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Hdd dead or yet ?

This is a discussion on Hdd dead or yet ? within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. PLEASE take some time to read the following. It took me alot of time to write it so I can


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Old 01-19-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
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Roll Eyes

PLEASE take some time to read the following. It took me alot of time to write it so I can describe everything that happened in detail so u would not need to know anything more and hopefully will be able to help me :(



What happened:
Couple of years ago I was carrying my laptop when I tripped and the laptop fell on the floor. It was already on. I picked it up, the monitor was a bit cracked but was ok. Windows (XP) was still running, but in an awkwardly slow-motion way. I restarted it to make sure everything is ok, and when I did, windows failed to successfully boot…till this very day.


What I did next:
me and my friend who had a working laptop swapped Hard Disks…My laptop worked again fine and my friend’s laptop showed the same symptoms mine was showing (Booting failure). So it turned out it was the hard disk’s fault. I bought a new one, and kept the old one safe in my closet.


Describing the booting failure:
As I start the laptop, the manufacturer’s Logo first appear, and then the PC asks me on which windows I want to log on (yes I have installed two windows on my laptop: Vista and XP). As I click on XP, the XP loading screens normally shows up, and as that finishes a blue screen immediately flashes with an error report describing the crash I guess (it really comes and go in a blink of an eye) and then the PC just restarts again by itself. Now if I click on vista when I log on, the Vista loading screen normally shows up, and as it finishes a black screen just stays there like forever.


Second Attempt:
Weeks later I bought an external hard disk reader in an attempt to extract some of the crucial data I had on my dead hard disk. I connected it to my desktop, but with no luck! It took a long time to recognize the hard disk, and then when it finally recognized it, it gave this message: “E:\ is not accessible. The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error”.


Last Attempt:
Yesterday, I decided to give it another try. I connected my dead hard disk to my repaired laptop through the external HDD reader (and to make sure it’s not the reader’s fault, I tested it and it managed to read another functioning drive). At first, the PC recognized the HDD, and windows vista informed me that “the device is installed, working properly and ready to be used”. However, as I go to My Computer, I don’t see an icon for the HDD, and suddenly My Computer window freezes and gives the Not Responding status. I disconnect the drive, and tried to connect it again but it kept doing the same thing over and over. So as a last attempt, I connected it one last time and when it reached the Not Responding state I just sat there and gave it more time. As an hour passed, it seems the PC made some progress as it managed to identify the drives G, H, and I from the HDD. The Not Responding state was still on. As two more hours passed, the Not Responding state was gone, and drive H was now identified as “windows vista” with a known capacity indicating how much of the drive is used and how much free space is still left. The other drives were nameless and there capacities were not even recognized. XP was surely on one of these drives.



Trying to rescue my file:
Believe it or not, all I wanted from all this effort was to rescue a single video file, which was very personal and important to me. The reason I didn’t give the drive to a professional to check it out is because of the personal and sensitive data I had on that HDD.
If I remember correctly, the video file I wanted was luckily in the recognized Vista drive, and it was quite big (several GB). So now that the Vista Drive has been identified, I clicked on it…and…My Computer window freezes again and goes to Not Responding again. I decided to wait again and give it time. After 30 minutes, the PC responded, and I accessed the vista drive!!! (the other drives were still not recognizable at that time). I was so happy to see all the folders inside, especially the folder that carried the video I want. But something told me the window will freeze again if I click on that folder, and that’s exactly what happened…Not Responding ! Again !!! Well I decided to patiently wait. After another 30 minutes, the window responded and told me “H:\Folder is not accessible! The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error”. That darn message again !!! So I tried to right click the folder to copy it, but the window froze when I right-clicked . And when it woke up again, I tried dragging the folder to the desktop, it froze, then woke, the transfer wizard showed up for a couple of minutes, and then windows gave me that message again that the folder is not accessible. As I hover the mouse over the folder trying to read its size, it seemed that “Folder is Empty”. I carefully tried to enter another folder as a checkup, it opened fine, and I could see the files within, although as I click on any the window froze. Eventually as I clicked many things simultaneously in anger…everything seemed to froze up, including windows explorer, so I shut down the PC and all that waiting time was all for nothing.


Desperate things I’ve tried:
I downloaded a lot of HDD repair programs, but they all Stopped Responding when I ran them. They failed in reading the HDD itself, so I doubt they even have a chance in recovering anything. Some of these programs are Pandora Recovery, HDD Recovery Pro, PC Inspector File Recovery.


Help me !!
I already gave the laptop as much as 6 hours to read the HDD but with little progress as u already read above. Should I connect the HDD again and leave it for like another 12 hours? Or would that be in vain? I can’t take it to a professional to fix it, not because of the costs, I’d pay 100 $ to get that single file but because I would be revealing a lot of personal information to a stranger if he fixed the HDD. I rather keep the HDD dead in that case.


Any ideas? :( I don’t think any software stand a chance in reading that hard disk as am 100% sure it will freeze over and over, but I sense that the HDD is not completely dead and that some of the data on my HDD are still extractable or else the laptop wouldn’t have read the HDD at all (even if it took so much time).



Info about the dead HDD:
Interface: SATA
Capacity: 250 GB
RPM: 5400
It originally came within my Dell Laptop (32 bit vista home premium OS, 3GB RAM, Intel Core2Duo CPU @ 2 GHz
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:31 AM   #2
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The disk is faulty. You can test the HDD with the drive manufacturers disk tools available from their website. It will very likely fail.

As you've already determined the drive won't stay functional long enough to retrieve data, data recovery software won't be of any help.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:02 AM   #3
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So I guess I should stop wasting my time trying to retrieve that file :( I guess my hopes were a bit higher than they should be. Thanks anyways for reading my post :)
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:23 AM   #4
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Just as a note, any pro recovery shop will not care about any personal data on your drive. The only issue you would have is if there is some illegal content ( not pirated software music etc, but things like child porn ). Believe we see more critical higher value data than almost anyone's personal info could present :) The integrity and safety of customer data is really the only thing any recovery company has to offer as a product.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:17 AM   #5
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Roll Eyes

Well if I can find a "decent" and "professional" data recovery enterprise where I live I would have confidently presented my broken drive to one of their centers. But believe it or not all we have here are few amateurs who call themselves "professionals" because they have studied Computer Engineering back in school. They provide no guarantees as to the safety of the data provided. So its not like u can sue anyone if u ever discover that ur personal data has been violated! It's a risk customers are forced to take. But not me! Plus the "illegal issues" you pointed at are not really that big deal here (no you don't get arrested for it). Not that I have any on my broken HDD anyways. The private files I was trying to retrieve & which I don't want to "share" with any one are actually personal videos of me, my family, and my girlfriend. They are of huge sentimental value to me.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raptor_pa View Post
Just as a note, any pro recovery shop will not care about any personal data on your drive. The only issue you would have is if there is some illegal content ( not pirated software music etc, but things like child porn ). Believe we see more critical higher value data than almost anyone's personal info could present :) The integrity and safety of customer data is really the only thing any recovery company has to offer as a product.
Just wanted to echo Raptor's comments to the letter. I read this thread before and didn't bother replying in case the private content turned out to be illegal. I've seen everything from huge bank accounts to countless disney pictures to photos of drag queen night... It doesn't matter and I could care less, as long as it's not illegal involving a minor. Also, any reputable recovery pro should be able to provide a confidentiality agreement as part of their service contract.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:44 PM   #7
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Well I was going to add this in my last post but I thought you guys already got the picture. There are NO contacts with the "computer experts" we have here! Deals are made in a very informal way. Oh well....I guess I'll just keep the drive sealed up in a safe place until I travel at some point in my life to a decent country like the U.S. or Europe. Then I'll be able to really trust the professionals that will be inspecting my drive.

Anyways thank u all for the advices :) one last question though...
If I want to maintain the drive's condition as much as possible until I find myself a real professional (this could be years from now) are there any specific guidelines I should follow ? (ofcourse keeping it away from moisture and sunlight, but what else, if there are any).

Oh and I just remembered...someone recommended me using a software called "SpinRite" and said it is very powerful. Now its a bit costy, so before I even try to buy it, does any of you think it stands a chance in retrieving the data ?

Thanks again in advance :)
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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Wrap the drive in bubble wrap, box it up and don't play hockey with it. You never know if physical data recovery will get cheaper in the future or if new methods will will be developed. That's what I tell anyone if they don't want to spend a couple grand with a physical recovery type company.

Spinrite can be good for damaged spots on a hard drive platter where the drive still runs and is recognized by the system, but can take days or weeks in some cases to finish.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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Spinrite also stresses the drive more than it should. It writes the data back to the same disk which isn't good in recovery on drives with file system damage. We rarely have customers deliver their drives to us in person. Usually shipped via FedEx or UPS. If we depended on customers who could deliver their drive to us, we wouldn't bother to do recoveries :) About the only time we have customers deliver, or we pick up, is in forensic projects where the data will be used in litigation.
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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Hey I may not know much but you could still try 2 things:

1)You either change the circuit board(the chip behind your HDD) to a compatible one (that's if the circuit board has a problem) My dead hard drive story

2)Or you could transfer the platter over to another HDD... Hard Drive platter changeover, part 2 (The disk change) | Fix Hard Drive
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:28 AM   #11
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Thanks Garvin for the advice. I wrapped it up just like u suggested. And u are right, I heard that SpinRite is quite slow in data recovery especially with big drives :s Raptor also has a good point about SpinRite writing data to the same drive! So I guess SpinRite is out of question now. And Roosterpenn your suggestions sound interesting only that I dont think I am experienced enough to do the things u have suggested and I dont want to mess the drive more than it already is :s I guess I'll just leave it like it is, sealed up safe for now. I'm in no hurry to recover the data, as long as there is a chance that they're recoverable someday. Maybe if I wait a couple of years Data Recovery services will be much cheaper than now :D I have a good chance of traveling to the U.S. at some point in my life too. I dont wanna pay for shipping costs in addition to the already expensive fixing costs. By the way Roosterpenn, I read the entire "My dead hard drive story" and figured out that me and that guy don't share the same problem. When I connect the dead HDD through the external reader I can hear it spinning and the red light is blinking all the time. This is what gets my hopes up that the drive is not entirely dead. The HDD platter changeover idea looks very risky :s I dont think I'm ready for that.

Anyways thank u guys :D this is a wonderful forum with great advisors. Many thanks for being responsive :)
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