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I was trying to replace the power supply in my desktop PC and ended up physically damaging the data connection from the hard drive to the motherboard. The plastic shelf for the copper prongs on the hard drive broke into the cable.

Here is a picture of my handy work: Picture of damage

I went to Best Buy Geek Squad to discuss my options and they said that they will need to send it to the recover center it could cost anywhere between $250 to $1600 USD to recover the data out the hard drive

Is this reasonable for data recovery from a physically damaged hard drive? Are there any other options I can explore? I am going to talk to the data doctors to see what my options are.

Update

I took the HD to Data Doctors, and they told me that the SATA connection was broken to they would need to replaced the data connector and then copy the data to a brand new hard drive. So, with the initial analysis, cost of replacement parts, and data recovery fee it came out to $865.00 USD.

The technician specifically stated if this was an older hard drive that would just need to replace the data connector. But because there is specific information related to the individual hard drive in the flash ROM, they need to transfer the data to a brand new hard drive.

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Physical Recovery...lowcostrecovery.com/pricing.html –  Moab Mar 26 '12 at 1:46
    
I've used lowcostrecovery.com and their prices were very reasonable. –  user3463 Mar 26 '12 at 7:12
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I notice that this issue was solved. It would be really nice if you could post what you finally did as an answer and select it as answered, just to keep it from bouncing up. –  Journeyman Geek Jun 23 '12 at 2:09
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5 Answers

Looks to me like there's no electrical damage, just the plastic piece broken. All you need to do is to get a connection long enough to scrape the disk. I'd just figure out how to wedge/glue something in there to support the contacts. Maybe butcher the ribbon cable a bit so I could get it on with the "something" wedged in.

In fact, you should have the broken-off piece. I suspect you could crudely glue it back in place then immediately slip the cable on. Never remove the cable again and you'd probably be able to keep using the drive (though I'd back it up ASAP).

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I've recovered data from an SSD with the same damage by bending the SATA power cable and propping it up enough to touch the exposed pins. I then use Shadowprotect to clone the drive data on to a new drive. –  Matthew Lock Feb 5 '13 at 5:50
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Its hard to tell from the picture, but the damage does not look too bad. Someone with basic electronic skills could probably repair or replace the data connection to read the data off. But if you don't happen to know anyone like that, then you'll be paying a professional an hourly rate and that will add up. Some data recovery services will provide rough estimates if you call them.

But is $250 and up reasonable for physically repairing a damaged drive? I'd say that's to be expected. Could you repair it yourself? Yes, but you could also just make more of a mess that you have to pay to have fixed.

If it were me, I'd try to swap out the data connector or, if necessary, the controller card. But I have a lot of hours of soldering experience. If you do not, then I suggest googling data recovery services and contact a couple to get their opinions. If you are really desperate or don't have money, you could ask around your local Vo-Tech.

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Hard drives usually have fancy header connectors, so soldering isn't required to swap most pieces. The hardest part is acquiring the Torx bits, but even that's not so bad. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Mar 26 '12 at 1:30
    
I do not have any experience with soldering electronics, hell I caused more damaged to my computer just trying to replace the power supply. I can provide more pictures if you like... –  Michael Kniskern Mar 26 '12 at 1:34
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You almost certainly can't swap out the controller card (modern drives have device-specific configuration information stored on the controller card in flash). You should be able to swap the connector with a little soldering work. –  David Schwartz Mar 26 '12 at 2:30
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I like DanH's idea - first, see if you can secure the cable on there with tape, then connect it up and see if it is recognized by the BIOS. If it is, I would acquire another SATA data cable and glue it to the drive. Then consider that cable permanently part of the drive.

Use some slim bits of plastic or other heat-friendly material underneath the edge connector to "prop up" the bent edge of the connector if needed.

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Figured since I caused enough damage, I would let the professionals handle it at this point. –  Michael Kniskern Mar 28 '12 at 0:20
    
If I had a drive to back this up to, and a spare sata cable to ruin, I think I'd take my chances with something like this or try to get the plastic piece out of the sata cable. But I'm extraordinarily cheap and love to muck around with stuff like this. –  Rob Mar 28 '12 at 18:35
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The easiest option is probably to acquire another drive of the same model and revision, and swap out the electronics. Since the platters and case are not damaged there should be no need to talk to a data recovery service (unless they have the drive you're scavenging from ;) ).

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So if I purchase the same make and model of the hard drive and replace the connection hardware I should be okay? here is a better picture: t.co/KNcxBBa9 –  Michael Kniskern Mar 26 '12 at 1:26
    
You'll also want the same revision, just to be certain. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Mar 26 '12 at 1:26
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That doesn't work reliably on modern hard drives. Device-specific information is stored in flash on the controller card, such as the sector remapping information. You can replace the connector though. –  David Schwartz Mar 26 '12 at 2:31
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Try using Kaspersky HDD Regenerator, or how about: acquire an identical drive and replace the damaged area with parts from the good drive?

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