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05-16-2011, 05:16 PM   #1
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Hard Drive Failure

Well, the absolute worst case scenario happened.

I've got two external hard drives I've been storing photos on, but during the process of copying the past two years of photos from one to the other, the HD containing the photos stopped working.

I brought it to work and a couple people took a look at it, we've tried to use some recovery programs, and nothing has worked at all. I wanted to make one last attempt at rescuing this afternoon, but as soon as I powered up the HD I heard the click of death.

Time to bite the bullet and pay for data recovery I guess, as I can't stand to let go of all the shots I've taken over this period of time (literally thousands and thousands of photos).

Anyone know of a good service where I can send away my HD? I'm willing to spend something like $500 or even more to pay for it. I just need to get it done and want to go with a reputable firm.

Thanks for the input!

-Tim

05-16-2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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05-16-2011, 05:41 PM   #3
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I had this happen in 2006 and was referred to these folk.

DriveSavers Data Recovery Services ? Hard Drive, Disk, & RAID Data Recovery

They weren't cheap and I don't think they have gotten cheaper. However, they got everything back. Their cost was quoted as ranging from about $300 to $2,700 (based on getting a little back to all of it). I paid about $2,100. It was an ouch but they were the best in the biz.

YMMV
05-16-2011, 05:52 PM   #4
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Ouch.

05-16-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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Did the drive stop spinning or grinding when you heard the click or clunk?
A loud click/clunk may or may not mean the drive is a write-off just yet.

However if it spins and you didn't or don't hear scratching, then it may not be as bad as it may first appear.

Also have you tried to direct connect the drive rather than through a USB interface?
Sorry if you've tried all this, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.
05-16-2011, 05:59 PM   #6
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Check the drive manufacturer's web site for recovery service recommendations -- they may have in-house service, if the drive is under warranty (6 or more years is typical) you might get a new drive with all of your old data for free.
05-16-2011, 06:13 PM   #7
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If you get really deperate:



(And yes, this did work)
05-17-2011, 07:19 AM   #8
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Here a professional recovery will cost from about 1500 Euro and upward, and then you need to provide a second hard drive to copy the data to.

A last low budget solution could be the freezer. Sometimes a hard drive may work for a while again if you first cool it in the freezer. Then you can copy at least part of the uncopied files, and then repeat the process until you have covered all of them.

05-17-2011, 08:39 AM   #9
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Have you tried taking the actual drives out of their enclosures and connecting them to a dock? Quite often the drive controller inside the enclosures die before the drive becomes a lost cause. Had this happen to me last year with a LaCie external HDD. I just extracted the drive and threw the enclosure away.

A co-worker of mine is using a Seagate external HDD that clicks. Still works though (for now), so the clicking may not mean the drive is totally fubar (yet).

I have also read of people throwing their drives into their freezers, as Lurch suggested, to try to get enough life to recover their data. Search up on it.

Last edited by gooberlx; 05-17-2011 at 08:57 AM.
05-17-2011, 10:31 AM   #10
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Thank you for all the feedback everyone!

This drive yesterday clicked, then stopped spinning.

I'm curious about this direct connection option though - I've been trying to access via USB.

I'll try removing it from the case and plugging in directly as suggested. Hopefully this will help!
05-17-2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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I use this dock for dying drives at work. It's worked well for me so far.
05-17-2011, 11:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
Thank you for all the feedback everyone!

This drive yesterday clicked, then stopped spinning.

I'm curious about this direct connection option though - I've been trying to access via USB.

I'll try removing it from the case and plugging in directly as suggested. Hopefully this will help!
First try simply disconnecting and reconnecting the cables to the drive and their other ends if there is a connector -- this will wipe away any oxidation and re-seat the connections, either of which is a more common problem than drive failure. Failing that, try direct connection...
05-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gooberlx Quote
Quite often the drive controller inside the enclosures die before the drive becomes a lost cause.
Agreed. Happened to me once with a Maxtor drive - controller in the external drive housing died, disk itself was fine.

It's also worth checking that your USB hub is providing enough power to your external drive. I had another external drive 'die' with the clicking noise etc when it was directly connected to the USB port on the PC, but I then directly connected it to a powered USB hub and the drive worked fine.
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