Data Recovery

By cmpdr6 ·
I don't think I have ever posted in here. Mostly learn by reading various posts.
My issue; my sister had an old computer that she installed XP on, after a while, the hard drive died. She has alot of important pictures. I have attempted several times to do a data recovery using my computer and just attaching the hard drive externally. It does not show up in BIOS, but will show up under the remove hardware safely tool with the exact name of the hard drive. It doesn't show up under 'my computer'. I bought Active File Recovery a long time ago and decided to try to use that, the hard drive shows up on this program but it states it's not ready and it's a FAT 12 system. Any idea why a hard drive that was NTFS is now reading FAT 12?
Sidebar, when first plugging into a power source about a minute to two minutes of short beeps, then stops but I hear the motor running.
Bottom line is; is this drive's data recoverable? I do not want her to toss $1000+ into a professional service if there is no hope.

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Well several options here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Data Recovery

Have you looked in Drive Management to see what is shown when you have the external Drive Plugged in?

If not look there to see what is shown and post back with that Information.

Also what do you mean by the HDD Died? If the system just stopped working and would no longer boot because of a Corrupted HDD Partition Tables the Data is recoverable but if the HDD has failed that is a different story.

As for paying a Data Recovery House the ones here at least charge for Quote and then deduct that off the price of the full recovery. They also give a report with the Quote as to what is likely to be recoverable and what is not.

So for starters refit the Failed drive tot he Computer that it was in and test it with it's Makers Testing Utility which you can get here


If that tels you that the drive is dead remove the drive fit it to another computer and retest. If it is still showing faulty you needn't bother attempting to recover the Data off it as you'll be wasting your Time and Effort. If however it shows as Good you can use one of the Live Linux's to attempt to recover the data off the drive you can download one from here though personally Knoppix is my preferred option


Or you can buy a Linux Mag from your Local Newsagent with a Live Linux on the Cover Disc. These boot off the CD and run from the CD so they are a bot slower that something running from the HDD but they do not affect the HDD in any way so you can safely access the HDD to see what if anything is viable on it.

As for the external HDD not showing in the BIOS it's not supposed to as it's connected by USB Generally and this isn't listed int eh BIOS.

But probably more importantly what other than Active File Recovery have you tried here? The more that you mess with damaged Drives the less likely you are to recover anything off them so it's better not to start if you do not know what it is you are attempting. Also you never write anything to a drive you are attempting to recover Data From as you run the risk of overwriting the Data on it making it far harder and much more expensive to recover what is possible to recover after you have messed with the drive.

I personally like the On Track Data Recovery Software as it can rebuild a Partition Table very quickly on a corrupted HDD and not adversely affect any data on that drive but it's not the cheapest option available though with it being so useful I don't think that it's overly expensive. But it is over 1K.

I would suggest trying a Live Linux even though you may need to alter the Boot Order on the computer to Optical Drive First and see what you can from there before attempting anything else particularly if your sister considers this Data as Important the less that you can do to a HDD to recover Data off it the better the chances that you'll get a full recovery but if you have attempted to write anything to this drive before now you'll have run the risk of overwriting Data and you'll need to use a Forensic Recovery Program which is neither cheap or for the faint hearted. It's also terribly time consuming.

As for Sidebar, when first plugging into a power source about a minute to two minutes of short beeps, then stops but I hear the motor running.

This really doesn't sound good and the more that you attempt to play with this drive the more likely you are to do damage that may not be easily recoverable. This is defiantly not right so you need to look at the Power that is getting to the HDD Enclosure and if there is not an external Power Adapter you need to use Both USB Plugs on the Data lead as the second Plug is just a Power Lead not a Power & Data Plug. you need to plug this into a different USP Port or a Powered USB Hub. The drive shouldn't be making any noise like what you have described.


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