Author Topic: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?  (Read 545 times)

Porkins

  • Formerly Nick H. And a long time ago etc, Eurostar
Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« on: April 16, 2020, 05:50:59 pm »
Some context first: my bit of Covid-19 volunteering is to repair laptops for the local community, and to refurb the old unwanted ones which everyone keeps under the bed so they can be donated to the needy, e.g. schoolkids, refugees, high risk people who daren't go out, and so on. Laptops have become rather vital recently. My area (Brixton) is at the wrong end of the graph for poverty, illness and every other thing. Lots of people badly need a laptop but can't afford one, or they have a broken one and can't afford to get it fixed.

Anyway, I've got a dead Dell with somebody's childhood photos on it. The disk won't spin, even in an external enclosure. It's a 2.5 inch, 320 gig SATA Western Digital. I peeled back the metal casing  :o and observed that when I wiggled the connections to the enclosure, there was a very faint click and the edge of the disk rotated a mm or two. What are my options? Send it to a data recovery firm and pay squillions? I don't know the quantity of data, but I'm betting it's only a couple of gigs. And I may well have pushed the price up by opening the casing....c'est la vie.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2020, 05:59:45 pm »
Are the heads sticking on the disc?

Porkins

  • Formerly Nick H. And a long time ago etc, Eurostar
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2020, 06:01:12 pm »
No, they're off to the side, hopefully in the normal retracted position. I can spin the disk by hand.

Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2020, 07:58:31 pm »
I've used Fields data recovery and they were (IMO) excellent. I have no problem paying the charges they told me about beforehand, and I had no problem with their fixed processes which - as well as working in all cases - are likely to generate income for them. It's their work, after all. If it's worth it, then use them.

Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2020, 08:11:33 pm »
Can you give the motor some encouragement, by jiggling the drive or (risky) poking the platters?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2020, 08:24:11 pm »
Can you give the motor some encouragement, by jiggling the drive or (risky) poking the platters?

A change in temperature can sometimes help with this sort of thing, either by temporarily resolving a dodgy connection or loosening off a stuck bearing.  Back in the days when I was young and stupid[1], I successfully recovered data from a couple of drives by sticking them in the freezer for a while, then tapping them with a screwdriver while cycling power until they span up.


[1] Ie. still in the process of learning about the importance of proper backups.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Porkins

  • Formerly Nick H. And a long time ago etc, Eurostar
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2020, 08:24:35 pm »
Can you give the motor some encouragement, by jiggling the drive or (risky) poking the platters?
You're another one who lives dangerously! I went all in with the jiggling and the poking. I'm not going to torture the thing any more.

Porkins

  • Formerly Nick H. And a long time ago etc, Eurostar
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2020, 08:26:23 pm »
I've used Fields data recovery and they were (IMO) excellent. I have no problem paying the charges they told me about beforehand, and I had no problem with their fixed processes which - as well as working in all cases - are likely to generate income for them. It's their work, after all. If it's worth it, then use them.
Thanks for the recommendation, very useful.

Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2020, 08:42:50 pm »
I second the freezer recommendation. Wrap in a plastic bag then a good few hours in the freezer.
Remember to have a USB stick at the ready to copy those photos onto sharpish.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 11:27:42 pm »
Although I note you have opened the drive, which is possibly terminal...

Beware the freezer trick on large drives. They have warmed up before you get all the data off. I’ve rescued about 3TB of data off a 4TB drive by putting it on ice blocks from the freezer, and carefully swapping them over as they thawed out. Counted in days, not hours.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2020, 08:07:39 am »
I’ve rescued about 3TB of data off a 4TB drive by putting it on ice blocks from the freezer, and carefully swapping them over as they thawed out.

Why did ice blocks thaw out in your freezer?

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2020, 08:11:48 am »
Because they were out of the freezer, with the drive on top of them.  :P
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Can anyone recommend a data recovery solution?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2020, 10:09:51 am »
One thing that was clear when discussing with Fields (and I recommend you have a chat with them anyway) is that there are multiple ways the electronic and the mechanical elements can screw up, and what may work in one circumstance may prove destructive in another.

Mind you, if you've exposed the platters, you're probably screwed seven ways to sunday, anyhow.