How to Recover Data Even When Hard Drive is Damaged


Here at GeekyProjects we have been receiving hard drives for a while from all over the world and recovering their data in exchange for donations to the site. (We even received one from a soldier stationed in Afghanistan once).   However, lately our focus has shifted towards the website itself and we no longer have the time to continue with the service. Nevertheless, we have decided to share our knowledge with the public in a series of articles, and this one is probably one of the most important. How to recover data even when the hard drive is damaged.

Many data recovery services charge big dollars for this, and it is a procedure you can do at home, without having to open the hard drive. This procedure however, does not work for all cases, but it does work for a big percentage of them even when the hard drive has the famous “click noise of death”.

Note: Before attempting this procedure, make sure the damaged hard drive is being detected by the computer’s BIOS. If the computer cannot detect the hard drive then no software will detect it. To do this the drive must be connected directly a computer’s IDE or SATA cable, not by USB. Then you must go into the computer’s BIOS to see if it is being detected.

Ubuntu Rescue Remix and Ddrescue

Ubuntu Rescue Remix is a Linux Live CD. It already comes with a whole array of data recovery tools. One of them is Ddrescue. Ddrescue, is one of the best data recovery programs available and it is free. Ddrescue works by extracting a raw image of your hard drive and transferring it to another drive.  It extracts data bit by bit, regardless of the file system on the drive. The reason it works even when hard drives are dying is because Ddrescue retries several times and even tries to read data backwards. The procedure sometimes can take days, but it is very effective.


The Setup

The procedure involves 3 drives:

1) Your source drive (your damaged hard drive),

2) Your destination drive, this hard drive has to be slightly bigger than the source because it contains the raw image which will occupy the exact same size as your “source” drive, you then need a little extra space for the log files created by DDrescue. This drive must be totally empty or data in it will be overwritten!!!.

3) A drive to extract the raw image to. This drive can be the exact same size or bigger than your original “source” drive, but never smaller. This drive must also be totally empty or the data in it will be overwritten!!!.



As you can see by the picture down below I have two hard drives connected to the computer’s controller card. One is the source and the other the destination drive. I usually flip them upside down so that gravity helps a little if the arms are too close to the plates. However, some hard drives have the arms upside down, so see what works best for you. Be sure to place the drives on a flat surface to prevent vibration. Both hard drives in the picture are SATA, nevertheless, you can have IDEs restoring to SATAs and vice versa (or even to USB drives, but they can be harder for Ubuntu Rescue Remix to detect).

Keep Hard Drive Cool During Recovery

Place a 125mm case fan on top of the broken hard drive, making sure the air flows downwards in the direction of the hard drive. If you have a smaller 2.5 inch laptop hard drive you can use a smaller fan. Just make sure the fan is a little bigger than the hard drive, otherwise, the air won’t be able to escape and therefore won’t cool the sides of the hard drive. This is done to ensure optimal performance during recovery. This is optional but highly recommended. Sometimes the drive starts functioning properly just by cooling it off!.


Extracting the Raw Image

Download the ISO CD image of Ubuntu Rescue Remix (It’s linux, so it’s free), burn the CD and boot the computer with it.

Plug in the source and destination drives and run the following command that will tell you how many drives Ubuntu is seeing:

sudo lshw -C disk -short

The “lshw” command can sometimes be unreliable. If not all of your hard drives are being displayed, try the following command:

cat /proc/partitions

The “cat” command might not give you many details about the drives, but it will display all of them reliably.  For example, if  “lshw” only shows you one out of two drives, just by running the “cat” command and using simple deduction you can determine what the logical name of the missing drive is. (“Cat” will display drives and its partitions; drives are the ones without numbers at the end. Example: a drive will show as /dev/sda and a partition as /dev/sda1)

Identify the logical name of your destination drive (the drive where you will dump the contents of the damaged hard drive to). Create a Linux partition on that drive so that you can dump the image from your bad hard drive in there. Lets say, for this example, you have identified your destination drive as: /dev/sda. (yours could be sdb, sdc, sdd, etc. So change the following command according to what you have). *** Make sure not to confuse your source and destination drives, or you might end-up overwriting all your data***. Issue the following command at your shell prompt to format the destination drive:

sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda

After formating, mount the destination drive, create a “recovery” directory, and get inside it.  To do this execute the following commands one by one (some of these commands may require sudo in front):

sudo mkdir mnt
sudo mount /dev/sda mnt
cd mnt
sudo mkdir recovery
cd recovery

After issuing the last command “cd recovery” you are inside the newly created recovery directory in your destination drive. Now, assuming you have identified your source hard drive as /dev/sdb (the broken hard drive you will be extracting the data from), run Ddrescue to extract the raw data, creating a file on the destination drive called “image” and a log file called “log”:

sudo ddrescue -r 3 /dev/sdb image log

This command will begin extracting the raw image from the bad hard drive, placing it inside the “recovery” directory on your destination drive. Take a look at the last two words in your command line; “image” is the name you are giving your your raw data image file, so, all your data will be stored in one single file named “image”. The las word “log”, is the name of your log file. You can change the name of these two file names to whatever you wish. The log file is extremely useful since it tells Ddrescue at what point it is during the data extraction process, therefore, it will know at what point to begin again if the process gets interrupted. In case of such an event all that needs to be done is to issue the same previous command, using the same file and log names inside the same directory containing the partial raw image file.


Restoring the Raw Image

When finished getting the image, unmount your destination drive by issuing the following command:

sudo umount /dev/sda

and turn the computer off. If you don’t unmount the drive before turning the computer off, the “lshw” command will have a hard time finding this same drive next time your run the command (notice the command is spelled umount not unmount).

Now we have acquired the image, however, since it is in raw format it is unreadable. We need to extract this image to a third hard drive. With the computer turned off unplug the damaged hard drive. We do not need it anymore. Plug in a good hard drive of equal or higher capacity, boot the computer with Ubuntu Rescue Remix and run the command to identify the drives again. Go inside the directory where the images are stored (in the source drive). Now the hard drive containing the raw image will be your source and your new empty hard drive will be your destination. Assuming your source drive is /dev/sda (the one containing the raw image), enter the following commands one by one to mount and enter your source drive:
sudo mkdir mnt
sudo mount /dev/sda mnt
cd mnt
cd recovery

Then and assuming your destination is /dev/sdb (your new empty drive where the raw image will be restored to), make sure your drive it empty otherwise you will overwrite your data) issue the following command to restore the image to your new drive:

sudo ddrescue image /dev/sdb


Make partition Active


Connect your hard drive to another computer (as a slave or by USB) and see if you can access the files. If you cannot, and the partition inside the hard drive is a Windows partition (NTFS, Fat, etc.), you might need to make the partition “active” using another Windows computer. If that is the case, connect the hard drive (as a slave or by USB) to a computer that has Windows and do the following:

Click on Start (The start orb in Vista and Windows 7) >> Click Run (“Search for programs” field in Vista and 7) >> type diskmgmt.msc and press enter.

This will bring up Disk Management. Right click on your newly connected drive and click on “Mark Partition as Active”


Fix Corrupt Partition (If Needed)

Go to “my computer” on the current computer and see if you can browse the files inside the hard drive, if you cannot, you have a bad MBR or partition table. Use TestDisk to fix it (comes with Ubuntu Rescue Remix). I have written an article just for this, click here to read it.


  1. Gabriel, 8. March 2016, 21:46

    This article is quite old but is still highly relevant, as it’s one of the most thorough guides to proceed with a ddrescue based data recovery (including very good advices like the importance of a good ventilation).

    A few notes however :
    – Ubuntu Rescue Remix is no longer updated, so it doesn’t have the most recent version of ddrescue (I had trouble trying to use advanced commands described in the program’s official documentation which are not recognized / supported by the version included in the most recent URR image file). It’s still possible to update the ISO with up-to-date ddrescue and other components, but there are other similarly conceived Linux distributions which can be used just as well (one that seems highly regarded for such purposes is Slax-LFI).
    – Recent versions of Linux systems can actually create and access NTFS partitions, which makes it easier if one is working mainly from a Windows system.
    – There really is no need to make it in three steps as described here. You can either make the first copy directly from drive to drive (instead of drive > image file) so you don’t have to extract an image file to yet another drive in order to try and access it directly (just change the command in : « sudo ddrescue -r 3 /dev/sdb /dev/sdc log », or whichever letter corresponds to the destination drive – be very careful about which is which as a one letter error here can lead to an unrecoverable disaster!) ; or you can run a data recovery software directly on the image file (even Windows softwares if the image file is on a NTFS partition) : Recuva can’t do this currently, but R-Studio and GetDataBack can, as well as other commercial softwares I haven’t tried (Photorec also, but as it recovers files with no names, metadata or directory information whatsoever it’s really a last resort thing, when no other software can identify the original data structure). I had a very good success recently with a HDD from a friend’s sister, using ddrescue + R-Studio (the disk had a huge amount of bad blocks, plus it had been several times with Windows and Ubuntu, a real mess, but ddrescue effectively rescued 99.9+% of it – only 15MB of truly unreadable data – while R-Studio managed to find both the NTFS and the Ext3 partitions with their files/folders structure mostly intact ; I got paid… 3 bowls and a bottle of liquid soap ! :^p).
    – Even if you do want to extract the image file to a third drive as described here, it might be quicker to do it using the dd command, instead of ddrescue (being specialized in rescuing data from damaged drives it may be slower even on flawless ones – I haven’t tested though), or any software able to deal with raw images.

  2. Prashant, 19. November 2011, 5:51

    Hi Pablo,
    Kindly respond to my query dated 10. September 2011, 4:35 below. Please, since long I was waiting for you to come back to this forum.

  3. Terrak, 11. November 2011, 2:46

    Thanks for the response Mr Garcia, its very much appreciated.

  4. Pablo Garcia, 7. November 2011, 9:17

    Hi Terrak
    If the BIOS does not detect the drive or shows an incorrect size, then no operating system will. So, do not waste your time.

  5. Terrak, 3. November 2011, 22:25

    Hi Mr Garcia

    Thanks for the information on this site. I am interested to try this But have a question to ask before starting. I have 2 HDD that have the same problem. They have been moved/dropped whilst on and now do not work correctly. They show up in the Bios but as a blank, no Name, no HDD size. Can URR fix these hdd? i want to know before i start. Any help would be appreciated

    Kind regards


  6. Prashant, 10. September 2011, 4:35

    Hi Pablo, please, please spare some time if possible and advise on my earlier query (reproduced below):
    URR detects drives (like /dev/sda, sda1.. , /dev/sdb..) in linux fashion. My problem is- that it sees drives/partitions of internal hard disk, destination drive (portable 160GB) & even pen drive (that holds URR) but does not detect/see the 80GB damaged Toshiba drive at all which is very correctly seen by BIOS & is connected to IDE. (I also tried to see this damaged drive through TestDisk and Photorec but they are also listing all other drives/partitions but not this drive). I have also cleaned the contact-points of board but no success.

    Please, I need your expert comments. Thanks a lot! (my problem in detail is mentioned in my post dated 20 August 2011, 2:02 below)

  7. AK 11:11, 3. September 2011, 13:07

    Hi Pablo, I appreciate how busy you must be! I have found the correct PCB for my drive in stock in the States, but it comes with the following

    This PCB’s BIOS is intergrated on the Main Controller IC. You should exchange the Main Controller IC to let the HDD be recognized.

    Is this a Necessity?



  8. AK 11:11, 2. September 2011, 18:35

    Ok here’s an update….i have removed the PCB on the HDD and didnt seem to have any contacts to clean – However there is this

    What seems to be a burt out chip? Please tell me that this will be the cause of the Drive not being able to be recognised by the BIOs or is my optimism misplaced and this would have been caused by the head failure which was the diagnosis over the phone today?!!

    My drive only has the S/N and the following info on the sticker:

    Product of Thailand
    MDL: WD5000AAKS – 00YGA0
    DATE: 12 SEP 2007
    WWWN: 50014EE255DB8FBC

    Is there any way I could find the firmware ver from this info to replace the board? And is there a pointer on where to start looking?
    And the biggest question of all , could it fix it?

    Again thanks so much for your time…..


  9. AK 11:11, 2. September 2011, 17:02

    Thanks Pablo – i’ll try those first I’ve been told by the Data recovery folk that the Caviar Black are notoriously difficult to fix. Will it damage it further by putting under power again after cleaning the contacts? And if you could point me in the right direction for purchasing a new pcb for it – is it right that the pcb has to be within a two week manufacture of the hdd – and from the same country…….due to specific firmware tied with the hdd?

    Thanks again – PS I was quoted up to £600 from ABC recovery so we wont be looking at those pictures for a good while yet…..:-( Thanks again for your time in responding


  10. Prashant, 2. September 2011, 0:33

    Hi Pablo,
    By drive letter I meant the same only. URR detects (like /dev/sda, sda1.. , /dev/sdb..) in linux fashion only. My problem is- that it sees drives/partitions of internal hard disk, destination drive (portable 160GB) & even pen drive (that hols URR) but does not detect/see the 80GB failed drive at all which is very correctly seen by BIOS. (I also tried to see this drive through TestDisk and Photorec but they also dont see this.
    Please, I need your expert comments. Thanks a lot!

  11. Pablo Garcia, 1. September 2011, 20:56

    Hi Stephen
    Do not do it using USB… I state this on the article. USB is highly problematic with DD Rescue and it is rare when it actually works, this has been my experience. I know it is convenient but there is nothing like connecting the hard drives directly to the SATA or IDE interfaces.

  12. Pablo Garcia, 1. September 2011, 20:50

    Hi anthony:
    Save your money. Unfortunately it won’t do you any good to buy an extra hard drive for DD Rescue since the BIOS is not detecting the hard drive. IF the BIOs does not detect the hard drive, no program will. That being said there are a few things you can try. 1) unscrewing the board and cleaning the contacts. 2) Purchase a new board (However, I cannot guarantee the board is bad, so you will be doing this in the blind)

  13. Pablo Garcia, 1. September 2011, 20:39

    Hi Prashant:
    Ubuntu Rescue Remix runs on Linux, this is not Windows. Linux does not assign drive letters it is just a path. it should look something like \dev\sda.

  14. AK 11:11, 31. August 2011, 5:58

    Hi Pablo, thanks for the article!

    My drive failed the other day although still being detected in the Bios – now though my WD caviar 500g drive is now no longer being detected in the Bios there is just a blank space next to the sata port id, it seems to spin up and then stop when the boot drive kicks in, and then spin up again with repetitive noise – I wouldnt call it a click but it does sound as though its re reading data – Now when the drive is plugged in it prevents the PC from booting and just says disk error – when removed it boots fine. (Win 7) It contains over 280gig of pictures of my kids from birth – It was only last week that my wife told me to look at online back up…….which I said i’d get round to. :-( – Is there any option now apart from data recovery as I think she’ll divorce me (and i haven’t got £750 – £1000 for recovery) Gradually Despairing….Could you recommend a Data recovery team who are sympathetic to broke people? Or a good Divorce Lawyer….

    Joking aside – Its a relation breaker this and I’m devastated at my school boy error of no back up.. is it worth trying dd rescue anyway (I’d have to buy a 750g drive first) i forgot to mention on my daughters Pc its being recognised as an IDE disc but no ID and still has the disc error.

    Many thanks for your time,


  15. Prashant, 30. August 2011, 5:04

    Hi Pablo,
    My damaged 80GB Toshiba Portable Hard Drive is not visible in “My Computer” & “Device Manager” both but is being correctly detected by BIOS when connected to primary IDE port of desktop PC (which is having 320GB internal SATA hard drive with windows XP). After booting the PC with Ubuntu Rescue Remix-11.4 (thro bootable pen drive) and using commands “sudo lshw -c disk -short” or “cat /proc/partitions”, it detects drives/partitions of internal hard disk, destination drive & pen drive but does not detect/asign drive letter to this bad 80GB drive at all. What should I try now? (I have also tried after cleaning logic board’s contacts properly but same result.) Kindly guide, please, please…

    P.S.: The bad drive makes soft sound of click-click (at 1 sec interval) with normal spin till the time Ubuntu Rescue Remix boots & shell prompt appears. At this point click-click sound stops BUT spinning still appears to be normal. This means that while issuing commands click-click sound is not present but normal spinning still exists.

  16. Stephen Bunn, 29. August 2011, 5:49

    Hello Pablo,
    Need advice, everything smooth until command ‘sudo ddrescue -r 3 / dev/sdc image log’
    after enter, system response is ‘ddrescue: too many files’
    It then refers me to ‘ddrescue –help’ for more info.
    I’m trying to image data from seagate 500gb (sdc) to a 1tb (sdb) both through usb and recognized.
    Can you shed some light on a possible command fix.

  17. Pablo Garcia, 27. August 2011, 16:16

    Do you know if you hard drive is healthy? If it is experiencing any type of malfunctioning I would suggest making a raw image and then working with the content on a healthy drive because you do not know how long your hard drive is going to last. When you say that your OD does not read the drive, does it give it a drive letter at least? does it show up under “Computer” if it does then you can try using Racuva or Photorec to recover your files, provided that the hard drive is healthy.

  18. Pablo Garcia, 27. August 2011, 15:47

    Hi Noob
    You just formated your hard drive so you are not going to be able to get your data the conventional way. You have to use Photorec or Recuva to get your data back provided that your drive is in good mechanical condition. If Not you must follow this tutorial and make a raw image of the drive so you can work with the data on a good, healthy hard drive were you can use Racuva or Photorec reliably.

  19. Noob, 25. August 2011, 11:40

    Yea – so did exactly what I did NOT want to do (and what you said not to do) which is I started the sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda command on my MAIN hard drive holding Windows 7 ultimate

    (not the source, or destination HD, but the main PC HD)

    I recognized it 3 seconds in and shut off the PC, now I get no boot device available. Do you have any suggestions as for which direction I should start to repair this? I’m fairly tech savvy (maybe not best typist) so just looking for a pointer or two as to where I should investigate


  20. Prashant, 25. August 2011, 4:17

    Hello Pablo, please respond, I desperately need your expert comments.
    My 80GB Toshiba portable hard drive does not show up in “My Computer” & “Device Manager” but is being detected correctly by BIOS when connected to primary IDE port of desktop PC (which is having 320GB internal SATA hard drive with windows XP). After booting the PC with Ubuntu Rescue Remix-11.4 (thro bootable pen drive) and using commands “sudo lshw -C disk -short” or “cat /proc/partitions”, it detects drives/partitions of internal hard disk & pen drive but does not detect this bad 80GB drive at all. What should I try now? Kindly help.

    P.S.: The bad drive makes soft sound of click-click (at 1 sec interval) with normal spin till the time Ubuntu Rescue Remix boots & shell prompt appears. At this point click-click sound stops BUT spinning still appears to be normal. This means that while issuing commands click-click sound is not present but normal spinning still exists.

  21. Ed, 24. August 2011, 21:34

    Hi Ed

    The rescue might be undergoing a damaged area, it might come out of it or it might not. Some times rescues can take several days. Did you place a fan on top of the Hard Drive? It seems that a little bit was recovered and then it stopped, that some times happens when there is overheating.

    Thanks for your reply Pablo,

    I have a fan on top, but its only small as I couldnt spare one out of my comp. But it is nto very warm here anyway, being winter and new zealand and living in a shed!!!
    What do you suggest? Its still running, up to 20 hours now and the digits are still the same (except ipos and opos).


  22. Pablo Garcia, 24. August 2011, 21:11

    Hi Ed

    The rescue might be undergoing a damaged area, it might come out of it or it might not. Some times rescues can take several days. Did you place a fan on top of the Hard Drive? It seems that a little bit was recovered and then it stopped, that some times happens when there is overheating.

  23. Ed, 24. August 2011, 15:47

    I did write a large post up here yesterday but seems to have disapeared.

    I was wondering if Pablo, or anyone else could help. Im running ddrescue on a 1TB hard drive. The digits are as follows:

    rescued: 0 B, errsize: 2199 GB, current rate: 0B/s
    ipos: 1375 MB, errors: 1, average rate 0 B/s
    opos: 1375 MB time from last successful read: 12h

    What stands out at me is the errsize of 2199 GB. Then the fact there doesnt seem to be any progress being made even after 12 hours. The 1 TB is (or was) almost full and Im trying to recover the majority. This will take around 11 days I think, judging from an earlier post (20hrs=70GB)????
    So I dont want to let it run if its not working

    Any advice welcome


  24. Abhi, 23. August 2011, 15:40

    Hi Pablo. Please Help Me. Some days ago suddenly my 500 GB Western Digital Sata hard disk stopped working… I got it checked from my local computer engineer and he said its MBR or Track zero has been lost. I have very important data in that disk which i want to recover. When the computer starts(Black screen starting) it shows the disk but after that it shows Disk failure. I have tried to connect it to another hard disk and making it slave but then the computer’s OS doesn’t read it but the the boot screen always read it… Can u suggest anything by which i can recover my data…

  25. Prashant, 23. August 2011, 5:45

    Hi Pablo,
    Kindly provide your valuable comments on my post dated 20 August 2011, 2:02. Please! Your help is highly appreciated. Thanks!

  26. Pablo Garcia, 21. August 2011, 22:10

    Hi Dominic:
    Yes, if your hard drive is formatted as FAT32 you can read it in both Windows and Linux with NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER. I do it all the time. it is weird that Windows cannot see the drive maybe there is something wrong with the partition. Why don’t you delete the partition, not the partition table but the partition using gparted and then create a new msdos partition, then format it as fat32? Read this article:
    It will show you what I am talking about.

  27. Dominic Speight, 20. August 2011, 20:51

    Hi Pablo,
    hoping you can help me…
    i turned on my computer a few days ago to find my external hard drive was missing from “my computer”
    its where i store everything so i was a little concerned, it was showing in the “safely remove hardware” icon but no where else. someone told me my drive was ruined.
    anyway i came across this site and decided to give it a go, i installed ubuntu and i plugged the damaged hard drive in (straight to pc, i removed the side panel) linux read it right away and i was able to get access to my files.
    so i got another drive and moved all the files over to that one, however windows cant read it as i formatted it in an only linux readable format. so after formatting again to FAT (readable by windows) i moved all files again and still not showing up in windows?
    is there a file format i can convert my hard drive to that can be read by both windows and linux?

  28. Prashant, 20. August 2011, 2:02

    Hi Pablo,
    Thanks for the useful advice. I was confident to reach that stage of recovery process but got stuck with problem:
    My 80GB Toshiba portable hard drive does not show up in “My Computer” & “Device Manager” but is being detected correctly by BIOS when connected to primary IDE port of desktop PC (which is having 320GB internal SATA hard drive with windows XP). After booting the PC with Ubuntu Rescue Remix-11.4 (thro bootable pen drive) and using commands “sudo lshw -C disk -short” or “cat /proc/partitions”, it detects drives/partitions of internal hard disk & pen drive but does not detect this bad 80GB drive at all. What should I try now? Kindly help.

    P.S.: The bad drive makes soft sound of click-click (at 1 sec interval) with normal spin till the time Ubuntu Rescue Remix boots & shell prompt appears. At this point click-click sound stops BUT spinning still appears to be normal. This means that while issuing commands click-click sound is not present but normal spinning still exists.

  29. Pablo Garcia, 12. August 2011, 8:55

    Hi Prasant.
    No, you cannot use any of those partitions for recovery. unless you can manage to format that partition to ext3 or ext4 which is the filesystem that Linux and therefore Ubuntu Rescue Remix uses.

  30. Prashant, 12. August 2011, 4:41

    Hi Pablo,
    May I please draw your attention to my comment posted here on 8. August 2011, 6:56. Kindly do reply. I am eagerly waiting for it. Thanks!

  31. Pablo Garcia, 10. August 2011, 19:27

    Hi Lester:
    The second hard drive needs to be slightly bigger because it makes a exact raw copy of the first hard drive so you need the exact same space plus a little more for the log file.

  32. Lester, 10. August 2011, 14:08

    Hi Pablo. I have a 2TB damaged hard drive (NTFS). Only 1.2TB is occupied. I have two more 2TB empty hard drives, so I want to try your guide. Just a couple of questions: when you say: “slightly bigger” for the second drive, its only for the logs or I need an HD with more than 2TB? (Or perhaps a different file system?). And, how much time could this take? Thanks.

  33. Pablo Garcia, 8. August 2011, 8:32

    Hi Kevin, it all depends on how corrupt the data is after recovery and if the partition can be recovered in good condition. There are different issues affecting a hard drive and many different results. You can get all your data and partition intact or you can just get your data or you might not get anything at all.

  34. Prashant, 8. August 2011, 6:56

    Please help. I want to recover data from a damaged 80GB external hard drive by using the method given in this article. My PC’s single hard drive has 4 partitions (third & fourth are larger than 80GB). Can I use one of these as destination drive? Shall it not destroy/overwrite data of other 3 partitions? Kindly respond. Thanks in advance.

  35. Kevin, 8. August 2011, 3:02

    I just dropped my laptop and now it won’t boot up windows vista. It is making the “clicky noise of death.” Will I be able to still use my copy of windows vista from a recovered drive or will I be up a creek on this?

  36. Alex Harper, 27. July 2011, 1:08

    This worked so amazingly I save 25gb of Photos (over 50,000 files) its a must use and a kind soul had given it up for free!

    Well I cant explain why the hardrive wouldnt show using lsdk but it did show the partition when I used the cat/ commands. I had to stop the process after about 20 hours due to a time restriction I was on. The program had only managed to succeded in recovering about 70gb of a 320gb drive in the alloted amount of time. average transfer speed (1000kbps). I followed these instructions on how to restore the image to a new and working drive with out any problems. I then externally (USB 3) docked the restored HDD but the drive was not recognized by the PC (drive manager just said un-partitoned space) I then followed the repair partition instructions at the bottom of this article. The software managed to recover the size correctly (320gb NTFS) however windows still said that the drive needed to be formatted before use. So I then used an amazing piece of software called (Kernal Data Recovery $50) which took less than 10 minutes to scan the drive and found over 50,000 files. I then used it to recover them with amazing success only maybe 100 out of those 50,000 were corrupted. I saved over 25gb of photos (which my client had not backed up, silly silly silly person) So I am sooo amazed at how well ddrescue recovered and restored the files which allowed my other program to recover them. It turned out that the drive didnt have much more than 50gb on it anyway so it was a full and succesful recovery. And may I add that the drive I was recovering from was so badly damaged that when I docked it externaly the computer wouldn’t even recognize a device!

  37. Pablo Garcia, 26. July 2011, 9:45

    Your hard drive is probably about to die, did you read the information in this article? All the information you need to know is there, all you need to do is read.

  38. Pablo Garcia, 26. July 2011, 9:39

    Are you sure that backup hard drive is in good condition? it could be damaged as well.

    cat /proc/partitions

    and see if you can see it that way. If you do not, test the hard drive to see if there’s anything wrong with it..

  39. Pablo Garcia, 26. July 2011, 9:21

    Hi Alex
    Thanks for your comment, I corrected the article. Its actually supposed to be “mnt” which stands for “mount” not nmt.

  40. Alex Harper, 23. July 2011, 18:54

    Never mind when I edited this command
    sudo mkdir nmt
    sudo mount /dev/sda mnt
    cd mnt
    cd recovery


    sudo mkdir nmt
    sudo mount /dev/sda nmt
    cd nmt
    cd recovery

    it worked.

  41. Alex Harper, 23. July 2011, 18:44

    When trying to unmount my drive it got the error something along the lines of cant stop this device…. i rebooted and now the thing wont mount my drive which contains the backed up img…. sudo lshw -C disk -short does not show sda but cat shows two drives, What now?

  42. maitai, 21. July 2011, 18:10

    hi i need your help please :)
    all of my music is stored on a toshiba portable hard drive. when plugged in it usually gives the msg to format the drive , which of course i ignore cuz i didnt want to loose all my music, however recently the drive has been making slight “funny noises” so i decided to try backup the drive BUT THE FILES CAN NOT BE COPIED?! after hours of trying to copy across the system would either freeze or give me an error msg, and NO FILES ARE BEING COPIED..why is this and how do i get my music files onto my new hard drive?! PLEASE ADVISE ME

  43. Shibu, 18. July 2011, 7:26

    I am shibu, My 320 GB Seagate hardrive makes the clicking noise and doesn’t actually stay powered on for more than 10 seconds. But i badly need the data in it. So after turns on, the light would glow on, i can feel the disk spinning with the clicking sound, soon after few seconds everything stops.

    Could someone please tell me what inside the hardrive must be replaced. Please i seek the help of all the bloggers who knows what exactly can be done in this case to recover the data.

    PLEASE HELP…!!!!!

  44. Pablo Garcia, 15. July 2011, 8:40

    Hi Kristal
    Data Recovery programs don’t change thousands of dollar for nothing. It is hard to diagnose a drive inside an enclosure, you need to take the hard drive out of the enclosure to rule out and enclosure program. You need to connect the true hard drive to the motherboards IDE or SATA cables (depending on what interface it uses), then, if it gets detected by the computer’s BIOS you go from there. If it does not you have very few options left, other than maybe replacing the board underneath (if that happens to be the problem) or cleaning the contacts, but you need to take the hard drive out of the enclosure and you need to read If you want to solve your problem. If you do not have time, then you need to send it to a data recovery company.

  45. Pablo Garcia, 15. July 2011, 8:24

    Hi Chuck:
    Unfortunately “0 bytes rescued” means exactly what it says. Usually what you start getting the raw image and you do not get any data rescued since the beginning, it probably not going to recover anything. Make sure you have the source and destination drives right, that is extremely important. Also make sure you connect the drives directly to the SATA or IDE cables on the motherboard and not using USB. USB sometimes work and sometimes does not.

  46. Pablo Garcia, 15. July 2011, 8:13

    Hi “Need Help”
    There are many things you can do on your own. You need to start by taking the hard drive out of the enclosure to rule out a problem with the enclosure, then you go from there. You have a lot to read.

  47. Harish, 14. July 2011, 15:06

    Hi Pablo,
    I have 320Gb Fujitsu laptop HDD, it is neither detected in WINDOWS not in BIOS and makes clicking noise. I tried connected it to my desktop, still the same, not detected. I also tried using data recovery softwares like “iCare”, “Mini tool power data recovery”, these sofwares not able to detect the HDD. I have important information in that HDD, please help/guide me how would I succeed to get the data back from HDD.
    Thanks a ton!

  48. Chuck Brown, 12. July 2011, 23:47

    Typo “prompt” response…lol

  49. Chuck Brown, 12. July 2011, 23:01

    Hi Pablo,
    First of all thanks for giving me a glimmer of hope for recovering my oh so important files. Here’s my issue(s):
    I didn’t have a large enough destination drive initially, it ran out if space (1 TB) but seemed to be recovering fine. When I purchased the 2 TB drive the process is going, however, I notice everything moving but the rescued slot. It reads 0B. Does this mean that nothing is being rescued or should I just wait? I just wanna know if it’s progressing as it should and if not how can I remedy it. Thanks a lot for your proof response.

  50. Need Help :), 12. July 2011, 20:55

    Hwy guys! So I bought a new laptop and I had an external Western Digital Portable 500GB hard drive which i dropped maybe once or twice before and my desktop wouldn’t read it anymore even though the light blinks when I plug in the USB and so I thought Ihd give it another try (its been like 2 years) and still my laptop (Windows 7) doesn’t recognize it.

    Do I need to send it somewhere for them to recover it for me? And if so, where do I send the hard drive?

    I live in New York City, United States.


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