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Thread: Data Recovery




  1. #1
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    Question Data Recovery

    Well, its been a long time since I have been around here. Anyway, long story short, I am working on someone's external HDD that failed. They dropped the enclosure and it would no longer power on, so I gutted it and hooked the drive up like a standard hard drive. It is a Western Digital MyBook enclosure with a 500gb 3.5" SATA drive. The drive appears unpartitioned, though I have not reformatted it yet, so something bad happened during the fall. Otherwise, it spins up fine and is recognized by XP.

    So, I am looking for suggestions on Data or Partition Recovery software. I've done a decent job of keeping a good backup so I have never had to do much data recovery, and it has been years since I last did. All my Google searches look like they are more for advertisements sake, rather than quality of the program, so I am hoping someone around here can help me out and and can let me know what has worked for them.

    Thanks for your time

  2. #2
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    profJim is online now Chief Munchkin + moderator
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    Check out TestDisk - CGSecurity.
    TestDisk has saved my butt several times.
    TestDisk finds partition table entries but not all entries will be valid.
    The attached picture shows valid partition entries where the START and END values don't overlap.

    The first thing I would do is to clone the damaged hard drive to an empty drive and only work on the cloned drive.
    Any changes you make to the "damaged" drive will not be able to be undone.

    I have WD drives, so I installed their free Acronis True Image WD Edition Software and can use it from a bootable optical drive or from within windows.

    Data Recovery-wd1tb-testdisk-partition-table-screen_1b-2010-09-28-png
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
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    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    I should have mentioned that TestDisk is the program I usually use for this, and that it wasn't finding anything this time around. I've ran it a couple of times with no luck. All of the data should still be on the drive, but the partition table is corrupted/lost, so it simply shows up as an unpartitioned drive.

    Any other programs you (or anyone else) has had luck with? Price is not a big deal with this job, either...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    While running TestDisk, did it appear to be reading the disk by updating the progress information?
    Did you listen closely to the drive to see if made any sounds indicating that the read/write heads were moving?

    I would try to clone the damaged drive. If the cloning software can read the damaged drive, you can probably recover some files, but the folder structure might be lost. Even though the damaged drive spins and apparently doesn't make bad noises, the PCB circuitry might be damaged, preventing the read/write heads from functioning.

    You can probably download demo versions of the "best" paid data recovery software that will list the recoverable files, but won't let you recover the files. If the demo software can read the drive, that's a good sign that the disk platters and heads aren't damaged. Several years ago, I didn't have good results using some of the freeware recovery programs. A small percentage of the files were recovered, but with meaningless file names and no folder structure. If the FAT/NTFS structure is damaged, I don't know how well these programs deal with fragmented files.

    A last resort might be to remove the hdd PCB and install an identical PCB onto the damaged drive to see if the drive is readable.
    Taking the damaged drive to a data recovery firm is probably insanely expensive.
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    I know that the heads are working, etc, and have no reason to believe the drive itself has been damaged. TestDisk goes through the tests and is able to read the entirety of the drive without an issue. The enclosure was damaged and no longer powers on (its an old school enclosure with a USB and AC adaptor that have to be used). The HDD is properly recognized by the BIOS and Windows since I removed it from the enclosure, just shows no partitioning. The only problem is that it lost the partition table, so I figured I'd go for the hail mary and see if anyone around here had had any luck with a recovery program for that issue. I am just going to clone it and see where that gets me, and if nothing appears better it will probably be quitting time with it. My thoughts are that it must have gotten jumbled by the instant shutdown caused by the damage to the enclosure's power supply itself, and that whatever is left on there is FUBAR.

    I guess I'll find out for sure if the drive is still OK after I either get lucky and make a recovery or give up and reformat/partition it.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    TestDisk should be able to locate remaining partition table entries, even if the Master Boot Record (MBR) is missing or corrupted.
    MBRTool will let you view, edit, backup or save-to-file the MBR contents.
    Disk editing/viewing software should confirm if there appears to be valid data on the disk. Some of these programs have a SEARCH feature where you can perform hex or ascii searches.

    Good luck!
    Q9650 @ 4.10GHz [9x456MHz]
    P35-DS4 [rev: 2.0] ~ Bios: F14
    4x2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1094MHz @5-5-5-15
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack (1GB) video card <---- SLI ---->
    Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 Plus Platinum psu (660w)
    WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data)
    Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (boot)
    SLI @ 16/4 works when running HyperSLI
    Cooler Master 120XL Seidon push/pull AIO cpu water cooling
    Cooler Master HAF XB computer case (RC-902XB-KKN1)
    Asus VH242H 24" monitor [1920x1080]
    MSI N460GTX Hawk (1GB) video card
    Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium
    HT|Omega Claro plus+ sound card
    CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS
    E6300 (R0) @ 3.504GHz [8x438MHz] ~~ P35-DS3L [rev: 1.0] ~ Bios: F9 ~~ 4x2GB Kingston HyperX T1 PC2-8500, 876MHz @4-4-4-10
    Seasonic X650 80+ gold psu (650w) ~~ Xigmatek Balder HDT 1283 cpu cooler ~~ Cooler Master CM 690 case (RC-690-KKN1-GP)
    Samsung 830 128GB SSD MZ-7PC128B/WW (boot) ~~ WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB (data) ~~ ZM-MFC2 fan controller
    HT|Omega Striker 7.1 sound card ~~ Asus VH242H monitor [1920x1080] ~~ Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers
    win7 x64 sp1 Home Premium ~~ CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD U.P.S
    .


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Data Recovery

    Always try to save a backup on the net. There are lots of memory sites such as dropbox.

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