Recovering data from old desktop drives


Just a dude
vpsBoard Founder
I've had a few hard-drive failures in my life. However haven't spent much time trying to recover them, and never re-used the drive or re-formated them. I've still got them, in a box.

Whats the best tools available to attempt to recover the data? At home I have a Linux box with 5 hard-drive slots. I only have one working drive in the box, so I can fill up some of the slots with dead drives and attempt to recover them. Would be nice to recover data from my High School days, including old photography I've shot, as well as old projects, music and movies. I'm 25 now, recovering the data from a drive I had when I was 17 or 18 would be a nice little blast to the past.

Any advice?
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D. Strout

Resident IPv6 Proponent
Just do it. Plug 'em in, see what you get. If it doesn't work, it's been my experience that no tool is likely to make it do so.


Company Lube
Verified Provider
If the drives click you could always freezer them.

You can put them in an airtight setup (static bags that are extremely tight against the drive) and just leave it in there for a few hours. This makes it so the steel will shrink a tiny bit allowing the head to pass freely w/o issue.

I've had to do it for drives in the past with pretty positive results.

Once you got the rust spinning you can use something like dd_rescue on linux to pull a full drive mirror. You could also just try pulling the data off in windows or what have you.



New Member
That is right put that drive in the ice box then defrost it but give it a few days to dry out be just like new


Article Submitter
Verified Provider
Attempt clonezilla first to clone the drive to either a image that you can load in a virtual drive or to another drive before doing r-studio method as that is a little intensive on the drive platters and can cause the drive to fail further, the freezer method should only be used if you believe there is nothing else that will work including the first 2 options.


Not to be taken seriously, ever!
If it's a hardware failure, that "clunking" noise that some drives make I've successfully recovered data from them by wrapping them in plastic and them put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. then connect them to a computer. Main thing is to make sure to keep the plastic really tight so no condensation gets to the drive.

Since I am a Windows person my "favourite" program to recover files when they are accidently deleted/boot secter errors/file alllocation problems is GETDATABACK.

Nice little software.