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Old August 5th, 2004, 06:49 PM   #1
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Nightmare we all dread--my hard drive went bye-bye

One of my internal drives, an IBM 75 gig internal connected through SCSI, just shuffled off its mortal coil. The computer stopped recognizing it as a readable drive. I sent it off to my local Mac guru, and he said he can't do anything with it. The next step would be a service that would charge between $1000 and $4000 to reclaim the data, if it was even possible, he said.

Do I have any hope of seeing my data and video files again without it costing that kind of money?
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Old August 5th, 2004, 07:07 PM   #2
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What all did your local guru do?
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Old August 5th, 2004, 08:52 PM   #3
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Do I have any hope of seeing my data and video files again without it costing that kind of money?
Yes/maybe. You can try the following. ***It will likely lower your chances of data recovery by a professional service!***

The first thing to do is to determine if your hard drive is spinning up. Ground yourself. Turn your power supply on and power on your computer.

Three things can happen:
1- drive does not spin up. You do not hear the hard drive and feel no vibration from it.
2- Hard drive spins up normally.
3- Hard drive spins up and makes horrible noises. Turn your power supply off if this is happening. The head of the hard drive is likely making contact with the platters and killing the data.

1: There are few things you can do to try to get your hard drive to spin up. These methods may work once and then your chances will drop off.

1a- Tap the hard drive to "unstick" the head. If that does not work you can try progressively more force up to a 2ft drop. I forget if you should drop the hard drive upside down or right side up.

1b- Put the hard drive in a bag and put it in the freezer. Watch out for condensation. The heat contraction may "unstick" the head.

You might want to prioritize beforehand what data you want off the hard drive. Also make sure you have somewhere to copy the data to.

Replace the hard drive afterwards.

2: There are multiple possibilities:
2a- IDE cable is bad. Swap a working hard drive or cable to check.
2b- IDE controller on your motherboard is bad. Swap to test.
2c- The circuits on the hard drive are bad. The best route is professional data recovery.
2d- Incorrect setup or configuration error. Check BIOS to see if it sees the hard drive.
If the master boot record of the hard drive is corrupt then you may be able to repair the MBR via XP's recovery console (please feel free to ask for instructions).

3: Professional data recovery *may* recover your data. They can take the platters out and reassemble the hard drive.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:27 PM   #4
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thanks Glenn. I think the obvious stuff has been explored (the guy I go to is a good one) so I may be walking down that platter reassembly road. So again--are those figures accurate??
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Old August 5th, 2004, 10:09 PM   #5
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Yes, actually, data recovery is one of the most expensive scams out there. Well, scam is a harsh word. But most of the time, they just run special software that goes directly into the drive to extract available data, bypassing OS information. Sometimes they actually do earn their money - and that's when you really do need to be an engineer/technician - they take the drive apart. But you're really out of luck - and believe me I feel your pain. But before you go to recover the data, think long and hard if it's really even worth it. I mean REALLY worth it. I've had to make that call before, and I just closed my eyes, swallowed the pain, and then proceeded to forget it ever happened. At first I was afraid - I was petrified. I thought I could never live without that data by my side. But then I spent so many nights- OK you get my point.

Consider a RAID mirrored solution next time - it's the only insurance against this very common thing.

Also - and this goes without saying, don't drop your drive either accidentally or on purpose, and especially not 2 feet! You will most definitely kill whatever life there may be left in there.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #6
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Physically hitting the drive does work for some people...

For more information than you would want, check out
http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-6255-5029761-5.html
Techrepublic 200 ways to revive a hard drive.

2- I would consider backups to be a better idea than RAID 0. With most NLEs and good logging practices you can recreate projects relatively easy.

Quote:
thanks Glenn. I think the obvious stuff has been explored (the guy I go to is a good one) so I may be walking down that platter reassembly road. So again--are those figures accurate??
What figures? Like the 2ft drop thing? I wouldn't start off with a 2ft drop and IMO anything more is a little excessive. Check out the techrepblic article above.

3- Remember to ground yourself.

4-
Quote:
Yes, actually, data recovery is one of the most expensive scams out there. Well, scam is a harsh word. But most of the time, they just run special software that goes directly into the drive to extract available data, bypassing OS information. Sometimes they actually do earn their money - and that's when you really do need to be an engineer/technician - they take the drive apart. But you're really out of luck - and believe me I feel your pain.
Well I'm not sure if they're scams, but definitely see if special software can recover your hard drive if it's spinning.

I hear spinrite is good
http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm
The rest of grc.com is an excellent site by the way if you're interested in computer security.

Special software should probably go after:

2: There are multiple possibilities:
2a- IDE cable is bad. Swap a working hard drive or cable to check.
2b- IDE controller on your motherboard is bad. Swap to test.
2c- The circuits on the hard drive are bad. The best route is professional data recovery.
2d- Incorrect setup or configuration error. Check BIOS to see if it sees the hard drive.
If the master boot record of the hard drive is corrupt then you may be able to repair the MBR via XP's recovery console (please feel free to ask for instructions).
You can also try drive recovery software such as Spinrite. http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm
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Old August 5th, 2004, 11:10 PM   #7
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Just some precisions Glenn.

Mirroring isn't raid 0 but raid 1. And with the price of hard drives these days (compared to the price of pro video gears), anyone should consider to setup a mirroring array for your editing data. Recreating a project from a backup or by recapturing the tapes is a so painful process!

Quote:
2: There are multiple possibilities:
2a- IDE cable is bad. Swap a working hard drive or cable to check.
2b- IDE controller on your motherboard is bad. Swap to test.
2c- The circuits on the hard drive are bad. The best route is professional data recovery.
2d- Incorrect setup or configuration error. Check BIOS to see if it sees the hard drive.
Since Charles is operating a Mac with SCSI HDs, most of those recommendations, if not all aren't applicable.


Anyway, Good luck Charles!
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Old August 6th, 2004, 05:48 AM   #8
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"Physically hitting the drive does work for some people... "

That's known as percussive maintenance. :-)

The company I work for in my day job lost a drive and it cost about $1400 to try to recover what they could. And what was recovered didn't get close to what was lost.

The entire catastrophe cost us thousands of photos. All would have been avoided if my recommendation for a level-1 RAID were taken seriously from the start. We now have a Level-1 RAID which I put together after the fact for about $750. Better late than never. Of course, shortly afterward another system went down and it was the same nightmare: no mirrored RAID and no current backups. Hard lessons left unlearned.

For data that can't be reacquired Level-1 (or better) is a definite must-have.

But for my own work I have media from tape digitized on a level-0 RAID for speed. Rendered effects get backed up to a second drive along with the FCP project files and associated After Effects or Commotion projects.

In case of a crash, I can re-digitize (which can be a pain). I'd rather spend the money on expanding working media storage than to backup media which already exists on tape.

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Old August 6th, 2004, 06:42 AM   #9
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A big drive, back-up software and nightly incremental back-ups work great for non-critical data. Cost is maybe $500. What drive recovery companies have you contacted, Charles?
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Old August 6th, 2004, 08:05 AM   #10
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It is indeed RAID 1 that provides data redundancy (I keep typing in RAID 0 for some reason).
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Old August 6th, 2004, 08:19 AM   #11
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Those recovery services are for real. If it can be recovered, they will get it. But, it is like Imran said... Is it really worth the cost of their service? I lost a drive full of video, backed-up data, and works in progress. I called around, got some prices... Decided to take the loss and start over.

Now, if you have been cutting and color correcting footage for a feature length blockbuster for months...
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Old August 6th, 2004, 08:42 AM   #12
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I would hope if you're doing a project like that, that you'd be running RAID with some sort of quadruple backup system. I can't even bear the thought of losing my little 20 minute short I'm working on right now.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 09:13 AM   #13
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<<<--

That's known as percussive maintenance. :-) -->>>

i prefer: 'Impact Engineering'
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Old August 6th, 2004, 11:15 AM   #14
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Jeff, I haven't contacted any companies yet. What's on that drive is worth maybe $500 to me as far as I can tell. I'm just waiting to hear back from the guy who first had it to see exactly what procedures he went through. I don't think I'll be implementing a 2-foot drop any time soon myself.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #15
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The recovery people are rather clear about what to do. Turn the machine off, and do nothing. Just about anything you do, runs the risk of data loss. I have seen the reports on some of the drives they could recover from.
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