality agreements involving the work on this disk that bind me to that. I'd need to babysit, wherever it's done. Until then I'll have to cross my fingers. If there's anywhere I can take the drive in Virginia or even the mid-atlantic area, that's going to be the only feasible option.
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