I NEED SERIOUS HELP!!

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by D-50, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    I just turned my cmoputer on after having not been on it for a couple days my external hard drive where all of my original photo files are kept is not being recognized by my computer and when I turn it on it makes a clicking noise. I assume the hard drive is broken but is there any way for the data on that drive to be salvaged? All of my work, 10,000 photos, are on that drive including all of my RAW and retouched Tiffs!! I need some help soon.
     
  2. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    It sounds extremely serious.
    Just try one thing...disconnect the usb and plug it in again...
    If this does nothing ...
    then take the drive to a specialist...they may be able to recover it. DONOT take it apart yourself...DO NOT give it to a buddy.!
     
  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Well, the really expensive route is Data Recovery, which is done by a company and always works but the cost averages $300 to $700.

    The cheaper route is data recovery software, which some have been able to find on the Internet.

    skieur
     
  4. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    Just spoke to a tech guy he said with a mechanical problemlike mine Imlooking at $1200 to 2000 to get the data off my drive and it all may not be salvagable. Im not paying that I would rather buy a D200. Anyone know of a place that can recover data from broken hard drive for $500 give or take?
     
  5. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    Don´t do anything too quickly...check out all options and prices.
    Stay away from "amateur" solutions.
    You may only have one shot to get this all back.

    Data recovery software is only helpful for corrupt or accidentally deleted data. It can´t help you here.

    You do need to be sure the HD is "broken" however...
    How old is the HD?
    What type...brand name?
    If you are using XP, have you tried plugging it into another computer?
    (there is just a tiny possibility that a driver isn´t working)
     
  6. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    Its a Western Digital running on Windows XP. Its making a clicking noise when it turns on and I also I cannot turn if off without unplugging it. I think its a mechanical problem, Ill try plugging itinto another computer though. I have calls out to a couple tech guys I worked with to see if they can shed any light on this problem as well.
     
  7. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    And this is an important lesson to us all.

    Back-up!
    Back-up!
    Back-up!

    Digital photo data:

    1) should always be copied immediately to a back-up folder on another separate drive. Therefore, you have 2 copies plus what´s on the CF...

    2) the "worked" data should also be copied to another drive.

    3) If you do any further processing do it again.

    Most suggest the principle of having at least two independent copies of everything...and maybe one of the copies should be on quality CDs. Don´t use DVDs or RW media...they are not stable enough.

    Quality CDs are a hot issue again because many manufacturers are no longer interested in their quality since they are outsourcing to cheap factories and concentrating on new media such as blue-ray or HD discs. So beware. Stick to Verbatim (made in Taiwan or Japan...not India) or Taiyo Yuden if you can get it.
     
  8. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    Lesson learned... a tough one at that. Im going out to get a new hard drive tonight any suggestions for a quality one. I think Illl get two This willnot happen again.
     
  9. PatriK-b

    PatriK-b TPF Noob!

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    Sounds your drive has mechanical or electronic problem.

    If your drive spins and you hear it clicking, spinning motor and heads may be still alive.

    In that case, you can recover by changing the controller board of the drive. You have to find the exactly same drive and properly replace the controlling board.
    I already saved a drive once in that way. This requires minimum electronic knowledge, don't do it by your own if you are not sure.

    Btw, is your drive seen by BIOS? If not, it's one more evidence about controller board death.

    As said deanimator, don't go to fast. Avoid any process that could write to the disk for the moment.

    I know it's too late but consider RAID1 system, or at least efficient backup system.
    If you can read french, I wrote some lines about that kind of story on my web site: How to backup your valuable digital work
     
  10. OmlessWanderer

    OmlessWanderer TPF Noob!

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    That "clicking noise" is affectionately referred to as the click-of-death by system administrators. This is typically a mechanical failure but can (rarely) be caused by a faulty controller circuit as well, or a combination(often one leads to the other). Taking into account the fact that it will not shut off unless you pull the plug, it may very well be an electronic failure.

    The $1500 - $2000 option involves a company with the equipment and white room(immaculate dust free room) space available to take apart the drive and disassemble the drive platters. After which they use their special equipment to read the information from the drive and reconstruct it all in a usable format... The reason they immediately give you the caveat is if it's not a 'simple' mechanical failure and the heads(the little fingers that act like the arm and needle of a record player) either started spitting erroneous data every time it was turned on then it could have over written information, or, and more common cause for loss of data as far as I know, is that the drive head 'crashed' into the platters and caused physical damage to the data. Getting nerdy, sorry. You don't want to spend this kind of money anyway so lets move on to the other possibility.

    I'm going to guess this drive is a few years old so you might have a little bit of difficulty finding the exact same model. Lets say that you can, whether it be ebay, craigslist or what ever... You have a 2nd drive of the same model. Shop around all the computer stores in your area and ask them what they think about this idea until you find one that has either done it before or eager to try... It's a bit of a crap shoot because in order for this idea to work it must be only an electronic failure. The idea is to take the broken drives electronics apart and install the newer drives electronics in their place. You want a shop to do this rather then doing it yourself, unless you just happen to have an anti-static mat and wristband setup handy.

    So the thing to be aware of(aside from the fact that it just might not work) is that if it is a mechanical failure it could cause the fresh electronics to not work(remember how I said one can lead to the other) so you could be out both drives... but hey, how many years of work did you say you lost? I've only done this myself with 2 drives, it worked for one and didn't for the other(the donor drive from the failure still worked afterwards btw). 50-50 is not so bad but 2 attempts is hardly statistically relevant.

    Personally I'd go for the lab option if the data is that important. They will make you sign away your rights to even look at them funny as they promise that there is nothing they can guarantee because they typically offer this service to commercial clientele who have been known to party with a gaggle of hungry lawers - not because their methods are unreliable. The methods are reliable, the condition of the data is not.

    In the future, aside from raids that are mirrored and/or striped sets WITH parity also think about burning every disk worth to a PAIR of double layer DVDs.

    Why a pair? Because the 1st copy you keep at home or at the office - preferably not in the same building as your external drive(don't bother with a fire proof box, the heat alone will make them melt inside the box anyway) and the 2nd copy you send to mom. If you want to get extra paranoid, or if your data is exceptionally valuable to you, there are always safety deposit boxes.

    Why double layer? Takes up half the space for less then the price of 2 single layer disks... :)

    Burned CDs and DVD's are not an archival quality medium so they're not going to last generations on good will alone. Storing them in a cool dark place(box?) you can expect about 10 years out of them on the safe side. Don't forget to go back and copy them to new media when DVDs are replaced by TNBT. Probably sooner then 10 years if HDDVD or BlueRay copying becomes available to the consumer as quickly as DVDs did.

    Good luck with the drive!
     
  11. OmlessWanderer

    OmlessWanderer TPF Noob!

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    Hah, sorry... Didn't notice that PatriK-b suggested the same thing I did about having the electronic parts swapped before I wrote my book. :p I guess that is even better odds though, eh? Unfortunately that click is what has me worried for you.
     
  12. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    After doing some reasearch I think I may be able to salvage the data. A friend of mines father designs and builds electrical equipment and he said he could most likely fix it. The problem is he is giong away for three weeks tonight. I have little patience but I think Ill just unplug the drive set it aside and wait the three weeks to have a pro take a look, if I mess with it I think I may use the old knock it on its side tech ique that worked very well to fix a nintendo or old tv set, I fear this solution will nto work with anything made after 1995 though. I apprciate everyones help and will let you know if I can fix the problem. if so Ill get detalied instructions so I can post them here for all to use.. As for right now im going out to start to rebuild my photo archive. Furthermore I found I had not deleted a couple memory cards as well as my portable Jobo giga one yet so I have all my Nicaragua pictures as well as some recent work including what I feel is my best photo ever.
     

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