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Windows 7: Resurrecting Data From Dead Hard Drive

27 Oct 2010   #1

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE
Resurrecting Data From Dead Hard Drive

A few days ago, one of my hard drives failed in a somewhat curious fashion. Prior to the failure, the only clue to the impending situation was that my firewall was seeing it as I:8, instead of C:, as it should have.

I mistook this for being a problem with the firewall, instead of hardware. Since the only I partition on the system was on an IDE drive, instead of the SATA where the OS is installed, I deleted that partition in Disk Management, but upon rebooting, it would not reach desktop, until I disconnected the IDE drive.

The only way that I could connect the drive at all, was to install in in an external IDE case and power it after booting. Unfornately, the OS nor several other managment or diagnostic programs were able to see the drive even then.

I may be wrong, but I'm thinking that the HD's logic board went bad and that the data it contained is still intact on the drive, therefore I'm looking for a means to retrieve it. That is not possible via O&O DiskRecovery, and I doubt that it is by any other conventional recovery program.

Somewhere I believe that I have another drive like it, stashed in a closet somewhere, that I thought about cannabalizing the logic board from, but it has been so long since it failed, I can't remember how it did so.

From what I read on one website, even an exact replacement of the logic board might not work, because it changes over time as it ages.

It is probably a lost cause, but I'm hoping that someone has an idea that will work, because this drive contained all of my documents, and are not replaceable.

Before anyone decides to recommend sending it off to a professional recovery service, I know that would be quite expensive, and as much as I want to lost data, I could not afford that price.

EDIT: Forget about replacing the logic board from the other drive that I mentioned, my memory got crosswired and the drive that I was thinking of is not matched at all.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2010   #2

windows seven

Aside from putting an EXACT logic board in place of the suspected dead one, or sawping the platters (in a super clean room) in to an IDENTICAL drive, there is really nothing else you can do but send it off to a drive recovery service and pay then a few thousand dollars to do the same. Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #3


I have had real good luck with recovering data from drives, even after screwing them up bad and all the remaining data was in RAW form.

You might try EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard.

You can run the trial and see all the data and recover 1GB I think with the trial and the program runs about 70.00.

They do offer a free version you can look at here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Oct 2010   #4

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

Thanks, but that program sounds alot like O&O's DiskRecovery program, and it would probably work, except that the drive is not visible to it or anything else. I'm about to try a different approach suggested by a person that runs a professional hard drive recovery service. It is a program called MHDD which runs from a floppy. I don't yet know if it is actually capable or retrieving anything, or simply runs a diagnostic. I'll let you know how it goes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #5

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro

Ive always had good results with Steve Gibsons' SpinRite ... Its a bit pricey, but if you absolutely have to recover your data, its worth every penny!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #6

Windows 7 64bit RTM

Another program out there I can recommend is Zero Assumption Recovery .. Data Recovery Software, Solutions, Tutorials, Forum - ZAR Data Recovery ..

Although If the OS can't see the drive at all , I'm not sure you can do anything sadly ..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #7

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

It appears that MHDD is just a diagnostic program. If it is capable of retrieving any data, I'm not certain how? The documention does speak of writing sectors to files, but if that means what I would like to think, it is beyond me, because I don't know where it would write them to. The diagnostics aspect has been valuable for a couple of reasons...first, it read the drive's serial number, which confirms that the platters are spinning, and the heads are reading them. In addition, the is a scan and repair function, which displays data on a continously scrolling screen during the scan, as groups of blocks, which indicates that the data is intact.

These facts encouraged me to attempt booting with the drive connected again, but it took so long to do so, that I went to bed in the mean time. When I awoke, the computer was at the login window and now I'm at desktop. The Device Manager does see the drive and reports it working properly, but the Volumes tab contains nothing. Disk Management will not function, a file manager does not see the drive's partitions, but SpeedFan does see the drive.

At this point, I'm more confident than ever that it is possible to retrieve the data, but I'm still in the dark as to how to do so? I do not believe that any Windows based recovery software will work, because before one might, it would have to see the drive and partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #8

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

I did find a program that I hoped might work, call Find And Mount, but when I tried to run it, Windows squawked that it wanted to run an unsigned driver, so I guess that's shot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #9

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

If the logic board is dead then you could look on e-bay or try a repair shop which could have boxes of "junk".

Another suggestion just in case the board is working. Download "PuppyLinux" (free) burn it to a CD. Boot from the CD and it will search for drives (Windows never gets loaded). Take about 30 minutes.

A final last ditch effort on "dead drives" before you are about to bash them with a hammer and through in the garbage. Sometimes the heads seize.
Take the disk in both hands and hold horizontally (disconnected!). Don't bang it but rotate reasonably quickly clockwise/anti clockwise a few times. I've read that sometimes the centrifugal force is enough to unseize the heads.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2010   #10

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

Those seem like good suggestions, but I don't think that any of them apply, except trying Linux. Actually, I did try to boot to Kubuntu, but for some reason, the video signal was lost prior to reaching desktop. I think that is a separate issue with the video card, and I ordered a new one last night.

Find a replacement logic board is not as easy as it sounds, and since the BIOS and SpeedFan sees it, I kind of doubt that is the problem. At the moment, I'm thinking that the logic board is okay and that the drive is physically okay. If that is so, I think that would leave the MBR. Is that not where information about the location and size of the partitions are?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Resurrecting Data From Dead Hard Drive

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