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I have an 80GB Fujitsu 2.5" hard drive that died about a day ago and had nothing backed up. Is it possible to retrieve data off of it somehow.

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It the hard drive a hard drive in the classic sense or a SSD? –  myhd Aug 7 '12 at 16:38
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"Died" is somewhat vague, it could simply be a corruption issue that is preventing the drive from mounting or it might be a physical issue. Can you elaborate, such as: does Disk Utility list the drive when attached? Is it greyed out? Have you tried any recovery software yet? –  pdd Sep 5 '12 at 20:59
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

SSDs don't come in an 80GB size (that I've seen -- usually multiples of 32GB). It may be possible depending on why the drive dies. If its a mechanical failure, then you could take the drive to a specialty computer repair shop (try local before the big stores), and they should be able to help you with diagnosing the actual issue. Since the data is stored magnetically, (if the drive data is not corrupt) you can retrieve the data but you may have to remove the platters and put into a new HD unit with working mechanics... this might cost quite a bit of money -- you'd need a clean room to be safe.

Bottom-line, the data is retrievable (most likely) but the cost may prevent you from getting it back.

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If your HD still has some life you could try a few tricks:

  • Some people have had success with hard drives that still spin but won't mount by cooling them down with aerosol coolant or refrigeration (in a completely dry rice or silica gel filled container) and then plugging back in and if they mount, quickly creating a virtual image of the drive.

  • Another trick is to replace the hard drive's printed circuit board with the one from a working identical drive and quickly create an image. Apple users have long used Disk Warrior to fix non-mounting drives -- in fact, if you can get a hard drive to mount long enough to create a virtual copy Disk Warrior will repair the image itself.

  • Finally, as the poster above mentioned, there are data recovery companies that will recover the data pretty much no matter what if the platters are intact but they are shockingly expensive.

You might consider all the common data recovery programs or dd_rescue. Try Disk warrior first and if none work, try mounting the disk again and again in Disk Utility -- sometimes it will suddenly come to life for a little while.

Otherwise try my first suggestions and if absolutely nothing works and you are ready to write the whole thing off and about to throw it away whack it two or three times laterally as hard as you would smack a bee that stuck you but no harder.

If that doesn't work send it off to professionals or if you are incredibly brave and very poor, get an identical drive and take both apart, replace the platters and immediately create a disc image because that is about how long it will continue working. It IS possible to do so and mount the disc without a clean room, it is just very very difficult and not likely to work due to contamination, the massive power of the magnets inside hard drives touching the platters, etc. Best of luck, we've all been there.

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With the software DataRescue I have been able to recover data from an external hard drive but the folder structure was not recovered.

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I resurrected most of my died external harddrives by changing the enclosure. Usually the problem is in the bridge between HD and USB.

Sometimes, I needed to rebuild the partition table with testdisk, or with tools present on a live DVD of Ubuntu (working with an OS other than OS X may help bypass OS specific features that prevent Diskutil from repairing disks).

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