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Old 05-30-2010, 04:21 PM   #1
digitsm
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Exclamation My external HDD is damaged; How to save my data?


Hello

I have a Western Digital My Passport 500 GB (WD5000ME) external hdd which is damaged due to shocking or striking!
All I try to due is saving my files.
Many problems are here:
1. Neither Ubuntu (live) nor win-xp and win-7 recognize my device. For example in win-7 it would install the device driver, but it doesn't even show the drive icon for seeing the device properties.
In Ubuntu it would not even recognize any changes when I attach my USB HDD.
2. The only way for me was using bootable live disk-management softwares like Acronis Disk Director Suite, Partition Table Doctor, G-Parted Live and ... (I think the Acronis Disk Director is best one)
3. Even in Acronis at boot mode, it shows all things wrong! it shows the total capacity of my drive about 238 MB (instead of 480GB)!!!
Also it shows my partition type an ext3 (which must be a FAT32 partition) with size of about 13.8GB!!!!
This information is also representing on Partition Table Doctor too!

Fortunately Acronis have an editor tool which can edit byte to byte of my HDD in HEX mode. I can even manipulate MBR of that disk with that tool.

There are 3 questions:
1. With situations described above, which kind of damage do you guess? damage to Disk's MBR, damage to partitions boot-sector, damage to other sectors, damage to internal circuits (or maybe damage to internal ROM of the disk)?
2. As I saw currently my disk has 242 Cylinders, 32 logical Heads and 63 Sectors; but it should have ~60800 Cylinders, 255 logical Heads and 63 Sectors per each track. Where are these disk properties written to? Are they written to MBR and so they are damaged? Or they are written on a internal ROM in the disk and that ROM is damaged?
3. As I said before I can change contents of MBR (of that external drive) manually. If the disk properties (its size and ...) are written on MBR and so they are damaged, how can I correct them? In what position of MBR are these informations placed?

Any help will be appreciated; Thanks
 
Old 05-30-2010, 05:11 PM   #2
thorkelljarl
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Things are not so good...

Were it my drive I would clone it to another HDD as soon as possible, using either Clonezilla or the command "dd". If you have damaged the HDD as a device, either mechanically or electronically, the problem may well become worse as you connect and run the drive, loosing you more data that cannot be recovered. In any case, do not write anything to the drive.

If you clone the drive, you can work on trying to recover any data that is present without risking any further failure of the device.

If you are lucky, your data is there, and can be retrieved. The standard tools are these.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

The cgsecurity site has a guide and a wiki for advice.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 05-30-2010 at 05:18 PM.
 
Old 05-31-2010, 08:47 AM   #3
H_TeXMeX_H
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Use:
http://www.forensicswiki.org/wiki/Ddrescue

to make an image of the drive, then use testdisk of foremost to recover files from the image. If you're lucky you may get something, if not, at least you tried.
 
Old 05-31-2010, 08:57 AM   #4
pixellany
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If the drive is making any kind of unusual noise, then I would seriously consider getting it to a professional recovery service. Otherwise, the standard advice is to clone it and then use tools like testdisk and photorec. (on the clone)
 
Old 05-31-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
H_TeXMeX_H
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If you have something on there that you need but can't recover in any way, do seek a professional service. It will NOT be cheap tho.
 
Old 05-31-2010, 10:57 AM   #6
digitsm
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Exclamation It sounds unusual noises too!

As you guessed it sounds some unusual noises when I connect it to the computer. I'm not sure what happened to it, but I guess there is a contact between a platter and something else!
Although I could save ~5GB of data with this situation and after an accidental restart it didn't connect again.
An interesting trick was to get it cold!!! (When the HDD gets cold the contacting parts retract and their distance would increase!)
So I tried to freeze my HDD in freezer; which reduces its noises a little, but still it doesn't connect to the computer!

As you said my last way is to seek a professional recovery service; but I don't trust them so much; I think they can only repair my HDD not recovering my data!
I'll go to a recovery service at some next days.

Many TNX to all for their helps
 
Old 05-31-2010, 11:11 AM   #7
H_TeXMeX_H
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Actually, they can only recover your data not repair the HDD.
 
  


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