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Data Recovery Services? (Read 19830 times)
fobmagi
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Data Recovery Services?
May 4th, 2006 at 9:01am
 
First, yes I know they are expesnive, yes I must have this data back, yes I am willing to pay out the a$$.

ok computer HDD failed... wife didnt have backups of any of her stuff... we must have it back. Was surfing the net and the computer froze, restarted and it wont recognize the disk. other computers wont recognize the disk either. It powers up, spins up, does not produce excess noise, heat or vibrations. Probably the control electronics in my oppinion.

Anybody have any experience with data recovery services? If so which one? how much did it cost? what was the turn around? Would you recommend them or should I stay the hell away?
 
 
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NightOwl
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #1 - May 4th, 2006 at 9:25am
 
fobmagi

Here's a source of some recommended options--no personal experience (thank goodness): 
Recover deleted partition ...


The questioner was asking specifically about a *usb pendrive*, but the recovery tools apply to most all storage devices.

If you are not a member of *Experts Exchange*, you need to just scroll down far enough past where is says you have to sign up for the answer and you will see to proposed solutions to the question.

Some of the tools will *analyze* the HDD to see if they think they can recover data before you actually try a recovery.

I would seriously consider trying to create a *clone* of the original HDD--and using that *clone* as the test HDD for applying any recovery attempts.

To do the cloning, it would be *best* to have a second HDD that is the exact same brand, model, and size as the original--use a DOS based Ghost product (example--Ghost 2003), and use the command line to start Ghost with this switch *-ia*, which stands for *image all*--so it will be a sector-by-sector exact copy of the original HDD.  So the command line would be like this:

ghost.exe -ia

Alternatively, if you have PartitionMagic installed on a Windows machine (I've not checked out if this option is available in the DOS GUI version of PartitionMagic), you have a menu option of *Partition/Browse...* that lets you access files on a given partition after you select it.  Of course, this assumes PartitionMagic can still *see* that HDD.

Hope this helps--report back with your progress and the results of your efforts.
 

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Pleonasm
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #2 - May 4th, 2006 at 9:44am
 
Fobmagi, I have used and recommend Ontrack Data Recovery.  They are not inexpensive, but if it is at all possible to recover data, this company will accomplish the task.  Also note that they sell do-it-yourself software (which has an excellent reputation), the cost of which can be applied to the purchase of their services if you are unable to recover the data.

For a review of the services of Ontrack, see Hard Drive Healers.
 

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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #3 - May 4th, 2006 at 10:35am
 
Quote:
"... ok computer HDD failed... wife didnt have backups of any of her stuff... we must have it back. Was surfing the net and the computer froze, restarted and it wont recognize the disk. other computers wont recognize the disk either..."
"It's deja vu all over again!" - Yogi Berra
El_Pescador wrote on Mar 14th, 2006 at 4:27pm:
"... My eldest daughter has an eMachine PC with XP Home Edition, and she recently experienced an anomaly strikingly similar to yours.  My dual goal in helping her was: (1) primarily to secure the entire JPEG library of family photos on her single MASTER HDD which were not backed up anywhere; and (2) secondarily to restore the functionality of her eMachine.

The first thing I did was to dismount her OEM Seagate HDD and install it in a Macally PHR-100A USB 2.0 external enclosure kit (a device with a USB 2.0 hardware/software setup proven friendly to Norton Ghost 2003).  Then, I hooked up her HDD in the enclosure kit to my Dell Dimension 8100 so as to transfer all critical file folders via USB 2.0 to the SLAVE HDD on my Dell for safekeeping.  Once that was complete, I fired up Norton Disk Doctor - included in my Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional OEM CD - and performed an in-depth diagnosis on the external HDD which revealed corruption in the folder C:\WINDOWS\System32.  I responded in affirmative to the Disk Doctor prompt seeking permission to repair the error, which was immediately performed - and successfully, I might add.

I reinstalled the Seagate device as MASTER HDD in the eMachine, but instead of a normal boot-up the eMachine's 250W OEM power supply crapped out with a bang.  Fortunately, I had a spare 350W CoolerMaster onhand and the PC was back in business in short order.  It does make me wonder if excursions from a failing power supply could have contributed in any way to the documented file corruption at the root of her 'endless reboot cycle'.

With the replacement power supply installed, it booted up to function in a totally normal manner.  My daughter immediately commenced to burn CDs of her photo library, and thanked me for my gifts of both an USB 2.0 external HDD enclosure kit with a 60GB Maxtor installed and a copy of Norton Ghost 2003 to merge in with her Norton SystemWorks 2005 Standard.  Whether or not she will ever employ Norton Ghost 2003 to backup her MASTER HDD on a periodic basic in the future certainly remains to be seen..."


Quote:
"... It powers up, spins up, does not produce excess noise, heat or vibrations. Probably the control electronics in my oppinion..."


CLICK HERE to view the related thread referenced above.  I would be more inclined to think that you have a software - as opposed to hardware - problem.  Mounting the HDD in an external enclosure attached to another PC might work out.

EP
Cry
 

...
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fobmagi
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #4 - May 4th, 2006 at 10:52am
 
No, I have tried connecting it to different computers as a slave drive as well as an external enclosure, nothing will recognize the drive. I am pretty sure nit is a hardware problem, but if it is software its in the drives firmware, not on the drive itself or on the OS.

I dont believe fixing it with software is an option, I dont see how software can do anything if I can't even get the system bios to recognize that there is a drive connected.
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #5 - May 4th, 2006 at 1:53pm
 
Fobmagi, again I encourage you to call Ontrack, describe the problem and obtain a quote for their services.

Several years ago, I had the misfortunate of literally driving over a laptop from the office while backing out of a parking spot, crushing the PC’s screen and keyboard with my car (not my best moment, I admit).  However, the hard disk drive appeared to be in reasonable condition, all things considered.  So, I sent the hard disk drive to our internal Information Technology department, requesting that the files be copied.  Someone got the wrong message, and the hard disk drive was formatted and the operating system and all applications were reinstalled on the drive (!).

Even after have been run over by a car, formatted, and reloaded with the operating system and applications, Ontrack was still able to retrieve about 90%+ of the files I needed.  Fortunately, I had a backup that was about a week or two out of date, so the total quantity of files at risk was not great.  Nonetheless, I was awestruck at what Ontrack was able to accomplish.

Beyond the obvious lesson of maintaining a backup, this story also illustrates how difficult it actually is to eliminate information from a hard disk drive.  I have read about documented cases in which files that have been overwritten as many as twenty times were able to be recovered with hardware forensic tools.  For this reason, it is wise to use a tool such as CyberScrub Privacy Suite to securely erase confidential information from your hard disk drive.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #6 - May 4th, 2006 at 2:06pm
 
Pleonasm

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I have read about documented cases in which files that have been overwritten as many as twenty times were able to be recovered with hardware forensic tools.

Okay--I'm convinced--I'll be using my sledge hammer when it's time to discard any HDD's--no recognizable *platter* that might spin and allow a *read head* to scan the surface  Grin !
 

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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #7 - May 4th, 2006 at 5:46pm
 
Quote:
First, yes I know they are expesnive, yes I must have this data back, yes I am willing to pay out the a$$.

ok computer HDD failed... wife didnt have backups of any of her stuff... we must have it back. Was surfing the net and the computer froze, restarted and it wont recognize the disk. other computers wont recognize the disk either. It powers up, spins up, does not produce excess noise, heat or vibrations. Probably the control electronics in my oppinion.

Anybody have any experience with data recovery services? If so which one? how much did it cost? what was the turn around? Would you recommend them or should I stay the hell away?



Try http://www.ontrack.com.

Most importantly, if the drive is still under warranty, you MUST first check with th edrive manufacturer to ask about authorized recovery services. Some drive manufacturers list the authorized services at their web sites, but I'd call them to make sure.

When I went thru this pain a numbr of years ago, the drive manufacturer would authorize mt using ONLY OnTrack.
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #8 - May 5th, 2006 at 10:13am
 
NightOwl, concerning the topic of destroying the contents of a hard disk drive, one needs to remember that the issue doesn’t simply arise when a user is discarding a hard disk drive.  The very same consideration applies to files on a healthy hard disk drive, since the PC may be lost or stolen and thereby the contents of the hard disk drive would become equally at risk.  For these reasons, my own approach is to encrypt all confidential files on the PC (SecretAgent), as well as destroy files by overwriting and periodically wiping the free hard disk space to remove the remains of any sensitive content (CyberScrub Privacy Suite).

It all sounds like quite a hassle, I know.  But, in fact, with the right tools such procedures are a minimal disruption on your PC productivity.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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fobmagi
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #9 - May 5th, 2006 at 10:44am
 
Thanks guys I looked around and based on your recommendations and price quotes from various places I have decided to send it to ontrack...

its an old 20GB HDD so I'm not worried about warranties...

thanx!
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #10 - May 5th, 2006 at 1:11pm
 
Fobmagi, please do post the results of your experience with Ontrack.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #11 - May 5th, 2006 at 5:39pm
 
Pleonasm wrote on May 5th, 2006 at 1:11pm:
Fobmagi, please do post the results of your experience with Ontrack.


My experience with Ontrack, albeit 10 years ago was phenomenal.

First, they allegedly waived the evaluation fee.

THey were very prompt in their service. After all, time is of the essence for this type of service.

At first, they sent me all th files on a CD, but my old computer could not read the CD, so they sent it again on Travan tapes. Of this increasd tyhe costs, as yo do pay for the replacement media.

In my case,AFAIK, ALL files were recovered.
I was lucky, a power outage had toasted the drive mechanism, but did not damage th edrive itself. Yes, I was on a UPS, but that guarantees nothing.

OnTrack has a large forensics division, periodically, I see references in the Wall Street Journal, etc. to the use of their servers.

In my case, 10  years ago, I was recovring a 1.2GB SCSI drive.
Cost, including media and shipping, was, as I recall, about $465.

In that case, I got caught in the transition from using Win 3.1 based to Win 95 based backup software and no reliable backups. So I paid the penalty for not having promptly updated to Win 95 backup software. I learned my lesson, the hard way.
 
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #12 - May 6th, 2006 at 4:25pm
 
Pleonasm

Quote:
It all sounds like quite a hassle, I know.  But, in fact, with the right tools such procedures are a minimal disruption on your PC productivity.


*Ow, ow, ow, ow....!*  My head is hurting!

I've got to remember to backup frequently, backup on multiple media in case one form fails, keep one or more backups off site, remember to update those off site backups, keep OS and other programs updated, keep anti-virus program running and updated, run spy-ware and ad-ware removal tools (and keep them updated), do routine disk utility tool maintenance, cleanup my trashy file keeping system (my bad  Embarrassed ), surf the internet anonymously, encrypt all my files, remember all those *strong* passwords (that I can't remember--so I write them down for someone to *find*(!)) that can't be broken so I can encrypt and (hopefully) decrypt all those files,... and in the end, wipe my disk's free space more than 20 times for security!!!!

(Hmmm...okay, how can one wipe the places where your current data is being stored to get rid of the traces of your previous data that has not be overwritten 20 times?)

(I'm betting I left something important out of the list above!)

(And computers have increased our productivity and enjoyment of life....how?!)

Yikes!--*ow, ow, ow, ow...* my head is hurting!!!!  Grin
 

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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #13 - May 7th, 2006 at 10:06am
 
NightOwl, I feel your pain!  PC maintenance is not fun.  For that reason, I have automated almost all maintenance tasks on my PC to run during the evening hours, including:
  • Windows XP System Restore:  Create restore point
  • CyberScrub — Privacy Suite:  Erase temporary files, and Internet files and cookies
  • Sysinternals — RootkitRevealer (full system rootkit scan)
  • Diskeeper Corporation — Diskeeper (disk defragment)
  • Symantec — Automatic Live Update
  • Symantec — Norton AntiVirus (full system virus scan)
  • Lavasoft — Ad-Aware SE Professional (full system spyware scan)
  • SpyBot Search & Destroy (full system spyware scan)
  • Webroot — SpySweeper (full system spyware scan)
  • Symantec — Norton Ghost:  Full backup
  • Connected Data Protector — Offsite backup
  • CyberScrub — Privacy Suite:  Erase free disk space and scramble deleted file/folder properties
I have configured the above tasks to automatically download updates (e.g., Spy Sweeper definition file) before running, and to produce log files.  I keep a folder with shortcuts to the logs so that - after an evening maintenance cycle - a quick check of the logs confirms that the jobs have run properly.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Data Recovery Services?
Reply #14 - May 7th, 2006 at 5:01pm
 
Pleo,

I'm impressed. Would you mind revealing how you run Ad-Aware without user intervention? I can't work out how to do it.
 
 
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