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Old 10th July 2009, 15:45   #1
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you have to leave it a few HOURS at least, and if you start up the HDD and you still hear the clicking sound you can forget it, unless she is willing to cough up 500-1500eur for recovery services.

the solution to this is data redundancy, have automated regular backups between two HDDs, and one offsite/offline every x weeks or so. that way you have 3 places the data is at and even if 2 hdds fails you still have a copy of the HDD.

reason for failing can be multitiude, the clicking noise can be the HDD read/write header no longer working OR not finding the data on the disk, in case 1 you have to contact recovery firm; in second case the "freezer" trick might work; I tried this recently on a failing 200gb HDD which still had some data I would like to recover; the systems were pretty much the same, disk not read, small ticking noise, I first left it in the freezer for 40min, this allowed for some recovery, but not enough, than left it in for 3 hours, and noticed that the disks wouldn't spin up (frozen tight), with a hairdryer I heated it up again a bit, disks started spinning, then started copying data from the drive as crazy.

best approach is to attach the HDD as slave to another system which is already up and running (SATA is plug and play) so you don't lose time booting up the OS; if that works.
make sure to put the HDD in an airtight bag when you put in the freezer and look out for condensation!

--

for her new PC, order at least 2 Hdds; and set up an automated copy which copies her My Documents and desktop to the second drive and make her save all data into that folder which is backed up;
that should help you when either of the HDDs fails.

additionally you can make an image of the HDD 1 right after a fresh install and drop that onto HDD2, if HDD1 fails you buy a new one and image it with the saved image stored on HDD2 and copy back the data from HDD2. if HDD2 fails you replace the HDD and make a new image and restart the backup job; this will save you a lot of hassle and troubleshooting; instead of 3-5 hours; you'll be out of there in less than 40min if all goes well.
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Old 10th July 2009, 16:38   #2
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Something you can try as well: find an identical (working) drive and put the platters of the broken drive in the latter.

(note: you might end up with 2 broken disks, but I guess this hardware (old HD) shouldn't cost that much while saving those files might be priceless)
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Old 10th July 2009, 17:25   #3
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very delicate process; best approach is in the bathroom, let the shower run hot so that humidity is high, then let it all cool down, then open the disk carefully in that room; still high risk of dust clinging to the hdd platters
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Old 14th July 2009, 18:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
very delicate process;
Absolutely, would only do this when nothing else works.
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