Best way to recover data from failing drive?

How, what, where and why - when using the software.
wwcanoer
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Joined: 2020.02.19. 16:55

Best way to recover data from failing drive?

Post by wwcanoer »

My 5TB external 2.5" Seagate BUP Portable HDD has 4% health and I had errors trying to copy some files off of the drive.
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My plan is:

(1) Make a "forensic sector copy" clone of the drive using Macrium Reflect (i.e. copy all sectors whether used or not)
- Macrium: Failed 44% of the way through. "Clone error 9: access is denied"
- HD Sentinel: "Reported Uncorrectable Errors 821 -> 822"
- A lot of file unaccessible errors trying to read the drive, perhaps directory created but files never copied due to fail.
- Tried "MyRecover" on the cloned drive but it crashed.
- Now using Teracopy to copy the good files.

(2) Remove the failing drive from the case and place it in a known good USB adapter (because using a laptop), in case communication problems are due to the adapter.
- Done.

(3) Perform HD Sentinel Disk Repair on the failing HDD.
- Started Estimated 35 hours.

(4) Run a file recovery program (such as Recuva) on the repaired HDD and cloned HDD. See which has more success.

Does this make sense? Or what should I be doing to recover my files?

(I was using it as a backup drive and should have everything on a second drive as well but it's been a few years since I used it so, I dunno for sure. After recovery I will run a duplicate cleaner and then see if anything unique remains.)

Thanks in advance.
wwcanoer
Posts: 16
Joined: 2020.02.19. 16:55

Re: Best way to recover data from failing drive?

Post by wwcanoer »

Disk Repair Results: Only 5 sectors needing repair. Health increased 4% to 62%
Performed after removing the drive from its USB enclosure and connecting with a Maiwo 2-bay HDD USB docking station.
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I will try cloning it again.
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hdsentinel
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Re: Best way to recover data from failing drive?

Post by hdsentinel »

> (1) Make a "forensic sector copy" clone of the drive using Macrium Reflect (i.e. copy all sectors whether used or not)

In general, when a drive has such very low Health % value and lots of problems reported in the text description, it is better to attempt to copy at file level, focusing on the most important files first.

Such drives / situations usually indicate and suggest even more problems with use and we can expect that the drive may report even more issues or even fail completely any time.

So trying a sector-sector copy is usually not the best way. It can happily copy empty sectors, unwanted files (eg. temp files or not critical data) and the "stress" can cause that the drive may fail completely before we could "reach" the important data (files and/or the MFT area).

This is why I'd try to copy the important files first - and maybe only then try a sector-sector clone. Generally a clone works only when we attempt to clone a correct, completely working (perfect) drive: upon problems, we can expect that the
- clone operation may abort due to error(s)
- cloned copy may be not perfect (if the cloning tool may ignore/skip errors - but then we'd not know which file(s) may be damaged).


> (2) Remove the failing drive from the case and place it in a known good USB adapter (because using a laptop),
> in case communication problems are due to the adapter.
> - Done.

Yes, I completely agree, this is VERY IMPORTANT point, especially for a such high capacity 2.5" hard disk drive, connected via USB.
Many problems are related to the fact that the drive may not receive enough power for proper operation via USB connection - and this may result in damaged, weak / pending sectors. Usually these can be repaired when the drive connected differently (for example by a different USB dock/adapter which has its own power supply) but even during the best possible repair attempts, the affected file(s) may be damaged, corrupted.
Hard Disk Sentinel during the repair lists the affected files - so we can know and verify if they can be usable or not (eg. a video file may have a minor frame error but still better than losing the entire file).


Your thoughts are correct, just maybe I'd do in different order:

1) remove the drive and connect with better, more stable power source
2) then try to copy files, starting with most important files
3) then try a clone (if required) but I'd expect that the clone can't be completed
4) then try the Disk menu -> Surface test -> Disk Repair function in Hard Disk Sentinel, to attempt to fix / stabilize the errors and make appropriate sectors readable
5) then try the clone again
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hdsentinel
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Re: Best way to recover data from failing drive?

Post by hdsentinel »

Yes, as you can see, when the drive used with a better power source, most problems could be repaired and the Health % also improved.
As the drive is now readable (after many reallocations) yes, a new clone will be probably possible. Just please note that the file(s) on the affected sectors can be damaged/corrupted (see the log below the surface map).


If you prefer to re-use the drive, I'd recommend to use Disk menu -> Surface test -> Write test function to perform a complete clear of all data, rewrite all sectors. Without this, you may risk that more sectors will be damaged/corrupted later (notice the slower areas on the beginning, indicating that the drive now can read that particular area much slower than expected).
Normally I'd recommend the Disk menu -> Surface test -> Reinitialise Disk Surface function (not the simple Write test) but it would take really lots of time, so the simpler Disk menu -> Surface test -> Write test function may be enough. Slightly similar / less effective function usually (incorrectly) called as "low level format" in other tools.
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