Hard drive inadvertently re-imaged

By todd ·
I sent my laptop to HP due to a broken/loose AC powerjack. I was very concerned about anyone touching my laptop as it is used to run my small business and I could not make a backup as I couldn't power up. The HP personnel assured me that they would back up the data and that the HD should not even be affected.

Of course when I got my laptop back they had re-imaged the HD, replaced the mobo (powerjack is soldered to it), and sent me a new battery. So for $422 I have a 22 cent powerjack and have lost 10 yrs worth of documents, e-mails, etc.

A company called ESS Data Recovery said the average cost of recovery was $720 but would depend on them looking at it. Turn time was 3-5 business days.

I have been told not to boot the computer, install software/applications as that could over-write data.

Anyone have any ideas other than spend $700? Anyone know if HP will pay for this since this is their screw-up?


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Well this is just a guess but I would think that HP used

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Hard drive inadvertently ...

A different M'Board in the system and that required the new image to be installed. The first thing that you need to make sure of is that you got your original HDD returned. It's possible that they fitted a new different HDD to the system because the replacement M'Board takes a different drive. So before you even attempt to recover any data you need to make sure that you have something to recover from that will actually have your data on it.

As the $720.00 is extremely cheap I would grab them and push the HDD straight at them without a second thought but make them clone the HDD over to a new one so that you have a working NB before you even consider allowing them to attack the drive. You'll be up for a new HDD but these are cheap and when it comes to business Data you can never be too careful.

OH HP will defiantly not pay for this and if they where doing their job properly they should have told you to pull the HDD and place it somewhere safe and allow them to supply a new HDD so that your data remained safe. Now you are up for far more to recover your data and even that is debatable as HP may have changed the HDD over.

What happened to your Backup's? You should never trust a HDD or NB to store critical data on ever they fail with alarming regularity and when a HDD Dies you are looking at Thousands to recover the data the last time that I had to do this cost 46K and i thought that was cheap. The data recovery houses here ask for a $900.00 up front Quote Fee which is taken off the cost of recovery.

As HP has applied a new image you will also be unlikely to be able to reinstall your OS as the Slipstreamed Recovery CD will most likely not have the correct drivers for the new M'Board. So you need to clone the working HDD before anything else happens.


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couple more questions

by todd In reply to Well this is just a guess ...

FYI - I was able to verify that they at least sent me my original HDD back.

1. What is a NB? I know that HDD = hard drive and mobo = motherboard but that's about it.

2. So are you saying the chances are good or not good of recovery? Also you are verifying what I suspected which is this is beyond an applications ability to recover data correct?

3. What makes you so sure that HP won't cover the cost since it's their snafu?

4. What is the recommended easy way for a techno-neophyte to back up data? Must be fast, easy, and fool proof as I'm all three.

Thanks for the help all!

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NB = Note Book what Lap Tops are called today

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to couple more questions

If you are sure that you have your original drive you can recover the data fairly easily at a Data Recovery House as they will be able to do Forensic Data Recovery and get to your data. The problem will come about because HP has more than likely used a different type M'Board that has different drivers so if you don't get the drive cloned at the start you will most likely not be able to install a working copy of the OS as HP Slipstreams only the required drivers to their Recovery CD's and if you have a different type M'Board you will not have the right drivers for it.

You can use Forensic Data Recovery Software but unless you know exactly what you are doing you can do more damage than good and make it more expensive to recover your data. If you want to have some idea of what is involved look here at X Ways Forensic Recovery Web Site


Actually it's possible to recover every layer of data on any HDD but it's horrendously expensive and generally speaking only National Crime Authorities use this when they are fairly certain of a conviction and want that bit extra to push the evidence over the top. This comes in at about $750,000.00 or in that vicinity so it's not something to use at every opportunity and defiantly not by members of the general public as it's both expensive and time consuming. Basically the Recovery Places disassemble th HDD coat the platters with some green goo let it dry and then place the platters into a special machine and read everything that has ever been written to that HDD. That's the simple explanation but it gives a fairly good idea of what is involved.

3. What makes you so sure that HP won't cover the cost since it's their snafu?

If they used a different type of M'Board they had no option but to place new image on the HDD as the old one would not have booted and returning a nonworking NB after repair isn't considered as acceptable by anyone. You also would find that you didn't have the necessary tools to perform a Repair Install so the NB while fixed would have remained non working. The most likely thing that has happened is that HP has supplied a newer M'Board and it has different Drivers and a Different Chip Set so your Recovery CD will be useless in allowing you to reload the system.

4. What is the recommended easy way for a techno-neophyte to back up data? Must be fast, easy, and fool proof as I'm all three.

Others may disagree with me here but in cases like this I prefer to have a HDD in a USB Caddy and Clone it regularly. That way if the HDD fails you can slip in the Clone copy and be running again quite quickly. You just need to remember to replace the Dead HDD and clone another copy along with the OS and your Data.

While you can just copy your data across to the external HDD you will need to reload the system if the HDD breaks so it's faster to clone which takes slightly longer but is much faster at getting a working system when things go wrong. The down side of this is that you need to carry around another HDD in a USB Caddy and not one of the pre built units you need to buy the Drive and the Caddy and fit the drive to the Caddy so it can be pulled out quickly. You also need to treat this carefully and not throw the external HDD Caddy around and use either an external Power adaptor or both USB plugs just to make sure that you are getting enough power to the HDD so it doesn't die in the process. I would suggest plugging directly into the NB and not a PCMCIA USB Card as these don't supply enough power to drive a USB HDD but if you use a Powered USB Hub just the main Power & Data Plug will do.

The other down side of doing things this way is if the external HDD gets stolen anyone will have direct access to your data which isn't considered as a Good Thing when in business.

If that is too confusing post back to where I lost you and I'll try again to explain it simpler.


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