We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Contact Forum Editor

Send an email to our Forum Editor:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the Forum Editor know who sent the message. Both your name and email address will not be used for any other purpose.

Tech Helproom

It's free to register, to post a question or to start / join a discussion


Data recovery from faulty hard drive


Likes # 0

Hi, Can anyone recommend some who offers data recovery? I have a faulty hard drive which Dell had to replace, and stupidly I hadn't backed up photos and some important documents. I've retained the faulty hard drive in the hope that a data recovery service can retrieve some of all of my files. I would rather use a firm who is recommended. Thanks.

Like this post

Likes # 0

Professional recovery of a mechanically failed hard drive is very expensive since it needs to be done in a cleanroom. For instance, http://www.securedatarecovery.com charges a minimum $500 USD and up to $2000 USD for hard drive data recovery. If you have a vast amount of money just begging to be spent on professional recovery (or if professionally you bill out $500 - $2000 for upwards of a few hours of your time), go ahead and Google for that local professional service. Otherwise, please continue reading. I believe you have more DIY capability than you think.

karen229 said, "I'm also very wary of trying DIY because I've heard that it needs to be someone experienced because otherwise they can make it impossible for anyone to recover the data. Is this right?"

First, the statement needs to be modified to say "impossible for a DIY-er", as opposed to "anyone". And the real answer to the question can be found in the phrase "CAN make it impossible." I'd say that unless you pulled the hard drive out and subjected it to severe physical trauma (ie. gave it to your kids to play hockey with it, or smashed it with a hammer) you would in no way make it impossible for professional data recovery services to service your hard drive. So worst case here is you spend less than $20 USD and a little of your time and then wind up having to pay for the expensive services anyway. But the upside is that you could end up recovering the data yourself for ONLY $20 USD and a little of your time. $20 USD versus $520 - $2020 USD. Make sense?

As I've stated, determining if it is something you can DIY is very affordable. The first thing you need to do is get a [caddy or dock][2] as stated by other posters. I personally own a Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter which supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Hard Disk Drives (basically all currently used hard drives). I bought it on Amazon for less than $20 USD and have had no problems with it. [http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000J01I1G/][3]

Here is the process:

(I am going to assume you are using some flavor of Microsoft Windows.) Open Windows Explorer by pressing "Windows Key" and "E" at the same time.

Now hook up the hard drive to the adapter you just purchased, plug the adapter into your computer's USB port and power it on. Windows should recognize the drive, and it should appear in Windows Explorer. This is very important... LISTEN to the hard drive:

  • If Windows recognizes the drive and you hear a low whirring spin-up sound (like a fan switching on and getting up to speed), that is GOOD.
  • If it spins up, and then just completely shuts down (Windows will not recognize it) SEE Professional Services above.
  • If Windows does not recognize the drive and your drive is making a clicking sound, this is not good. The read/write head is broken. SEE Professional Services above.
  • If Windows DOES recognize the drive, but you hear clicking. Quickly see if you can open the drive within Windows Explorer and view its contents. If you cannot view the contents SEE Professional Services above. However, if you CAN view the drive contents POWER OFF THE DRIVE. Immediately. The drive may only be IN THE PROCESS of failing. We may be able to recover data, but we need everything in order before we begin.

What do you need now?

Install [TeraCopy][4]. TeraCopy, in case of a copy error, will try several times to recover and, in the worse case scenario, will simply skip the file, not terminating the entire transfer. (The Windows copy simply halts in the event of an error.)

You need to know where you want to save your recovered data. TeraCopy will tell you if you need more storage space to complete the copy process.

You need to know what you want to copy. You mentioned Photos and Documents. Find your important documents first since they will take less time to copy. Highlight them, right click your mouse on them and select TeraCopy and choose to what location you want to copy them. When you get to your photos, simply right-click on the Pictures folder to TeraCopy the entire folder.

Does anyone have anything else to add?

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanroom "Cleanroom" [2]: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nbsbnoss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=SATA/IDE%20to%20USB "Amazon product search" [3]: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000J01I1G/ "Product link" [4]: http://codesector.com/files/teracopy.exe "Free TeraCopy Download"

Like this post

Likes # 0

Thank you all so much for all the detailed information. I think armed with this we can certainly have a try at recovering it ourselves. Thanks again.

Like this post

Likes # 0

Recovering data on your own might gives you nobody to blame on and cursed yourself. Before doing any sort of things, I'd recommend you to contact data firms for charges details and the process company apply on the problem device for data recovery.

This can give you some idea about weather you are putting your device in safe hands or not. Some popular firms, can be found in almost any country,

Kroll on Track

Stellar Phoenix

Drive Savers

Though, some of them provide services in limited region.

Good Luck!!

Like this post

Likes # 0

I did not exactly understand your problem. But, if you merely want to get back your data, I think I can help. In fact, I have ever also experienced the hard drive data recovery software. At that time, my USB drive unexpectedly became unreadable and the inner data also was inaccessible. Therefore, after doing much researching over the internet, I had tried many hard drive data recovery freeware, such as Recuva, iCare Data Recovery Free and TestDisk, etc. All of them worked very well. But, only the second data recovery freeware had restored all my data back. It was really efficient and free. So, I think it may help you. But, if the data recovery software doesn’t resolve your problem, your best bet is to ask an expert or data recovery company for help. Next time, remember to back up your needed data regularly at least on two locations.

Like this post

Reply to this topic

This thread has been locked.

IDG UK Sites

What is Google Photos? How to back up and share all of your photos for free

IDG UK Sites

Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy it

IDG UK Sites

Swatch launches a colourful smartwatch

IDG UK Sites

New Apple TV 2015 release date rumours: TV streaming service delayed, hand gesture interface being...