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Thread: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

  1. #1
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    Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    Hi, I find myself with a handful of big old SATA drives (1 and 2 TB) that all seem to be in some way misbehaving. Some have data on them that I'd like salvage, nothing I want to spend money on salvaging but stuff that would be missed if it were gone for good.
    I'm never one to throw away anything that is useful so I was wondering if I could get some suggestions as to what tools I would need to test, fix, salvage data from these old drives. Errors include being recognises when lugged in but unable to mount, not showing up at all when plugged in but the drive is spinning, doing absolutely nothing when plugged in (that one's probably a lost cause). So, before I throw them out, what should I try and in what order please?
    I've got access to Ubuntu 20.04 and Windows 10 machines.

    Thanks

    J
    Sour Mash

    Coming back to Ubuntu after several years away, running Ubuntu on an old Dell Frankenstein machine using salvaged parts and only a little duct tape.

  2. #2
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    The only trick that I have found that works maybe 5% of the time is to refrigerate them for a few hours and then try to mount them and copy anything that is available on them.

  3. #3
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    If not seen in UEFI/BIOS, no system can repair or recovery it.

    So first is drive seen in BIOS?
    If not check all connections, try different cables, ports, then maybe Autodave's suggestion. Also see if drive not spinning tap with rubber hammer or something to see if you can get to start rotating. But those suggestions are often a one time start of drive. Or get whatever you can as it may not ever work again.

    if drive comes up, is it shown in Disks?
    In upper right corner of Disks is Smart Status. All I know is good/bad that it reports but others understand some of the details.
    https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/H...orts_ATA_542.1
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....4#post13965854

    The standard suggestion if you can get it to mount, is to copy drive to another drive and work on the image.
    Full image backup
    GNU ddrescue (packaged as gddrescue, though once installed the command is "ddrescue")
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...4#post13401824
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  4. #4
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    Thanks for your thoughts guys.
    I've got one up and running, it was a permissions things with that one, funny though it was the least likely to be a runner as it came out of a NAS box that got dropped down the stairs! That one will live again I think, I'm running it now to see if it will fall over or not

    On to the next one, this is a 2TB Seagate that was OK until I had a dodgy 20.04 installation experience - system kept turning itself off like a power failure, ran fine off a live CD. The drive now powers up and you can hear it running, sounds fine, but doesn't show up in Disks - what else can I use to probe for life?
    Sour Mash

    Coming back to Ubuntu after several years away, running Ubuntu on an old Dell Frankenstein machine using salvaged parts and only a little duct tape.

  5. #5
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    Hang on, No2 has just sparked into life. It was making read/write sounds then popped up in Disks, I literally did noting but let it sit there for a few minutes. Now I can see the partitions and I am salvaging files. This is too easy, it can't last. The next one, No 3 is an unknown, a Western Digital 1TB drive. This one is pretty much dead I think.
    Sour Mash

    Coming back to Ubuntu after several years away, running Ubuntu on an old Dell Frankenstein machine using salvaged parts and only a little duct tape.

  6. #6
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    dd might be helpful as well.
    Dell Latitude E7440 (since Apr 2020), CPU: Intel Core i7-4600U, 2 cores, 4 threads; HDD: /dev/sda Samsung, /dev/sdb DogFish (mSATA 256 GB SSD each); RAM: 16GB Samsung DDR3L-1600; Graphics: Intel HD 4400

  7. #7
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    Quote Originally Posted by pencuse View Post
    dd might be helpful as well.
    DD? Sorry, what's that please?

    OK, I was premature with the question sorry - https://opensource.com/article/18/7/how-use-dd-linux
    Sour Mash

    Coming back to Ubuntu after several years away, running Ubuntu on an old Dell Frankenstein machine using salvaged parts and only a little duct tape.

  8. #8
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    I could do with some pointers on how Linux handles boot discs - I think I have old boot disks trying to all boot together as when I run the system with more than one HD it either doesn't boot at all or takes ages to boot - unplug one and it's fine. Will a format cure that?
    Sour Mash

    Coming back to Ubuntu after several years away, running Ubuntu on an old Dell Frankenstein machine using salvaged parts and only a little duct tape.

  9. #9
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery
    • ddrescue - dd that keeps trying on failed sectors.
    • testdisk / photorec
    • badblocks
    • smartctl - know what your HDDs think of themselves

    are the tools i use.

    Spinrite can be used for 2TB and smaller disks but badblocks can be setup to do the same stuff.
    Last edited by TheFu; July 3rd, 2020 at 01:04 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Recommendations sought for salvaging hard drives

    I've had some old hard drives that were no longer useful. I took them apart and salvaged the magnets. They're some strong magnets, mine are kidney shaped and about 2 mm thick. I use some to hold tools and fixtures to machines.

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