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HDD Failure, not showing in BOIS. Recovery Possible?

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September 13, 2011 5:09:02 AM

Hi I have a Western Digital WD2500 250 GB hard drive. For about the past six months or so it's been performing at about half what it's supposed to, so I figured it was nearing the end of it's life span. But it just kept goin and goin. I started slacking off a little on how regular I'd back up the most important things on my computer. My pictures. I'm a photographer and have a couple thousand pictures stored on this HDD. I did a photo shoot and the next day I went to make backups of the pictures I had just taken plus some from the past couple weeks onto an external drive when my computer suddenly turned off and then back on. I saw the bios flash, then it said that no primary boot drive was detected. I had taken near around 200 pictures that didn't get backed up and are still on that HDD. I'm so frustrated that this happened RIGHT as I was just starting to back up the files! So I decided to put it into another computer I have. I made sure the jumpers were set correctly, plugged it in, then fired up the computer. It said the same thing about no primary boot drive detected! I figured out that when the failed HDD is plugged in, the boot drive disappears (doesn't show in the BIOS), but when the failed HDD is NOT plugged in, the boot drive is fine and the computer boots up like normal. What I really need to know is what options do I have on data recovery on this thing? I really need those pictures! Would using the Knoppix data recovery trick work? Perhaps the freezer method even? Both? I do have a buddy in data recovery that owes me some money. Perhaps I could even convince him to look at it for me. What I want to know is what kind of options do I have? Sorry for such a long post, I apologize to anyone that actually reads the whole thing ;)  Thanks in advance! :) 

EDIT: I forgot to mention, about a day before it crashed it started makin odd noises, if that helps at all
September 13, 2011 5:25:51 AM

if hdd is not showing in the bios then either the cable is damaged, or the HDD is now dead. No recovery possible if it's the latter. Sorry...
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September 13, 2011 5:35:49 AM

I'm just not gonna accept that. While I myself have never done data recovery, I used to work for a company that did data recovery. One thing I've learned is you can almost ALWAYS recover the data, even from a dead HDD.
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September 13, 2011 6:28:19 PM

I'm gonna try the freezer method later today and see if that works. I'll provide an update of how that turns out.
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a b G Storage
September 13, 2011 8:16:24 PM

if your heard cliking noise from it ,then gone be hard to recover your data
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September 13, 2011 9:58:22 PM

I didn't hear clicking, just the hard drive got much louder than norm.
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Best solution

a b G Storage
September 13, 2011 10:17:17 PM

The freezer method works with drives that won't spin up. If the board on the drive is bad then the freezer method is worthless. If you have a cold solder joint you can try the baking option on the HDD board to get the board to possibly work.
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September 13, 2011 10:34:04 PM

Thank you for the helpful reply ahnilated. The drive doesn't spin up so I'm hoping the freezer method will work. The drive is sittin in the freezer as we speak. From what I've read, it it works, then leaving it in the freezer ~24 hours will give you around 20 minutes of working time. If that doesn't work than I'll look into this baking option you speak of. Again, thank you for the response. I'll post back my results.
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September 14, 2011 4:57:56 AM

I feel for you that this happened to you. First, check the cables, secondly try to boot from a CD of an operating system higher than the one you were using, Try the freezer method as I also have three harddisks in my freezer trying to recover some lost data. If you heard clicking sound, then the hard disk may be dead, take it to data recovery experts
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a b G Storage
September 14, 2011 5:22:13 AM

MrBig55 said:
if hdd is not showing in the bios then either the cable is damaged, or the HDD is now dead. No recovery possible if it's the latter. Sorry...

Not true.

A hard drive is divided into two parts: the electromechanical platter assembly and the controller electronics. The drive being invisible to the BIOS indicates that the controller card may be inoperative. In that case , you can find an identical drive (same exact model) and replace the drive controller. You have a good chance of that working.

And if you are a professional photographer, next time, at the very first sign of a drive failure, you do not back up the contents. You replace the drive. :) 
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September 15, 2011 3:12:12 AM

Tried the freezer method, hard drive failed to spin up. I'm pretty sure it's quite dead. I was considering paying for data recovery, but I actually was able to get most of the important pictures back from the memory card even though they had been deleted. A trick I'm sure a few of you will know. The rest would be nice to have back, but not essential. Thanks all for the help and suggestions. Rest assured, I will be making very regular backups of my system and files from now! And as soon as my drive show the first sign of failing, it's gonna get replaced asap!
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September 15, 2011 3:14:35 AM

Best answer selected by PIZZA Man.
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