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Data recovery from physically damaged Hard Disk?

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Data recovery from physically damaged Hard Disk?

Unread postby diver79 » December 8th, 2012, 7:35 pm

Hi all,

Hoping I can pull in some expertise on this.

I've been asked to fix a laptop for a friend of the family. Looks like the laptop took quite a beating. The hard disk is not readable and there are faults on the motherboard affecting the sata and network controller. The laptop now works with a new hard disk but the owners main concern is of the photos on the damaged disk. They recently lost a young family member and have no backups of the laptops photos.

I can see the disk in Windows when it is connected via a usb enclosure. It shows two partitions, one is the recovery partition and I can access files in here. The other partition appears to be Windows but is not accessible. I get an error saying the drive needs to be formatted when I try to open it in Windows.

I am currently running scandisk using the chkdsk h: /f /r command. It was able to determine there were 196608 files on the disk, but many of these are unreadable. Below is one of the many lines I am currently seeing.
Code: Select all
File record segment 66976 is unreadable.
 3 percent complete. (66977 of 196608 file records processed)
Based on this I do not think the scandisk will be able to remedy the physical damage on the disk. Is there any way for me to read the portions of the disk that are not damaged?

Any help you could provide here would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

diver79
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Re: Data recovery from physically damaged Hard Disk?

Unread postby diver79 » December 9th, 2012, 6:25 pm

Managed to get some of the files recovered using TestDisk by Christophe Grenier. It really is a useful utility. I had used photorec before to recover deleted files but didn't know about testdisk's abilities.

Windows was reporting the disk as a RAW filesystem. After some research I found that testdisk should be able to list the contents of the disk and recover them, which it did after a long and thorough analysis. Some of the files were not recoverable but I got what I needed.
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Re: Data recovery from physically damaged Hard Disk?

Unread postby NonSuch » December 9th, 2012, 10:57 pm

The computer owner was unfortunate in that his machine was damaged and there were no backups. However, he was very fortunate that you were able to recover much of his important/cherished data. :thumbleft:

Thanks for sharing the information about TestDisk. :)
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