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Retrieving data from damaged hard disks

quimeraec
quimeraec asked
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I use Ubuntu (64bits edition, version 10.10 or higher) to access hard disks with problems. It works most of the time (27 of 32 cases to date).

Once the information has been recovered (copy data from damaged disk to healthy one), I proceed to format the disk and create enough partitions. Usually, is possible depending on damage, isolate the partition that generates the majority of errors, like "System Error 11 on Windows" and disable this partition.

In my experience, a work of this type takes 3 to 8 hours and keeps damaged discs in operation for a while (although is not recommended).

Hopefully I can recover most of the data (18.3 TB of 22.4 TB to date) using this method, but I want to improve it.

Any advice are welcome.

Best regards.

Enrique
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Commented:
If the disk does not detect your only hope would be to send it to a data recovery company but these guys are not cheap. In the UK you would be looking at £400 - £2000 + per case.
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Commented:
Running the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility and allowing it to fix errors can sometimes help, and the HDD Regenerator is also a need to have tool, as it can revive some disks with errors. Of course using that to scan and repair a bad disk will take time (days or even weeks, depending on the size of the disk and it's status in regards to errors). But as long as you have a free system to run this on that shouldn't matter too much:

http://dposoft.com
David Johnson, CDSimple Geek from the '70s
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Commented:
Steve Gibson's Spinrite is a good utility for recovering bad hard disks.
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Commented:
here some good recovery softwares, a couple fre and non free :
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm      pc Inspector -FREE -
      http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard            FREE  -  Recuva
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                              Stellar
http://www.runtime.org/                              GetDataBack
http://www.ontrack.com/                              Ontrack
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Commented:
As disks are so cheap at the moment, is it really worth all the trouble to do this?
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Commented:
YES -if you need the data

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Commented:
Linux is a great (simply, rapid, economical) choice when technical problems affects PCs, including recover data from hard disks. Combining Linux with specific tools (like "priceless" badblocks or better "inexpensive" R-Studio for Linux) can be very useful to elevate the rate of bytes recovered.

Discard damaged hard disk is not an option in all cases.
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Commented:
FYI - this can help also (i use it often) HDDRegenerator :   http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      

Commented:
Having had to recover data from raid devices as well as failed hard disks I've had my fortunate and unfortunate experience at data recovery a lot.  No matter how well I backup my system I always end up a day or more shy on needed data since the last backup.

My prime goal was to get the raw data to a drive which was stable and not work with the damaged drive. The damaged drive was left alone until I could recover data I needed from the 'dd' raw data.  Some times I would have to 'dd' the damaged drive many times if the data is very large.
Once that was done I could RMA the drive or destroy it if there is no contract on the drive.

Before I worked with any tools for data analysis, having the data in raw format on a stable system was critical. From there I would have to research a bit on the data stream.  

I can go into more detail should you be interested.

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