Nicolas Hanson

Recovery software

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One of mye internal hard drives are no longer recognized on my computer, not even in the disk manager. I've tried different machines (both PC/MAC) and even tried to connect it as an USB drive. I remember that a software called DiskWarrior for MAC was used many years ago to recover files from damaged disks. Do you have any experience with alternative softwares for Windows that might could bring my files back?

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SpinRite ( has had a lot of followers over the years, as one of the best recovery tools. There's a couple of videos on the web site that explains some of the techniques it uses to try and recover data from disks.

Of course, if your hard disk is completely dead (ie. platters not spinning or heads not moving) there's not much any software can do for you. In these cases, there are specialists who'll take your disk apart (for a price) and replace the problem components, or even move your whole disk platter assembly to another (similar) drive. If you search on YouTube, you'll find some videos of the procedure.

The success of any of these methods rests on whether the surface of the platters remains largely undamaged. If the magnetic coating on the platters (which holds your data and is a very thin layer on the steel platters) has been scrubbed off by the heads impacting the surface, your data is now a pile of metal filings! You can sometimes see this if the air filter pad in the disk is visible from the exterior. It should normally look white in colour - however, if it's been heavily blackened, that's usually a sign of surface damage.

Good luck!

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I have been able to recover data from totally dead drives by simply replacing the driver board on the HDD.

Now, since I bought the drive that failed as one in a lot of 20, I had a lot of exact spares from which to attempt swapping the interface board.

If you don't have an exact match, try this place:

"Most HDD PCBs' failures are caused by Motor Controller Chip burnt, then the TVS diodes burnt and Main Controller IC burnt."

This is MUCH cheaper than a commercial service, and, they probably try this first ANYWAY!



Edited by Frank Wylie

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First You have to find out, if the controller is defect (1) or the disks themselves having data corruption (2).

1: In this case the disk is not visible to the computer at all. You should check with several computers/OS. Like Frank recommended, replacing the controller chips is easy and helped me as well a couple of times.

2: In this case You can see at least the chipset of the disk in Your operating system. My recommendation is to rescue the data with the free software 'TestDisk'. I used it successfully several times (with OS X and Linux). At times 100% of the data got rescued. Please google the correct usage of it. First You should make an image of Your defect drive for example.

Disclaimer: Complete data loss might occur. For very important data please consult an expert.


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