Need a bit of advice for data recovery services *URGENT*
Long story short, my wife's Powerbook G4 is about 3-4 years old and recently started shutting down. Me being the computer nerd that I am told her to back up her stuff and disconnected my external hard drive and brought it over and set it on her desk. That was Sunday. Suddenly today the powerbook wont boot up past the white apple logo and the load screen is accompanied by a "click - click - click" from the insidsers. After not believing that all her data was probably lost on the hard drive I popped the OS disk in and showed her that the hard drive wasn't functional anymore (the SMART monitoring listed the drive status as "Failed."

After an acusitory fight brought on by the stress of her losing all of her graduate work/music/pictures and my "Told you to back that shit up a week ago!" attitude (i know it was really only two days but I still feel justified) the data loss is sinking in and she's realizing what she lost. I told her as a last resort we could scope out some data recovery software or send the hard drive off to a service that handles these things. Can anyone reccomend a service that has worked for them? I dont think software is an option at this point but any advice is warmly welcomed.

Also, please pardon the siftpost, I'm a poor bastard now and consequently dont have a blog to go with my account anymore.
Many thanks in advance!
-JJ
Submitted by JiggaJonson
Comments (showing 10 of 15)
I don't know if it would work on a Powerbook, but there are some Linux programs that run straight from the CD/DVD that would at least (might) let you pull the files from the HD to a USB stick. SLAX is pretty good at running on almost any computer, but I don't know about Apple.

I think there are some other ones, too. I'll see what I can find.

I used BartPE (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/) to get some of my stuff off an HD when that happened to me a few years ago.
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written by rougy

Data recovery service is super expensive, and I wouldn't get my hopes up on that as it can easily get into the 1k's of dollars. One thing you can try and do, which has had some success is to try the freezer trick. Put the hard drive in a ziplock back (to prevent condensation), freeze it for 2 hours, plug it in and see if you can access the data long enough to start copying it off. If it works, you will probably have to do this multiple times to get all the data depending on how much you have. If the heads have completely failed (thats whats making the clicking sound). You may be out of luck, unless you use a professional service.

Good luck.
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written by reiwan

I've had some experience and good luck with hard drive recovery- and I'd concur with the above guys.

As @rougy mentioned - create a Linux live CD- boot from that and pull the data from the hard drive (if it sees it) and place it on a Flash drive. Often hard drives won't boot- but can still be accessed.

If that doesn't work, as a last resort - as @reiwan mentions, remove the hard drive from the laptop, wrap it in SaranWrap™ and place it in the freezer for 1 hour (or 2) . Quickly get it back in the drive and again try booting from the Linux live CD to see if it's detected.

Both of these methods have worked for me in the past with Macs.
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written by dag

As I know nothing about Macs I'm not able to offer anything useful for your predicament - but I hope it has a happy ending - however once she's up and running again get her to use dropbox - https://www.dropbox.com/.

The files are still on the Mac but are then automatically backed up to the site and can also be synched with another computer. Very convenient when working on multiple pcs or just a very effective backup. It also stores different versions of the files it backs up and you can roll back - very cool.
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written by Deano

Yeah, I love dropbox too. Use it on my Macs - AND iPhone, with the web interface, it basically works anyplace you can get on the net. Very good service.
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written by dag

"If that doesn't work, as a last resort - as @reiwan mentions, remove the hard drive from the laptop, wrap it in SaranWrap™ and place it in the freezer for 1 hour (or 2) . Quickly get it back in the drive and again try booting from the Linux live CD to see if it's detected."

Others and I don't trust that method, but then I guess if you're that desperate and willing to risk it, then go for it. See http://aqfl.net/?q=search/node/hard+drive+myths for the details.
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written by ant

Like I said on facebook, I've had some experience with this.

The drive is obviously dead, but if you're lucky you can sneak out stuff between break-downs. I found that taking the harddisk out, while connected and simply whacking it a little on the side, have jilted it back into action for a few minutes.

Connect it to another computer that boots on another drive and be sure beforehand what you need off the quesionable drive, then you should surgically and precisely go after the most precious data first, because once the drive really goes, it's lost - unless you want to pay upwards of several thousand dollars to get the data at a data recovery site. It should only start clicking when it's read for a little while, the reason it does it when you boot, is because it starts reading off the disk then and the stuff it needs to boot might be all over the platter, so it starts skipping. (It's the servo arm for the reading head that's going when it clicks.)

I lost most of my high school work this way, which is why I use several drives and dropbox for my important stuff now.
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written by gwiz665

Same experience here-mate's Macs crashed, 2 powerbooks within' a week of one another-estimate from an independent data recover firm, $4-5 K

Advice in future with MAC-pay for the mondo "all-inclusive warranty, back up data online.
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written by choggie

Thanks to all the replies!

I'm popping the hard drive out now and throwing in a new drive to get an OS installed whilst I wait on the freezer trick. Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted.

My wife is lucky i'm such a nerd. Those fuckin powerbooks are expensive as hell! I've been a Mac hater for a while, now I remember why...
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written by JiggaJonson

I always tell my wife how lucky she is she married a nerd too - and all the IT computer hassles she's avoided - it never seems to get me much credit.

Good luck.>> ^JiggaJonson:

Thanks to all the replies!
I'm popping the hard drive out now and throwing in a new drive to get an OS installed whilst I wait on the freezer trick. Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted.
My wife is lucky i'm such a nerd. Those fuckin powerbooks are expensive as hell! I've been a Mac hater for a while, now I remember why...

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written by dag


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