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Old 02-06-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
L337Llama
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Default Recovering data from a damage hard drive

So, I have a hard drive that is failing. It was in a laptop, and I would be running windows and the computer would completely stop responding and freeze. The hard drive indicator light would cut out. The only option at that point was to cut the power. There are photos from traveling on the drive that I wasn't able to back up onto another place before the failure, so I want to attempt to recover the data.

I got my desktop set up, and I've bought an extra sata cable that should arrive soon. I want to connect the drive to my desktop, and download the files off it. I was wondering if I just hook it up like any drive, or if there is anything I need to mess with in boot order, etc. The laptop drive booted to windows xp, so if I connect it to the desktop and power up, will the windows installation on that laptop drive cause issues with the desktop's primary drive? Also, I'm wondering if there are any positions I should hold the drive to raise the chance of success, or if it needs to be cooled, etc.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:59 AM   #2
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Hook it up like any drive. (assuming both the desktop and laptop drives are in fact SATA)

You will need to mess with boot order.

You might just boot from the 3.5 and plug the 2.5 in after the system comes up. You should be able to hot-swap SATA drives

Oh wait, is the drive IDE? You said SATA cable but you also said XP... Is the laptop drive SATA for sure?

Last edited by lakedude; 02-06-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:13 PM   #3
L337Llama
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Yeah, its a SATA drive.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #4
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The connectors are the same for SATA desktop and SATA laptop drives so it will just plug in.

Try booting the desktop first (to avoid boot order issues).

If that does not work and you boot with both drives in you will need to catch the BIOS and make sure you boot from the desktop drive.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:02 PM   #5
Bubbaleone
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A comment about data recovery from failing drives: The chances for recovery of intact data are much greater by using a bootable disk recovery software that can create a disk image of the failing drive and then recover the data from the disk image rather than the drive itself. The more times you attempt to access the drive itself the likelihood of successfully recovering useable, intact, data decreases dramatically. There's no way of knowing which attempt to access the physical drive will be the last time the data is still recoverable.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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I read somewhere that if you put a failing drive in the freezer in a ziplock bag for a while before attempting recovery, you can get more life out of it (a few minutes more). It depends on the reason for the failure though. Watch out for condensation though.
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
L337Llama
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Interesting about the copying the disk image to another drive. I got the hard drive room to do it. I was wondering what applications would I use for this? Also, a spare sata cable is arriving today so I should be able to work on this during the weekend. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:20 PM   #8
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Bubbbaleone that is good advice if the drive in question is a data drive and we want to recover all the data or as much as possible.

If we are talking about a boot drive and for example we only want the contents of "My Documents" it might be better to just copy that data 1st rather than wear the drive out coping parts of the drive we have no interest in.
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