Hard disk failure options

I have a laptop hard disk which has failed.  I've put it into a caddy but it is not recognised as a formatted disk by either windows or knoppix.  Does this mean that my disk is totally dead?  is there any way I can recover the data on the disk?  It seems to me that what I am seeing here is failure of the electronics around the media, and not the media itself?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The overall chances are that the disk is bad. If you do not have a backup and if the data is important, look up a local disk recovery service and get an estimate. If the platters are OK , it should not be expensive.

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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  It seems to me that what I am seeing here is failure of the electronics around the media, and not the media itself?

Best is direct connection to motherboard, if the connection point on the hard disk permits, rather than through the caddy.  Quite possible the hard disk is a SATA connection.

Now it was/is possible to replace the electronics board on some hard disks.  See http://www.deadharddrive.com/ for one man's story and take careful note of what he had to do.  On a laptop hard disk I don't think this is possible but I have been known to be wrong.

Best is to follow John Hurst's advice and let a data recovery centre do it.  Get a quote or idea of cost first, you may need to sell a couple of loved ones.  Many centres won't charge if they can't recover the data.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have taken small laptop drives apart. They are dead and my look see says once opened outside of a clean room, the disk is toast anyway. Not much chance here.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
So the drive is detected by Windows but it has no ntfs or fat partitions, right?
If yes then download a tool called GetDataBack from www.runtime.org and scan the drive with it.
If it finds nothing then your only option is a professional data recovery service such as Gillware.
Data recovery software is a waste of time.  If the data is worth $500+ then take it to a data recovery firm (most major cities have them -- just make sure they do the recovery onsite, rather than send them out)

Every moment the HDD is powered up risks further data loss. The vast majority of data recovery companies will provide free  estimates.   Unless you have a bunny suit and $50K worth of equipment, then don't bother a DIY recovery.  It will fail and just make it more expensive for somebody who knows what they are doing to attempt to get it back.

The reason the caddy sees something is because the USB->ATA adapter is reporting something.  Such devices just spoof a drive and aren't designed to report details specific to a failing drive.
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
If you feel adventurous you can use photorec, I have used it after accidentally formatting my backup hard drive of  500gb
I was able to recover my files, all of it and I also used it on a couple of dead usb to pull files from it.

Here is a wiki step by step how to use the program, however, if you're not savvy enough do what John said.

i would connect it directly to a sata port of a PC -  this avoids the usb bridge then try GDB
i take it the drive is seen correct in the bios?
if not - a data recovery service is the only option

here is how i handle bad disks : http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Workable recovery solutions provided.
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