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Old 08-22-2016, 11:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
Virgin Techie
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Default Failing Hard Drive

Hi there,

New here, not extremely tech savvy, but also not an idiot. Here is a short summary of what is happening: I have an Asus laptop, I bought it about 3-4 years ago and it got through my last year of college plus a few more years afterward. It holds important files including only copies of original writings and some photos.

A few weeks ago, my laptop was attempting over and over again to update itself to Windows 10. It would go through a whole process (updating and installing, took a very long time) and after each attempt it would say that it failed. Each time it did this, my computer would start to freeze more and run slowly. I don't use my laptop very often anymore at all, since I graduated college I use it sparingly. After a while, it just stopped booting and started coming up with an automatic repair screen. After doing some research, I realized the issue was my hard drive.

At this point, I tried a few different ways to get the files off my hard drive and possibly reformat it and reinstall it in my laptop. I tried plugging in an external hard drive for the automatic repair, but it didn't seem to recognize or be able to access it. I tried removing the hard drive and putting it into another PC to transfer the files that way, but it wouldn't open. I tried using the cords to plug the hard drive directly into another PC, and it wouldn't open that way either.

After all of this, I decided to take it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy to see if they could help. After about 30-45 minutes of the associate at Best Buy trying to sell me a membership for $349.99, I finally got my laptop checked in and I paid $100. After a few days, they called me and said that they basically did the same exact thing that I did, plugged the hard drive into several different PC's and found that they couldn't open it. I essentially paid them $100 to do what I had already done. They told me my hard drive was failing, which is something I had already known. They said that they could send it out to a facility where they would take the hard drive apart and try to recover the files this way, but that this would cost anywhere from $250-over $1,000. I said no, and I will be picking the hard drive up today.

My question is: is there a way I can take the hard drive apart and recover the files myself? Or is there a better way to recover files from a failing hard drive? Any advice would be helpful.

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Old 08-22-2016, 01:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing Hard Drive

Do not disassemble the HDD yourself.

My suggestion would be to get a Linux LiveCD such as Ubuntu, boot off of it, and then try and access your HDD that way. I've had much better luck trying to recover files off of dying or bad HDD's while running in Linux because it accesses the drive differently than Windows does. Plug in an external drive so that you can back up the files from the original drive and go from there.

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Old 08-22-2016, 02:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing Hard Drive

What Geek Squad is offering is Data Recovery. They have a team that specializes in data recovery up to level 2. Level 3 goes to an even more specialized third party that uses a static free, dust free clean room. If the drive is truly dead/dying, this may be the only option that you have. It also tends to cost quite a bit no matter where you take it/send it.

You can certainly try what Carnage has mentioned, but beware that if the drive is further damaged, it will only become more expensive to perform a recovery.
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