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Hard Disk Crash - Need rec. for data recovery

Discussion in 'Community Broadband & Computers' started by StevieD, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    The hard disk on my daughter's HP laptop has died. I have two issues - (1) I need to see if I can get someone to recover the data from the hard drive (unfortunately it was not backed up); and (2) If I have someone recover the data, do I run the risk of voiding any warranty with HP?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a "data doctor" to recover the data from the hard drive? If I take it back to best buy (it is 10 months old), I think they will take the machine for a few weeks (or more), and I'm not sure I am going to have any control over them recovering the data - so I would like to try to recover the data first, then fix the laptop second.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions,

    Steve
     
  2. teak

    teak New Member

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    This all depends on whats wrong with the hard drive. If the drive is operational (spinning, moving) and it's just a corrupt file system, there are software solutions. Try doing some internet searches for a possible home remedy.

    If it's a hardware problem (physical), chances are you won't stomach the cost. It can cost hundreds to thousands. So it all depends on how important the data is. Ontrack is one company that does this kind of work.

    here is a link to get you started http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1139

    Good luck.
     
  3. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Ouch - well, the data isn't that important that I would spend much over $100-$150 to recover it. Is there any local expert that I could use?
     
  4. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    sending to a recovery company is going to cost you over $1000 easy.

    Have you tried mounting the HD in another computer? You'll have to try to the recovery programs yourself if you aren't willing to spend over $1000. I think the last place we did cost $135 just to diag it.
     
  5. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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  6. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations, but the hard drive isn't even working - therefore the laptop cannot load the operating system. I can't boot from a CD-ROM because, as many of you probably know, they typically don't give you a CD with the operating system anymore (stupid policy, but that's it). What a pain this is - yes I could contact contact HP and get a boot disk for XP, then try out these recovery programs. I guess I'm just going to take it back to Best Buy where I bought it and get if fixed (still under warranty) and hope that they can recover the data in the process.

    I remember not too long back I could take my computer to a local repair guy or data doctor and get it fixed pretty quickly - I guess those days are over??
     
  7. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    Some things are still simple fixes but when you are talking about a HD and data recovery it typically is not simple. If an HD is recovered without the OS (letting one use the file tree) then a hex editor would probably have to be used to recover the files and that can take quite some time.
     
  8. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Thanks for the help, everyone! The costs aren't quite as bad as you all thought. I took it over to Best Buy - they checked it out initially for nothing just to verify that they couldn't get it spinning in another computer or directly. It will cost $59 to diagnose, and $200 to recover the data assuming it qualifies for the lowest (easiest) level of data collection. According to the geek squad, it should qualify for the easiest level since it is not damaged - the more expensive data recovery options are for situations where the hard drive is physically damaged, or has been immersed in water. So a total of $259 and I get a DVD with the contents of the HD within 2 weeks - a little more than I wanted to spend but not too bad.

    For others out there that run into this problem, I would recommend going to Best Buy - I wouldn't have thought that initially, but they seemed very competent in terms of understanding what I needed and working through the things they could check locally. They use an outside service for data recovery which is why it will take 2 weeks.

    The computer was still under warranty (23 days left!) so HP is sending me a new hard drive and system recovery disks at no charge.

    Steve
     
  9. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    The Geek Squad seems like a joke to me, but who knows
     
  10. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Steve, the Geek Squad will probably run the above mentioned Spinrite software on it, something you could do yourself at 1/3 the cost minimum.

    Also, unless they gave you a written quote that the cost will be $200 for the recovery, be prepared for them to 'jack up the price', after they tell you that they will need to perform 'extra recovery tasks' on the drive...

    And keep in mind that a normal DVD hold about 4.7Gb of data, and a dual-layer disk will hold about 9Gb. I'm sure that your HD has much more data on it than that, so if indeed they claim they can recover your data, make sure you indicate exactly WHAT data you want recovered for your money. Having them recover your c:\windows folder would be a total waste for example...

    Finally, there are a variety of examples why many folks who are knowledgeable in the field of IT cringe at the mere mention of Geek Squad:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_Squad#Controversy

    http://www.10tv.com/live/contentbe/...ites/10tv/content/pool/200802/1623260031.html

    http://www.startribune.com/business/18470879.html?page=1&c=y

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/best-buy/geek-squad-gouges-197249.php

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191593,00.html
     
  11. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    I'll let you guys know how they did. They did give me a written quote. I could not use spinrite because the hard drive itself is inoperable - it won't spin. I don't think spinrite works on HD's that have a bad circuit board (or even when the have a corrupted file system). My problem with the HD was never that it was damaged or corrupted - the problem was that it wouldn't spin. Their quote provided an estimate of $200 to recover the data (and they will put the data on multiple DVD's, not just one - although I am going to reload the software on our new HD so I don't really need any of that, just pictures, and assorted files which include my daughters journal), and an upfront fee of $59 to check it out. Keep in mind, Best Buy doesn't do this themselves - it gets sent out to one of several third party contractors they use for data recovery. I'm not that savvy on computers anymore, which is why I sought the help here locally - I was hoping I could find some small local shop that could do this quickly and relatively cheaply. Your advice on spinrite would have been good ($90 for the software), but without a spinning hard drive it would be useless. The other suggestions steered me to costs in the thousands - which I wouldn't have paid. So my options were to throw the drive away and give up, or pay $59 for an assessment, with another potential $200 for recovery. If they jack up the price above the $200 quoted me, I'll tell them to stop and only be out $59.

    Perhaps the geeks can get 'r' done - if not, I'm only $59 poorer.

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  12. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    usually you can just just buy another same model drive and swap the heads and recover a good about of data. Doing it requires a clean work area and steady hands, but I know brim has done it a few times with success.
     
  13. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    OK Boomerstfx, Mr. Linux, and others - You Were Right! (My wife tells me that's a rare one for me!). The Geek Squad did not come through. After telling me that they could probably recover the data for $200 (after a $60 non-refundable fee) unless the driver was physically damaged, the 3rd party data recovery service they use called me and said it would be $1700 to recover the data, and the fact that the drive had no physical damage meant nothing - because it wouldn't spin, they had to use a clean room to open it up which is what drives up the price. Well, the Geek Squad knew it wouldn't spin before they sent it off. I told the data folks to send it back (which they did) and after a brief argument with the Geek Squad they refunded my $60.

    Well, who knew that a dead HD would prove so difficult to recover? (That's a lesson to do regular backups!). Anyway, you IT gods were right, and I will never question your judgement again!!!!


    Steve
     
  14. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Steve, believe me, in this case, we wish we weren't right! :(

    Keep the drive around and try it out in a month or two. I've had weird experiences with hardware that suddenly just sprung back to life after siting around doing nothing for months. If you're one of those lucky few, IMMEDIATELY copy everything you can off that critter!
     
  15. Wardie

    Wardie New Member

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    Steve -

    One trick to try that has worked for me in the past (this depends on the issues with the drive) is to freeze the drive and try to read the data. If you've already written off the drive you have nothing to lose.

    It is a temporary fix at best but if it spins up, you might get the data back. If you are unsure of this just do a search for freeze HD on your favorite search engine and you'll see a ton of hits.
     
  16. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Cool! I've got nothing to lose so I will give this a try. It seems to have some basis in fact (freezing contracts the metal, possibly closing contacts that may be separated).

    I'll let you know.
     
  17. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Believe it or not, I have done this once before! Word of caution though; CONDENSATION IS YOUR ENEMY!

    When I did it, I put the drive in a ziplock bag and got out as much air as possible before I put it in the freezer. When I took it out, I was as quick as possible taking it from the freezer to the computer and plugging it in. I believe that every minute counts; if you plug it in and it spins up, copy everything you can. If it doesn't spin up at all, put it back in the bag and put it in the FRIDGE (not the freezer); you're trying to bring it back down to room temperature as slowly as possible in order to avoid the dreaded condensation... After a few hours, take it out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature overnight before storing it away for another attempt some other time...

    Good luck!
     

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