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Hard Drive Failure

Posted on 2007-11-28
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Last Modified: 2009-07-29
This hard drive is one of two in a HP tower, operating with Windows XP-Professional.The drive "suddenly" did not appear in Windows Explorer. It was not the physical boot drive. This drive was used for data, mainly image files. The owners father passed away last month, and this drive contains the family's photos (grim, I know).

I removed the drive and attempted to access it as an external drive, using a USB adapter. No luck. I then attached it to a known good system, as an IDE drive (Cable Select and as a Slave). No luck in Explorer. I can see the drive in the bios however when connected to a secondary IDE port.

I scanned the drive using OnTrack-Easy Recovery. The program saw the drive. It was not able to determine what the format was though (FAT or NTFS). (I do not know what the origional format was, but my guess is NTFS). The scan for data was not successful.

Suspecting a physical failure, I refrigerated the drive for about an hour (in a sealed container). The hope here was that if the drive had a physical problem, the cooler temperature would "tighten things up" in the drive. I'm not completely nuts--this has worked for me on a couple of occasions in the past.

As I am typing this, I'm attempting to image the drive using "GetDataBack-NTFS". I don't know if this is going to work. My plan is to (after imaging) to try to recover the data using GetDataBack.

While the imaging process was running, and reached approximately 35%, the drive started a rhythmic clicking for about 30 seconds, the imaging process paused during this clicking, and resumed after the clicking stopped.

Assuming that GetDataBack does not work, what should I try next?
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Question by:mapalaska2003
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by:David-Howard
ID: 20368869
From what you have stated it sounds hardware related.
That ticking noise that you described sounds like an actuator arm/head hitting against the drive platters.
It is possible (I've done it.) to replace the internal hardware (if that is the cause). However, you open yourself up to potential problems such as scratching (even dust can cause issues.) This link explains those issues and the never fail clean room. Expensive but if the data is worth it.....
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/6-20-2006-99925.asp
David
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by:michko
ID: 20368985
If you'd consider sending it to a data recovery service, I'd recommend these folks.  Extremely talented, good prices, etc.  http://www.gillware.com/customers.php
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by:wingatesl
ID: 20370888
What is the exact model of the hard drive and the DCM? Also, did the imaging finish? If so you should look at R-studio from here. http://www.r-studio.com/
@David-Howard The ticking noise is caused by the heads rapidly moving back and forth trying to find servo information from the platters. The sound of the heads hitting the platters is much different ( a screech). As for the cooling of the drive, I would not recommend this. When booting the computer does the drive make any noises out of the ordinary?
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by:wingatesl
ID: 20370901
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moorhouselondon earned 500 total points
ID: 20377364
If it is clicking and the data is important I would have no hesitation in passing it on to Kroll On-Track.  They have clean-room facilities where the platters can be properly analysed.

On-Track charge a flat fee (about £100) to look at the drive which is non-refundable.  They will give you a complete list of the recoverable files on the drive together with the cost (which once given to you is fixed).  They work out the cost on the amount of trouble they've gone to to recover the data.  If you mention you are using their "self diagnose" software you may be entitled to a discount.

I once had a SCSI drive go down and they recovered every file on the drive.  It cost a lot, but when all else fails it is worth the money.
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