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335 posts

Ultimate Geek

#107019 5-Aug-2012 13:14
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Hi everyone,
I hope this is in the right place (mods feel free to move it to the appropriate forum if not)

I have a 500gb seagate hard drive from a Dell laptop that appears to be damaged. It cannot be booted from, and when plugging it in to a SATA to USB connection my Windows PC will (sometimes) see it as drive E and drive F (I'm guessing these are data and recovery/boot), however it will come up with a message saying the hard drive needs to be formatted before it can be used.

I have tried using Data Rescue DD to extract a raw disc image file. Data rescue continuously comes up with read errors for a long time but will eventually start making a dd image file. The problem is that it will get to a certain point and come up with something along the lines of "not enough memory to perform this operation" (I will update with the exact message when I am at home later).

It is a 500gb drive which is roughly half full. I had about 570gb free storage space on my PC so I don't see how it could be a low memory problem, unless it's referring to ram (maybe my computer's not grunty enough to run it?)

I have run it twice now it it has made a dd image file about 125gb in size. I was expecting a file of 500gb being that this is the total disc size, but this is understandable as the operation did not complete fully.

Does anyone here have any experience with this software at all? Any suggestions on alternatives? I am going to install Ubuntu tonight and try some linux programs to see if I have any luck with those.

I am happy to elaborate on any of this, please just let me know what information I need to clarify or expand on.


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638 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  #667781 5-Aug-2012 13:56
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Ive never been successful recovering data of drives.. espc with wd maxtor and seagate.. when they go
they go,.. some do what you saying reads a little and bombs and others nothing... or that horrible
click of death sound

however someone told me to put it in a plastic bag and place in a freezer for a day and try the next
day when its super cold and it just might stay cool enough to get pass the lock places

although Ive tried this.. never had any luck maybe its the modern drives are more a problem

but a good tool I found is called hard drive regenerator.. it can rewrite the magnet of a drive
HDD Regenerator 2010 or 2012 I think its called

ive used this successfully to get mroe life from a external WD 2tb.. it finds delayed sectors
or bad sectors and if cant rewrite it marks as bad

for other file recovering I found file salvage 3.1 handy on windows. but thats really to
undelete files you deleted

BDFL - Memuneh
68526 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #667808 5-Aug-2012 15:50
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The best way to get data out of a failed HDD is to recover from a backup to another HDD. Sorry, I know from what you are writing that probably you don't have a backup, but this is something people should do all the time. Because in the Star Wars universe Sith happens.



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178 posts

Master Geek

  #667853 5-Aug-2012 17:09
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From experience HD failures can rarely be fixed by using software. If the controller or spindle is fried, you would need to replace them. How easy this is depends on a number of factors. Some forensics guys specialise in this, but it can be expensive. The best thing to do is look up the contact details of people who know exactly what they're doing, like these guys: Budget at least $300-500.


335 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #667895 5-Aug-2012 18:57
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Thanks guys. I don't care whether the hard drive functions properly again, I'm not fussed about fixing it, I just need to get the data off it.

It's not my hard drive, I'm doing this for a friend (who didn't make a backup grrr). The hard drive was replaced by Dell under warranty and I have the faulty one for about 10 days to retreive the data from it.

When Ubuntu finishes installing I'm going to see if I can mount the partial dd image that Data Rescue DD made. Windows won't mount it with the program I was using, it comes up with an error message, so I'm going to try my luck with Ubuntu (my understanding is that linux natively supports mounting raw disc images) and see if it can read anything from the image. Otherwise I'll just keep trying to extract a full raw disc image and just hope for the best.

638 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  #667923 5-Aug-2012 19:56
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i doubt is mount in linux either then

you can use a boot cd with HHD gen on it.. add the drive on the 2nd channel of the
main pc and boot.. and see if it will find it on sata internal or IDE if its that old
once its regen.. then you might be able to DD it or image it

if its got sensitive data on.. your better wiping it if can if posting back unless
its really munted but I doubt the warranty coy will even check or reclaim data
espc if it dont mount.. bin job

yep I have double up of all USB drives now.. been there done that..

just wish they bring out the 20tb drives well 60tb ones as they claim now
have the tech working just havent released it. 2 of those solve much problems
instead of a room of usb drives :)

3330 posts

Uber Geek


  #667935 5-Aug-2012 20:22
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+1 to send it to the guys at Digital Recovery in Hamilton.
We use them all the time when software recovery fails like you have found.
Depending on what they find wrong with it, the price could be anywhere from $300-$800+gst.

Just be aware that the more you try with software to recover the more damage you could be doing to the drive.

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