Diy Hard Drive Recovery for the Extremely Desperate

Diy Hard Drive Recovery for the Extremely Desperate
Diy Hard Drive Recovery for the Extremely Desperate
Contributed by Andrew Whitehead

Hard Drive Recovery the Sensible Way

A surprisingly large amount of important data, that has not been backed up, is lost due to failed hard disks every year. This has spawned a whole hard drive recovery industry, specializing in performing heroics deeds on dead hard drives to recover data that normally would never be seen again. This process is called hard drive recovery, the service is expensive, and there are some steps you can take yourself instead of hiring them.

Before you do this, you need to carefully weigh your options before touching your drive, and be sure of what you are attempting. Hard drive recovery specialists are professionals, with an impressively high success rate.

Diy Hard Drive Recovery for the Extremely Desperate

Make Sure That Diy Hard Drive Recovery is Necessary

Make absolutely sure that your hard drive is genuinely and completely dead before you try any of the following; you can be sure it will be completely dead afterwards. Be certain that you have diagnosed it properly, contact the manufacturer's technical support department, and if you have the slightest doubt, don't touch the drive.

If the drive is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer. Tinkering with a dead drive will definitely void your warranty, since the manufacturer has no way of telling if the problem was faulty manufacture or caused by you interfering with the disk.

Diy Hard Drive Recovery Techniques

Make sure that you have another drive set up to send your recovered data to. You will only get one chance to get the disk running again, don't miss that opportunity to save the data.

A hard drive failure may be on the integrated controller board, and your hard drive recovery may be a simple case of swapping this board for an identical one from another drive. If you have a second identical hard drive and feel brave, you may be able to "borrow" its board for the test. The danger, of course, is that you may end up with two dead drives.

A problem, commonly found in older drives, is a refusal to spin up caused by the spindle motor sticking. Manually spinning the motor can free the drive, allowing it to spin long enough to save your files from it. You can do this by opening up case and manually spinning the platters. The clean room environment inside a drive is important, but in this situation the drive is going to be copied and then discarded so the disks are only running for a short time with the cover off.

Open up the case, manually spin the platters by rotating the central hub, turn the disk on and it may spin up. Empty the disk onto another drive immediately and throw the dead disk away. It is a very risky technique, but it may work on physically jammed disks. Naturally, you should never try this if the disk is able to spin itself.

Repeatedly trying to boot up the hard drive may, on very rare occasions, resurrect a drive with a serious but intermittent problems giving you the chance to copy it. Continually switching on and off is very hard on the other components of the system though, so disconnect as much as you can before you start, and wait at least 15 seconds switching off and switching back on.

Andrew Whitehead is a contributor at -- the home of the best online backup tool -- Back2zip. This article can be found at

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