Happy Friday folks! This week's topic is all about helping Chuck out with recovering data from his daughter's corrupt hard drive. Before we begin, I cannot stress how important it is to backup your data, so that you do not find yourself in this situation. With that said, if you haven't backed up your data lately, get to it! Now, let's move on to the topic.
Well, Chuck, there are two possible ways a hard drive can become corrupt, one way is a physical failure (when something mechanically goes wrong within the drive--bad platter, bad circuit board, and so on), and the other way is logical failure (when the drive physically works, but data on the drive is in a corrupt state and it can be caused by a range of issues from viruses to file corruption.) If you read through the answers by our members, physical drive failure are by far more difficult to retrieve data from, as the mechanics need to be fixed, whereas logically failures, while not easy, are recoverable through third-party software, or costly services that specialize in data recovery. Either way, no method is guaranteed to recover your data completely.
This week, our members' solutions to your questions varied, as there are many methods to hard drive recovery--ranging from what software they used to retrieve date from logical drive failures, to the method of freezing the hard drive (which many recommend to be the last resort.) There are simply no wrong or right answers, just a bunch of different approaches. So, give all our members' advice and recommendations a read. I will mention that when it came to recommending a data recovery utility, a few titles that where mentioned more frequently than others were, SpinRite from Gibson Research and Ontrack Easy Recovery, both will cost you a bit of money. However, there were other options, which is to use Knoppix or Ubuntu Live Linux CD that are free to download. Overall, there were many helpful answers. I truly believe that after you read through these recommendations, you'll have some good ideas what to start with. I've selected a few answers to get you all going in the Q&A section, so check them out. Again, as a reminder to all you folks, back up your data and do it frequently, so you won't have to go through this stressful experience. Take care everyone and thank you all for your contributions to the question. Good luck Chuck and, if you have a chance, let us know what worked out for you.
Ways to recover data from a corrupt hard drive?
Here's a question I haven't seen covered in your column before and may be a prevailing one. My college daughter's 120GB hard drive recently stopped working. She didn't hear any noise--it just stopped working.
I put another hard drive in the machine and set it up with OS and applications, and then put her old drive in as a slave and tried to look at it, but a message comes up that says it's unreadable. Other attempts say the hard drive is corrupt.
I have tried a few free programs such as pci_filerecovery.exe and the drive doesn't even show up. And the pci_us_smartrecovery.exe for photos, but most of the BMPs and JPEGs recovered aren't viewable and they both run so slowly that I was only at 10 percent after three full days of running.
She's a college student and can't afford hefty professional recovery labs. Is there any good, reasonably priced software or process that will reliably recover Word documents and photos? Please help.
-- Submitted by:
Featured member solutions for last week's question:
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The PC is not a brand name one. It is running Windows XP, and I plan to add more RAM to it. But I don't know what to buy. How do I figure out which memory will work in a PC (size/speed/max capacity)? I'm guessing some of the RAM available today is not compatible (too fast?) and I don't know what the main board supports. Normally, I'd look at the manual for the mother board specifies is supported, but there isn't one. I don't want to do the trial and error method. Is there a way to find out what memory is supported?
The second questions is about today's hard drives. What hard drives are compatible with anything or are some only supported with the latest and greatest? It used to be there were just SCSI and IDE drives. IDE drives eventually surpassed SCSI drives in terms of speed and became the norm.
All I had to do is look at faster RPMs, faster seek times, and larger capacities and buffers (well, reliability was another). Life for the ignorant was so simple. I've fallen behind the times (even more) and don't know what to look for, especially when I want to upgrade older PCs. I don't know what UDMA and SATA are. Are these connections? Then there is SATA2 or is it SATA II and are these compatible with any "SATA" supporting PCs? Does it work with older PCs that use IDE cables or do some HDs support both while others do not? What is NCQ and is it something I should look for? What else should I look for, as I wonder if these things are worth enough to upgrade the motherboard for too? Thanks!
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