General Question

Darwin's avatar

Is there a way to get files off a hard drive that is seen as being unreadable?

Asked by Darwin (21765points) July 8th, 2009

My son trashed my back-up business computer and it no longer turns on. I need to recover some files on the hard drive. I tried treating the hard drive as an external drive to see if I could access the files but my new business computer reports that the drive is unreadable, although it does run when powered up. Any thoughts?

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11 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

One trick would be to hook it up to a Mac.

I did that once with a drive of my neighbors that died in that way. It spun up, and I was able to see everything. The reason is the Mac doesn’t care about the file structure on the pc side. It looks at it as new info.

Then you can copy it to another pc drive that works.

Grisaille's avatar

Man, that sucks. Just happened to me. Check out Pandora Recovery.

Didn’t work for me, but maybe you’ll have some luck.

I sent my HDD to a data recovery service, eventually.

Despite me being tech savvy and computer literate, I just don’t have the equipment to fix it on my own :[

jrpowell's avatar

You could try a Live Linux CD. Like the Ubuntu one. It will boot and run off your optical drive. If that can’t see your drive and files you have bigger problems with the drive.

This sucks but it is a good time to get a good back-up strategy. Or get rid of your son.

Grisaille's avatar

@johnpowell Ironically, that’s actually what did me in.

I purchased a TB external and used it for back up. Realizing just how massive it was, I started to transfer over things I didn’t really need immediately, but would probably need later.

The drive failed and only after did I find out that these particular drives were prone to failure (I know, buyers remorse on my part – but they were selling them on the cheap at Best Buy).

I’m now looking at a 1500 buck tab to have it professionally recovered. This sucks.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am with Grisaille on this one. If it is important business information I would have it professionally recovered. That is better than taking a chance on a DIY deal. Depends on how valuable the information is to you.

Darwin's avatar

@Grisaille – Pandora Recovery sounds as if it is for bringing back files that have been deleted. I can’t even get into the drive to install Pandora.

@Bri_L – If I had a Mac available I would try that. But I don’t.

@johnpowell – I’ll give Ubuntu a try. Want a free teenage boy? You could use him for destructive testing of electronics.

Jeruba's avatar

There are services that can do this if the crash isn’t total and absolute. It’ll cost something, though, and it won’t be cheap.

My son’s hard drive crashed so bad that the recovery experts couldn’t salvage anything, even though I was prepared to pay their $2600 tab. I hope your crash is not so bad. That was a heartbreaker because it wasn’t backed up and had several years’ worth of creative work on it.

OreetCocker's avatar

A company called ibas carry out this work. It costs around £699. You can find them in PC World stores in the UK or on the web.

Bri_L's avatar

@Darwin – you might look at local tech schools or libraries. Given the prices of the alternatives it sounds worth it. It has worked for me.

empower's avatar

I stuck mine in the freezer and thawed it , shook it gently and it checked back in. Also try first downloading trial versions of recovery software. You can see the files then you are good to go and may want to consider a purchase. The live linux Ubuntu CD idea is also good. This happened to me because of windows corruption combined with the HDD sticking and it could not be read when hooked up as USB . Mostly consider how much it costs you to lose it and what you can do without creating permanent loss the freezer and dropping it or shaking it are last resorts

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