I’ve had an interesting evening… A few days ago I realised that the original scans of a couple of old pictures were only on the hard drive of my old PC – no problem I thought, I’ll just hook the old box up to the network at the weekend and copy the files off…
Not as simple as I first thought, as the old PC steadfastly refused to boot. Out came the screwdrivers, and I then tried to get the two hard drives from inside the PC to read using either my current PC, or the Mac using an external hard drive box – the smaller drive, containing only applications read fine, but the data drive kept coming up with errors – apparently well and truly dead.
I tried a couple of the apps I’ve used before for recovering data from dead memory cards, but that didn’t produce anything, so eventually I tried a demo copy of Data Rescue II which successfully produced a list of tens of thousands of files on the drive. Unfortunately for me what it totally failed to find was any sort of directory structure, so for pictures I had a directory full of over 5000 jpeg files with default sequentially numbered names. Since the demo copy of the software only allows you to pull off one file, that was a bit of a problem – so out came the credit card to get a full license key.
The recovery process took a couple of hours, so I now have a folder on the Mac filled with everything the software managed to retrieve – the pictures I wanted are there, along with all sorts of other pictures I’d forgotten I even had. There are also hundreds of old word documents, PDF files, and even my old e-mail files, all of which will have to be sorted. There are quite a few corrupt files, but from a hard drive that seemed totally dead to both Windows and MacOS X, that’s a pretty big turnaround.
Anyway, if anyone else has a hard drive die on them, I do now have a copy of a bit of software that will pull off most of the data… 🙂