Brand new Western Digital (WD600VE) hard drive failed in less than 4 weeks!

This is a 2 part question which I will offer 200 pts for the second ... or 400 pts for a complete and successful answer to the first question.

After just under 4 weeks this hard drive seems to have failed. The laptop no longer recognizes the hard drive. And upon initialization.... the hard is making some clicking sounds (which is bad).

I removed the hd from the laptop and connected it to a usb enclosure. Oddly enough Windows recognizes the hd and states that it is ready to use. Unfortunately no hd letter assignment seems possible.

The point of my question is that there is some important data that must be retrieved from this hd.

Please no lectures on backups the unit was being backed up every other day and it JUST happened to die less than 48 hours after storage of vitally important irretrievable data (email). Just goes to prove that one can never back up often enough!!

Questions (worth 400pts):
*1*
- A low level diagnostic tool that can work with USB attached storage and help diagnose and most importantly, recover email. Do not suggest Ontrack Easy recovery "pro" This software can only see what Windows can assign as a drive letter. Useless!

Even if I fail in recovering the data, I will still offer 200 points for a tool that at least allows a better opportunity than Ontrack!

*2*
- I once found a data recovery site that claims to be able to recover data from just about any hard drive. What is more they do it for a reasonable price rather than 80's pricing that some others still charge. This recovery site list some famous people that have used their services. Find me the name of this recovery service and I will award you 200 pts.

Thank you,
SDC
LVL 4
S ConnellyTechnical WriterAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
Download GetDataBack from www.runtime.org (there are separate versions for NTFS and FAT32 file ssytems -- download the appropriate one, or try both if you're not sure).   The Demo is free to try; and will show you what it can recover;  you do have to buy a license to actually recover the data.  Very good recovery program -- and completely safe, as it writes NOTHING to the drive you're attempting to recover (no good recovery program should).

If you aren't successful with GetDataBack, the best professional data recovery service I've found is Gillware (www.gillware.com).   Good pricing (by data recovery standards -- just under $400); and a "no recovery, no fee" policy (but plan on paying -- they're very good).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Have you tried booting with a Linux CD such as Knoppix?  Did the laptop have Norton programs on it?
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Hello Leew..... we are talking about a probable physical failure to this hard drive.... I am just hoping that I can access it at some "low level" with a better diagnostics tool than the fairly useless Ontrack.

I realise my chances are very slim when you have knocking sounds coming from the drive.... but at least I can hope to learn about a better diagnostic tool and figure out the name of that long forgotten recovery company.

BTW, what does Linux and Norton have to do with this?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If windows sees the drive but with no drive letter AND you had norton installed, (especially newer versions) goback may have also been installed.  Goback changes the partition type and you can't read the drive in Windows - it will recognize it, but won't give you the option of assigning a drive letter.  Linux can read the disk anyway and you can copy off your data.  ASSUMING the disk isn't completely dead with the clicking noise (I have a notebook drive myself that initially clicks but works just fine... very strange... (I don't keep anything too important on that laptop, just in case).
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I understand now....
Actually the clicking is probably not the same clicking you hear. BTW, is that a Compaq laptop? and/or Toshiba hd?

This is a "more" disturbing, bone chilling click. I swear, almost like metal grinding against metal.

No Norton....

But even disk management cannot see it.

Windows can sometimes be infuriating!

Unfortunately, no Linux box handy since I moved. :-(  


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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
No linux box needed - just boot up a knoppix CD - www.knoppix.net - though if disk management cannot see it, Linux probably won't either.   I guess I misunderstood what meant by "Oddly enough Windows recognizes the hd and states that it is ready to use. Unfortunately no hd letter assignment seems possible."

By the way, who is your ISP providing mail?  Have you called them and asked them to restore your e-mail?  I use www.he.net for one of my domains and I once had a similar e-mail problem.  E-mailed their support and 24 hours (or less) later, I had my inbox restored.
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I am not sure... it isn't my computer. But it is likely either the owners employer (which would be a lost cause) or COX which in New Orleans is also a lost cause.

I'll look at Knoppix later only because I am curious... meanwhile I will focus on getting the laptop running with the last good backup and a trusted older Travelstar hd!

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CaseybeaCommented:
I would go with the knoppix solution myself--   make sure to get the latest version (5.0) CD, which only became available about 2 weeks ago.   ISO's for download abound on the mirror sites.     Make a CD, boot-- and instant gui, super easy to use.

Knoppix does an incredible job at recognizing 'useable' hardware (without the stupidness of windows drivers, drive letters, etc).   it can also easily read just about any file system you can throw at it-   yes, even NTFS volumes.     CD burning is included, so if you can successfully view the drive contents, you can toast a CD immediately.

Beyond that, the only data recovery sites I ever saw were incredibly expensive.
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Hello Garycase... seriously there is one out there (in the US) that does recoveries for quite cheap... e.g. 40GB for about $200.00 and offer a no data no pay policy. Quite remarkable when no one else seems to offer such. They are even saved a number of famous people... I am guessing but I think David Copperfield was one... a famous musician... etc. Quite a nice website full of testimonials.

Gosh I wish I could find them again!  
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
If you find someone in that price range please post it here.   But I'm certainly not aware of anyone less expensive than Gillware's $378.99 ==> at least not with their excellent reputation and "no recovery, no fee" policy.   Compared to the $2,000 and up that services like OnTrack charge they seem VERY reasonable.   ... and they've had some excellent testimonials for their customers:
http://www.gillware.com/customers.php?PHPSESSID=739dd189c8a557fe57d92216258cbe2f

... did you try GetDataBack to see if you can simply recover the data yourself ??
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kiranghagCommented:
have you checked the "carzyone's" list of recovery tools?
should be able to search on EE here...there were few tools which worked great! and freeware too..
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callrsCommented:
Spinrite works at a low level & is written in assembly language:

http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm         SpinRite 5.0 to 6.0
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pgm554Commented:
Is the drive being see in the BIOS on any laptop or system?
If no ,the drive is history.
It will need to go out for HW repair.

If yes,then EZ Recovery will work and probably get the data back.

EZ Recovery steps:

Data recovery,Advanced recovery,click on unidentified disk,advanced options,file system scan tab (NTFS),it should say found a partition(is this it?)OK,then begin recovery.

The lowest level a drive works at, is the BIOS/disk controller.

If the BIOS doesn't see it,then NO over the counter software program will ever recover it, PERIOD.

It is in the hands of a clean room to fix it.

These guys are also quite good.

http://www.datarecoverygroup.com/

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pgm554Commented:
Redit on EZ

EZ Recovery steps:

Data recovery,Advanced recovery,click on unidentified disk,advanced options,file system scan tab (NTFS) you can use advanced or simple,it should say found a partition(is this it?)OK,then begin recovery.
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ded9Commented:
Repair your hard drive with  this awesome utility "hdd regenerator"

You can also try hirenbootcd for reparing all kinds of hard disk problems

Reps
points
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callrsCommented:
Thanks deb9! hdd regenerator is free too! :)


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ded9Commented:
Reps
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions folks! I will go over everything tomorrow.

BTW, I found the recovery service I had asked about, it is http://www.drivesavers.com. I believe the low cost prices were a bit too hopeful but they do good work.
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njelgerCommented:
Hi!

I used knoppix to get around a similar problem. Thanks for the help guys.

/ johan
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