Any tips for data recovery from dead MBP 160?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by allanv, May 7, 2007.

  1. allanv macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #1
    My MBP hard drive (hitachi 160gb) failed after just 2 months, with no warning. Apple has replaced it, and said that my drive was dead. Any ideas as to how to retrieve the data? The data recovery guys want to charge a ton. Are any of the data recovery guys better/cheaper than others? I've got the quote down to about $850. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #2
    There are a number of things that could go wrong to make a drive "dead." The question is not whether or not it's dead, but how dead it is. Does the drive spin up at all? If so, is the partitioning table toast (which can be repaired on your own with the right software), or is the SATA port fried (a little more of pain, but if you have the soldering skills, not out of the realm of possibility). If it doesn't spin up, is the disk itself damaged (physically), or is the power plug fried (again soldering skills will help). If the disk itself is good, there is still hope of doing this yourself.
    There are a number of good myths, bad myths, and "what is this crap about myths on the internet." One of them is the notion that freezing a hard drive (i.e. placing it in a waterproof bag in the freezer overnight) will allow you to get it going again. Although it sounds rediculous, it's worth a shot, and I've seen it firsthand with a friend's iPod. The downside to it, is that you'll need to get a 2.5" external SATA enclosure (but those can be had for about $20). There have also been a number of people that have successfully recovered most of their data by buying the exact same drives, taking them apart, and placing the old disks in the new drive. It's a short term solution, and requires quite a bit of intestinal fortitude, but if you're up for it, it's definitely an option.
    Other than that, you're stuck with the $850, which is the best price I've heard for data recovery. Good luck.
     
  3. AvMac macrumors member

    AvMac

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Location:
    Singapore
    #3
    I second the idea of freezing the hard drive and give it a try.

    I recommended this to a friend when his external drive stopped working. He froze it overnight and then tried but could not detect. Crazy as it may seem, he then gave it a hard knock due to pure frustration and tried it again. To his surprise, the system was able to detect the disk for a short time during which he managed to off load his important files out of it.

    Now I am not sure if the freezing did the trick or it was the hard knock.
     
  4. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #4
    I honestly think that's a horrible idea! :D

    Although I've had my fair share of events where hitting a computer in frustration fixed it, hitting a hard drive, particularly if the reason why it's dead is because the head crashed or something...is not a great idea all the time.
     
  5. AvMac macrumors member

    AvMac

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5
    I totally agree. This should be the last resort just before one decides to trash the disk after every other effort has failed.
     
  6. djdawson macrumors member

    djdawson

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #6
    If you have access to a PC with SATA in it you could try the "SpinRite" software. It does a low-level scan of the drive and identifies bad sectors and tries to recover any data in them. When it finds a bad sector, rather than just throwing away the data it contains (which is 512 Bytes), it tries reading it several times and does a statistical analysis of the results. Even if it can't determine all the data in a sector, it only discards the bits it can't read rather than the whole sector. It really does work well, but it doesn't run on a Mac (it's a bootable disk that runs FreeDOS). Also, there's no demo version, so you have to buy it to use it, but if you did that and couldn't use it I'm sure they'd give you a refund. The guy who wrote it is Steve Gibson of "grc.com" fame, by the way, which is where you can get the software. I've used it on a drive from my older dual 2.5 G5 and it found and fixed three bad sectors, and now that drive is fine. Obviously the drive still has to spin up, so if it has physical issues that prevent that your only other option is a place that does forensic data recovery by taking apart the drive (which is part of why they're so expensive).

    HTH - Good luck!
     

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