Failing Drive Copy Files

I have an external SATA drive (WD My Passport).  The drive is mountable under Windows 7 x64 but when I try accessing any of the data on it where there's corruption on the drive (not sure if it's mechanical, file system, or bad sectors), Windows freezes.  I've tried using TeraCopy to copy the data off and to skip files where it hangs, but it won't skip the file.  I tried using xcopy with various switches to continue after error but it hangs on the corrupt files.

I tried running SpinRite 6.0.  It was running about 1% per day until it hit 6%.  Then for the next 6 weeks it only went to 8.5%.  it estimated about a year until it finished.

Aside for sending it for data recovery, does anyone have any suggestions for recovering what files can be recovered?  Are there programs that will timeout after a certain period of time when copying files but will keep going?  Basically I want to copy whatever can be copied and then make a determination if that is sufficient or to get it professionally recovered.

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DavidConnect With a Mentor PresidentCommented:
First, if you want data back then last thing you need to be doing is spin rite.  This is nothing more then a brute force read-reread-reread ....

It places a great deal of stress on the disk and decreases life.  If the data is worth $1000+, just turn the HDD off and take it to a pro.

The problem is ABSOLUTELY hardware related.  You certainly have file system damage, but that is not the reason why it takes so long.  Your consumer disk will try anywhere from 30-60 seconds on a read error before it gives up.   There are billions of blocks on the drive ... so do the math.  

Figure $500+ for recovery.  I am partial to, because they have their own onsite equipment, give free estimates, and are open 24x7.  (So I have dropped disks off for customers when the problem is beyond my company's capabilities -- we do data recovery from the RAID level sometimes, so first thing we do is run diagnostics to see if problem is hardware, and if so, we let these guys do the imaging and then take over).

Most large cities have recovery labs.  There are some national ones too, but I prefer local ones because not only do you eliminate time and cost of shipping, but you can get instant satisfaction, and don't run risk of HDD getting abused or even lost in shipping.  In the grand scheme of things, pricing is all about the same until you get into RAID recovery.
Unlike XCopy , when it finds a file error it fails....Try XXCopy.

I love this program because of all the SYNTAX statements you can use.

Make sure you look at the XXCOPY Exclusion switch syntax

Good Luck!
Aaron TomoskyTechnology ConsultantCommented:
The first thing I do with a failing drive is a bit for bit image. Usually using an old copy of ghost. Acronis can do the same, or dd if you can plug it into Linux.
Then try file level recovery from that clone.
Free Tool: Port Scanner

Check which ports are open to the outside world. Helps make sure that your firewall rules are working as intended.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Ghost and dd are not suitable for imaging a drive with potential read errors, or one in stress.
First, they give up on errors, but more importantly, they put the disk in stress.

If you don't have the professional software, then at least use the freebie ddrescue.  This software recovers data using several algorithms designed to get as much data as possible "gently".  (You can google the software and see how it is done).

Also, before doing ANYTHING with a failing drive and attempting to read anything, you need to run diagnostics.  Depending on the model of drive you can learn nature of the problem and whether or not the media is damaged.  If it is damaged, you need to get a recovery lab involved attempting to clone, or you run extreme risk of destroying more data and making full professional recovery impossible.
mmermelsteinAuthor Commented:
While, it's not the answer I was hoping for (i.e. trying to save myself from having to do professional DR), I'll award the points and answer to dlethe.  Thanks for the advice.  I've contacted a local DR shop and will bring it in there.
mmermelsteinAuthor Commented:
The solution is one I was hoping to avoid.  At this point the data seems unrecoverable without putting stress on the disk.  I believe the correct approach is to "bite the bullet" and go for professional data recovery.
it would be great if you posted a follow-up with what vendor you used for recovery, how well they did, and what it cost.  So little information like that is in the database, and it helps people to know if they are looking at $500 or $2000 for certain scenarios
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