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Old 09-02-08, 11:47 PM   #1
gbcb
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Hard drive recovery tips?

My hard drive died a few weeks ago, and I've been going crazy trying to find ways to recover the data from it (no backups, stupidly). I took it to a data recovery guy, who told me he might be able to help me if I find the exact same model of hard drive.

From what I understand, he plans to take the platters out of the dead hard drive (the platters don't seem to have any physical damage) and use the mechanism of the working hard drive to read the data. However, because of some technical issue (my poor command of hard-drive-recovery-Chinese is sort of getting in the way here), it absolutely has to be the same hard drive model.

Unfortunately, time spent wandering around computer malls hasn't turned up anything.

My question: What is the best place online to find older hard drives with specific model numbers? Alternatively, can anyone recommend any reliable (and preferably not too expensive) data recovery services?


I'll post a pic of the drive label later, but here's what I think is the relevant information:

Fujitsu 120GB (laptop hard drive)
Model: MHV2120BH
PL ID: YTRN
Part No: CA06672-B39600AP


Any help is greatly appreciated... There's stuff on here I really don't want to lose forever!
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Old 09-03-08, 12:37 AM   #2
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ebay? they're like $60 a pop.
if I'm reading that correctly it's a 5400rpm, 120gb SATA laptop drive, which is fairly recent.
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Old 09-03-08, 12:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gbcb View Post
My hard drive died a few weeks ago, and I've been going crazy trying to find ways to recover the data from it (no backups, stupidly). I took it to a data recovery guy, who told me he might be able to help me if I find the exact same model of hard drive.

From what I understand, he plans to take the platters out of the dead hard drive (the platters don't seem to have any physical damage) and use the mechanism of the working hard drive to read the data. However, because of some technical issue (my poor command of hard-drive-recovery-Chinese is sort of getting in the way here), it absolutely has to be the same hard drive model.

Unfortunately, time spent wandering around computer malls hasn't turned up anything.

My question: What is the best place online to find older hard drives with specific model numbers? Alternatively, can anyone recommend any reliable (and preferably not too expensive) data recovery services?


I'll post a pic of the drive label later, but here's what I think is the relevant information:

Fujitsu 120GB (laptop hard drive)
Model: MHV2120BH
PL ID: YTRN
Part No: CA06672-B39600AP
If the data recovery guy is asking for the same harddrive, what he's planning on doing is probably swapping the control board over (i'm assuming that's the component that's fried), otherwise there's OTS commercial software that would recover it for you in no-time like r-studio.

What exactly happened to the drive? Got hit by a plane or just random failure that occurs all the time? If your'e planning on replacing just the control board you must make sure the manufacturing date AND firmware revision number is EXACTLY the same.

How important is this data to you? Important enough to spend a lot on it's recovery or is it just a "it'd be nice to have it back" sort of thing? Business data? Financial data? It's going to cost loads for the tech to do what he's describing unless you're getting some sort of "friend deal".
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Old 09-03-08, 01:02 AM   #4
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Thanks, AEO... sometimes the most obvious things don't occur to me when I'm looking for a solution

operator, the control board thing sounds about right. I can understand the firmware revision number, but why does the manufacturing date have to be the same? And why would it cost so much for the tech to do what he's describing? Can you give me a rough guess as to how much this might cost?

The drive just died one afternoon as I was using it, but several months after I hit a patch of ice on my bike and fell flat on my back with my computer in a messenger bag. When the techs plugged it in and listened, it made some unpleasant noises. I'd been told the platters were probably scratched beyond repair, but a guy opened it in an a clean room and told me it looks OK.

I suppose I could survive without that data, but there's some stuff on there with great personal and sentimental value. I'd be willing to spend a fair chunk of money, but I'll have to get an estimate before I decide if it's worth it.
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Old 09-03-08, 01:06 AM   #5
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http://www.google.com/products?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wf <-- looks like it's new enough that you can still find them at retail.

If he's not planning to swap out the control boards, he might be going as far as swapping the platters themselves. That's what the big-name data-recovery outfits (like DriveSavers) do, if I recall.
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Old 09-03-08, 01:09 AM   #6
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hard drive manufacturers occasionally change the motors or modify firmware in the same generation without telling you for various reasons.
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Old 09-03-08, 01:14 AM   #7
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Thanks for the link, x. That first place looks like a winner, selling the drive for the low, low price of $4,860.17
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Old 09-03-08, 03:04 AM   #8
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Been looking at data recovery sites (Drive Savers, DataTech Labs). I'll admit I just plain don't understand how this can be so expensive

I have a bad feeling about all of this. Maybe I'll just hold onto the drive for another few years while I amass a personal fortune (cough).

Meh.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:26 AM   #9
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Been looking at data recovery sites (Drive Savers, DataTech Labs). I'll admit I just plain don't understand how this can be so expensive
Because they can, basically. Some of their clients are willing to pay "anything" to get their data back, so that's what they charge.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:23 AM   #10
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Does the drive still spin up? IF so you may still be able to recover data yourself. This happened to one of my drives last year. It was still thrashing but I was able to get all the data off of it using Knoppix b/c the OS on the drive, winXP was trashed.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:28 AM   #11
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The place I used in the past was a flat fee of $100 to see if anything could be salvaged, then around $1500-$2000 to get the data off and sent back on several dvd's. If the drive powers up, you could try the other OS option or as a secondary disk. I've had some success tossing a drive in the freezer for a few hours, then it would work for a bit and allowed me to get some data off. Repeated those steps several times over.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:28 AM   #12
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Yes, if you have a CD drive, Knoppix is easy to try. You download the CD image (free) and make a bootable CD from the iso image. Then boot the laptop from the CD.

Knoppix will show the hard drive partitions as icons on the desktop. If you can browse into the hard drive's folders, then you can copy the files off to a USB flash drive, a share on another PC on the network, or upload them to one of the free file sharing websites.

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Old 09-03-08, 10:41 AM   #13
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Thanks for the link, x. That first place looks like a winner, selling the drive for the low, low price of $4,860.17
we could do a group buy, as that's the price for a 50-pack!

hope you get your data back...
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Old 09-03-08, 07:48 PM   #14
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I'm a bit worried about spinning the hard drive up again. If it's a head crash of some kind, that would only make matters worse, no?

I'm going to ask for a quote at one of those data recovery places. I think I could justify up to about RMB5,000 (US$730), but anything beyond that.... sigh
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Old 09-03-08, 07:52 PM   #15
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I think I could justify up to about RMB5,000 (US$730), but anything beyond that.... sigh
Yikes, must be some important stuff. Good luck.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:14 PM   #16
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I know it's too late for it, but...
I love this gizmo http://www.drobo.com/
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Old 09-03-08, 08:44 PM   #17
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Yikes, must be some important stuff. Good luck.
Thanks. There's some important work stuff on there – lots of contacts, sources, interviews and the like. But also things like my photos of North Korea, Lebanon and Syria... not easily replaceable.

I've also discovered that having the guy open up the hard drive might not have been a good idea. If I take it anywhere else, just having had it opened before doubles or triples the data recovery price. You live and learn.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:46 PM   #18
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I know it's too late for it, but...
I love this gizmo http://www.drobo.com/
Thanks for the link. That's definitely something I'll consider.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:55 PM   #19
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Thanks. There's some important work stuff on there – lots of contacts, sources, interviews and the like. But also things like my photos of North Korea, Lebanon and Syria... not easily replaceable.

I've also discovered that having the guy open up the hard drive might not have been a good idea. If I take it anywhere else, just having had it opened before doubles or triples the data recovery price. You live and learn.
If worst comes to worst, you can swap the platters (to an identical drive) yourself and hope for the best. Just be careful about getting dust and other schmutz in there.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:03 PM   #20
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Yikes. Not sure that I have enough faith in my technical abilities for that. And there's still the matter of finding an identical drive. I found a lot that are the same model number, but none with the same part number.

Might try going to the store where I bought it next time I'm in Hong Kong... even though my purchasing experience made me swear to never go back.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:41 PM   #21
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Is this anything like aircraft recovery? I'm pretty good at that.

I'll assume it is... There are three ways (in a land recovery). If the plane is capable of flight, and in a relatively decent area, fix it and fly it. If the plane isn't capable, it can be disassembled and carted out in pieces to be reassembled later. This, obviously increases the cost of the recovery, but is a safe, effective way of getting it out of the position it's in. The last method is to "crane" it out. This involves the use of another aircraft that essentially carries the airplane out. This method is nice because it means that only repair is necessary when the plane is back to the hanger. The problem is it's really dangerous to do.

I hope this helps!
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Old 09-04-08, 02:29 AM   #22
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The last method is to "crane" it out. This involves the use of another aircraft that essentially carries the airplane out. This method is nice because it means that only repair is necessary when the plane is back to the hanger. The problem is it's really dangerous to do.

I hope this helps!

As luck would have it, I'm fresh out of Sikorskys
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Old 09-04-08, 12:11 PM   #23
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If worst comes to worst, you can swap the platters (to an identical drive) yourself and hope for the best. Just be careful about getting dust and other schmutz in there.
I've always wondered about this process. Don't the platters have to be synchronized with each other? You couldn't just drop them down over the spindle of the new drive can you? Even if you get the order of the platters correct, don't they all have to be rotated to the identical position?
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