Getting data from a broken hard drive

Discussion in 'hardware' started by razorboy, Aug 30, 2013.

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  1. razorboy

    razorboy Registered Member

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    My laptop fell some distance and the arm of the hard drive broke, says my tech guy on examining it. We replaced the drive, but he says that because of the damage done, it is not possible to retrieve the data from it without sending/taking it to a "lab," and that the cost could be $500 to $1200.

    Does that make sense?
     
  2. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    He is right, i dont think you can recover the data unless you send it to a specialized recovery center. If the data is worth it i would say why not.
     
  3. razorboy

    razorboy Registered Member

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    The data is worth saving, which is why I am asking. I don't need it right away, but it has value to me.
     
  4. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    shoot me a pm and let me know where about you are. i deal with a place that does this and can see how far backed up they are. otherwise just make sure who ever you do use is reputable there are many places i would never use again because of issues.
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I agree - if the (reliable) tech has determined the drive is physically damaged then you have no choice but to send it a forensic data recovery lab, and as seen, they can be very expense. In fact, it is my experience as drive capacities become larger and larger, the cost of this type service increases too. It takes very specialized equipment (read: $$$$) and training as the platters need to be removed individually, the data retrieved (if possible) from each platter, then the data needs to be reassembled in the right order. And that takes time - often a lot of time, and of course, time = $$$$ too.

    It is very possible the $1200 high estimate is low - very low. :(

    Clearly, you don't need (or probably want) to be told this now, but clearly we all need reminding - if we value our data, we MUST back it up - regularly. And I cannot stress that more for portable device users because they are much more susceptible to physical damage due to rough handling or misuse. Not to mention portable devices often grow legs and wander off - with our data.

    To make it as simple as possible, I recommend everyone keep all their data under the same folder. My Documents is perfect for that. I have dozens of subfolders full of docs I cannot afford, or would not want to lose. A simple copy and paste of My Documents to an external disk makes it quick and easy.

    Sure, I might need to rebuild Windows and all my programs, but all my invaluable data files (tax records, school and work papers, downloaded programs, tunes, photos, etc. are all safe and sound. If you have more than one computer on your network, setting up a share to the second computer makes saving a backup of My Documents even easier. You just "drag" a copy of My Documents and let it go.
     
  6. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    I agree with everybody. I think it makes perfect sense. I say go for it as the data is valuable to you. Just make sure the lab is reputable and reliable.
     
  7. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I think $500-$1200 would be an extreme bargain price for this service by industry standards that is. Still outrageous to me. I think a reputable company would charge $2500 to $5000 for an attempt, no guarantee.

    So if was me I'd attempt to do it myself. Even if'd be an abject failure. Buy 1-3 identical drives & take them apart & switch over the platter(s). :argh:
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The problem there is you need a "clean-room" environment if you open a drive and expose the platters. And this requirement will only become more stringent as drive densities continue to increase. And besides, what good is swapping in a new platter if the old platter contains the data you need?
     
  9. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    You got me on the clean room if thats what it takes.

    But I thought the arm not platters are broken.
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Then why swap platters? Just swap the arm. But even so, a broken arm (depending on how broken) could cause the R/W head to come crashing down on the platters, or worse, scrape back and forth across the platters - like a windshield wiper with no blades. :(
     
  11. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Ok ok I give up! LOL But I wouldn't give up. I'd at least look & see if I could find a diy vid on youtube.
     
  12. razorboy

    razorboy Registered Member

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    Well, I'm in Canada, west of Toronto, so...........
     
  13. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    $300 Data Recovery is worth a look at. No charge if they can't recover your data and usually only $300 to recover it.
     
  14. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    Sometimes drives can become damaged on the OS level rather than physical damage. Id try tossing it into a HD docking station first and see if you can get it to show up. Ive had this happen 3-4 times where a PC wouldnt boot and I couldnt get it to do anything, but I was able to see the drive and access files from a USB docking station.
     
  15. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    He said that the arm is probably broken so i dont think that would work. :)
     
  16. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    Im wondering how the tech verified the arm broke. Its worth a shot before spending $1200.
     
  17. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    And it might do more damage.
     
  18. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    How do you figure? If the arm isnt working it wont move to do damage.
     
  19. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    That's true. But OP said "the arm of the hard drive broke". And there are many ways to break, so I'd be careful if the data on there is valuable enough to pay someone serious money to recover.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  20. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You are assuming the arm broke in such a fashion that it is not touching the platters. You cannot assume that. It may be broken and jammed into a platter, digging trenches in the disks as they spin - as I noted above, in the same way a windshield wiper with no or rotten blades scratches a windshield.
     
  21. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

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    First of all, get a 2nd opinion.
    The 'tech guy' examined the HDD and concluded the arm was broken.
    Did he disassemble the HDD or shake it around and hear loose metal?
    Let someone else, trustworthy and proficient, have a look also before handing out hundreds of $$.
     
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