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How can I learn to data recovery drives on my own without sending them to a third party.

Posted on 2013-06-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-06-26
Good evening experts,

I am in a bit of a pickle. I know the cardinal rule of hard drives is that they all eventually crash. Well, I disregarded this axiom and viola , my drive crashed . It is a 1 TB Western Digital Drive that was working not 6 hours ago. Then for some reason it simply stopped working.

This is the error I get when I install the drive internally or mount it externally:

I don't want to lose the data on the drive, but I wont spend a couple of grand sending it
to data recovery specialist. Is there a toolset out there that I can create my on clean room and perform my own forensics recovery.  Although the data is important , I cant afford those data recovery specialist. Helppppp!!!!
Question by:BLACK THANOS
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LVL 49

Assisted Solution

dbrunton earned 200 total points
ID: 39234227
>>  Is there a toolset out there that I can create my on clean room and perform my own forensics recovery

Short answer:  No

You can try data recovery utils such as GetDataBack (in your case it should be the NTFS version) http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm (free to try, if it sees stuff you pay for full functionality).

WARNING:  That CRC message is usually saying hard disk is dying or dead.  Use me at your own peril.  If you run any util like GetDataBack on that disk for any period of time you increase the chances of even more damage.

It seems like that the disk's file structure cannot be seen.  This could imply damage to the beginning of the disk.  Or not.

Note.  Many data recovery services don't charge unless they can recover stuff.  Consult your local data recovery services about fees.
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

jhyiesla earned 400 total points
ID: 39234310
You could also try the On Track software from www.krollontrack.com.  We've used it in our company from time to time and have had decent luck using it, even on disks that seem unrecoverable.. Still, it does depend on the disk at least marginally working, but it's less costly than sending the disk somewhere.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 39234346
OnTrack is VERY good, but also VERY expensive.

I'd send the drive to Gillware [http://www.gillware.com/ ]
They're very good; reasonably priced (by data recovery standards ... ~ $400 or a bit more); and have a "no recovery, no fee" policy => so you only pay if they recover your data.

But they're VERY good ... so plan on paying :-)

There is, of course, NO excuse for not being properly backed up ... especially since you "... know the cardinal rule of hard drives is that they all eventually crash."

Once you get your data recovered, spend $140 for a 3-yr subscription to Carbonite !!
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

jhyiesla earned 400 total points
ID: 39234370
I agree that sending the drive to On Track is very expensive. However, they also offer software solutions that I have personally used that are very reasonably priced. They range from about $80 for the personal version up to around $500 for the Enterprise version.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 39234394
OnTrack's Easy Recovery Pro works very nicely IF the drive is otherwise readable but has corrupted sectors and/or a few bad tracks.   But when the drive's cylinder 0 data is bad, it's time to send off for professional recovery, no matter what recovery software you have.

I have Easy Recovery Pro, GetDataBack, Active Partition Recovery, and a few other tools I've bought over the years; but this drive is not one I'd expect any of those to be successful with.    One tool I have that MAY help is Spinrite ... it can sometimes do "magic" at restoring defective sectors => it's not a "recovery" tool as such, but it can restore sectors that will then let a recovery package work.

But based on what's shown above, I'd simply send the drive off for professional recovery.
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

ded9 earned 800 total points
ID: 39234645
We can recover the data...first try connecting the hard drive to another sata ports and check.

If the issues persist then the partition table might be corrupted...and can be recovered.

Try active partition recovery ...to restore corrupted partition table.


To know more about data recovery check this video...provides indept knowledge.


LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 39234750
The more you fiddle with the drive now, the more likely you are to PERMANENTLY lose your data.

As for creating your own clean room - no.  It would cost FAR MORE than the data recovery services do... a "clean room" isn't just a room you vacuumed well - it's one where you can measure the actual number of particles per cubic foot of air and ensure they don't affect the hard drive because a PARTICLE CAN cause data loss - see http://www.datarecovery.com/clean.asp

Author Comment

ID: 39236766
WOW, Everyone, this is a lot to absorb. I looked at the warranty on the drive and its still under limited warranty. Since the data is not critically important , I will just have to settle for a new drive. You all have given me many options, and I am going to try them , even if the drive is further damaged.

LVL 19

Assisted Solution

deroode earned 100 total points
ID: 39237066
I would suggest GRC's Spinrite:


The product has not been updated for a while, but it just works. I have recoverd many drives with it. And it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked.

Author Comment

ID: 39243769
currently I am using minitool partition wizard pro 7.1

it has been running now for well over 24 hours and seems to nowhere near done.
I will simply let it do its thing. Don't really care if it takes days. If it gets my data
back, then it is money well spent. It sees the bad drive and it is doing a sector by sector lookup. I hope the results are positive. Stay tuned....

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