How can I recover data from a broken hard drive?
July 11, 2006 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I recently purchased a 250 GB Western Digital Caviar SE hard drive. It's a internal hd and I foolishly thought it would be ok sitting on my desk hooked up through a ide-usb cable. It also has a power cable which runs down the side of my desk. Well long story short it fell off of my desk due to someone snagging the power cable and now my computer will not recognize it. I have a lot of important data on it which I would really like to recover. Any ideas?
posted by isopropyl to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it's a head crash, data recovery firms will usually be able to pull back at least a percentage of the data for rates starting from about $1000 and going up up up. My favorite is OnTrack, they're very professional and will give you an estimate and a special application listing what files are save-able before you commit to the whole thing (for a $100 fee, if memory serves).
posted by GreenTentacle at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2006

If you're associated with academia, try DriveSavers. They will tell you what they can recover, usually without a fee.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on July 11, 2006

If you're hoping for some kind of quick fix, I've got bad news. This is pretty clearly a hardware problem, and you know it. Something got damaged when it fell. That's obvious, I know, but it means that you can't just load some software on your computer to make it all of a sudden appear. broke=broke.

Otherwise, you can use third party services that specialize in this sort of thing, as are recommended above. Their prices are pretty extortionate, though, so keep that in mind.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 12:13 PM on July 11, 2006

You could always buy an identical hard drive and swap out the logic boards. If that's what's damaged, you could probably get your data that way. Otherwise you're looking at professional services, and really, for all the times people tell me their data is priceless and so important and they have to get it back, once they get a quote they always change their mind.
posted by splice at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2006

Another personal recommendation: - $380 for Windows recoveries. No recovery == no charge.

I've sent them 5 HD's, ranging from 'head crash' to 'student worker dropped the HD' and they recovered them all.
posted by bhance at 1:16 PM on July 11, 2006

I highly recommend purchasing GetDataBack, which I've used to recover a lot of hard drives. It's under $100, and there's a free trial version that will show you if your drive is recoverable before you buy.
posted by fvox13 at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2006

fvox13: Nothing software based will take care of a hardware failure. If the drive isn't being recognized by the BIOS, your software won't recognize it either.
posted by WetherMan at 4:32 PM on July 11, 2006

Gillware: *wow*. Thanks
posted by baylink at 7:09 PM on July 11, 2006

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