Seagate 1gb drive maybe a paperweight, but trying to save Grandkid pics first.

An elderly friend, how usually calls me called HP and they said the 1gb Seagate Baracuda had crashed and sent a technician with a new drive.  This is a windows 8.1 machine and I have no idea what the tech did to this drive.  My bios recognizes the drive, but after that nothing.  If I have drive plugged in, booting is much slower and disk management, Seagate tools and every other tool I have hangs while searching for drives when this drive is plugged in.  I have tried to find it in command prompt and think I did once, but am not sure cause I had a ton of drives hooked up, so that is a maybe.  Now that iI have the DEAD drive and my boot as only disks, I can't find it from command prompt.  These are grandparents and hundreds of grandkid pics are on this drive and they don't have the money to pay a professional.  

Pat O'BrienPastorAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Try holding the drive in your hand and turn it side to side to get the platters rotating.  Then try connecting it to your PC and see if you can get to the files.

After that try booting with Knoppix and see if you can get to the pictures that way.

If that doesn't work, you can try gently tapping the drive with the handle of a screwdriver to see if you can free the arms if they are stuck.

After that, there isn't much you can do as a professional recovery service is off the table.
I have yet to see a "simple" process that does the job in a safe/repeatable manner.  You are dealing with 2 tasks that have competing needs.

1.  Recovering drive to new media with minimal additional damage to drive, aka "don't make it worse"
2.  Recovering photos off the drive, aka "get your stuff back"

Step 2 has some simple solutions.  Personally I would have you try Photorec:

It's not the simplest but it is free and works very well.  This is a fairly basic undelete program that is tuned initially for recovering photos.

Sidenote-It actually comes with a tool called Testdisk that can recover lost partition structure.  I've seen(maybe 3 times) where a single bad block in the partition table made Windows not boot and Testdisk was able to recover the partition and Windows booted right up.


The problem with addressing #2 first is that reading from the drive directly may very well make things worse.  If you have experienced physical damage to the drive(internally), then as you try to read the damaged sections they tend to become more damaged.  The default behavior of most operating systems is to try, try, try again, so the internal damage grows quickly.  My preferred method of recovering is to use a cloning tool to attempt a full copy of the drive to different media, then to attempt recovery from the copy.  It's hard to say without sounding arrogant, but this part is probably outside your level of expertise.  I haven't seen any point/click tools to do this, not really sure why so maybe there is actually something out there.  Likely it would be expensive software.

So, my method is to use a tool called ddrescue as a first step.  ddrescue is a Unix tool so you would need either a Linux or Mac to use this tool.  You also need enough space to make a complete copy of the drive, so if you are recovering a 1TB drive, you would need at least 1TB of free space to create the image.  Personally I would recover the 1TB to a 2TB so you don't risk running out of space.  It works by copying each block(it ignores partition/formatting) and has a simple but effective algorithm for skipping damaged areas.  When it fails to read a block, it jumps ahead a random distance and tries again, logging the failure.  After it completes a first pass, it goes back and 'splits' the error areas thereby attempting to read all data as quickly as possible while minimizing the attempts to damaged areas.

This tool really does 2 things.  It builds an image/copy of the damaged drive, but it also works as a diagnostic tool for your next steps.  If ddrescue completes and only finds 1-10 bad blocks/error areas then I would usually try Testdisk to recover the partition.  Again, I've seen 1 bad block crater a windows install, and it isn't necessarily a sign of serious damage.  If ddrescue finds hundreds or thousands of error areas, you basically know that there was a head crash or other physical damage, and you don't have many tries to get anything off the drive.  Lastly, if ddrescue acts sort of normal for a period of time, then goes straight to 100% error area, meaning it recovers a few blocks then instantly says EVERYTHING is bad, even though it obviously couldn't have read the whole drive that fast, then you are dealing with a logic board failure of sorts and the recovery process gets way more complicated and far less likely to have any positive results.

Once you have an image created by ddrescue, you either use Photorec against the image, or use ddrescue again "in reverse" to write the image back to a new undamaged drive, then use Photorec against the undamaged drive.

So thats the nutshell.  It's not simple by any means, but these tools actually are not that hard to use once you've got the process set up.

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Pat O'BrienPastorAuthor Commented:
I have done the moving and tapping and maybe some knocking...they start and I get a "hard parking" like sound from the old days.  I will try that website next
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented: isn't an issue.  It's a 1 GB not TB drive.
If you are getting that sound then you need to try and image(ddrescue) or you are going to make it worse.  If you can't image then try photorec, but be aware it may be a one shot deal.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Yes, that is an old drive.  I haven't seen a 1GB drive in forever.  In fact I've been going through my old stuff and pitching 80 Gig drives as they aren't worth the trouble any more.

Good luck.  

Also try Ben's cloning suggestion.  That might work IF the system can recognize the disk.

Sorry, it's been a long time since I've seen a 1gb drive!  :)
Pat O'BrienPastorAuthor Commented:
They drive has already been replaced, so goal is to get as much off as I can before HP wants it back.

Thanks, will let you all know what works.
The "1GB" is probably a typo. Disks of that size wouldn't come in a PC that runs Windows 8.x, it's just way too small for that.

The way you describe the problem, the PC taking much longer to boot with it connected etc, points to a serious HW issue of the disk, and with software you won't be able to recover any data from it. Your only option would be to send it to a recovery agency, for which the $$$'s are missing. You can forget that disk.

Tell your friend to look for his backups and restore the data from them, or if he hasn't done any backups, teach him how to do them, and get him a USB dock and several 2nd hand HD's to backup to. He should then at least not have this issue in the future.
While rindi is incorrect in regards to recovery, he is correct that there is no way Win8.1 would be on a 1GB drive.  If it were 1GB, you would be talking about Win3.1 maybe.  Also you mentioned it is a Seagate Barracuda and the first Barracuda to use ATA/IDE was 6.8GB to 30GB.  So you may want to look closer at the drive as he is correct, it is probably a 1TB which again means you'll need a decent size drive to recover to.
I'm correct in regards to recovery. I have had many disks with exactly that type of behaviour, and those disks were never accessible by any software. There is just nothing you can do yourself about it. The only ones that are able to recover anything from such a disk are professional recovery agencies. Those with clean rooms and with people running around in bunny suits.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... they don't have the money to pay a professional.  ..." ==>  Unfortunately that's likely the only way to recover the pictures at this point.     Gillware [ ] is very good at this, and (by data recovery standards, relatively affordable ... typically ~ $400 if the drive doesn't require clean-room work).     They will send a pre-paid mailer for the drive; and don't charge anything to provide a list of what's recoverable => so if the files can't be recovered it won't cost anything.

Remember that you do NOT want to do ANYTHING that writes to that disk -- doing so reduces the likelihood of a successful recovery.    No good recovery tool will do that, so it's okay to try a few things before resorting to the professional recovery option; but it does sound like that's what's needed.    If so, your friends need to decide whether or not they can manage that cost to get the pictures.

In any event, as already suggested, be sure they have a good BACKUP strategy in place for all future data they store on the PC.
Drive failures requiring clean room recovery:

Anything that requires opening the HD case, such as spindle motor replacement, read/write head/head stack replacement, preamp issues, or any other internal mechanical issues.

Drive failures that aren't easy, and many tech's say are not possible other than by a recovery firm, but actually can be done with limited success using free tools:

Heat related PCB failure where some PCB component is overheating but hasn't yet completely shorted, low volume bad block leading to partition corruption, head crash, general file system corruption.

Of course, if you have million dollar data on a dead hard drive, pay the $400-$5000 to recover it.  For the rest of us just trying to get family pictures or your quicken data file that shows how little money you have, there may be potential for self service.
you said "me called HP and they said the 1gb Seagate Baracuda had crashed and sent a technician with a new drive.  This is a windows 8.1 machine and I have no idea what the tech did to this drive. <<   did he replace the drive ?  then you don't have to look for anything.

otherwise - the only thing you can do - except a recovery service - is hooking the drive direct to a sata cable

if the disk is seen - use the GetData back -  not free -  but it shows anything it finds - before you have to pay
Pat O'BrienPastorAuthor Commented:
Thiis was a good answer...didn't work, but helped me on another drive.
then you should accept it as answer for that other drive...
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