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Recovering data from Seagate 400Gb ST3400832A hard drive with bad sectors.

Anubis2005
Anubis2005 asked
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello All,

Recently one of my primary storage drives has developed a large number of bad sectors and did not appear to display this until it no longer decided to function correctly.  The problem is now that the files on the drive are all required and due to the drives size (utilizing 90% capacity) I was unable to maintain a mirror backup.

I would like to know if anyone knows of a good software package (free or paid) that will allow me to be able to recover as much data as possible while skipping over the sectors that are bad.  Simply trying to copy from the drive in windows obviously causes errors when it hits a bad sector and then reports a "delayed write failure".  

I would also like to know if there is a software tool available that will skip the master file table and give me a saveable list of all the files and details of the files on the drive.  This would allow me to see what files are on the drive and possibly locate them elsewhere if I have them.

The drive is currently formatted in NTFS.

Thanks
-Anubis.
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Commented:
Try http://www.active-undelete.com/ you can try before you buy.
For a good list of freeware utils, go here: http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/system/fwdatarecovery.html
and shareware: http://www.snapfiles.com/Shareware/system/swdatarecovery.html.
Regards, Peter


Commented:
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Commented:
I would run sprinrite on the drive first.  This will recover data at the sector level.  Then I would go use one of the many sharewares out there that work at the file structure level.  

http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

Author

Commented:
Hello All,

Thank you for your comments.  I have opted to begin with SpinRite and the task has now begun on the drive.  It'll obviously take some time so I shall report back with the results.  So far, from the looks of it, I'm confident of a positive outcome.

Thanks
Anubis.

Author

Commented:
Hello All,

After running SpinRight over night (and continuing), its managed to progress from 325MB (before I left) to 325.6MB (just a few moments ago) out of 400GB.  It appears that it's having alot of difficulty with these bad sectors and taking considerable time to even progress through 600KB of data.  So I should assume that in about 10 years time the process will complete and hopefully I can recover some of the data...

Fingers crossed.

-Anubis.

Commented:
These last bytes are where the work is being done. It might take a while, but be patient. I once ran spinrite for weeks - but it got the whole drive back!

Author

Commented:
Hello Seehear,

Thank you for the update.  Spinrite is still working on those bytes, and although there are no real time limits on it I'm concerned that it's only at 300Mb of a 400Gb drive... Either way, I will let it do it's work and hopefully all goes well.

Thanks
-Anubis.

Commented:
pay close attention to if the drive starts making any noises - if it does, it's time for a clean room.  Good luck with it for now tho...

Author

Commented:
Hello,

So far, the drive has not made any noises what so ever, so this brings my confidence level up a little, although SpinRight has still only progressed to about 350MB from when I reported it at 300 the other day.

-Anubis

Author

Commented:
Hello All,

SpinRite is still running on the drive, but it's not looking promising.  Currently the drive is reporting that a further 2700hours are required to complete the task and ever sector that it's analyzing at the moment is being reported as unrecoverable.

I'm happy to ditch this drive an all the data on it, however there is only one thing I need.  I need to generate as compete as possible a file list of all the files that were on the drive.  So I'm seeking a program that would be able to be run on the drive that would ignore these bad sectors and give me a saveable list of the files and their directory structure.

I'm not aware of any programs that exist with this specific purpose or capability but I'm even happy to commission (a reasonable about) to get a program written.  Does anyone know of any existing programs that would be able to fulfill this requirement or should I find someone to write one?

Thanks
-Anubis.

Commented:
You have the option of stopping spinrite and restarting it at some other point.  When it stops, it will tell you how far along it is as a percentage of the whole. Tell it to restart further along if you want to skip where you are.

have you tried ontrack's ez recovery? It can give you a list of what files it finds before recovery commences.

Commented:
If spin rite is acting as you say, it's done.  There is nothing that will show you what's on the drive short of a data recovery service.  You can try Nationwide data recovery (if it's not to serious), they have a "non invasive" recovery that's $99 or something like that.  IF the drive is more serious, your talking more serious bucks.  Try DriveSavers - but they're not cheap.

Commented:
I reread your initial post - ez recovery probably should have been your first choice. It can do everything you asked about: skip mft and report what it finds on drive, recover after reformat, scan and report what's there before recovering, etc. It's not cheap, but it does work. Spinrite sometimes works, but if you talk to their support, they'll tell you its not really a "recovery" tool. At least that's what they told me. It's a great product, but for your problem ez recovery is better.

Author

Commented:
Seeing as SpinRite as only 0.0855% of the way through, I decided to cancel it and start with ez recovery, so far it's looking better, reporting that it has found 51,000 of the 70,000 files on the drive but during it (advanced) scan, it is locking up at 72% saying "encountered errors while reading sectors" and although the hard disk activity light is permanently on, it does not appear to be progressing beyond this point... any idea's?

Commented:
Anubius, it's a waste of your time - software cannot overcome a hardware issue on a drive.

Commented:
Mr. Limo is right: If the drive is mechanically fubared (or its circuit board is fubared) your only recourse may be lots of dough spent on clean room recovery service.

Did you try restarting spinrite past the stubborn part?

As far as other ideas, I don't know what you have tried, but:
change cables, change port on mobo you're plugged into, change power supply, change circuit board on drive (use one from identical drive), let it cool and try again, pray - a lot, chant, wave incense around - you get the picture.  Good Luck.

Author

Commented:
LOL... The incense is burning along with the candles and oops, so too is the CPU now.  I have already change the circuit board with an identical one with no avail so the problem is mechanical inside the drive.  I cancelled the ez recovery (wish I had of used this one first) and restarted it in basic mode, overnight it completed and reported that 56,000 files had been found and I'm now attempting recovery of those.

Overall though, even if I couldn't get the data back, just having the file name and directories would be a good help as I can mostlikely get alot of the data from past (very fragmented and sparse) backups although without a directory/file list I'm unable to determine exactly what files were on the drive.

I also wonder if there is a ghosting software out there that would be able to ghost all the data on the drive (skipping the bad parts) creating an image of the bad drive on a good drive to attempt whatever recovery from that...

Either way, I think out of this process so far, ez recovery should have been my first bet and probably at the first signs of failure... but I guess we live an learn.

I will leave this question open for another day or so while I complete the attempted data recovery in basic mode of ez recovery after which I will attempt again an advanced.  Also just incase someone has any further comments, after that I'll close it and thank you all for your help!

Thanks
Anubis.

Commented:
there is no "ghosting" software that can get past the physical issues of the drive.  It has to see a clean room environment, with the data being taken off at a very low level.  If the data is at all recoverable now (which is the ONLY way to get the directory structure or anything else), I'd be surprised.  

EZ recovery would not have done any better than spinrite, they're both about the same.  

It's not possible for software to overcome a hardware issue, which is where you are.

Author

Commented:
Thank you to all who have posted comments.
Unfortunately none of the software solutions are able to recover any data, spinright took more than a week to progress 0.09% into the drive and detected nothing but unrecoverable data.  EZRecovery is the tool that I should have run in the first place before the drive degraded too far, but unfortunatley now, EZ will progress to about 70% of the drive and hang there.

Again, thanks.
Anubis.

Commented:
I don't understand the awarding of points on this one... this was a hardware issue as I said, not software.  Software did not work - Actual data Recovery is what was needed, and what I suggested...
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