May 29, 2008

A friend of mine brought me her computer after saying that it had been knocked over at work. The computer is being replaced, but she desperately needs to recover the data on the Hard Drive. Her portfolio, resume, and all of her college work is saved there.

When the computer (Dell Vostro 1520) is turned on, it will not detect the Windows Vista operating system. I tried booting to a number of windows live CD's and they always lock up. I tried booting into a Linux Live CD, partition editors, and everything I could find online but nothing can recognize the hard drive. So I took the drive out and attached it to my computer through a USB-SATA connection. The computer recognized something was plugged in, but I couldn't get it to show that it was a storage device or see any files.

I even looked at tools on the hard drive manufacture site, and they don't seem to be working either.

The hard drive has the clicking sound of a dead hard drive, which I know is not good.

I have a degree in Computer Science and I've been working on this computer for days and haven't gotten anywhere.

Can anyone offer any other kinds of help?


Feb 2, 2010
If you want to send it to a data recovery center, make sure they are (genuinely) reputable. The HDD could become in a worse case if it's send to the wrong person.

If you have given up, try following (and don't laugh):
- place the drive in a good zip-lock bag, and leave it in the freezer overnight. Try in next morning, in your SATA-USB rig;
- if above fails - find a piece of wood (plywood, hardwood floor etc), and drop the disk, from about 2 feet, so that it lands on a long side.

I was able to revive probably half of dead / clicking drives in last couple of years, enough to salvage the data off them.

And probably, it's now good time to educate your friend about backup options - Skydrive, DropBox offser these days more than enough space for important stuff.