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I have a hard drive which I believe has a physical fault on it and thus is failing. I don't really have the cash to pay someone else to do the recovery and my backups have failed as well (which sucks). I was wondering if anyone knew some basics on trying to troubleshoot and recover data on harddrives (external usb) myself. I know that the data recovery specialist out there wouldn't dare give there knowledge away but I imagine there may be some helpful members on here who are willing to help :)

In this case, its in reference to this particular problem, but I would like more general best practices and steps if possible:

lacie drive click and beep

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migrated from Jul 15 '11 at 15:03

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

This seems to be a duplicate or maybe should be an addition to your original question at – user48838 Jul 15 '11 at 9:40
Yea, apologies, it is in reference to that problem, but I felt this is a separate question completely as its more about data recovery then the drive itself. – David Jul 15 '11 at 9:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First step is to buy another HD (if you already don't have a spare one), and copy everything from the failing drive to that one. Preferably use some imaging software such as CloneZilla, or good old dd command. Whatever you do, don't try to repair or recover your original drive, as messing up with it can potentially make the situation worse!

After that you can go on and try to recover that copy. I assume the file system had became a fail system and some files were already unreadable or the file system was unmountable? Then you can try PhotoRec which recognizes many file systems and many file formats.

Although if the drive has already mechanically failed, then user48838 has a more useful answer for you.

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yep, already mechanically failed – David Jul 15 '11 at 9:47

If the mechanical portion of the drive is healthy, then one "trick" is to swap the electronics (e.g. circuit boards) between two drives of the exact same model.

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Do you mean I need to see if the plates look healthy? If so, try replacing everything else? – David Jul 15 '11 at 9:49
Yes, but the platters are usually sealed. – user48838 Jul 15 '11 at 9:58
The second you break the seal to look at the platters your drive is toast (if you even manage to get that far without power tools). A speck of dust in there could cause a head crash, which is the end of the drive. If you can replace the controlling circuitry without exposing the platters, then you're OK. If you get the drive running, There are a number of data recovery programs out there ... try looking up Hiren's Boot Disk, there are several on there. – Daniel B. Jul 15 '11 at 16:31

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