Extracting data off a dead laptop hard drive

Posted on 2004-10-31
Last Modified: 2012-05-05

I have acustomer who has a Compaq Armada 1700 and the hard drive is inaccessible.
I have "Get data Back" disaster recovery software.  I was wondering how I would be able to network both these machines together in order to see the dead hard  drive and recover data off of it?  I would apreciate any help with this question.


Question by:compucharley
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Hi compucharley,
    Well if you want to go that route you can do what is suggested on their website:
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    this post should be more of the hardware kind but ill help....

    it depends on the failure of the hard drive

    winPE by part will allow you to network the comps and boot off a cd which will bypass a bad hard drive

    However, the way to go is to remove the hard drive from the laptop and then using an external usb hard drive or 34(6) to 40 pin ide adapter and extract data that way.

    ALso recovermyfiles is the best software for data recovery i have ever used...  

    if the hard drive is toast, then there is nothing much you can do...

    send it off to a hard drive recovery company who will reassemble the drive to get the data off

    good luck
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Go to they have all of the tools you need, but it is $$$
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    You are asking a lot. How dead is your hard drive? Is it spinning at all?

    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    You can get a usb drive or additional disk drive and downloadk knoppix std.  Knoppix std has the utility dd which will do a bit by bit copy of the failled drive to the new drive.  If your not familiar with *nix don't worry. Just click the terminal with a shell in front of it to open a console window. Type man dd for the specific command line that you will want to use in your instance. You'll need to run rootme before you run dd but hopefully that will take care of everything for you. You should have an exact, bit by bit copy of the failed drive on the new drive to do with as you may.

    Good luck!
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Knoppix is a great solution.

    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    I just used Knoppix last week with tools similar to dd, but actually designed for recovering data from dying drives:

    dd_rescue and dd_rhelp (a script to run dd_rescue).

    I had to get the latest versions and put them on a floppy, and then install them after booting to Knoppix.  I was using Knoppix 3.3, but any bootable Linux CD should work.  Knoppix 3.3 had an older version of dd_rescue, but if you want to use dd_rhelp, then you need the newer version of dd_rescue.  Technically, you don't have to have dd_rhelp.  Its job is to run dd_rescue on different areas of the source drive and rescue a majority of your data first, and then go and retry the hard-to-read areas.

    I was able to recover all but less than 2 megabytes of an 80 GB hard drive that had started clicking and giving some read errors.  Of course, the 2 megabytes were spread out in a few different spots throughout the drive.  Still, that recovered over 99.9975% of my drive.  I successfully restored the image file to a new drive.  Since the corrupt areas contained some of my OS files and drivers, I will have to manually restore the files from the CD, or reinstall the OS, but most of my data was unaffected.

    I would recommend getting an adapter to connect a 2.5" IDE drive to a regular 3.5" drive cable.  This will speed up the transfers.  You can also use an external enclosure.  Borrow your favorite Linux buddy to get you through this one.  dd_rhelp is very easy to use, but installing it may take a little bit of knowledge about paths and other stuff.  The benefits are very worthwhile.  If you need more information, write back.

    PLEASE NOTE that if the drive does not spin at all, then software will not help much.  Most of the time, though, the porblems are bad sectors.

    Also, the servers for Knoppix seem to be overloaded frequently.  Get a copy from your local geek, or use a BitTorrent client to download the file at a much faster speed, and save the main servers some bandwidth.

    - Will
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    If the disk is still spinning, i would recommend removing the 2.5" hard-disk drive and plug it to a PC IDE ATA connector.
    You will need a 2.5" (44 pins) to a 3.5" (40 pins) drive cable converter. It will include the power cable to power the notebook harddisk.

    From the PC, you can use "get back data" or other data recovery utility to recover data. (My fav, Ontrack EasyRecovery DataRecovery).

    Good Luck ...;-)

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