I have an acer laptop with a WD hard drive I have been using for about a year. Of late I noticed my system slow down dramatically. Further inspection revealed that the hard drive was going bad.

The drive contains all of my graphic design work along with some websites that I built along the past five years.

I believe Ubuntu has far better data recovery options as compared to windows. (with utilities like testdisk, dd_rescue, roadkill's unstoppable copier etc.) So I borrowed an external CD drive and a live ubuntu disk (External CD drive as my internal CD drive does not work and my motherboard does not support USB booting).

My plan was to plug in another healthy hard drive via a usb enclosure, boot into the live CD and copy all the data to the health drive. I could then go ahead and either format/repair the corrupt drive, or use a new one instead.

However the copying seemed to be way to slow (around 1-5Kbps , and I have about a 100GB of data to recover) it's the same with I tried creating a clone via the DD command, the speed there too was slow. Now I need to return the external CD drive with not a lot of progress made so far.

So I planned to make the healthy drive an internal, install ubuntu, boot into it, and then proceed with the data recovery. This time with the bad hard drive as an external via the USB enclosure.

Now when I tried this, I noticed that neither windows nor ubuntu detects the hard drive at all(I have a duel boot installed on the healthy drive for now). However if I plug it back into the laptop and making it an internal and boot via the usb cd drive, it detects the drive.

  1. What's causing this issue to occur.
  2. How can I get the drive to detect as an external
  3. Are there any alternatives to get the data recovered apart from all that I tried?

Hope I have covered all the necessary details, do let me know if you need further clarifications. Thanks a ton, the data means a lot to me.

  • What kind of enclosure is it? Does it have a power supply? If not then it could be that the old drive needs more power than the USB port can supply. Try to determine if the drive is spinning, you should normally be able to hear a quiet hum. – James P Apr 19 '14 at 14:12
  • The healthy hard drive works fine on the enclosure, it has a double headed USB cable the extra one for extra power, I tried connecting both. It creates a clicking sound, like it begins to spin and then fails, but im not sure if that's exactly what's happening inside. – TDsouza Apr 19 '14 at 14:17
  • @TDsouza: Are you absolutely sure the other drive works fine when connected externally in Ubuntu? It might be worth seeing what happens if you copy from somewhere else (DVD, USB memory stick) to the good drive via USB to make sure it works correctly and the slow transfer speed was because of the faulty drive. – James P Apr 19 '14 at 14:32
  • Yes, I have tried a number of operations and they all work fine. I had deleted all partitions, created new ones, copied files from a thumb drive as well. It all worked perfectly normally. Besides I tried running HDD Regenerator on the old drive which reported a lot of delays. So im sure it's a problem only with the bad drive. – TDsouza Apr 19 '14 at 14:37
  • @TDsouza: If your CD drive is broken you could buy a converter tray that lets you put a 2.5 hard drive into the optical drive bay. It probably won't solve the problem with speeds but it might give more flexibility. – James P Apr 19 '14 at 16:25

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