If your hard drive crashes can you still get the data off it

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
thanuk
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If your hard drive crashes can you still get the data off it

Postby thanuk » Thu Oct 30, 2003 2:45 pm

Yeah so my g/f bought an expensive ass dell computer about 2 months ago and the farkin hard drive crashed last night. Anyway, is there any way to get the info off the drive even though its shot? Its making that bad clicking noise and the computer doesn't recognize it....is it just gone?
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'
You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'
Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'
You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'
Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
Werg
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Postby Werg » Thu Oct 30, 2003 3:05 pm

uhh.. yeah.. pretty much :(
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Postby Lenefir » Thu Oct 30, 2003 3:40 pm

Depends on if, and how much money your willing to use to get the data on it back... If you won't spend any money on it, it's pretty much gone if you can't put it into another computer and do a raw copy (which then pretty much go down to what is wrong with the hd). Or else, data on a hd isn't really lost unless you rewrite random data on it a bunch of times. and then chop it up in lot of pieces and distribute them around. (Yes, I know people that got their data back after the house (with the computer inside) got burned up, and after a hd was reformatted and os reinstalled.)
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Postby Dizzin » Thu Oct 30, 2003 3:47 pm

I had that EXACT same thing happen to me. I opened up the case and it turns out there was about 2 tons of dust covering everything inside. I shut everything down, cleaned off all the dust I possibly could, then booted it back up again. Seemed to work.. only had it do that sickening clicking sound once, but it went away quickly and my computer didn't lock up. It's been okay for the past month or so now. Computer is even a Dell too.

I even had my computer refuse to boot up and got that terribly scary cannot read drive C: error. But everything is working fine now.. so dont give up! Maybe your g/f is just a slob like me! And considering the fact she's had to compete with half the MUD's mothers, it seems likely!
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Postby Gurns » Thu Oct 30, 2003 3:48 pm

Lenefir wrote:Depends on if, and how much money your willing to use to get the data on it back... If you won't spend any money on it, it's pretty much gone

Agree. There are private companies that will try to recover data for you -- I figure the first thing they do is take the drive apart, pull the disks and put 'em into a whole new set of hardware. But this starts at hundreds of dollars. I don't know anyone who's done it, it's mostly for business types to recover that single copy of critical corporate data. Or to recover the boss' supposedly valuable thoughts.

Heh, just saw Diz's post. Never had that work for me, but it means I'll keep trying that when it happens again! :)
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Postby Yadir » Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:12 pm

I deal with these at work far too often as of late.

I have used all sorts of methods to get data off drives like that one. It's basically a matter of money. If you're willing to spend enough you can probably get everything back. "Spend Enough" usually means $1500 (sending the hard disk off to a data recovery company like Ontrack) which is too much to spend most of the time.

You can buy software to extract data yourself and spend anywhere from $800 to $30. This won't work, of course, if you can't access the drive at all.

It sounds like it won't boot - but can you see it in the BIOS? If you can - you can still try a few tricks. Try configuring the 'bad' drive as a secondary (slave) drive (not the boot drive) by either putting it in another computer or putting a 'good' drive in that computer to boot from. Then boot the computer from the 'good' drive and try to look at the data on the 'bad' drive. One of the benefits of this method is if you can see data on the 'bad' drive, you can usually copy it to the 'good' one.

If the drive is formatted FAT32 you will probably have an easier time getting data from it that you will if it's NTFS. You can also try using a emergency floppy or the Win2000/XP CD as the boot drive. Then try to access the data on the drive. I've found that with FAT32 formatted drives that go bad it's usually easier to put them in a system that boots Win98. I have a hard disk with a basic Win98 install on it just for recovering crapped out disks. Win98 is more lax about errors on the drive than WinXP/2000 so it will grab semi-crappy data where WinXP will refuse to acknowledge it as valid data.

Finally, a really cool trick is to swap out the controller board on the drive. This will frequently solve the problem of a failed controller. Basically involves getting an identical drive - carefully removing the 'controller' circuit board from the good drive and installing it on the bad drive. Sometimes this involves soldering and sometimes it's a straight 'plug in'. The 'donor' drive needs to be identical - although if you have an 'OEM' drive you may not be able to find it's twin (meaning model #) in retail channels. In that case you'll need to do a little detective work to figure out what retail model corresponds to your 'OEM' drive.

Of course, Dell will probably replace the drive (it's in warranty, I'm sure) so you could call in the service request and tell them you'll install the replacement drive yourself. When the drive arrives if you're lucky it will be a twin of the one she has and you can try the controller swap with the replacement. That way if your transplant surgery fails you can always tell Dell the replacement drive was a dud and get another. :)

*Warning: Dell does NOT always send out identical drives to replace your dead one. Be sure.*

Good Luck. My success rate in retrieving data from 'dead' drives like this is about 80-85% so it's worth a try.

Yadir
thanuk
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Postby thanuk » Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:46 pm

Dizzin wrote:
I even had my computer refuse to boot up and got that terribly scary cannot read drive C: error. But everything is working fine now.. so dont give up! Maybe your g/f is just a slob like me! And considering the fact she's had to compete with half the MUD's mothers, it seems likely!


That's where it's at right now. But your saying you just popped it open and wiped all the dust off? That's nuts, but ill try it. Otherwise Yadir, I dunno about pulling pieces off drives and sticking them on other drives, but ill definately try installing it as a slave on another computer. Thanks guys. I'll let you know what happens.
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'

You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'

Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'

You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'

Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
chandigar
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Postby chandigar » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:09 pm

We had a problem with a hard drive crashing too, the estimate we got was something like $60 CDN per 100k retrieval (thats right, K, not meg). So... yea.

Since its your GF though, its probably stuff like moody poems and pictures of kittens that she wants to save anyway, so undoubtedly not worth it.
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Postby Eilorn » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:11 pm

Also, go in and remove the drive cable, from mother board and from drive, then reconnect the cable, making sure that the cable is firmly seated. Vibration can loosen the cable enough to get some funky behaviour.

Eilorn.
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Postby Dlur » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:29 pm

If the drive is clicking then the r/w heads aren't functioning properly. This can be either a controller error like Yadir said or it could be the heads sticking to the platter. If it's the heads sticking to the platter and not the controller (most easily verified by trying a different controller card from an identical drive) then sometimes putting the drive in a sealed static bag and then placing the drive in a freezer for 1 or more hours will sometimes loosen the heads from the platter. Try it as a slave on another computer while it's still freezing cold and see if you can xcopy the data off it.

If the data is really important call OnTrack or an OnTrack Certified Partner (my company is one but I'm not anywhere close to where you live, thankfully).

Also. How did Thanuk get a gf? Women must be getting desparate these days.
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Postby Verarb » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:30 pm

:cry: Goes to show, Back up your pron.
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Postby thanuk » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:40 pm

Gonna try all that stuff. Put it in a bag and put it in the freezer sounds a little weird, but what the f**k right?


Dlur wrote:
Also. How did Thanuk get a gf? Women must be getting desparate these days.


It was easy, I just told her that I played a MUD and she was like "damn thats so sexy". Actually I got a g/f the same way you did, I fooled her into thinking I was a nice person and then slowly revealed the truth as she got more attached.
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'

You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'

Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'

You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'

Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
Caedym
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Postby Caedym » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:44 pm

chandigar wrote:We had a problem with a hard drive crashing too, the estimate we got was something like $60 CDN per 100k retrieval (thats right, K, not meg). So... yea.

Since its your GF though, its probably stuff like moody poems and pictures of kittens that she wants to save anyway, so undoubtedly not worth it.


And cookies. Lots and lots of cookies and spyware/addware. Maybe a virus or two. She only had it two months?

Hey Thanuk, after you pull it out of the freezer, make sure you give it a couple hours to warm up, turn your grill on and don't forget the BBQ sauce. It'll never work without BBQ sauce. Oh and onions and peppers. Don't forget those either. Mmm BBQ. Then when you're all done cooking it up, toss a big chunky industrial sized electric powered magnent right on top. Let it soak up right in all the juices. That should do it nicely.

How expensive was 'expensive' btw? Got any specs on that config?

-Caedym Shadowhock
thanuk
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Postby thanuk » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:59 pm

Caedym wrote:
And cookies. Lots and lots of cookies and spyware/addware. Maybe a virus or two. She only had it two months?

Hey Thanuk, after you pull it out of the freezer, make sure you give it a couple hours to warm up, turn your grill on and don't forget the BBQ sauce. It'll never work without BBQ sauce. Oh and onions and peppers. Don't forget those either. Mmm BBQ. Then when you're all done cooking it up, toss a big chunky industrial sized electric powered magnent right on top. Let it soak up right in all the juices. That should do it nicely.

How expensive was 'expensive' btw? Got any specs on that config?

-Caedym Shadowhock


Im not a retard and neither is she, but thanks for patronizing. Its funny how you could think my girlfriend is dumb enough to download spyware and viruses, and yet you play a ranger. Like rain on your wedding day.

Anyway, can someone tell me how I pick out the controller on the board? I dun usually mess with that shit myself, but at this point there aint much to lose.
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'

You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'

Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'

You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'

Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
Dlur
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Postby Dlur » Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:37 pm

The controller card on the HD is part of the HD. It looks like a 3" by 4" circuit board that fits around the spindle housing on the bottom of the drive. Depending on what model of HD you have it may or may not have a metal cover over it. It will be held on by TORX bit screws. If you don't have an IDENTICAL hard drive to swap them with then don't even bother going this route. Also note that removing the controller board will void your warranty(especially if you slip with a screwdriver or something and scratch it or something).

Putting the drive in the freezer is a scientific approach actually. It sounds wierd, but think about it. If the heads are stuck to the platters there isn't a whole lot you can do. But from physics class we all know that a body of mass will shrink as it gets colder and expand as it gets warmer as the molocules get closer together and further apart respecively. So if you freeze the drive for a few hours the drop in temperature may be enough to cause both the drive head and platters to shrink in very miniscule amounts. This can sometimes be just enough room to allow the head to move freely again. Keep in mind that it doesn't always work and it's not overly common for the heads to stick to the platter anymore with newer drives, but it can still happen.
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Postby Caedym » Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:50 pm

thanuk wrote:Im not a retard and neither is she, but thanks for patronizing. Its funny how you could think my girlfriend is dumb enough to download spyware and viruses, and yet you play a ranger. Like rain on your wedding day.

Anyway, can someone tell me how I pick out the controller on the board? I dun usually mess with that shit myself, but at this point there aint much to lose.


Noone purposely downloads spy/addware. Dells don't come with Firewall protection software on them to stop these. All you have to do is surf the web and hit the wrong sites and blam you get them.

Norton Anti-Virus 2003, McAfee VirusScan 6.01, or even the Dell SecurityCenter software (the only security softwares you can order with a new Dell) don't stop a Virus, or Spyware, or Addware from getting on your computer. You said her computer is 2 months old, well that means it has one of the above Security Softwares (or even worse something older). Norton AV 2004 just came out with a detection system to stop spyware/addaware, but that's not what you got. No what she got was an Antivirus program just scans your system, or specific files if you set your options correctly (which most people DON'T - they just clik clik clik clik OK I've installed everything with default settings), for viruses. It won't even find addware or spyware. You need a program that specically seaches for files like that. Like Addaware. It doesn't just default stop them. That's what firewalls do. And like I said, Dells don't come with that.

It would be called something like:
McAfee Firewall
ZoneAlarm
Norton Personal Firewall

These don't come with AV software unless they are bonus/combined packages.

So unless you or her setup the computer with a Firewall before going online, chances are you do have crap like that on it. Also new viruses come out every single day. With most people using DSL and cable, they are even more at risk. Most un-computer friendly people only update their virus definitions once (this is why all the AV programs have that nasty reminder nowadays to update - pretty pointless since most people click 'cancel' or 'remind me again later' options), which is when they initially install the AV software.

I thought you had a sense of humor? It was obvious I was poking harmless fun, and not patronizing you. Lighten up man. I'm not the one who bought an expensive name brand computer that will be obsolete in 2 years or asks for serious technical advice in a gaming forum.

I guess your gf works from home, that's why this data is so important. If she doesn't, as anyone knowledgeable about problems like this will tell you, it's going to cost you more money to higher people or get the programs to retrieve the data, then it would to be to buy a new harddrive. In our tech department here, we have software that can do what you need -maybe. It runs around $3,000 dollars. Hell, we can even pull data of your harddrive even if you've reformated it 5 times or so. So if she works from home, why wasn't she doing nightly, or even weekly backups to cd/dvd?

What you apparently have my friend is what we refer to as "the click of death'. Your HD is fuct. 2 months is less then 90 days. Time to cash in on the warranty, that is, if you haven't pulled it out of your system and violated your warranty agreement by trying self repairs. Or else you're just going to be buying her a new one. I hope she didn't throw away the software disks that came with the system. (A lot of people do this, more then you could possibly believe). Nice how no one here mentioned violating the warranty in all their helpful 'advice'.

Yes, if you're going to open up your computer and dissassemble hardware componens inside, you've just violated the warranty agreement.

-Caedym Shadowhock
thanuk
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Postby thanuk » Thu Oct 30, 2003 9:36 pm

Caedym wrote:Noone purposely downloads spy/addware. Dells don't come with Firewall protection software on them to stop these. All you have to do is surf the web and hit the wrong sites and blam you get them.

Norton Anti-Virus 2003, McAfee VirusScan 6.01, or even the Dell SecurityCenter software (the only security softwares you can order with a new Dell) don't stop a Virus, or Spyware, or Addware from getting on your computer. You said her computer is 2 months old, well that means it has one of the above Security Softwares (or even worse something older). Norton AV 2004 just came out with a detection system to stop spyware/addaware, but that's not what you got. No what she got was an Antivirus program just scans your system, or specific files if you set your options correctly (which most people DON'T - they just clik clik clik clik OK I've installed everything with default settings), for viruses. It won't even find addware or spyware. You need a program that specically seaches for files like that. Like Addaware. It doesn't just default stop them. That's what firewalls do. And like I said, Dells don't come with that.

It would be called something like:
McAfee Firewall
ZoneAlarm
Norton Personal Firewall

These don't come with AV software unless they are bonus/combined packages.

So unless you or her setup the computer with a Firewall before going online, chances are you do have crap like that on it. Also new viruses come out every single day. With most people using DSL and cable, they are even more at risk. Most un-computer friendly people only update their virus definitions once (this is why all the AV programs have that nasty reminder nowadays to update - pretty pointless since most people click 'cancel' or 'remind me again later' options), which is when they initially install the AV software.


Thank you, captain obvious. She has a firewall. Like I said, I'm not retarded. But my 10 year old cousin might find this little diatribe useful.

Caedym wrote:I thought you had a sense of humor? It was obvious I was poking harmless fun, and not patronizing you. Lighten up man. I'm not the one who bought an expensive name brand computer that will be obsolete in 2 years or asks for serious technical advice in a gaming forum.

You'd be surprised how many intelligent and knowledgeable people read this gaming forum, some of whom I've known for a long time and have helped me with other problems(thanks again for the car advice Rylan). And I have a sense of humor. Obviously you don't, as although you put in alot of practice, you're still not funny. You're also talking to me like im an idiot or a child. Now since you work in tech support that probably comes second nature to you, but im not your buddy bob from accounting who forgot to plug his monitor in so spare me the bullshit please.

Caedym wrote:I guess your gf works from home, that's why this data is so important. If she doesn't, as anyone knowledgeable about problems like this will tell you, it's going to cost you more money to higher people or get the programs to retrieve the data, then it would to be to buy a new harddrive. In our tech department here, we have software that can do what you need -maybe. It runs around $3,000 dollars. Hell, we can even pull data of your harddrive even if you've reformated it 5 times or so. So if she works from home, why wasn't she doing nightly, or even weekly backups to cd/dvd?


You guessed wrong. Its just a pc, and im just looking for a ghetto ass way to snag the data off the thing if i can, like say, sticking the thing in the freezer for an hour. Not looking to spend money because all thats on there is stupid shit that you just don't like to lose.

Caedym wrote:What you apparently have my friend is what we refer to as "the click of death'. Your HD is fuct. 2 months is less then 90 days. Time to cash in on the warranty, that is, if you haven't pulled it out of your system and violated your warranty agreement by trying self repairs. Or else you're just going to be buying her a new one. I hope she didn't throw away the software disks that came with the system. (A lot of people do this, more then you could possibly believe). Nice how no one here mentioned violating the warranty in all their helpful 'advice'.

Yes, if you're going to open up your computer and dissassemble hardware componens inside, you've just violated the warranty agreement.

-Caedym Shadowhock


Again, talking to me like im 4 years old. No shit it violates the warranty. There's no need to state the obvious. Did you know that you could open a computer up, mess with it a little, and then put it back together real nice and they'll never know you violated the warranty? Sure you did, but obviously someone like me couldn't be trusted to work a screwdriver correctly, since im dumb enough to buy a dell and not run a linux system in the first place right?

Seriously man, read everyone else's helpful, intelligent response. Then read yours. You talk down to me like im a fuggin moron and then expect me to thank you for it? Blow it out your ass.
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'

You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'

Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'

You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'

Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
Caedym
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Postby Caedym » Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:59 pm

BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! That's f'n classic. Snicker.

Alright man, well good luck. (Seriously)

Ever notice how age apparently has no bearing on the amount of computer illiteracy an individual can have? Older folks can be smart as hell or dumb as toast. Same with kids. More often it is the older people who know far less about computers then the very young crowds. More often then not a person only 5 years into life knows more about them then an individual 5 years from leaving life.

-Caedym Shadowhock
Iaiken Toransier
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Postby Iaiken Toransier » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:33 pm

Hate to say it, but there's no cheap way to get that drive back online. The only thing I can suggest has probably already been suggested 10 times.

Just be ready for it next time.

Keep an older spare drive (6.4 gig drives are dirt cheap, even new ones) as a datastore and do a copy-over every so often. It takes 10-20 minutes. Or a click of a button if you dl a configurable utility to do it for you.

Sounds like your comp suffered a severe head crash... Short of taking it out and having it professionally scanned, I don't know of a way to recover from that. Like, that read head is so close that it would hit the surface of a thumb print on the drive face.

Hell, it coulda just been a crap drive.

G'luck.
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Postby rylan » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:52 pm

Hey Thanuk, I think Dizzin meant he cleaned out the inside of his computer case, not the actual drive. hehehe. Usually once you pop open a hard drive you've got a matter of hours before you get permanent damage to the platters from tiny dust particles and humidity etc. since the computer is new you shouldn't have any osrt of dust buildup issue in the system or motherboard.

Best bet as some people suggested is to set the drive to slave in another system. If its formated as FAT32, try running fdisk /mbr on the drive to rewrite the master boot record. I don't really know what dell sets their drives up as, I just know I hate Dell :P
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Postby ssar » Fri Oct 31, 2003 1:46 am

Getting a brandname pc is a bad idea, unless its a very good deal.

The dell-supplied HD may have a recovery partition on it, this may or may not be a factor in getting it up and running again.

Trying to change the controller from a new HD to yours to get it going is a very risky business, we have had minimal success with such procedures here.

Backup.
Regularly.

Kick DELL sqar in the nutz and get em to replace any faulty items asap.
BEER
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Postby Yarash » Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:57 am

This probably won't help you, but if the drive isn't spinning at all, you can sometimes tap (hit) it while the computer is on to get it going, then get the data off of it. If it's making a whirring sound already, don't do this.

- Mike
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Postby Gerad » Mon Nov 03, 2003 5:28 am

The last time I got owned by a virus I did the following, because what I do is typically considered ultra high risk for viruses.

Bah I dont feel like going into specifics im tired as hell but...

Basically I got a DOS virus scanner and set it to scan like my kazaa and other directories that I download to, and also the windows temp folder and temporary internet files folder.

Catches them now and then.
<I>When a man lies, he murders some part of the world
These are the pale deaths, which men miscall their lives
All this I cannot bear to witness any longer
Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home?</I>

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