hard drive recovery -- hardware / software TOOLS ?

I have lots of different hard drives everyone brings me.

Most of the time I can use http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Adapter-Converter-Optical-External/dp/B002OV1VJW to fix the issue, but sometimes that does not work.

What hardware / software TOOLS do you recommend ?
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
GetDataBack https://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm For when simple file recovery won't work

Photorec and TestDisk http://www.cgsecurity.org/ For flash disks and when the going gets tough

Recuva https://www.piriform.com/recuva Simple deleted file recovery

UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ For the manufacturer's hard disk diags and all of the other utils on it

Powered USB caddys for hard disks, open computer with SATA cables sticking out the side for quick connect ...

Linux CDs ...

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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
GetDataBack is the best one. And a USB box would be better than cables imho.
On HDDs that work, meaning the platters spin and the head works, I have sometimes had trouble using the USB adapter that you gave an Amazon link to. In those cases, I have often been able to still access the drive when I place it as a second drive inside my computer. The SATA sometimes reads while the USB sometimes doesn't . You might try that if the USB method fails but the drive is spinning up and not clicking. Sometimes you have to watch the boot order when you do this because the BIOS may see the OS on both drives and ask you to make  a choice.
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Always test the drive with manufactures diagnostic tools first to confirm its condition before going forward with software.
Any strain on a failing drive could make the data unrecoverable.

Download free manufactures diagnostic tools from manufactures site or you can find the tools on the free UBCD

If working on failing discs a must have software to repair bad sectors (magnetic errors) on a hard disk surface, before running recovery software is HDD Regenerator

If you buy the best recovery software: GetDataBack Simple, ( then you do not need any other recovery software.)

If you want a good free data recovery software:
Data Recovery Wizard Free 9.5

You need IDE ( for older drives ) and SATA external Hard Drive cases 2.5" and 3.5" ( get USB 3.0 for SATA which will also accept USB 2.0 drives. ) or the cheaper SABRENT USB 3.0 TO SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter With Power Supply

You may want to splash out on the rather expensive HDD Duplicators to save time cloning drives.
Get USB 3.0 for SATA which will also accept USB 2.0 drives.

And a few 1 meter USB 3.0 cables to increase you work space.
Always connect the disk to an internal SATA port on your PC, don't use external USB stuff for that, it only adds additional points that can cause errors. Besides that, most diagnostic tools mentioned above will only work when the disk is directly attached to the PC.

Also as has been mentioned, getdataback is usualy the best tool for recovering data, but if you need something OpenSource and free, then it is Photorec. Photorec also supports far more file-systems, Getdataback is only good for m$ file-systems.

A good tool for data recovery is the PCRepix LiveDVD (you can also create a USB stick from it using the WinSetupFromUSB utility). It includes Photorec, along with other tools, and you can make a backup of your HD using it.


But is you are looking for hardware, then there is no chance you need cleanrooms with people in bunny suits, lots of state of the hardware that is far from cheap, and the educated manpower with a lot of experience, you couldn't pay that...
you've got lots of good suggestions
i'll sum up what i use :
Getdataback as recovery soft
direct connect to sata cable - never over usb (slower, and poor error handling)
manufacturer's diag for testing disk status
repair many not bootable drives with HDDRegenerator (not free)  :  

and here's how i proceed :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Motherboards/A_1945.html                  (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)
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