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For Christmas, my little brother got an Iomega 500GB portable hard drive. It'd been working well, but last week it flat died, and the company's trying to shirk it, claiming it's not under warranty and saying it'll cost at least $900 to recover the data from the drive. He's still trying to fight the warranty thing, but wants to know, should it boil down to it, what other options exist for recovering the data from the drive.

(in before "BACK UP!")

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How did the drive fail? Suddenly? Whilst in use? Does it spin up at all? Any lights on enclosure? Does it draw power? (Oh, and "BACK UP!" :P) – RJFalconer Jan 11 '10 at 22:31
Does the "claiming it's not under warranty" indeed only apply to the data? – Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 23:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you ascertained whether it's the drive that's actually died, or just the enclosure?

If it's the latter and the company won't admit it's under warranty you could take the drive out and either put it into another enclosure or connect it directly to a computer and see if you can recover the data that way. Don't do this while there's a chance you might get something from the company as dismantling the drive will invalidate the warranty.

If it is the drive that's failed you are looking at serious money to recover the data from it.

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@Arjan - thanks for adding the link – ChrisF Jan 11 '10 at 22:43
+1 for my link ;-) – Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 23:04
If the disk is dead, depending exactly on the "how," it can be next to impossible to get any data back. – vonbrand Mar 23 '14 at 17:43

You won't get Iomega to pay for any data recovery. At most they'll limit their liability to replacing hardware, if you can prove that it was their hardware failure. But, if you give up on them and are at the end of your rope, my friend tried the ol' "hard drive in the freezer" trick and got data off his failed drive. YMMV, of course.

See Freeze your hard drive to recover data: Myth or reality?

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Great link. Of course, like someone comments, for every success posted there, there might be many more failures that are not reported. But still: great link! – Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 23:34

that's a very tricky situation. AFAIK Iomega does not manufacture the drives so the warranty could very well be voided if the drive has been removed from the enclosure. so i can't recommend to remove the drive from the enclosure to test it elsewhere because that may indeed void the warranty (not for certain, but quite possible. check with IOMEGA customer care).

you could arrange to get the old drive back after it has been replaced and take care of the data recovery yourself.

either way, the loss of data is never covered by the regular warranty for consumer hard disk drives.

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As for "get the old drive back after it has been replaced" I would not rely on that. No matter how good any (written) agreements seem, chances are high someone in the repair-chain will just replace the drive and trash the original. – Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 22:42
of course you can't take that for granted. however, if it's just a problem with the controller, the data may not be lost at all, anything else is up to the 'good will' of the manufacturer ... and they don't like bad reviews either :) – Molly7244 Jan 11 '10 at 22:57

If the drive doesn't even spin up there's not much you can do.

Putting it in the freezer for a few hours has helped others with drive-head problems.

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Please do the following:

1) Is the drive faulty?

  • Can another 500mb cartridge be read?
  • Does it work correctly? Does the IOMEGA driver detect the hard-disk?
  • When you access the IOMEGA drive, does the IOMEGA driver cause freezing?

2) Is the cartridge faulty?

  • When you put the data to another IOMEGA drive, can the cartridge be read?
  • When you try to copy data from the cartridge, does it hang?

  • Try copying 1 folder at a time. Usually the corruption affects 1 folder and not all folders. You may end up copying all your items from the cartridge, except 1 or 2 folders.

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