Recovering data from a hard drive


E

Edward Diener

I had foolishly bought about 3 years ago two external ESata/USB hard
drive systems ( Eagle Consensus ) of the same make with a 1 TB drive
already in each. Since then I have learned to buy the external enclosure
and hard drive separately, but at the time I did not understand what was
happening.

First one hard drive failed within a year and recently the other hard
drive failed. When I opened up these systems to look at the hard drive I
saw that they were hard drives of the "white label" variety. Ugh !!!

I recently bought an external enclosure ( Icy Dock ) and separately two
quality 2 TB hard drives to use in that enclosure ( Western Digital and
Samsung ). They are both working well.

I added both hard drives that had failed to my new external enclosure.
The latest one of the drives which had failed does appear there,
although I do not know how reliable it is, while the other drive which
had failed a long time ago does not show up. This is despite the fact
that the drive which does not show up has its led light lit in the Icy
Dock enclosure. Matbe it is just not responding to hardware commands.
When I say that it does not show up I mean that it does not appear in
the SATARaid Utility which I installed with the Addonics external
ESata/USB card to connect to my Icy Dock, and it does not appear in
either the Windows Vista Disk Management nor in the partitoning managing
tools I have ( Acronis and Paragon ).

Can any of the data in the failed hard drive be recovered ? I do have
some backup data I would love to retrieve if I could. Are there
low-level hard drive data recovery tools, which can read various
backed-up partition types ( mostly NTFS ) and recover the data, even if
the hard drive no longer appears to be partitioned or even show up.

Similarly is there any low-level utility which can check the hard drive
that supposedly failed last when it was in the Eagle Consensus but is
appearing in the Icy Dock ?

Or do you think I should just ditch both the "white label" drives and
just move on with reliable drives on the market similar to the new
drives I just bought ?
 
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V

VanguardLH

Edward said:
Can any of the data in the failed hard drive be recovered ? I do have
some backup data I would love to retrieve if I could. Are there
low-level hard drive data recovery tools, which can read various
backed-up partition types ( mostly NTFS ) and recover the data, even if
the hard drive no longer appears to be partitioned or even show up.

DiskInternals Partition Recovery
http://www.diskinternals.com/
It's not cheap at $140 but it worked when to recover my files when the
freebies or cheapies failed (Recuva, TestDisk, Minitool, and some others
that I don't remember now) even when they did a deep scan since the
quick scan rarely found anything. Not only had I lost the partition
table but new partitions had been defined plus a format started that I
aborted. I had picked the wrong hard disk to repartition and reformat.
It wasn't just to have the product discover where were the old partition
boundaries but also recover the data files from there. Obviously you
needed somewhere else to recover them.

Easeus has a trial product for partition recovery that was free
(http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm)
but you could only recover up to 1GB maximum. To recover more, you had
to buy it ($65-$105). You get to select what to recover so you can pick
the critical files and leave the dross behind; however, for large hard
disks, this isn't much but I do know that product did work, too. It did
recover the files that I selected.

For these products to work, I had to use the deep scan and took over an
hour to look at a 500GB SATA2 hard disk. The quick scan only took about
15 minutes but it couldn't find the files. It could restore the old
partitions but to undo the format required a deep scan. While more
expensive, I've seen DiskInternals used at companies by their helpdesk
to recover files from logically corrupted hard disks. For physically
damaged hard disks, you'll need to send it to a lab that'll probably
cost $1500-$4000.

My understanding of the deep scan is that these product understand the
internal formatting of many file types. It rebuilds its own file table
by finding documents that comply with the format for those documents.
That means it won't be able to retrieve files for which it has no
understanding of their internals. They worked for all my files so they
seem to have a huge list of supported file types they can detect to
retrieve them.
 
R

Rod Speed

Edward said:
I had foolishly bought about 3 years ago two external ESata/USB hard drive systems ( Eagle Consensus ) of the same
make with a 1 TB drive already in each. Since then I have learned to buy the external enclosure and hard drive
separately, but at the time I did not understand what was happening.
First one hard drive failed within a year and recently the other hard
drive failed. When I opened up these systems to look at the hard drive I saw that they were hard drives of the "white
label" variety. Ugh !!!
I recently bought an external enclosure ( Icy Dock ) and separately
two quality 2 TB hard drives to use in that enclosure ( Western
Digital and Samsung ). They are both working well.
I added both hard drives that had failed to my new external enclosure.
The latest one of the drives which had failed does appear there,
although I do not know how reliable it is, while the other drive which
had failed a long time ago does not show up. This is despite the fact
that the drive which does not show up has its led light lit in the Icy
Dock enclosure. Matbe it is just not responding to hardware commands.
When I say that it does not show up I mean that it does not appear in
the SATARaid Utility which I installed with the Addonics external
ESata/USB card to connect to my Icy Dock, and it does not appear in
either the Windows Vista Disk Management nor in the partitoning
managing tools I have ( Acronis and Paragon ).
Can any of the data in the failed hard drive be recovered ?

Does it actually spin up ? You can usually tell by feeling the drive if its spinning up.
I do have some backup data I would love to retrieve if I could. Are there low-level hard drive data recovery tools,
which can read various
backed-up partition types ( mostly NTFS ) and recover the data, even
if the hard drive no longer appears to be partitioned or even show up.

Not if they arent even visible in Disk Management.
Similarly is there any low-level utility which can check the hard drive that supposedly failed last when it was in the
Eagle Consensus but is appearing in the Icy Dock ?

Yes, most of the recovery systems should work with that one.
Or do you think I should just ditch both the "white label" drives and just move on with reliable drives on the market
similar to the new drives I just bought ?

Hard for us to say when we dont know what the data on them is worth to you.

Generally that is the best approach if you dont value the data very highly.
 
E

Edward Diener

Does it actually spin up ? You can usually tell by feeling the drive if its spinning up.

I can not tell by feeling the drive. The LED indicator on the Icy Dock
is on for the drive but the drive never shows up anywhere.
Not if they arent even visible in Disk Management.

I agree. Sounds like the drive is just dead as far as being able to come
up anywhere and be examined.
Yes, most of the recovery systems should work with that one.

I will look for one that can do a low-level check on that hard drive.
It's a 1 TB drive so that if it is still usable, I would like to use it
for backups. OTOH if the low-level utility suggests bad functioning I
will just chuck that drive also.
Hard for us to say when we dont know what the data on them is worth to you.

The data on the "working" drive is not important. Only the 1 TB space
would be nice to have. OTOH with two 2 TB drives for backup purposes I
probably should not care that much if the 1 TB drive has to be discarded.
 
E

Edward Diener

DiskInternals Partition Recovery
http://www.diskinternals.com/
It's not cheap at $140 but it worked when to recover my files when the
freebies or cheapies failed (Recuva, TestDisk, Minitool, and some others
that I don't remember now) even when they did a deep scan since the
quick scan rarely found anything. Not only had I lost the partition
table but new partitions had been defined plus a format started that I
aborted. I had picked the wrong hard disk to repartition and reformat.
It wasn't just to have the product discover where were the old partition
boundaries but also recover the data files from there. Obviously you
needed somewhere else to recover them.

Easeus has a trial product for partition recovery that was free
(http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm)
but you could only recover up to 1GB maximum. To recover more, you had
to buy it ($65-$105). You get to select what to recover so you can pick
the critical files and leave the dross behind; however, for large hard
disks, this isn't much but I do know that product did work, too. It did
recover the files that I selected.
snip...

Unfortunately the really bad drive is never seen, under Windows Vista,
by any of the tools I have. So I do not know how the data in it can be
recovered, even with the tools you mentioned unless they can directly
access the low-level hardware outside the OS.
 
R

Rod Speed

Edward Diener wrote
Rod Speed wrote
I can not tell by feeling the drive.

Then it isnt spinning up. She's dead Jim. You into necrophilia ?

You should be able to feel the other one spinning up.
The LED indicator on the Icy Dock is on for the drive

Likely its too stupid to notice that it isnt spinning up.
but the drive never shows up anywhere.
I agree. Sounds like the drive is just dead as far as being able to come up anywhere and be examined.
Yep.
I will look for one that can do a low-level check on that hard drive. It's a 1 TB drive so that if it is still usable,
I would like to use it for backups. OTOH if the low-level utility suggests bad functioning I will just chuck that
drive also.

Post the Everest SMART report. JUST the SMART report, not the full report on everything.
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4181
That may not be able to see the drive in the Ict Dock, but post the SMART report if it can.

If it cant see the drive in the Icy Dock, the latest
version likely can if you are into using pirate stuff.
The data on the "working" drive is not important. Only the 1 TB space
would be nice to have. OTOH with two 2 TB drives for backup purposes I probably should not care that much if the 1 TB
drive has to be discarded.

Yeah, its certainly safer to discard it. It might just the housing power supply
that failed tho, so if the SMART report looks OK, no need to discard it.
 
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A

Arno

Edward Diener said:
Unfortunately the really bad drive is never seen, under Windows Vista,
by any of the tools I have. So I do not know how the data in it can be
recovered, even with the tools you mentioned unless they can directly
access the low-level hardware outside the OS.

If the drive is not seen, then there is nothing you can do yourself.
You can make tings worse though by messing with it.
Time to consider professional data recovery services.
One characteristic of them is that they are expensive.

Arno
 
V

VanguardLH

Edward said:
Unfortunately the really bad drive is never seen, under Windows Vista,
by any of the tools I have. So I do not know how the data in it can be
recovered, even with the tools you mentioned unless they can directly
access the low-level hardware outside the OS.

Since you cannot see the hard disks in the OS when attaching them via
USB to an external enclosure with a USB-to-<whatever> converter (I don't
know if <whatever> is IDE or SATA since you didn't mention the type),
stop trying to access them that way. Instead take them out of the
enclosure and attach them to controllers on your motherboard. When you
boot your computer and *before* any OS loads, check if the BIOS can
detect their presence. If the BIOS can't find them using non-USB
hardware protocols (i.e., IDE or SATA) then you won't be able to use any
software recovery tools.

So far, your problematic hard disks aren't detectable when in an
external enclosure with its converter and that box is accessed via USB.
You mentioned eSATA but never mentioned how you are attached the
external enclosure. Even if using eSATA shows the problem, I'd bring
the hard disks back inside to attach to the headers on the motherboard
and make sure the system BIOS can see them. You don't have to mount
them in a bay to bring them inside. Just peel off the side panel and
run the power and data cables to the hard disk under test.
 
F

Franc Zabkar

I had foolishly bought about 3 years ago two external ESata/USB hard
drive systems ( Eagle Consensus ) of the same make with a 1 TB drive
already in each. Since then I have learned to buy the external enclosure
and hard drive separately, but at the time I did not understand what was
happening.

First one hard drive failed within a year and recently the other hard
drive failed. When I opened up these systems to look at the hard drive I
saw that they were hard drives of the "white label" variety. Ugh !!!

Sorry if I missed it, but who is the manufacturer of the drives? Could
you upload some photos of both sides (label and PCB)?

FYI, Seagate's 7200.11 drives were affected by a BSY firmware bug. If
yours is one of these, then there is a simple DIY fix.

- Franc Zabkar
 
E

Edward Diener

Sorry if I missed it, but who is the manufacturer of the drives? Could
you upload some photos of both sides (label and PCB)?

I am on a free news server which does not allow binary uploads. Sorry.
The drives say WL1000GBS with P/N WL1000GSA1672. If you like I can send
pictures of the drives directly to your return e-mail address.
FYI, Seagate's 7200.11 drives were affected by a BSY firmware bug. If
yours is one of these, then there is a simple DIY fix.

"White label" suggests refurbished drives, but I do not know of what
original make or model.
 
E

Edward Diener

Edward Diener wrote


Then it isnt spinning up. She's dead Jim. You into necrophilia ?

You should be able to feel the other one spinning up.


Likely its too stupid to notice that it isnt spinning up.




Post the Everest SMART report. JUST the SMART report, not the full report on everything.
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4181
That may not be able to see the drive in the Ict Dock, but post the SMART report if it can.

Free Everest release is pretty old and can see the drive, but it can not
distinguish it by name from the oher two drives in the Icy Dock. I did
get SMART results and everything says OK. I will continue to use the ITB
drive since the SMART report is good.

The best free software I found for checking out SMART and doing a scan,
while being able to distinguish all 3 drives in the Icy Dock, is
something called HD Tune.

It is amazing how so few low-level hard drive utilities can actually
distinguish the drives in the Icy Dock, even though they are all
different makes. A slew of them report all 3 drives under the name of
the first of them ( a Western Digital WDC WD200EARS ). Makes it sort of
hard to use their utilities if one does not know which drive they are
referring to.
 
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E

Edward Diener

How about other computers? Does they detect the physical drive at all as
if it was there? I have had drives that are completely invisible to
computers. :( Can you RMA within its warranty?

I have not tried on other computers, but thanks for the suggestion. The
Consensus warranty on the drives they send out with their product is
long over ( only a year anyway ). I won't be dealing with them anymore
not that I really they were distributing refurbished drives with their
enclosures, and I have a much better external enclosure in the Icy Dock.
 
E

Edward Diener

If the drive is not seen, then there is nothing you can do yourself.
You can make tings worse though by messing with it.
Time to consider professional data recovery services.
One characteristic of them is that they are expensive.

The information is not important enough to pay big money to recover it,
but thanks anyway for suggesting the professional data recovery possibility.
 
E

Edward Diener

Since you cannot see the hard disks in the OS when attaching them via
USB to an external enclosure with a USB-to-<whatever> converter (I don't
know if<whatever> is IDE or SATA since you didn't mention the type),
stop trying to access them that way. Instead take them out of the
enclosure and attach them to controllers on your motherboard. When you
boot your computer and *before* any OS loads, check if the BIOS can
detect their presence. If the BIOS can't find them using non-USB
hardware protocols (i.e., IDE or SATA) then you won't be able to use any
software recovery tools.

That's a great idea. Thanks ! The external enclosure and Addonics card
support either ESata or USB and I am using an ESata connection. I will
try mounting the dead drive internally and see if the BIOS can recognize
it, and go from there.
So far, your problematic hard disks aren't detectable when in an
external enclosure with its converter and that box is accessed via USB.
You mentioned eSATA but never mentioned how you are attached the
external enclosure. Even if using eSATA shows the problem, I'd bring
the hard disks back inside to attach to the headers on the motherboard
and make sure the system BIOS can see them. You don't have to mount
them in a bay to bring them inside. Just peel off the side panel and
run the power and data cables to the hard disk under test.

Understood. Thanks again.
 
R

Rod Speed

Edward Diener wrote
Rod Speed wrote
Free Everest release is pretty old and can see the drive,

Yeah, it wasnt clear when I wrote the previous that you were
using the eSATA connection to the Icy Dock. Anything should
show the SMART data when you use that connection.
but it can not distinguish it by name from the oher two drives in the Icy Dock.

It should be obvious from the size alone.
I did get SMART results and everything says OK.

You have to interpret the numbers, those OKs dont mean anything.
I will continue to use the ITB drive since the SMART report is good.
The best free software I found for checking out SMART and doing a scan, while being able to distinguish all 3 drives
in the Icy Dock, is something called HD Tune.
It is amazing how so few low-level hard drive utilities can actually distinguish the drives in the Icy Dock,

Nope, thats always been a problem with external drives.
even though they are all different makes. A slew of them report all 3 drives under the name of the first of them ( a
Western Digital WDC WD200EARS ).

You do have to wonder if they are actually reporting
the SMART data of the other drives in that case.
Makes it sort of hard to use their utilities if one does not know which drive they are referring to.

Not when the sizes are so different.

But I wouldnt trust them to be reporting the SMART data
correctly if they cant even get the model number from the drive.

Since you are going to try mounting the deader drive
internally to see if its even visible, you can do that with
the other 1TB drive to get reliable SMART data for it.
 
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V

VanguardLH

Edward said:

Oh oh. The label says "Remanufactured" and they slapped it atop the
manufacturer's label so you/we can't see who actually made it. That
means there was something wrong with it before. It's unlikely the thing
was dismantled in a clean room by them to fix internal problems. I
really doubt you'll find a clean lab named "White Label". It's possible
it went back to the original manufacturer to have them refurbish the
item but it's also possible it got returned by a user, they ("white
label" or the manufacturer) did their own testing but found nothing
wrong (as far as they knew), and simply slapped "refurbished" on it.

"Refurbish" means a lot of different things, like straightening bent
pins on the PCB header or removing a solder flake causing a short or a
fried component on the PCB (but if replaced might require retesting for
bad sectors to map them out or to adjust for realignment). They don't
likely track the serial number to their log of what they did to
refurbish the item so you'll never know why it got returned as defective
and what, if anything, they did to fix the defect.

You could try to peel away their label to see the manufacturer's label
underneath but then you'll likely destroy their label and might still
not be able to see enough of the original label to tell what it was
originally (brand and model).
 
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