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My hard disk has been diagnosed as legitimately being dead (it cannot be accessed at all). Is there anything I can do to recover the data on it?
Explanation: A hard disk that has important data on it has been diagnosed as being dead. The disk cannot be accessed through normal means to recover the data that is on it, but that data must be retrieved.
Diagnosis: Due to the enormous amount of important data that is not backed up regularly and is therefore lost to failed hard disks every year, special companies have sprung up that specialize in performing special heroics on dead drives to access and retrieve data on disks that under normal circumstances would never be readable again. This process is called data recovery. These companies are expensive, and there are sometimes steps you can perform yourself instead of hiring them, although you need to carefully weigh your options before touching your drive and make sure of what you are attempting. These companies are professionals and their success rate is actually pretty high.
Warning: Make absolutely
sure that the disk is really dead before you try anything at all in this section. I am
assuming that you have diagnosed it properly and also contacted your manufacturer's
technical support department. If you aren't sure, don't touch the drive.
Warning: Tinkering with a
dead drive can (and often will) void your warranty. If the drive is under warranty,
contact the manufacturer's technical support department about data recovery options before
you try anything that involves altering the drive. If you alter the drive then the
manufacturer may have no choice but to not honor the warranty, since they will have no way
of knowing if the problem was indeed caused by your working on the disk.
Recommendation: Assuming that your disk is dead and you want to try "extreme measures" to try to get it running again, try some of the above. Note that if you do manage to get the disk going again, make sure that you will have some other drive set up to pump the data to. You may only get the disk running again once; don't miss the opportunity to save the data: