General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Do you have experience to share concerning data recovery for your computer?

Asked by Jeruba (50688points) April 23rd, 2016

The hard drive of my old computer may have failed. It made weird sounds and hung instead of booting. I turned it off right away. (I’m using a cheap laptop right now instead.)

I’m overdue for a new computer, but I don’t want to have to buy one and have been avoiding it for about two years. I’d like to salvage the data, though, if possible.

Have you had to go through this? If so, any wisdom to share? (Besides backing up your stuff, because, thanks, I know that, and I took a stupid risk.)

Ever hear of these guys? Comments?

Thank you.

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5 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Download parted magic, burn it to a cd, and pop it in, if the hard drive hasn’t totally failed, you can access the data through the file manager and copy it to an external drive, I use it for all my data recovery.

Also, backup backup backup. I recently spent $500 on a new rack mount server (I play with rack mount stuff in my spare time, and my other one was getting old), that can take 8 hard drives, upgradable to 16, meaning over time I can get it up to 64tb of storage space. It will let me back up my computer plenty, but I’ll still use an external drive too, and so should you.

As they say, if your data doesn’t exist in 3 places, it doesn’t exist at all.

Actually, I spent about $600 something with the cost of a 2tb drive to start things off.

edit: oh yeah, you will need to tell the computer to boot from cd, it should pop up with a message to tell you what key to press to choose a boot device, if not, use the setup key and look for boot order, or something along those lines.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think that @XOIIO meant “partition magic”, which I recall from years ago. (I believe that it’s a free download.)

My own history of failing to perform routine backups – and the mini-disasters that occurred as a result – has led me to buying and using external drives with streaming backup. So now, when I save a file to the laptop, within a few seconds it is backed up on the external drive. And those are so inexpensive now compared to what they used to cost, that my data would have to have almost zero value at all before I would stop that process.

From time to time I will also swap my ‘home’ and ‘work’ backup drives to create the ‘third place’ (for both data sets) to which @XOIIO refers.

Final advice: In my history of failed hard drives (mostly during the 1980s and 90s), when the drive starts to ‘stick’ and ‘hang’ like that it’s not always the end of the world. It’s a sign of the end, but not necessarily ‘the end’. Get your backup drive ready and in place, and then reboot the computer again. You may have to try a few times to get over the ‘sticktion’ if that’s what your drive is doing. When the computer starts, install the backup software and let it do its thing.

I can’t offer specific advice on data recovery services. There are a lot of them out there, though.

XOIIO's avatar

Nope, it’s parted magic. It’s now paid software but you can find old versions for free.

Partition magic looks like a dedicated partitioning program.

filmfann's avatar

I bought a data recovery program to recover photos from a computer, but it did a terrible job, only finding the thumbnails of half the pictures.

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