Posts Tagged ‘Hard Drives’

Dell Data Recovery

May 8th, 2009 No comments

While Dell doesn’t manufacture hard drives, they do build computers. Lots of them!Dell Data Recovery

Dell data recovery is something many of our customers are looking for because they have a Dell computer that crashed or was struck by lightning. Seeing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death? No power at all? You need Dell data recovery.

Just check out our easy to follow instructions on how to identify and remove the actual hard drive from the Dell computer and send it to us. If you need any help just call us and we’ll be happy to help. Dell data recovery is something we excel in and we look forward to serving you.

Happy Recovery!

Seagate Data Recovery

April 17th, 2009 No comments

We offer data recovery on all types of hard drives including Seagate.Seagate Data Recovery

Seagate has been manufacturing hard disks since around the late 70’s and design good hard drives. In our experience, Seagate data recovery isn’t needed more that another type of hard drive. We have lots experience with Seagate drives because of how available they are to consumers.

Have a Seagate hard drive in need of data recovery? Just fill out our easy online form and send us the drive. If you have a warranty we are happy to RMA the drive once we complete the recovery process – just let us know what the RMA number is and pay shipping costs.  For your peace of mind, our labs do not invalidate any warranties.

Seagate Data Recovery? Click here!

Western Digital Data Recovery

March 26th, 2009 1 comment

We offer data recovery on all types of hard drives including Western Digital.Western Digital Data Recovery

Western Digital, often referred to as WD,  has been making hard drives since the early 80’s and make good hard drives. Western Digital data recovery isn’t needed any more that any other brand of drive in our experience. We do have great experience with Western Digital (WD) drives because of how common they are in the marketplace.

If you have a Western Digital hard drive in need of data recovery simply fill out our easy web form and send us the disk. If you have a warranty situation we are happy to RMA the disk for you after recovery – just let us know what the RMA number is and pay shipping. Western Digital accepts drives directly from DriveFish and our labs do not invalidate any warranty so you can rest at ease.

Western Digital Data Recovery? Click here!

How should I pack my disk for shipping?

November 9th, 2008 No comments

When shipping a hard drive you should remember 3 things:

  • Use a box! A box  is very important and will prevent further damage to your hard drive if there is any physical damage and even damage when there was none to begin with. Don’t use a padded envelope and please don’t just wrap it in brown paper and put stamps on it (even though we had a succesful recovery on that one -whew!).
  • Use an air carrier like UPS or Fedex with a tracking number and insurance. We do not recommend the United StatesPostal Service (Post Office).
  • Antistatic! The hard drive should be either placed in an antistatic bag or simply wrapped in paper. If you can find antistatic foam peanuts those are best but if you wrap the drive well bubble wrap will do. Don’t use regular foam peanuts – you’ve probably had them stick to your pants or dress before. Static = Bad!

If you follow these simple recommendations you will ensure  that your hard drive will arrive to us safe and secure!

Live CD’s! Friend of Data Recovery.

August 11th, 2008 No comments

A Live CD is a bootable operating system that resides on a compact disk or DVD and loads into RAM instead of from a hard drive. This can be very handy especially for data recovery when the disk you are having problems with was your operating system disk.

Generally most of our favorite Live CDs are flavors of Linux. This is great because with Linux you have an array of great free pieces of software that can be used to aid in your recovery. Try Knoppix or Ubuntu to get started! Simply download the .iso and burn the image to disk. Then drop it in your CD/DVD drive, set the machine to boot from CD and turn on the power! This frees your hard drives to allow complete access!

How to remove a hard drive from your computer case

January 21st, 2008 No comments

We get this question rather often so figured it best to write a bit about it for our customers reference. How do you remove the hard drive from your computer? There is no standard method for doing this as all cases are different. First, is it a desktop or laptop computer?

Note: Before getting started, disconnect all of the cables and wires from your computer, make sure the power is completely disconnected and if we are dealing with a laptop – remove the battery!


First we will need to get to the internals of the computer. To do this we need to find a way to open the case. Most modern computers have a simple little “lock” on the back of the computer that when utilized allows you to completly remove one side of the case and exposing the inside of the computer. This is called a “screwless case”. It will generally be a small tab that you can slide one way or the other to release the side of the case.

On some cases, you will actually have to use a screw driver to remove some screws. When doing this make sure you dont remove the screws for the power supply. That is the box towards the top of the case in the back where your power cable plugs in. It should have 4 screws around the square power supply. Don’t bother with these. The screws you are interested in will be around the outskirts of the case and on the back panel. Sometimes it will be what is called a “thumbscrew” – they look like this:


They are just like a screw but designed to be turned without a tool. Simply twist to remove, then open the side of the case.

Once inside, you might feel intimidated by all of the wires and connections. Don’t be! With a little effort you will soon be a master of removing hard drives. The hard drive will be about 4×6 inches in dimension and will have most probably have one of the following 2 cables plugged into it:



SATA Cable

SATA Cable (not always red)

Just locate these cables and follow them from the motherboard to the hard drive. Once you have identified the disk, simply securely grip the cables and pull them directly out from the hard drive. No, you aren’t going to  break it. Sometimes you have to exert a bit of force to get the cables to come free.

Once you have disconnected the cables, we need to remove the drive itself from the case. Generally this is a matter of removing a few screws or sliding a couple of clamps. Because there are so many different case manufacturers and styles it would be hard to picture all of the different ways – but you have come this far! Don’t give up now.


Again, we face the problem of there being hundreds if not thousands of different laptop case designs and ways to mount the hard drive. The best way to find out just where the hard drive is located on your case, is to check with the manufacturer. On Dell laptops for example, it is a matter of removing 2 screws and sliding the hard drive out. On most Apple laptops, you have to remove the battery and look for screws holding the metal band around the outskirts of the battery. Once removed pull the white tab to slide the disk out.

If you have any troubles removing the disk from your computer feel free to call us! We will be happy to walk you right through the process. If you don’t even want to try your luck feel free to send the entire laptop or drive enclosure.

USB Enclosure? Priceless!

December 9th, 2007 No comments

While you can always set the jumpers on a hard drive you want to recover and slave it in an exsisting system, it is much easier to use a USB enclosure to connect a hard drive to your system for testing/diagnosis. When hooking directly to the system, you risk the integrity of the connections and hardware inside the case. If you are looking for a better way – go pick up a USB enclosure from a local computer store (try to find a locally owned shop) and use that instead!

If you want to order online, here are some good prices:

The only thing you need to be concered with when buying is the connection type of your hard drive.  Generally they are either SATA or PATA (IDE). You need to buy the type that supports your type of hard drive.


PATA (IDE) is on the top, SATA is on the bottom.

Once you connect your disk, simply plug the USB cable into your computer to access (or attempt to access!) the data.

Freezing a Hard Drive?

November 14th, 2007 No comments

Anyone who looks even briefly online for solutions to disk problems will inevitably come across some piece of advice like:

“Dude just toss it in the freezer for a couple of hours!! Worked for me!!”

Ok, first – we doubt it worked for you. We bet instead you read this advice somewhere and rehashed it to look like you knew what you were talking about. In reality, freezing your drive is NOT a good idea. You can create condensation (we all know hard drives like water) and can literally cause a head crash (when the read/write heads actually touch the spinning platters = no data for you).  Please, please..don’t put your disk in the freezer.

You can accomplish the same thing by cooling the drive. This is much easier on the parts of the disk and can be accomplished without moisture condensation. If you can keep the disk around 70 degrees, you are doing well.

The biggest problem we have with submitted disks is that the user has tried to hack their way through a recovery before they send the disk in. If you are unsure about your chances of recovering the data yourself, ask this simple question:

Is the data worth our reasonable fat fees? If the answer is yes – don’t mess with the drive anymore and send it in. If the answer is no – try cooling your drive to ensure your best possible chances of recovery – but definitely don’t freeze it!

The best data recovery software

October 6th, 2007 No comments

There are hundreds if not thousands of different recovery softwares on the market. Which one is the best?

The fact is, most of them are the same basic functions with a different GUI. Going a step further, most of them are performing functions available for free in an open source piece of software. Why use open source instead of a software that costs money? Not only can you be sure exactly what an open source piece of software is doing, but it’s also free! As well, there is generally a good size community of users that are willing to discuss solutions and problems with the code.

Warning: Before moving forward with any self-recovery, please be aware you can easily make the disk COMPLETELY UNRECOVERABLE if you move forward without knowing what you are doing (and in some cases when you do). If the data is worth less than $199 to you feel free to try some of these suggestions. If the data is worth $199, don’t mess around with your chances. Power the drive down, pack it up and send it to us. Now without further annoying warnings, here is the best data recovery software available:

The Winner and Still Champion

Antonio Diaz’s GNU ddrescue. This software can copy a failing drive to a new disk – giving you a better chance of recovery because you will be working on a disk that is not failing. This is an important step and one of the first steps DriveFish takes when recovering data. Imagine you have a hard drive that is failing (you know it has bad blocks, is making noise, giving CRC errors etc). With ddrescue you can copy all of the data in RAW mode from the bad disk to a working one – which you can then work with to try and reconstruct your data. This way, you arent constantly spinning the bad drive and reducing your chances of recovery. Copy the disk using ddrescue to a working disk for your best chance of success!

It’s important to mention, ddrescue is very different from ddrescue and dd. ddrescue is authored by Antonio Diaz, is GNU and is more functional and safer than the other titles. In our experience we have never lost a single byte to a bug in ddrescue. To describe what this software does, we’ll use the description from the author:

“GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool. It copies data from one file or block device (hard disc, cdrom, etc) to another, trying hard to rescue data in case of read errors. GNU ddrescue does not truncate the output file if not asked to. So, every time you run it on the same output file, it tries to fill in the gaps. The basic operation of GNU ddrescue is fully automatic. That is, you don’t have to wait for an error, stop the program, read the log, run it in reverse mode, etc. If you use the logfile feature of GNU ddrescue, the data is rescued very efficiently (only the needed blocks are read). Also you can interrupt the rescue at any time and resume it later at the same point.”

One of the coolest things about this software is the logfile feature – allowing you to resume a failed copy and tweak down on troubled sectors.

You can find this wonderful software here.

How to use it?


Debian Linux:
# apt-get install ddrescue

RedHat Linux:
# yum -y install ddrescue

Installs as /usr/bin/ddrescue


To copy /dev/sda (damaged \device\harddisk0) to another drive /dev/sdb (empty \device\harddisk1)

# ddrescue /dev/sda /dev/sdb

To recover the partition data run fsck, for example if /home (user data) is on /dev/sda2, run fsck on partition /dev/sdb2:
# fsck /dev/sdb2

This avoids touching the damaged /dev/sda, if the procedure fails you can send the original disk to us.

Lastly mount the partition somewhere and see if you can access the data:
# mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/data

Honorable Mentions

Testdisk, Photorec and pdisk are all present in our engineers collections. Click the software titles to read more about them.

My hardrive makes a clicking sound!

September 16th, 2007 No comments

Oh dear…generally, a clicking sound coming from your hard drive is pretty bad sign. It could very well be a sign of massive hardware failure to come. The best advice is to back up your hard drive immediately if it makes any funny noises. In fact you should be backing up anyway! Check out the article about backing up for more information.

Now, if the data on the drive is critical (meaning you want the best chance of recovering it) we strongly suggest that you don’t play with it at all. Don’t even power it up again. The next time it spins up could be its last. If you have done due diligence and decided that the files are replaceable or otherwise not critical what follows are some ideas on how to fix the problem.

First, to make things clear: a clicking noise does not mean that your drive has or will have a hardware failure. It means that’s probably what will happen. Remember, you don’t always get a warning. Now onto possible solutions to the issue to get you up and spinning long enough to recover the files you need!

On Dat Level

Be sure that the disk is on a level surface or is cased at a level angle. You would be surprised how much the physical angle of a hard drive has on its performance. First make sure it is at a level angle. If it already is flipping it upside down (exactly and carefully) is a good step. Don’t do this while the drive is running. Power it down completely then re-position. If all else fails, try setting the drive on its side. As you are aware, hard drives are very sensitive to jolts and movement. Do be careful when adjusting positions.

Be Cool

Hard drives don’t like heat. Do whatever you can (besides putting your drive in the freezer – you really don’t want to do that.) to cool the drive before and while it is running. You can buy nice heat sinks for drives that when coupled properly can decrease heat significantly. Another solution is a USB cup warmer/cooler. You can pick them up for around $20 and they can be dissembled and placed on a hard drive to help cool it. You can even rig one to cool the drive while in a case during normal use! If you are trying to fix a clicking drive, be sure to keep it cool the entire time. If it gets too hot it could compound the issue.

Check, Mate

If you are using a Windows system, you can use CHKDSK to check for hard drive trouble. Simply boot into safe mode and issue CHKDSK C: /R /F  in a command terminal (run>cmd). This will run a disk check that will check for bad sectors (/R) and try to fix errors if possible (/F). If CHKDSK wants to convert lost chains to files, allow it. If you reboot after a CHKDSK and your drive still clicks, it probably has some physical issues. Please do realize – you can KILL a dying hard drive by running commands like this on it. Be very sure you are prepared to go down this road before you do.

Software Isn’t Always Soft

Why not try some “over the counter” software to fix your problem? After all the prices range from $50  which is much cheaper than even DriveFish’s flat fee of $199 for recovery, right? Software is not always soft. In fact it can be very HARD on a faulty hard drive. In so many words, running software on a dying drive can be the same as tossing it out the window of a moving car. There are some cases where software can be useful but never use software on a drive that is making noise unless you are prepared to lose all of the data on the disk.

If you are unsure about your chances or would rather have the professionals handle it – place an order!