I had about the worst computer problem when I got back in town this weekend. I attempted to turn on my computer only to get some error messages. After some investigating I found that my hard drive had a mechanical failure and is now paper weight. My computer was attempting to boot off my old slaved hard drive which I become corrupted a few years ago (but I was still able to pull my data off of when slaved).
It started a about a week ago when a strange clicking noise would occasionally come from my computer case. Soon after that my computer would freeze up and I would have to reboot. It would ususally take a few attempts to get the computer to fire up but once I did it would be fine for a few days. This time there was no rebooting allowed.
I've since had to buy a new hard drive and Windows XP (I can't find any my old disks) and install both. I tried to slave my failed hard drive to my new one and see if I could pull some data off. My computer can't even recognize the hard drive unfortunately. It knows that it's there but nothing will show up in Explorer. After some tinkering I got it to show up briefly in Windows Explorer but the computer doesn't see any data there. My guess is that one of the internal arms failed making it impossible to actually read anything off the disk.
Data Recovery you say? I looked into this and found out that starting price is about $500 and most recoveries average about $1000+. Ouch. There is enough stuff on my hard drive (digital pictures, documents) that I'll probably need to pay up at some point. My hope is that it's possible to let my hard drive sit on the shelf for a few months before I have it recovered to give me some time to save some $$$.
As my digital picture collection grew I started thinking about backing up the pictures. The one reason I didn't was that my only available media on my computer was CD's which has a pretty limited storage size. With the amount of stuff I needed to backup it would have taken me tons of CD's to store my files. Now I'm going to buy a DVD burner which will be more capable of handling the amount of data I have/had.
A small piece of irony, the failure occured on the 29th and my hard drive warrenty expired on the 15th of August.
I don't concider this a warning but more of an attempt to share exactly what can happen and what it'll take to get your files back. (ie $$$). The chances of a mechanical failure is pretty remote especially considering most folks change computers every few years and rarely have old components.
Anyone have any experience with data recovery or have any recommendations of places to try?