vibrate the computer even at a very low frequency can cause hard drive heads to skip and
jump or even scratch the platters.
3. Turn off the computer, remove the cover, and get ready to the turn the computer on. Then
put your ear right next to the drive and power the system on. If you hear any kind of grinding,
scratching, or rattling from the drive, turn the computer off as quickly as possible and go to
the next step. Otherwise go on to step 5.
4. If the disk has made noise that indicates some sort of mechanical stress, then the problem
is the domain of data recovery experts. This is where the client has to make a decision. Do
they want to send the drive to a data recovery service, or do they want to destroy the disk in
an attempt to recover some data? If the client has information that absolutely needs to be
recovered, then send it to the professionals. Remember, you cannot service a hard drive unless
you are working in a clean room. If they are willing to destroy the disk and try to get some
data off the drive, there is a quick hack available. Place the drive in a static-free bag, then
place the drive and static-free bag into a ziplock bag to seal out moisture. Place this into a
freezer turned to as low as possible for 24 hours. After 24 hours, pull the drive out and
immediately put it into a computer (the faster the better) that boots to a floppy and has
another hard drive to transfer data to. If the drive wasn't damaged too much previously, you
should be able to pull some data off before the metal of the drive heats up and starts
destroying the data storage platters. You can repeat the process only if you shut down almost
immediately and go through the 24 hour freeze process again. Chances are that the first time
attempt will be the only chance to recover data.
5. If the drive boots to an operating system and you can get to either a net work or backup
medium, then start copying the most important data off first. Once that data is off, you can
back up less important data. The best bet is to listen to your client to find out what absolutely
must be recovered.
6. If the client wants to restore the drive to its previous state and continue operating, then you
need to do two things to see if this is feasible.
• First, run a virus scan on the drive. Update the virus definitions then scan every file on the
• Second, boot to a floppy-disk-based hard drive utility and run a low-level bad sector
If both tests pass and the computer boots to the operating system, then your job is done and
you are eligible for a pat on the back. Otherwise, continue.
7. If the drive does not boot, then try booting to a bootable CD or a bootable locked floppy
disk. If you can see the file system, continue to step 8.
use these to diagnose and recover data. The client needs to make the choice as to whether the
expense of this solution is worth the recovery of the data.