Hard disk recovery

I have a 2.5" hard drive that has developed what sounds like bearing noise and seemingly can’t be read by normal means. I was wondering if there’s any hope for recovering the data thereon.

Anyone have experience with this? Can bearings be repaired? Can the drive be put into a different housing? Who has a decent track record in this sort of work? What does it tend to cost? Is it “flat fee, regardless” or “no play, no pay”?

There are a bunch of very sophisticated data recovery services that can do just about anything that is theoretically possible. They specialize in corporate retrievals with some government on law enforcement jobs as well. They use clean rooms and proprietary machines.

It can be done. However, you can imagine that it gets pricey. 1 day turnaround for a failed server drive can be many hundreds of dollars or much more.

I will see if I can find something aimed more to the consumer market. Hard drive repair is not something people can do on their own. It requires special equipment, knowledge, and parts.

I have a feeling it won’t be cheap but you can call for a free estimate from DriveSavers 24/7.

Thanks - can’t hurt to call 'em.

Cool. If you care to share, I am interested in how much something like that costs for a less than emergency personal hard-drive. I have only seen people use recovery services for rapid turn-around corporate stuff.

I’ll call them tomorrow and report back on what I hear.

Drivesavers asked me for a general description of my hard disk and the symptom (won’t spin up to full speed). They then quoted $500 to $2700 for a 5-day turnaround time (price depends on what percentage of data is recovered).

I’ve managed to read my troublesome backup drive so it doesn’t look like I’ll need their services.

I’m curious about your 2.5" drive setup – my own 2.5" drive recently failed but I know it will mount, so I’m sure I can get the data from it somehow. How are you accessing your drive?

I see that you can buy enclosures which connect via USB as an external drive; are there any other solutions?

My understanding of the issue is limited (and I would gladly have foregone my recent education). Here’s what I’ve been told:

Any normal 2.5" hard drive can be mounted in an external enclosure and then be connected by a USB (or FireWire) port. This is how many (most?) folks do backup these days.

But if your disk drive has problems, you’re more likely to be able to read it if you mount it as a secondary (aka slave) drive - no USB or FireWire interface involved. Few laptop PCs can connect to a slave hard drive, but it’s typically easy with a desktop. Yet since the normal desktop hard drive is 3.5", an adaptor harness is needed if a 2.5" drive is to be connected; these are readily available (albeit not often at retail stores) and not expensive.

If you don’t really need the data on the drive, you might experiment a bit. For example, I was able to recover files from a dead drive by freezing it. I was able to read it until it warmed up, so I had to go through several freeze/thaw cycles before I was able to get everything.