This is a short tale about last minute information salvage, and why you should always stay optimistic about your failed hard drive.
This of course, doesn't cover up case of hard drive that is making funny noises…
It started up yesterday noon, when I was working with a friend, a professional video editor, on a video clip.
We should have started to suspect the minute his PC started to stutter… but being the optimistic guys we are, we let it slide. How about another reboot for the PC? That should work.
This time it didn't. The PC got stuck on Windows 7's "Starting Windows" screen.
Still, a couple of reboots later, and the PC is up and we continued working.
Evening comes, and the hard drive no longer appears on My Computer. Oh oh! This is never a good sign.
Few SATA rewiring and now it appears. But the 1TB hard drive now shows up as 33MB! (This is not a typo… I mean megabytes).
A little bit of digging in forums lead me to this handy tool
I had to take the hard drive and connect it to an XP based PC since it supports neither Windows 7, nor 64bit.
But after a quick treatment by this tool, we were managed to get the hard drive size sane again…
This was only halfway through. Now, the MFT was damaged…
After figuring out that the freeware tools couldn't help us at this point, we googled a bit and got to this amazing software called Zero Assumption Recovery.
With this software we managed to scan the hard drive for about 1 hour, and retrieve EVERYTHING back. Did I say everything? Yes and no… Here's why
My friend had finished two big video projects that he needed to deliver in two days. But the recovery software recovered everything BUT the project files… All the directories were restored but the project files weren't even listed
If you got to this point, you can imagine the frustration.
I kindly asked him to show me a sample project file. I noticed that his software's project files are files with size 0.
That's when thinking outside of the box kicked in… I copied a sample file to the root folder where the project folders existed, and renamed it to be the exact name of one of the folders… Voila!!! That's all it took. Apparently, this file only marks his software to look for a match-named folder, and take all the info from there…
That was a long journey with long shots, but to think about all the money and time saved for him, not to mention customer loss and bad reputation, I'd say we were in a really good place
In conclusion – In my opinion, if you hard drive is identified by the system, and does not make any click sound, you might be in a good position to restore your data.
Just think positive!