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I have a short stack of hard drives (4 or 5) that I have been pulling from my old and broken machines over the past number of years with the notion that at some point in the future I will somehow connect them into a new machine to get the data. And I guess the time is now.

My question is, what's the best way to go about this?

Note that the drives are of different types: SATA, EIDE desktop and laptop.

Is there a good, single hardware/software solution that I could use to connect these drives one by one and recover the data? (These drives were all working when used last but I know that they may not spin up. Still, I hope that at least a few will.)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I prefer using one of these to get a hard drive connected to my computer. If the drive spins, you can generally use windows to read the data off of it. I know windows will read most anything that isn't corrupted. If the data is corrupted your only real choice is Spinrite.

That will cover most any spinning drive. If the drive doesn't spin or the the head is bad, there is no easy way to recover the data. If it ever gets that far, I usually give up. I don't want to have to spend hundreds of dollars for a specialist to open up the drive and use special equipment to read the platters.

Hope that helps

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The Nextstar adapter looks very interesting. I see the drive interfaces in the picture and the USB cables, is there a power supply cable for the drive? – Paul Sasik Aug 27 '10 at 22:14
Just wanting to double check. Is this the interface you're recommending? – Paul Sasik Aug 27 '10 at 22:19
@Paul - Yes, I have one of the NexStar adapters and it works really well. you don't have to get that particular model, but anything that is similar that device is what I would recommend. – Doltknuckle Aug 30 '10 at 16:24

GetDataBack is the best data recovery program out there. It costs a few dollars. It's about 70 I believe for just the NTFS version, and 120 for both FAT and NTFS. But it's well worth the money in my opinion. I use an external hard drive enclosure to connect any hard drive for data recovery. There are ones that support both SATA and IDE. Here is one from Newegg. In case you are looking for a free software solution then here is a good site that has about 10 options. Good luck!

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