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A possible way of getting data off a dying hard disk
Authored by: ateichman on Nov 01, '06 12:43:12PM

I'll vouch for this.

As noted above, data recovery is a dicey business, and if the data is critical, leave it to experts.

In my case, a friend's PowerBook drive was failing, and I replaced it for her. Although she was not desperate for the old data, it would still be a nice thing to retrieve, so I tried pretty much everything, figuring that I (she) had nothing to lose that was not already 99% gone.

I tried mounting the drive repeatedly. It got more and more ornery as time went on. When I had to give up for a bit, and left it alone overnight, it was decidedly better (not having been moved at all in the interim), so the cooling theory seems to have some merit to it. However, even in this situation, the best it would do was partially mount, but I could not access contents.

Changing the orientation of the drive made noticeable differences in how far into the mounting process it would get before things hung up. Eventually, I settled on upside-down as the preferred position. (Hard to work with a whole laptop this way!)

Finally, I left it (abandoned it) for several days, upside down, and then tried again. It mounted first time, and I copied the most critical stuff immediately before it changed its mind.

Definitely worth a try, both cooling and reorienting. Two more cautions for you all:

1. Have patience. The more impatient I got, the less success I had.
2. When it the HD starts to misbehave, deal with it IMMEDIATELY before it gets worse.

Good luck to all who find themselves in this situation, up the creek without a recent backup.

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