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HDD Dies - How Get Files Off?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by duncan, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. duncan

    duncan Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    2,262
    19
    Feb 15, 1999
    Seattle
    My older HDD died with some family photos I'd like to recover.

    It turns on but my Win 7 OS asks it I'd like to reformat.

    Options?
     
  2. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,798
    1,059
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    I would copy them back to a working drive from the backups you religiously make.. ;). There seems to be a thread like this every week.. when are folks gonna learn? Storage is to cheap now days.

    Depends on "died".. Are you sure the OS just didn't end up corrupted somehow?

    Do you have another machine you can "slave" the drive to, and maybe browse the disk and copy/paste this stuff to a working disk. I know you've dabbled in Linux... If you boot a Live CD, can you browse the drive? You could use a Live CD to copy/paste them to a working drive as well. You could also try putting the drive in an external enclosure if you have one, and connecting it via USB to a working computer.

    IGF
     


  3. diverge

    diverge

    116
    0
    Apr 26, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Freeze the hard drive overnight. Works until the drive heats up. You might have to repeat this process until you get off all your data. If you have an external hard drive enclosure then leave it in the freezer and run the cable to your laptop. This will buy you more time. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  4. srhoades

    srhoades

    2,798
    10
    Jul 14, 2000
    Freezing it isn't going to help if it can't read the file allocation table. Google around for free data recovery/undelete programs.
     
  5. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    this is very true, if the file table is corrupt and the mechanics are working, freezing the disk won't help except to possibly put the disk outside of it's proper operating temperatures, possibly causing damage to the disk. some on this board seem very quick to want to put things in the freezer for some reason (not directed at you diverge, but i've seen the 'freeze the disk' response to a lot of questions regarding disk problems by a number of people here @ gt).

    i used this program:
    http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
    to quite successfully to recover files from a hard drive exhibiting very similar symptoms.

    the software runs native in windows, but there are also dos, mac and linux versions.

    in my case, the file table was corrupt and the laptop wouldn't boot off the disk. and, after i pulled the disk and put it in a usb/sata dock on my desktop windows reported the same thing you're getting.

    the file table was very unhappy, but this software allowed me to copy files of my choosing off the disk and onto a location on my desktop of my choice.

    in my case, i believe the problem was caused by either a failing disk, or a failing motherboard. i'm leaning towards the disk being the issue since i wasn't able to pull any S.M.A.R.T. statistics off of it what so ever.

    give that software a shot, then ditch that disk for a new one (and like IGF said, i hope your backups are up to date as well :) )
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  6. diverge

    diverge

    116
    0
    Apr 26, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Just giving him options like he asked. I made the assumption that it was a mechanical failure. Had a drive mechanically fail on me. I was able to pull data by freezing it. This is the first time I've been in this tech forum.

    Duncan, is that an Windows filesystem on the drive that failed? Where you using it with Linux?
     
  7. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,798
    1,059
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    That really shouldn't matter... I've messed w/ Windows OS's from Linux on many, many occasions, and as long as you don't do something stupid(delete .dll's, system files, etc...) they'll boot up just fine.

    Occasionally, they'll boot up and start with a "security error" and run a system check, but as long as you did nothing wrong from the Linux disk, you can skip it and go right to Windows.

    IGF
     
  8. duncan

    duncan Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    2,262
    19
    Feb 15, 1999
    Seattle
    Yes, it is a Windows system.

    It seems to have a mechanical problem as it cannot spin up correctly and the ready light will not light up.
     
  9. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    is this a new development since your initial post? it sounded like it was spinning up enough for windows to recognize the disk and read it's contents enough to realize either the file table or partition table is corrupt.

    i would try the software first, then investigate a data recovery service if that doesn't work.

    the key at this point is to avoid further damage to the drive and it's contents.
     
  10. duncan

    duncan Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    2,262
    19
    Feb 15, 1999
    Seattle
    Freeze it overnight.

    Spun okay.

    But then Windows asked if I wanted to reformat the drive. The blue light indicating running turned to red.

    But Windows does detect it as I get a sound turning the HDD on and off.

    Grabbed a Ubuntu Live CD I made and rebooted there. Ubuntu would not mount it or recognize it either.

    Now?
     
  11. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,798
    1,059
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    You can try some recovery tools, but you need to buy a new hard drive(assuming it's out of warranty)

    IGF
     
  12. Wolfgangamadeus

    Wolfgangamadeus

    656
    1
    Jul 9, 2002
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0315702

    I used this all the time at work. If the drive isnt physically damaged too bad, it works. Or if the OS is so corrupt thatyou need to refromat the drive, this will allow you to grab the files. pull the drive, connect it to the IDE then plug the USB connector into another PC and pull the files off.
     
  13. Linux3

    Linux3

    1,399
    0
    Dec 31, 2008
    Sure it died. Hard drives die all the time.

    I have to go with IGF on this one.
    You lost photos but gained a valuable lesson.