Step away from the hard drive!

I had a text message from a friend of a friend over the holidays.  Her hard drive had failed and she didn’t have a backup of all her photos and please would I take a look.  I love these jobs.  There is a certain amount of stress (I’ve lost data of my own in the past and I know how much it hurts), but there is no better feeling than picking up the phone or clicking Send to say ‘I’ve got your data’.

When the lady arrived on the doorstep, she handed me the offending drive and the first thing that jumped at me was the tear in the label.  The small, circular tear which exposed one of the securing screws for the top cover.  “Yes,” she said, a well-meaning family member had taken the top off in an attempt to get the motor to kick in.  I had to be honest and tell her that there was every possibility that the resulting contamination could be the final nail in the coffin.

She took it extremely well considering my bedside manner is far better suited to computers than to human beings – one of my many faults….  But, I assured her, I would give it my best shot.  A couple of hours later, after sorting out the contacts between the motor and PCB, her data was backing up to my server.

At the moment, it looks like the whole lot came back and the biggest hurdle (time-wise) was the NT ownership and file permissions.  I’m astounded and if the well-meaning family member is smug, then so be it.  I do love a happy ending.

If you have been affected by any of the issues…..  no, sorry, scratch that, but if you do suffer a hard drive failure, please don’t take the lid off to see what you can see.  If you approach a data recovery company, make sure they are reputable and similarly won’t feel the need to whip the top off.  There are good firms out there who operate on a no-fix, no fee basis.  In the last 7 days I have heard two quotes ranging from £80 to £600 to recover data from a failed hard drive and I’m not sure how much faith I have in either of them.

If you’re lucky enough to have a personal recommendation it’s a good place to start, so tell everyone you know if you’ve had a disaster – there may be a solution on your doorstep.