Bad hard drive. Lost data?

Gabriel Gunderson gabe at
Fri Nov 3 16:27:13 MST 2006

I recently helped someone install an extra drive in their system
(Windows XP - not that it matters).  They had one 20 gig drive that the
OS was installed on, and a 40 gig drive that had work files.  The 40 gig
drive was 100% full so they needed more room.

I installed a 3rd drive with 250 gigs.  All went well with the addition
of the extra drive.  After I partitioned and formatted the drive, I left
them in charge of moving the data around.  It was decided that they
would copy all of the files off of the old 40 gig to the new 250 gig
drive, and they would stop using the 40 because it was a bit older

The next day, I got a call from a very concerned user.  It seems that as
they were copying the 40 gigs worth of data over to the *new* drive,
that the *old* drive died.  At first there were errors and then after a
while, the BIOS stopped recognizing the drive.  I'm guessing that it was
on the borderline and moving that much data all at once triggered the
failure.  The new drive has about 20 of the 40 gigs worth of files -
leaving 20 gigs of "lost" data.

I tried the old "chill the drive" trick with no luck.  The drive makes a
good health spin-up sound but when it seeks, it makes a noise that's
half click and half grind.  I'm satisfied that nothing short of a
professional data recovery shop will be able to do anything with it.

As you may have guessed, the user really, really would like that data
back and is looking for the best road to recovery.  We will start
contacting people Monday, but I wanted to hear what y'all have to say
about it.  Do any of you work with someone you trust and recommend in
the area of data recovery?  My one experience in this area (10 years
ago) was a huge disaster.  The guy was a total liar and told me he did
everything he could for a week.  I later discovered he never even looked
at it the drive.  Anyway, I 'm really hoping for some good leads here.

Before anyone says anything, everyone involved learned a painful lesson
about the importance of a good backup.


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