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DIY Hard drive data recovery

OK, this isn't a software question. But my laptop hard drive seems to have died a horrible death. Click click click. Don't drives park themselves when turned off?

Does anyone here know of any DIY recovery techniques? I believe that data recovery services charge $600 and up, and am not willing to pay that--the only data which is not backed up is about 50-100 Mb of digitial photos, which I'd love to get back but have no real monetary value.

(A search on google mostly turns up data recovery services & affiliates thereof.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

If the disk does not spin, then put it in the freezer for about an hour.  Remove and boot.  You think I'm kidding, don't you...  This has worked 2 times for me, and I got my data back.  Then toss the drive.

The freeze seems to unlock some stuck bearing or what-not.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

I used GetDataBack. My drive was still spinning but nothing could read it. You can download part of it for free to see if it can recover anything. Then you pay to make it recover whatever it can. It did a miracle for me in February. It was worth more than the $69 I paid.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

1. Put your laptop drive in the fridge (or on top of an air-conditioner if you have no fridge nearby).
2. Buy a 2.5 - 3.5" HDD adapter.
3. Plug your laptop drive into the adapter and attach it to a desktop machine (leaving the cpu case open).
4. Copy your files in chunks from the laptop drive to the desktop drive.
5. When the drive fails, put it back in the fridge for half an hour. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until there's no response left.

I managed to save most of my photos using this method. The alternative was to spend a thousand pounds on disk recovery... I'm not that good a photographer.

Rhys Weekley
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Don't forget to try the "disk drop" technique if freezing doesn't work.

Drop the drive about three feet onto a padded but firm surface.  That sometimes help to break the sticktion that keeps the drive from spinning up.

You can also try mounting the drive at a different orientation that normal.  If it normally sits flat, try sitting it on it's side and vice versa.  The change in the direction that gravity is pulling the parts sometimes is enough to get the drive to spin up again.

If you can't get it to spin up, then you're going to have to shell out for a data recovery service to pull the platters and mount them in another drive so they can be read.

Steve Barbour
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

When I worked at BellSouth years ago (1990?) my boss let me use his computer while he was on vacation.

Hard Drive froze on day 2. Yikes!

Tech support just hit it with a hammer to "unstick" it. Worked like a charm. One and only hard drive failure I've experienced.

So, in my experience the brute force approach worked for 100% of the hard drive failures I've had <g>

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

I have used the hard tap approach to freeing up a stuck drive a number of times. I would recommend replacing the disk after this though, most of the disks I recovered data from this way went on to fail permentantly shortly afterwards.

Andy Norman
Sunday, June 13, 2004

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