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Best way of getting data off a failing drive?

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February 6, 2011 3:47:42 PM

Hi guys

I've got a WD 1.5TB Green drive that is failing - it's getting a regular clicking noise.

When I plug it in via an eSATA Icybox I can see what's on the drive and seem to be able to access all the folders except for one which is I assume where the problem is occuring.

Excluding that folder how would you recommend I try and get the data off the rest of the drive?

I've tried a simple copy and paste one folder at a time...it made the directory, copied about 5KB then crashed Explorer.

I'm a bit stuck with this one, it's mainly video files I need to move off it so they are around 1GB each and I'm not having any luck so far, of course I don't want to be using the drive more than I need to in case I make it worse.

OS wise I have:

W7 64bit
Vists 64bit
XP 32bit

I have researched programs that say about booting from DOS but then read elsewhere that a NTFS formatted drive wouldn't be read in DOS so I'm rather stuck!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

More about : data failing drive

a b G Storage
February 6, 2011 7:25:44 PM

Getting data off a faulty hard drive:

If it's a hardware problem you're pretty much screwed unless you want to pay lots of money to companies that specialize in this area. If it's a read error caused by one or more bad sectors on the disk, there is a good chance you can recover your data by running SpinRite on it.
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a b G Storage
February 6, 2011 8:17:10 PM

best method would be originally to do regular backups

recuva is more for deleted files and crap - from what iv seen pretty useless

what i would do?:
1) get a tool called hdd regenerator and run it on a the hdd to repair any bad sectors (older versions of hiren have it... v9.x - bootable cd)
2) you need to run chkdsk (a few different ways - boot off the xp cd, first available input screen you type "R" for repair // windows vista/7 cd - repair, and command prompt option) - from there type in CHKDSK C: /R (c: being your drive letter of choice)
3) if that still doesnt work, use robocopy to copy off data with options like /w:0 /r:0 (wait for nothing, dont retry) - unlike windows explorer this will work (most of the time) given enough time
a b G Storage
February 6, 2011 8:17:58 PM

d1rtyju1c3 said:
I use RECUVA. http://filehippo.com/download_recuva/

It will work as long as the OS can see the drive.

Recuva is listed as a utility for restoring accidently deleted files. How does it work on recovering data from bad or damaged sectors?
February 6, 2011 8:32:08 PM

1 he never said it had bad sectors. "It's getting a regular clicking noise."

2 It will recover any picture, video, or document ever saved or deleted on the drive even after it has been wiped and formatted. I have used this to recover more than 200gigs worth of pics, videos, and documents off of one drive.

3 Chances are if the drive is on its last leg (click of death) then it probably wont last long enough for spinrite to repair and recover bad sectors, which he never said he had in the first place.


I have used spinrite and yes it works great but takes forever. You have the Click of death which spinrite wont fix.
a b G Storage
February 7, 2011 12:46:54 AM

d1rtyju1c3 said:
1 he never said it had bad sectors. "It's getting a regular clicking noise."

2 It will recover any picture, video, or document ever saved or deleted on the drive even after it has been wiped and formatted. I have used this to recover more than 200gigs worth of pics, videos, and documents off of one drive.

3 Chances are if the drive is on its last leg (click of death) then it probably wont last long enough for spinrite to repair and recover bad sectors, which he never said he had in the first place.


I have used spinrite and yes it works great but takes forever. You have the Click of death which spinrite wont fix.

An undelete program won't get data from a drive on it's last leg. Regular Clicking Noise is vague and can sometimes be caused by a read error, which SpinRite can fix very quickly if used on Level 2.

It sounds like this data is important to photofiend, so why mess around with programs that are unlikely to help and will just waste time?
February 7, 2011 2:29:15 AM

I have used it, it does and it will even find evrything on a drive that has been wiped and formatted, dont believe me then try it. If you want to prove it wont work then try it yourself. Do a deep scan and tell me what it finds. If not then dont speak about what you dont know.
February 7, 2011 7:18:58 AM

Thanks for the posts guys, I have a bit more information on it.

I had a go with Recuva as I had succes with it only yesterday (I didn't of trying it with this type of drive problem).

When I plug the drive in via eSATA it clicks rythmically for a few minutes before showing up in Windows Explorer but I can't do anything with it - it doesn't show the drive space (different from yesterday where it allowed me to access the drive).

If I try and do a CHKDSK windows says "the disk check could not be performed because Windows can't access the disk".

Recuva comes back with the error message "The request could not be performed because of an I/O error" when I try and scan the disk.

So...what would you recommend as my next best course of action now that we have a little more information?

Thanks. :) 
February 7, 2011 11:22:16 AM

At this point I have to say that you will just have to keep trying to see if you can get the drive space to show up. You might try spinrite but I dont think it will do anything I think the drive is done.
a b G Storage
February 7, 2011 2:37:47 PM

To recover data from a failing drive the best practice is to try and take an image copy of the failing drive onto a good working drive and then operate your recovery tools against the image. Tools that write to a failing drive like chkdsk spinrite etc are not reccommended as writing can cause further damage. And if Windows runs from the failing drive stop using it.

One tool you can try is HDClone. It runs from a boot CD
http://www.miray.de/products/sat.hdclone.html


a b G Storage
February 8, 2011 1:06:45 AM

photofiend said:
Thanks for the posts guys, I have a bit more information on it.

I had a go with Recuva as I had succes with it only yesterday (I didn't of trying it with this type of drive problem).

When I plug the drive in via eSATA it clicks rythmically for a few minutes before showing up in Windows Explorer but I can't do anything with it - it doesn't show the drive space (different from yesterday where it allowed me to access the drive).

If I try and do a CHKDSK windows says "the disk check could not be performed because Windows can't access the disk".

Recuva comes back with the error message "The request could not be performed because of an I/O error" when I try and scan the disk.

So...what would you recommend as my next best course of action now that we have a little more information?

Thanks. :) 

Hopefully you just have some bad sectors where the Windows system files are, if this is the case then SpinRite can fix it. If this is a problem with the drives hardware, you have no options except to buy a new drive or spend gobs of money with a data recovery company.

Keep in mind, the longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that SpinRite will not recover all of your data. If this data is not important, then skip SpinRite and put the money towards a new drive.
a b G Storage
February 8, 2011 1:15:39 AM

FreeDataRecovery said:
To recover data from a failing drive the best practice is to try and take an image copy of the failing drive onto a good working drive and then operate your recovery tools against the image. Tools that write to a failing drive like chkdsk spinrite etc are not reccommended as writing can cause further damage. And if Windows runs from the failing drive stop using it.

One tool you can try is HDClone. It runs from a boot CD
http://www.miray.de/products/sat.hdclone.html

I usually boot from an Ubuntu Live CD and copy the data folders to an external drive. This way if Spinrite doesn't work, at least you have the data. If SpinRite does work, you can just clone the old drive to your new one.

I know I sound like a SpinRite whore, but this program has saved the data of many of my customers (who now backup religiously).
February 11, 2011 2:36:42 AM

Just take an image of the hard drive which is failing on to a drive which is working and then run your Undelete tool against the image. Since this is a read-only recovery tool it will not cause further damage to the drive. If still it is not working then your drive may have been badly damaged and has lot of bad sectors, you need to send it to recovery lab to retrieve data from it.
a b G Storage
February 11, 2011 7:38:29 PM

johnweasely said:
Just take an image of the hard drive which is failing on to a drive which is working and then run your Undelete tool against the image. Since this is a read-only recovery tool it will not cause further damage to the drive. If still it is not working then your drive may have been badly damaged and has lot of bad sectors, you need to send it to recovery lab to retrieve data from it.

I don't think an undelete tool is what he needs. The data is there, but the drive is having trouble reading it.
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