Help me recover data from a crashed HDD.
August 24, 2006 5:26 PM   Subscribe

HDD disaster! Almost all the data I own in the world was on a HDD that got dropped on the floor while spinning (the drive was spinning, not me).

While in the process of rebuilding my home PC, I was copying data back from a HDD in a USB enclosure when one of my kids knocked the drive off the desk onto the (concrete) floor. Following this little excursion, the drive got very hot, makes a noise similar to the normal noise a HDD makes, but a lot louder (you still have to put your ear to it to hear it clearly, though) - obviously, I turned it off straight away and have left it off. Normally, the USB drive is my back-up but, because of the rebuild process was for a short time the only copy of my data, which includes almost every photo ever taken of our kids.

I have two questions:

1. Can anyone recommend a service in the SE Queensland (Australia) area to recover the data for me?

2. Is there anything I can/should do to maximise the chances of recovering the data?
posted by dg to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Response by poster: To clarify, WIn XP no longer reads the drive at all from the USB enclosure and I haven't tried mounting it via IDE because I don't want to run it at all unless I have a chance of recovering data.
posted by dg at 5:44 PM on August 24, 2006

I can't recommend a firm, but I can tell you they're all extortion artists. Expect to pay in the thousands of dollars.

In terms of how to maximize chances of recovering the data, just make sure the hard drive doesn't get damaged more. This site has advice for how to send the HD safely:

To increase the likelihood of a successful recovery, please protect your media during shipment. Since drive components are extremely delicate, any jarring of the hardware can cause additional damage and can make the recovery more difficult than necessary. Please implement the following steps to help protect your media during shipment.

* The damaged media should be placed in anti-static bubble wrap, anti-static foam or an anti-static bag and placed in a box - we suggest a box twice the size of your media.

* The box should have enough room for both the media and some type of additional packing material that allows for NO movement. The box should also have sufficient barrier room around the inside edges to absorb impact during shipping.

* If you have multiple drives, tapes or other removable media that need recovery, ship them in separate boxes or make sure they are separated enough with packing material so there will be no contact.

* As always, if you have any questions about packaging damaged media please contact a data recovery specialist at 07 31370516.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:01 PM on August 24, 2006

Oh, one more thing, I found that site (and lots others) just by googling "australia data recovery"

This one has a "no fix no fee" policy, FWIW.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:05 PM on August 24, 2006

OnTrack were recommend to me by seagate for this exact problem. I didn't bother in the end so can't speak from personal experience.
posted by econous at 6:08 PM on August 24, 2006

If the drive is still operational you can use a tool like Phoenix to recover the data. I've had good experience with that tool and it is a fraction of the cost of a service.
posted by trinity8-director at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: The drive isn't operational, unfortunately.
posted by dg at 6:29 PM on August 24, 2006

You have my sympathy. We used a data recovery service when a staffer's drive failed, and she had neglected backups for critical data. Cost about $1200, and they recovered everything.
posted by theora55 at 7:39 PM on August 24, 2006

I did some work for these guys once - they're handy if you're in the southern / eastern suburbs of Brisbane. They do a lot of work for the smaller players in the real estate industry and, IIRC from when I chatted to the boss, they're surprisingly cheap.
posted by Pinback at 8:28 PM on August 24, 2006

You could open the case and see if it's a connection problem. It might just have had the internal IDE connector coming loose.
posted by Ferrari328 at 7:33 AM on August 25, 2006

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