External Hard Drive Data Recovery

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External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi all

Firstly, please excuse my lack of knowledge and technical terms when it comes to my question.

I'm in quite a difficult spot; my personal external hard drive, where I keep ALL my pictures, has crashed! The one day is was working fine and within an hour I could not access anything. I thought that there could be an error on the disk somewhere so I tried to perform an error check, but I got an error "I/O Error" which I assume means input/output error.

I'm no professional photographer, but I am very attached to the pics that I do have and would really like to recover these.

I sent the hard drive to a friend of mine who works in the IT direction and he removed the disk from it's casing and plugged it directly into a PC tower like you would do an internal hard drive. The PC did not even detect my hard drive.

I would like to find out, is there anything else I can do? Can you guys please suggest a service provider that can help me?

Keep in mind that I am based in Namibia so I would have to courier my hard drive where ever the repair is to take place (if repair is even possible). I will be in JHB early next month in transit, so I could maybe make a plan to drop it somewhere.

I look forward to hearing your comment/input.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Primogen » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:18 pm

There are professional data recovery services, although the recovery rate is low and pictures are very difficult to recover intact especially if they are over 1 to 2 megs.
Repair is an option but requires an exact working harddrive of the same specs(hardware, firmware).
You can try a few 3rd party disk managment programs to see if they might detect the drive if they do you can then try run a number of diagnostics and repairs with said program.(I personally use EASUES Partition master but there are plenty out there)

By the way is this one of those seagate desk drives? as I get alot of those that just die for no good reason.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:25 pm

Yup, it's the Seagate 300GB one. I am really disappointed in the product, although I did have it for a while.

Thanx for the input, Primogen. I will Google some professional data recovery guys to see what they can do.

When I plug the hard drive in, I can hear it start to turn and the LED lights up, but then the turning stops and the LED simply flashes, as if the disk knows something isn't right.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Primogen » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:32 pm

Harddrives and a perfect example of inferior quality items today, I go through plenty on a regular basis and it makes me firm believer in backing up everything as often as I can.

Hope you come right, I have had a few data loses and its really depressing.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby TonyK » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:18 am

I had a problem with my external harddrive so first I phoned around for prices to recover my data.Guys were quoting me upwards of R750 per hour and saying its going to take 6-8 hours.In the end I found a kid at one of the computer stores he just wanted a Macdonalds meal and he said it took him 5 minutes to recover because it was some common problem they deal with every day.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:51 am

TonyK, I contacted a recovery service in JHB and was quoted minimum R2500 maximum R4500.

I guess they know if you're looking for data recovery that you would be willing to pay to get your data back and they exploit that.

And honestly, it's not the unreasonable if you consider the price of losing all your data, but still as an unexpected expense it's never fun.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby TonyK » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:40 am

Seems they all stick together.R750 x 6 hours = R4500 .The part that upset me was that some part time shop assistant was able to recover what looks like 100% of my drive and it was no effort at all for him.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Primogen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:53 am

Professional recovery goes beyond what we have access to like clean rooms, specialized machines that can read data directly off a harddrive platters as well as proprietary software from Hdd manufactures.
Its expensive but certain types of data(most text containing file types) are almost garanteed recoverable so companies will pay if the data is important.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby froot » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:04 am

From what you're saying it seems your drive did not 'crash', which happens when a read/write head dives into the surface of a platter, mainly caused by excessive shock. To me it sounds like the control circuitry failed and the drive itself is still ok. What I would try is try to locate the same model drive and buy it, open it and replace the new vacuum disc assembly with the old one and try it.
While you're there you can also google and download drive recovery software, just be careful, there tons of programs out there. some work ok-ish and some are cr@p and they want your money. However there are a couple out there that you may be able to get gratis via torrent download. What these programs do is read the drive step by step ignoring the index file and extracts a huge non-sensical string of data. It then asks you if you want images, etc, and then finds image files in the heap. Havn't done this in a while so I cannot remember which programs to use.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:15 am

Thanx for the input guys.

Froot, I will have a look at the torrents to see if I can find anything reliable.

At least the amount of seeders and leechers should give an indication to which is the best program.

I will rather steer clear of trying to fix the drive myself as I'll probably end up damaging it even more.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby froot » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:49 am

Another thing you can try is place the drive in the fridge/freezer and try it when it's cold in case the fault is temperature sensitive.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:58 am

Serious?

Explain the mechanics behind such a temperature fault please.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Primogen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:03 pm

I thought of mentioning the "frigde" method but I have never had any success with it.
In some drive failure, often falls the drive read head gets stuck on or next to the platters. Cooling it down contracts the metal and may allow it to work for a short time say enough time to copy off some important data.
Give it a go but put the drive in a zip lock bag so condensation does not form on it.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Westley Price » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:11 am

Just a quick update.

So I sent my hard drive to a company in Cape Town called Intratec Data Recovery (http://www.intratec.co.za) and got 95% of my data back!

Super chuffed.

The recovery was a tad expensive, but my hard drive was seriously messed up so it took them a few weeks to recover everything.

A general quote is roughly R1200 to R4000 for 300GB depending on ease of recovery and best of all is they have a "no recovery, no cost" policy which is lekker.

Anyhow, I am super happy with the results and their service was excellent.

So for anyone with similar issues, feel free to contact them.
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Re: External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Postby Primogen » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:14 am

Glad to hear you got your data back.
Did they tell you what was wrong with your drive and what recovery method they used?
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