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$4,250 to save your hard drive

does anyone know a better way?

was just quoted this to save my stuff from a 500 gig . . . the guy called me with his quote told me it would cost me (only) $4,250 to retrieve my data. I said, "what? but i only made 30gs last year" and he said, "but you are a photographer"

no good

there has got to be a better way . . . drivesavers.com? anyone used it? how about www.unistal.com . . it’s a software you can use . .



by [a former member] at 2005-08-09 12:16:57 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Kabul , Afghanistan | Bookmark | | Report spam→

the same thing happened to me, and i started calling for quotes. i think drivesavers were the ones i called, they quoted me like 2000 for a 250g drive, but they were real nice about it. then i called around some numbers on craigslist, they all quoted me cheaper. in the end i had to lock it up and go out of town, but when i get back, there were a couple tech nerds that assured me they could hook it up for around 450 bucks, plus a clean drive to dump the stuff on. also, i was told to try the norton utilities recovery software. dont know if yours is a software problem like i had, or if you dropped it or something, but i gave it a shot. in the end it didnt work for me, but i think mine is real screwed. there is also a program called disk warrior that is supposed to be tough as nails, again it did not work for mine, but give it a shot. hope that helps a little.

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 12:08 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | | Report spam→
Cut to the chase. I recommend www.majorgeeks.com
Register, add as much details as you can and they will usually respond within a few hours.
It’s the best place I know for all kinds of tech info.
You can stick this in the resources section if you want , Teru.

by Mikethehack | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | | Report spam→
Patrick — I second the www.majorgeeks.com. They may really be able to help you. Good luck man. Sorry I missed you in NYC.



by Keith Bedford | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Had the same issue with my USB 2 drive. I had to ask around, until I found a guy my brother works with who had the skills to fix it. If you ask me the data recovery business is a total scam job.

by Adam | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | Ypsilanti, MI, United States | | Report spam→
I think to label data recovery as a total scam job is a bit unfair. . .

I mean, just because something seems effortless and takes a short amount of time it doesn’t decrease its value. If that were true any administrative assistant could take over all photographic duties with a digicam from radioshack.

by Fernando Gaglianese | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
you might want to try….shit, what’s the name??they’re on 10th street jsut off broadway.  they quoted me 99 and you pay regardless of whether anything or everything is saved.  i’m suspicuous of the price since it’s so low but i’ve been to them with questions before and they had a pretty good grasp on answering what wsa wrong, albeit in overly techinical terms so i’d go with the other posts before goin gto them, but they might be a second or third option……give me some time and i’ll remember the place….yeah found it:  Digital Society Computer Center (212) 777-3093 60 E 10th St # 1 (anyone have experiince with them?i’m curious to know) …..but pat really, next time you get drunk don’t take it out on the poor drives.  throw empty bottles off of rooftops into empty lots or something…..

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | rome, Italy | | Report spam→
…by the way is your stuff insured?  if so it might cover data recovery, drop aaron fineman a line i think he’s been through it…..

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 13:08 | rome, Italy | | Report spam→
If the HD still spins up then try Photo Rescue


It’s designed to retrieve corrupted CF cards but can be used to look at any HD…if it still spins up.

Your gonna hate me for saying it, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket in future.

Two 250GB HD’s is better and safer than one 500GB drive – less loss if one goes down.

The lesson from this is to back up as you go on DVD…backup, backup, backup mate…keep one set and send the copy disks somewhere else that’s safe.

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 14:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Just came across this by sheer chance:


It’s an account of how a guy fixed his dead hard drive by getting under the hood of that bad boy with a screwdriver – I’m not even gonna go ANYWHERE NEAR the idea of suggesting you do so, but the account is there to read if you wanna roll the dice…

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 15:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
DataRescue (if you’re using a Macintosh) is the way to go to pull your data off. Repairing the structure is best with DiskWarrior, I’m told. Your first step is to see if DataRescue can see the drive. If so, have it take copy off everything it can. I doubt you’ll do much better than that. Do not use Norton. Do not use TechWarrior. These are known (in discussions on the Internet) for trashing your drive.

PhotoRescue is a sub-program of DataRescue, I guess. Whatever…use DataRescue.

You can download and try DataRescue for free. If it looks like it works, buy it. If DataRescue gets your files, then format the drive. Make at least two partitions. If one partition dies, the other probably will be OK. And, if you don’t have a Macintosh computer, I guess some of this just doesn’t help, does it?

We’re all assuming the following:
- the drive spins
- Your computer can see the drive, or at least, DataRescue can see it. Norton and others may not be able to, when DataRescue can.

by David Gross | 09 Aug 2005 15:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
I second DiskWarrior.  My computer wouldn’t even recognize the external HD no matter how many combinations of "Turn off, unplug, restart" I tried.  DiskWarrior was very simple.  I started it, it found the drive, I punched a few keys and it was working just like new.  Big relief. 

Again, as long as your disk is still spinning, you have a fighting chance.

by Michael Sugrue | 09 Aug 2005 16:08 | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
damn, im sorry dude. I read a pretty informative article on crashed hard drives a few weeks ago on the NY times site:

CIRCUITS; E.R. for Hard Drives

you have to pay to read it, like $4.00, but I remember it being pretty good. It may not help you too much, but it might give you a direction to move in towards recovery.

good luck.

ps. every time i buy a drive, i buy another identical drive to mirror it.

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2005 16:08 | Charlotte, NC, United States | | Report spam→

4k sounds stupid to fix a simple problem, can you explain the exact issues your having?

are you able to view it mounted (what OS are you using?)

by Daniel Cuthbert | 10 Aug 2005 03:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

what a response!

Thank you to everyone who wrote in.

some answers to some of your questions .. .

Yes, I’m using Mac 10.3.9
No, the computer doesn’t recognize the disk- not even in disk utilities
Yes, the drive makes different sound when starting up
Yes, I did drop it
No, I wasn’t drunk at the time (Jake)

I am checking all of your suggestions, but it’s a little difficult for me to visit or ship anything as I am in Afghan-landia at the moment and my hard drive is in New York . . . am very curious about Digital Society Computer Center- and those two geeks that Victor may use . . . Although if any of you have a super solid someone to suggest I can ship it . .  . still checking all current suggestions. .

hey Victor when are they doing yours??

Thanks again for all of your help everyone,

oh, and one more thing . .

Yes, 4k+ is totally rediculous and stupid and yes it is a complete scam job
No, an administrative assistant could not take over all photographic duties with a digicam from radioshack

thank you thank you thank you again


by [former member] | 10 Aug 2005 05:08 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
ok try this (im gathering the disk is internal or even on a external connection?)

goto terminal (applications —> utilities —> terminal

type in mount and press enter
you should see something like this:

[Pinky:~] Daniel% mount
/dev/disk0s3 on / (local, journaled) <— my main OS X disk
devfs on /dev (local)
fdesc on /dev (union)
on /.vol
/dev/disk1s3 on /Volumes/Brain (local, journaled) <— my 2nd disk

if your disk isnt listed there, there is still a possibility that you can mount it manually, but obviously i’d need more info from you. Feel free to contact me via AIM/MSN

by Daniel Cuthbert | 10 Aug 2005 06:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
i don’t have the number of the guy i talked to with me, besides they are in sf. here is a link to some guys that i did call-

my suggestion is to check out craigslist NYC, search for data recovery and call some places when you get back. but my problem is a software problem, bum directory, not a hardware problem. someone is going to have to take apart your drive, and that is a different story. also, if it is making weird noises, i would not try and turn it on or try any disk recovery programs at all, you may be scratching up the disk if you do. but i’m sure there are a ton of folks in ny that do freelance repairs out of their bedrooms that won’t rip you for 4 g’s, and they probably post ads for their services on craigslist. talk to them, try and get a reference, and don’t tell them what you got quoted. i am not doing mine for a few more weeks, until i return to sf. i just locked it up in a strong box until i can get to it.

on a side note, i relate, i did not have any of the work on the drive backed up (a whole years worth), and yes i learned my lesson to always back up, and yes now i am using mirrored drives and dvd’s and yes i learned my lesson. but it sure as hell didn’t help to hear about it from anybody else. it was frustrating enough to know i had screwed myself, and while the advice was greatly appreciated later, i sure didn’t want to hear it then. sorry, and i hope it works out.

by [former member] | 10 Aug 2005 08:08 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | | Report spam→
Dear Patrick,

So sorry to hear about your drive.  $4250 is excessive but consider the following calculation:

$4250 = quote for restoring hard drive
500,000mb/2.5mb(average size of most 6-8 mpx JPGs)=200,000 images
Cost to recover each image on a full drive = 2 cents/image
Cost to recover 100,000 images on the drive = 4 cents/image
Cost to recover 12,000 images(30gb)  = 35c/image

How do you value your images and what "ransom" are you willing to pay to get them back?  

Drivesavers may well fix the drive for $1-2k.  I would go based on their solid reputation.

When it comes to craigslist random person vs. the established pros….the stakes are too high.

by David Monroe | 11 Aug 2005 02:08 (ed. Aug 11 2005) | | Report spam→
Regarding the second post here… I would NOT use Norton Utilities… It’s never helped much in the past, and has sometimes made problems worse. I would recommend DiskWarrior, if it is just software damage as opposed to physical damage, and it has the advantage of being able to run it, see what the problems are and whether they can be fixed, BEFORE actually choosing to fix them. If there’s an actual physical problem then your gonna need more serious efforts to fix it. Rgds, Ben

by Ben Curtis | 11 Aug 2005 05:08 | Dakar, Senegal | | Report spam→
Hi Patrick!

Good to see you in NY…

I third/fourth/fifth/whatever DiskWarrior as a first try… I once had an unbootable laptop (the hard drive was dying, with the S.M.A.R.T. status reading “failing” in red) and DW got it up and running long enough to get my data off of it. It was screeching and squaking like a parrot with an obvious hardware failure yet DW still came to the rescue. Even if that doesn’t work, DW is a should-have for Mac users.

I’m not being strident, just letting you know what I do now—I buy the Seagate 250 gig drives and external cases and put them in myself, as individual drives (I never join them because it doubles the odds of losing everything if one goes down) and install them myself (preferably with a fan built in but not always, external power supply to keep the case heat down). Seems like Seagates are very highly regarded and the only ones with a 5 year warranty. Stay away from Maxtor or Lacie as they use Maxtors usually.

I keep two copies of everything on HDs and one copy on DVDs.

by Dave Yoder | 11 Aug 2005 07:08 (ed. Aug 11 2005) | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Try Data Rescue X for mac. Look up on the web. Sorry, running out of juice on bgan.

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2005 10:08 | Rawah, Iraq | | Report spam→
In reagards to something that someone above suggested:

Creating a second partition in a harddrive does not safeguard the contents of either partition if there is any sort of physical damage.

by Fernando Gaglianese | 11 Aug 2005 13:08 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
I’ll third photorescue/datarescue. I used it to recover from a card that wasn’t showing on the desktop…worked like a dream. download the trial and test it. You may have a problem buying from afghan land unless your credit card billing address is kabul! I had trouble from kosovo, but just email and explain and they will be cool.

by [former member] | 12 Aug 2005 05:08 | Prishtina, Kosovo | | Report spam→
Re Partitioning:

It’s true that if there’s severe physical damage or electronic circuit board damage, partitioning a big drive won’t help the problem. However, if you have a B-Tree corruption, directory corruption, etc., or a localized failure (bad sector), then even if one partition is having trouble, the other will be just fine. And, corruption is the most common problem since that’s how problems manifest themselves.

Second, reducing the amount of data your system has to search to repair can save a lot of time. Having your rescue program scan 500GB will take twice as long as 250GB, which can be many hours.

Third, two partitions allow you to copy, safely, from a corrupt partition to a non-corrupt one. When rescuing files, you have to put them somewhere! If you have only one drive, it better have two partitions if you’re going to move 200GB of data.

Fourth, it’s a lot easier to backup for smaller amount of data than a large one. Retrospect and Super Duper check for existing files before copying, but they do go faster when they have to check fewer files. Let’s say you have 400GB of stock, and you’ve just added 2GB of new pictures. It’s a lot faster for the system to not check through all 400GB of files to work with the 2GB you just added. Even reducing that to 200GB would help.

I have many partitions: 60GB for stock, 60GB for source files (RAW and audio), System partition, Documents, and other work spaces. When I have trouble, e.g. corrupt directories, I’m not working with all, hmm, 80GB + 80GB + 120GB + 160GB at once! At most, I’m dealing with about 60GB…a lot easier.

So sayeth Gross.

p.s. Hi Andrew. Is the train still running?

by David Gross | 12 Aug 2005 05:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
I had a similar problem about a year ago. I had just finished an important shoot the day prior and my files drive shut down. I didn’t follow my usual proceedure of writing the files to archived DVD’s and the only files that I had from that shoot were on that hard drive as I had already formatted the CF disks. Needless to say: I freaked. Your quote is about right from my experience. Data recovery isn’t cheap but the guys who are good at it can get data from drives that have been physically destroyed, not just damaged. I was able to get the files off without the big buck recovery job so I was lucky. This really taught me to never, ever think that anything on a hard drive is safe let alone archived. When I see photographers who keep thousands of images on hard drives alone, I can see the disaster waiting to happen. So everyone, put your files on the hard drive but then back it all up onto 2 archival DVD’s, one that goes in a safety deposit box and one that stays on your shelf. Anything on a hard drive should be files that you are currently working with and not storing.


by Jonathan Castner | 12 Aug 2005 11:08 | Denver, United States | | Report spam→
For what it’s worth.

I had an 80gig die (insurance company said it was a power surge, but yes i have surge protectors) a few years ago and my insurance paid for drivesavers to recover the data (less the $250 deductable). I have taylor and taylor insurance through ASMP. Drivesavers did a wonderful job at recovering the data quickly.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 12 Aug 2005 12:08 | Brooklyn, NY, United States | | Report spam→

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