Here’s an excellent example of why you should use a data recovery company instead of data recovery software. In this example the data drive is damaged and because of this, no software is going to be able to repair it. Instead the hard drive needs a data recovery company to retrieve the data using a hardware based solution which is the only that will work.
My father’s IOMEGA external 500 GB HDD threw an error message yesterday saying it needed to be reformatted to be read. It also didn’t show any status of capacity or usage (showed up like a RAW drive). Obviously reformatting would wipe it, so I plugged it into my pc and ran Recuva.
After a 9 hour scan it showed basically all his files, but this is where I was incredibly stupid. Instead of just recovering the files there and then, I thought I’d extract the 3.5″ drive from the enclosure and plug it in directly to the motherboard via SATA. My thought process at the time was the recovery would take a long time bottlenecked by the USB 2.0 connection on the enclosure, so a direct connection would speed it up. (Believe me, I regret this).
Extracting the drive revealed it to be a Seagate Barracuda. When plugged in via SATA, the drive showed up with more info than before, including capacity and the folders in the root of the drive. Fantastic, I thought, I can just recover the files like this. Issue was clicking on each folder would throw an error. So I opened Recuva but recuva wouldn’t scan the drive in this new state. So I thought let’s just put it back in the enclosure and recover via the USB connection after all, so I put everything back together and this is where the real trouble starts.
Now the drive didn’t display the ‘this drive needs to be formatted before use’ error, and instead showed an incorrect parameter error before showing a ‘a device which does not exist was specified’ error. In this state, recuva would say it can’t tell what filesystem the drive has and so couldn’t scan, and so this is where I swore loudly at the wall.
Taking the drive back out of the enclosure and plugging directly gave the same error. Somehow, one of the unplug/plugging in of the drive at some previous stage did something to make the drive like this.
Now this is the only error the drive displays, and no amount of fiddling or trying different ports or methods over the last few hours has got me to a stage where I can scan the drive again. I even tried to do a quick format (only quick so to maintain the files but replace the file system, which in theory would allow recuva to scan and collect data) but that failed.
The drive shows up in Disk Management with capacity and filesystem as RAW, but nothing can be done with it (I haven’t tried doing any partitioning or full formatting as I don’t want to erase the data). In Windows explorer, it just shows up as a RAW drive with no other info.
The first Recuva scan I did shows the file data is all still on there (still very annoyed I didn’t just recover back then) but it seems the filesystem is corrupt. The drive doesn’t make any overly unusual noises, so I don’t think it’s a mechanical fault.
Now the only thing I can think of is manual recovery, which I don’t have the facilities to do.
I was hoping all this info would give you a good idea as to how likely a recovery by yourselves is and how much it may roughly cost.