Hard Drive Dilemma

Enquiry: My Hard Drive recently packed in. It was running ok the night before (although in retrospect after being asked about it, I'd heard it click a couple of times), but when I booted it up I kept getting an error message saying windows couldn't be found.
So on boot up I went to the BIOS menu to see if something had reordered the drives and discovered the hard drive couldn't be read. I then took it to a repair shop and they attempted to diagnose the problem (it was them who asked about the clicking). They left it over night for a diagnostic and said that on a couple of occasions the Hard Drive was picked up but the only info they could get off it was garbled nonsense. They said that they thought that the heads may have failed on the Hard Drive and that wasn't something they could fix and recommended someone else. The 2nd person came to the same conclusion and said he didn't want to tamper with the heads either as it wasn't something he could fix and so he recommended you.

The only other note I can think of is that the laptop seemed to be running quite hot leading up to the failure, but as I've replaced the hard drive this doesn't seem to be the problem. For reference, I live in Liverpool, just in case you need to refer me to that office.

My Response: What you have described there is a hard drive that is about to completely fail. It probably didn't help that the first repair shop you took it to kept it switched on last night. If a hard drive is running hot and slowly then my recommendation is to switch the hard drive quickly and wait a while for it to cool down - don't put it in a fridge or freezer and this will put unnecessary stress on the hard drive, instead let is cool naturally.

When it's completely cooled you can attach it again and attempt to copy your files off of it asap. If you are successful at this then you've had a lucky escape. If the hard drive begins to run slowly or is not recognised then I'm afraid it's too late for you to do anything - the hard drive is already badly damaged. If you need to remove the data from it you'll need to contact a data recovery company.

Finding a Data Recovery Company

You can look for a local data recovery company but my experience is that good data recovery companies a few and far between. Make a distinction between a data recovery specialist and a PC repair shop. They are not the same beast at all. Even though the shop may claim to perform data recovery, it's capabilities will be no where approaching what the data recovery company can do. The best way I've found is to do a countrywide internet search and then look at the reviews of the company. Another useful method is to look for bloggers who write about data recovery and hard drive issues - if you are in the UK you can visit the Recover Deleted Data web site. It deals in answering questions about all types of data recovery, not just retrieving deleted data.

Endpoint FDE and other Problems

Usually I get asked a lot about broken hard drives but sometimes I get cases where there is nothing wrong with the customer's hard drive but instead something on the hard drive is giving them problems.
There now follow a few examples:

I would like to ask you about my issue and help me. It is installed Checkpoint FDE for Dell Laptop latitude E 5440 then it was slow to encrypt and then it could not boot into Windows 8.1. I noticed this page written by data recovery experts data clinic about recovering drives that use Checkpoint's Endpoint FDE (http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/recovering-check-point-endpoint-fde-encrypted-hard-drives/)

Non-system drive (E drive) from desktop PC spins but isn't detected in Windows 10 or BIOS. Internal 3.5" SATA drive. 2TB capacity with about 60-80% used.

My laptop was broken and I'm trying to recover all files in there because it contains all my PhD work. I've sent it to a repair shop and I think they have to do something to the hard drive. but they couldn't recover all data. If I send it to you would you be able to do something to the hard drive?

I have transferred photos/videos etc onto a 1TB Samsung HD (500 gig 'ish) on a PC rebuild. Win 10 is running on a 250gb SSD.
All went fine for a couple of days then HD began to click but still booted and was recognised. Next day clicking and not recognised. Removed it and had a quick look but beyond my capabilities! I've got a 2 TB external to drop everything on to…

We have a hard drive of a customer that has a faulty controller card. The drive spins ok, but is no longer recognized by the computer indicating that the controller card is faulty. Do you offer repair services to replace the controller card and fix the drive?

The drive is a WD 250GB
Model: WD2500BEVT

My external hardrive failed today by making a clicking noise. the drive is still seen by the computer but no longer as a working storage device. It contains several thousand family photographs and other documents. the unit is a 500gb capacity. I would like a quote for retrieval please. Many thanks. A late afternoon call would be best.

WD 2TB USB 2.0 spinning disc external hard drive with external power supply. The device shows up on Devices and Printers but not in windows explorer. Shortly after connecting the driver starts to make clicking noises.

By far the most interesting fault here was the Endpoint encrypted drive and in all cases it's usually possible to recover the files for the customer.

More info:
I've found some decent HDD related recovery info at

A Selection of Enquiries

This post features a selection of data recovery enquiries from people with hard drive and NAS problems who need their files retrieved.

Data recovery enquiry from a reseller
Hello, we are a computer and laptop repair shop in Hounslow, London.
I have got job from my customer to recover data from a laptop hard drive.
Hard Drive Details, HGST, 1TB
and its giving clicking sound you when you plug in.
can you give me quote to recover data from it. please consider that we have to charge our services from customer as well.

I have a ready Nas duo, that has developed a fault and will not boot or connect since we last turned it on.
I have read various options online about possible things to do, but in the spirit of i don't won't to fix it worse thought i would seek expert help.

I have a western digital My Passport Ultra (1TB) external hard drive.
It initially started to take a long time for folders to open and to access files. I began to back up the hard drive (taking hours to back up only a small amount of data).
Now the drive is not visible in Windows explorer. I have the option to "safely remove it" and I can also see it in "devices" and "device manager" but cannot actually see the drive to open any folders.
Any suggestions as to how to get access? or is it possible for you to recover the data (there's almost 900GB)? and how much would it cost?

My WD hard-disk is working till morning. Now, my computer is recognising it but not reading it. Also, in disk management it's showing unallocated.
What shall I do? Please advise.

External usb 3.0 drive
Verbatim enclosure
Hitachi Z5K500-500
500GB 2.5" SATA
Initially was detected by PC but inaccessible. No strange noises, disc was spinning.
A few restarts later, disc still spins, continuous clicking. Completely undetectable by PC.

Help Recover Data From Hard Drive
The hard drive on my MacBook Pro laptop has a physical problem – I have taken it into an apple genius store and they told me the only way to try and get my data back is from a company such as yourselves. I need my documents – I work freelance and have all my relevant paperwork on my hard drive. Plus my photos from the last 2 years.

MacBook Pro Running Slowly

My MacBook Pro's Internal Hard drive (Mid 2012 Non-Retina) recently started making noises and the laptop pretty much doesn't respond to anything anymore or if it does only very slowly. I am quite sure that the hard drive is in its last breaths and a backup to an external hard drive did not succeed either unfortunately. BIOS recognises drive and windows occasionally detects and installs. However cannot read or access. The heads seem to be cycling around. No clicking i.e. hitting the end stop. Was working fine then failed to boot correctly followed by no access.
What can I/you do to save my files?

The problem with your Macbook Pro sounds very much like bad sectors - parts of the hard disk that can no longer be accessed by the computer. It's a very common problem and far more widespread than you think. The likes of you and I hardly ever notice this or come into contact with it because the hard drive has a built-in bad sector management program that swaps out bad sectors and replaces them with good sectors whenever a bad sector is encountered.

Bad sectors do not go away or diminish, instead they grow as it's the only things they can do, eventually spreading across an entire hard drive. A good guide you can use is the slower your hard drive becomes, the more likely it is to have a high number of bad sectors. If you don't have a backup of your data then bad sectors will eventually lead to you losing all your data.

Retrieving the data from hard drives with bad sectors is possible, but you'll need a data recovery company to do it for you. These company's have specialist pieces of hardware equipment that are able to read 'through' the bad sector and get at the original data underneath. I recommend companies such as this one or http://24hourcomputerrepairs.com/ should you be looking for a data recovery provider.

Smartphone Data Recovery (iPhone and Android)

New Phone Data Recovery Service
Data Recovery Tips (http://data-recovery-tips.co.uk/), the UK data recovery service has recently started to provide phone data recovery in addition to hard drive recovery.

Having used this service provider before and had good results I will now also be sending broken phones I receive to have their data extracted to them.

A recent number of phone recovery enquiries are reprinted below: in each case Data Recovery Tips have a service to retrieve the data. Alternative service providers are recommended at http://blogs.rediff.com/data-recovery/.
Iphone 6s got dropped in water, was put in rice. It did not turn on, attempted screen replacement. The screen came on but was extremely dim until last night and screen stopped coming on. Need backup of all data.

  • I need to retrieve a number from Feb 25th of this year on an Iphone. It is not left on the call history log, since Iphone only stores the last 100 calls which means about a month back in time. Can you help me retrieve it?
    I have heard about your services all the way to Sweden and that is why I am going to London next week to have this phone number recovered.
    Therefore, I will show up on Wednesday morning on June 8th and am leaving for Stockholm on Friday morning June 10th at 6.30 AM.
    Therefore, I would like to kindly ask if I could collect my USB stick with the lost phone number on Thursday June 9th, before you close at 6 PM. I definitely need this number with me on my flight back, perhaps you could make an exception and wonder how much that costs extra? Money is not an issue. I have to get the data recovered before I leave.
    Please, call me as soon as possible to make an appointment on Wednesday, in order for you to be able to retrieve the phone number before my departure.
  • Phone was dropped in toilet by my son and was in there for a minute while turned on. I took it out and turned it off. About 10 minutes later the battery seemed to get really hot. Later that day I put it in one of those drying bags with drying crystals after opening it up and taking screen off. I left it in there 5 days. Now it have tried to turn it on but it is dead. I need to recover about 32gb of info which is mostly photos and videos. I live in Herts and work in London.
  • I have a samsung s7 edge that fails to boot. I have contact and messages that I would like recovered from the phone, is this something you can help with?
  • My Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini was recently infected with a virus. I had to perform a systent restore and wipe the phone in order to be able to use it again. The problem was that after the restore I realised that I had not backed up my data and as a result lost all my pictures. I am aware that it is possible to retrieve data after a system restore. Would it be possible for you to retrieve my data from my phone.

Dropped External Portable Drive Recovery

Dropped my external hard drive yesterday (Western digital 1TB P/N:WDBMWV0020BBK-05) and now it will not connect to pc. It just sits making a ticking sound for a couple of minutes, then shuts off completely. My hobby is in photography and It contains a number of photographs that I have been working on for the past few months.

I dropped a passport WD USB 3.0 2tb portable drive . It was powered on but unplugged as it fell 1m onto the floor. Afterwards it still read the folders (800gb of data) but was much much slower at going through the sub folders and then opening small word documents. PowerPoints opened too slowly to be useful to me. As it was under warranty I took it back to Curry's know-how dept for their £80 data recovery. I also sent off a new USB drive to copy the data too. After 2 weeks I have been told their software could not recover the data as is a mechanical issue and they need to do an advanced recovery where they open the drive to repair parts. This would cost me some £200 odd pounds but would be free if they failed to recover the data. I've read your website and now I'm concerned the data that was barely accessable may have been damaged by them. I'm waiting for the drive to be returned to check it. Have you any advice? Contact by email would be preferable as I teach.

I have a 'Transcend StoreJet' Harddrive and have dropped it. It's one of those portable hard drives that plug into the USB port on a computer. Since then It doesn't work, I have tried new cables but it still isn't working. I have a lot of work on it so need to get the work off it.

Portable hard drives such as the ever popular WD Passports are usually the recipients of some rough treatment. They are built to withstand knocks and bumps, but a fall from a significant height is going to cause serious problems to the hard drive. This problem is common to all portable hard drives, including the Transcend Store Jet and other external hard drives. At the heart of the problem is the mechanical nature of these hard drives. When one of these drives is operating a mechanical arm known as an 'actuator arm' moves across the surface of the hard drive reading and writing data to the hard disk. A significant knock or bump during the operation of the hard drive results in damage to either the actuator arm, the disk, or both. This then causes the hard drive to make a ticking sound, as the drive tries to pass a self test procedure before passing control to the computer. This testing procedure will never succeed as the hard drive is now damaged to a significant extent. Retrieving the data from a dropped external or portable hard drive often relies heavily on experts  who should be able to repair and restore the information from a damaged hard drive. Rather than meddle with a dropped hard drive I recommend you use one of these expert companies and give yourself at least a fighting chance of getting your data back.

Retrieving Data From Damaged Phones

Mobile and smartphones break in many ways. We believe that once a phone is broken that it's not possible to recover the data from it. This is not true, skilled phone data recovery organisations like England's Data Clinic (see http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/data-recovery-from-mobile-devices-phones-tablets-etc/) can get the data back from almost any type of damaged or broken phone.

No Power To Phone

Samsung s2 mobile phone.
No power. Screen slight crack. Need photos videos. Phone numbers recovered.

This shouldn't be too difficult a problem to recover the data from. To me it suggests that the cracked screen has interfered with the phone's circuitry and is preventing it from switching on. Replacement of the cracked screen with a new one and a general clean inside the phone to remove and unseen debris should result in this phone working perfectly again.

Phone Stuck in Boot Loop

I have an LG G4 which appears to be stuck in a boot loop. I cannot access recovery and it does not stay on long enough to be able to access it via a computer. While the phone is still under warranty and I can get it replaced, I do not want to lose the large amount of pictures and videos stored on the device. I am keen to locate someone that would be able to recover the photo's and videos from the phone before it goes off to be replaced by LG. The only catch is that the data recovery will need to done without unscrewing the back of the phone to access its motherboard as this will void the warranty and result in me not being able to replace it. Is this something you are able to help with?
I live in Reading and so can pop into local IT provider "Its Gone Funny" if necessary, but ideally would like to know whether its possible.

You don't disclose how your G4 phone got into a boot loop, was it after a software update perhaps or did the phone run out of battery mid operation? Getting the data back from phones that are stuck in boot loops is possible, often by bypassing the operating system (and therefore the boot loop) and reading the information straight off the memory chips. This is a highly skilled task however and should not be left the the unskilled staff in your high street mobile phone repair shop. Instead look for a competent data recovery company, they will be able to assist.

Sony Xperia Dead Battery

I have an unresponsive Sony Xperia T mobile phone which I think has had the battery shorted with all possible hopes to switch it back on gone. If I have the phone, with a dead battery, is there still the possibility to recover files previously saved on the internal memory via some sort of chip off process? I'm based in the city of London only 5 minutes from Bank which would be easiest Data Clinic office to get too. Just preliminary inquiry at the moment to check viability.

RoundUp - March 2016 (Uk sites)

Hello again, here's my monthly tech site roundup where I recommend the UK sites that have impressed me this month and provide links to them too. This month I've turned my attention to hard disk related problems and the need for data recovery services. These are usually technical companies that have the ability to retrieve information from hard disk drives that have broken and no longer work. Hence the need for a data recovery service to retrieve the data from the hard drives.

Example 1: Could not access hard drive (whirred and showed question mark. Apple could not restart. My son has taken the hard disc out and installed in a docking station, but it doesn't drive the disc. I'm an academic and would like my current WORD files retrieved if possible back to June 2012, when my back up failed without warning me. I now have a new computer and do not need applications, pdfs or ppt's which I can retrieve from my downloads or memory sticks.
My comments: Sounds like you need the services of a data recovery company to me! Try http://www.datlabsdatarecovery.co.uk on  0871 977 2999 (UK).

Example 2: Hi, I have a Canvio 3tb that I had partitioned with Time Machine. It is does not show up on my Macbook nor on my sons Windows Laptop. Have you had experience reovering from this issue as a basic technician has already taken a look? Toshiba wouldn't cover the work under warranty as the serial number was not present? If you can conduct the work what would be a rough estimate of price? I am currently out of the country so please reply via email.
My comments: The Apple Time Machine is a form of external hard drive and a good post with good advice regarding rescuing the files from device like these can be found on the Frank Canon microsite at http://frankcanon.blogbaker.com/2016/03/14/external-hard-drive-problems.

That's it for this month. Short and sweet I guess. Remember that if you have any technical queries or questions you can contact me and I'll try and answer them. They may even make their way onto my month blog roundup too.

External Hard Drive Stopped Working

"My external hard drive has stopped working. It is a Samsung product. Powered via the USB cable. I have changed the cable and confirmed that is not the problem. It makes no sound or movement when connected to any computers. I need to extract or recover my data.".

I read that you've done some fault finding on your Samsung hard disk drive already! Good, this makes my job easier. Eliminating items like the cable is a sensible thing to do and I've seen, on more that one occasion, a cable being responsible for the fault. In your case, describing the fault as you do, to me it seem that your Samsung external hard drive is damaged. Googling something like 'damaged external hard drive recovery' pulls back many results and I had a look at some of them. The best sites I could find were http://computersciencelabs.com/ a site that has a corporate feel that is all about data recovery. It has some interesting information on it, including stuff on the forensic examination of computer disks and also obtaining the information from CCTV - much of which is written to hard drive these days. A less corporate site but one equally as good which is also awash with information pertaining to the extraction of data from Samsung (and other) hard drives is http://24hourcomputerrepairs.com. Many of the recent articles are about computer forensics involving hard drives and CCTV but take a look through the articles and you'll notice plenty of useful stuff.

Teckgeek Goes DIY

I've been asked recently if I could post some information about how to troubleshoot HDDs rather than provide advice on who to send them to for repair and recovery. Well, this is fine, I've no problem in giving advice out, but my advice about which data recovery companies to use when you need to retrieve data from a faulty HDD is given because the companies I recommend know what they are doing and how to retrieve the data from a faulty disk!

By giving advice out about how to repair these devices yourself it is putting knowledge into your hands. Now I've no problem with that per se, but if you are a novice with working with hard drives (as many of you are) and you follow the advice I'm providing on my blog and the advice doesn't work, or worse still, I advice I'm giving you causes your hard drive to stop working altogether then you're going to blame me aren't you!

So instead of offering first hand advice about fixing broken hard drives, I'm going to point you to a blog or two that distill hard drive repair and recovery advice and offer tips that you can use yourself to recover the information from a hard drive or fix it when it breaks.

The best site I've found that provides hard drive and phone troubleshooting information is the excellent http://data-recovery-tips.co.uk/ site. Seemingly run by an enthusiastic data recovery professional it has many ideas you can try on your faulty hard drive to see if you can get it working again. The site also supplies information a mobile phone recovery and how to go about retrieving the data from a broken mobile or smart phone.

So take a few minutes and visit this site - it could solve all your hard drive problems.