An SATA hard drive suddenly failed

Posted on 2014-08-29
Last Modified: 2014-09-04
We have a single relatively-new SATA hard drive suddenly getting failed. (OS is Win 2003 server.) Simply just cannot boot. This hard drive's brand/model/size does show up in BIOS just as a normal one, but just cannot be recognized by the OS.  
We want to recover data files from it even it is not bootable. So we plugged it to another computer and hope it can show up on the OS level. Unfortunately it doesn't. Then we used a utility called 'Partition Saver' and are able to see the list of two volumes but both are listed as "Unrecognized Volume" where we can see all the file names listed on the screen but just cannot be copied. (When trying to copy, we got an error saying the file not existing...)
Can you tell us what is wrong and how to copy those files out to another disk?
Question by:Castlewood
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    No RAID?  No Backups?  Drives fail all the time... RAID for servers is a requirement.  Backups too.

    It's hard to know exactly what's wrong with it.  You can spend hundreds on data recovery software to see if you can get it, but every second you try accessing the drive you COULD be making the problem worse.  If the data is important, contact a data recovery company and get them to recover it for you. It won't be cheap.  But learn from the mistake of not having RAID and Backup and the next time you experience something like this, it won't cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars on a recovery.
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    No, shut the thing off and take it to a data recovery lab. Expect to pay something in the $500 - $1000 range.   Remember 100% of HDDs fail, eventually.    The symptoms indicate catastrophic media failure.  You need guys in bunny suits with the proper equipment.
    LVL 87

    Accepted Solution

    What happened to your backups? Why aren't you using RAID?

    Scan the disk using getdataback, and if the tool sees the files you need, register it so you can copy them off.
    LVL 35

    Assisted Solution

    You need some recovery software that can handle raw data, such as Easy Recovery Pro. See
    The problem with most free tools is that they depend on a correctly working filesystem to be effective (for instance ntfs or fat). I don't know any free tool that can do the raw recovery (since you have unrecognised volumes) as effective as Easy Recovery Pro. With any recovery, there are risks that some files are corrupt beyond repair, or the original file name can't be retrieved. You also need an extra drive (to copy from the source).
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    The best (and maybe not the most expensive) for data recovery is Kürt Zrt, Hungary:
    Whatever they can't recover cannot be recovered. Period.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    i find Getdataback the best recovery software - if you want to try yourself :
    alternatively, you can boot from a live Knoppix cd, and copy the files out:      

    here some links to data recovery Cy - if needed :                        data recovery Company                                 "           "                   "                     "           "                   "

    Author Closing Comment

    I used getdataback to successfully copy the data files we want. I believe Easy Recovery Pro should be able to do the same.
    Actually we did have software Raid-1 but one drive gets broken and then the other just not booting up by itself.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    If a disk won't boot that was part of an OS RAID array, you usually just have to add the disk so it's in the BIOS boot order, or change the SATA cable to the one of the disk you removed.

    Featured Post

    How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

    Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
    - Increase transparency
    - Onboard new hires faster
    - Access from mobile/offline

    Join & Write a Comment

    This is a little compilation of tips and procedures to help with data recovery from a failed / failing hard drive. The information here can be applied to Desktop/Server/Laptop and external hard drives. All of us have at one time or another been …
    Bellevue, WA, USA; Late December, 1980 "OK, folks, we nailed the IBM contract. We're going to have many meetings like this to discuss features and functions...and how to move from 86-DOS, the CP/M clone we just purchased, to our baby, MS-DOS. Thi…
    This video Micro Tutorial explains how to clone a hard drive using a commercial software product for Windows systems called Casper from Future Systems Solutions (FSS). Cloning makes an exact, complete copy of one hard disk drive (HDD) onto another d…
    Polish reports in Access so they look terrific. Take yourself to another level. Equations, Back Color, Alternate Back Color. Write easy VBA Code. Tighten space to use less pages. Launch report from a menu, considering criteria only when it is filled…

    734 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    23 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now