Oh noooo! nooo nooooooooo! Hard Drive crash and I neglected to backup for so long

Arghhh, I don’t understand why I didn’t get a single smartdisk message saying something was up. Playing and then a sudden hard crash that flipped out my computer. E drive is missing and I go in tgo figure out which drive it is and OF COURSE. My data drive that I have all my critical data on. Worse I had not been backing it up because after my last computer rebuild, I just… forgot?

Is there anything I can do to try and recover? When I try to boot with and the drive tries to power up it makes kind of a groaning noise.

I should mention it’s a Western Digital Caviar Black mechanical drive. 2 TB.

Worst case scenario, data recovery center. I’ve had to use them before. It can be pricey, but in my case it was worth it.

How much does something like that cost nowadays?

Man, I don’t know. Was years ago. Saved my bacon back then. I think it was around $70, but I may be misremembering.

That wouldn’t be bad to me. Besides all my data I’ve lost thousands of hours of savegames. I’m just so upset/angry.

Thousands of dollars for data recovery. :/

Once you get up and running again, download GameSave Manager v3 going forward.

First time hearing about this. How does it work? Does it save to cloud or to another harddisk?

It knows the default save locations for 1000s of games and you can manually back them up/export/restore them.


Doesn’t help after the fact, but going forward…

First step: do not attempt to run CHKDSK or scandisk or any other Windows feature. Those only break the drive further.

Best case scenario: there is a possibility that you can recover the data, or most of it, for free. Depends on how dead the drive is at the moment. If the disks still spin, there is a possibility.

Last time this happened to me, which was ages ago, I used “PC Inspector File Recovery” (freeware), which slowly but surely retrieved all the data from the disk. It’s still available at http://www.pcinspector.de/FileRecovery/instructions.htm?po=2&language=1 but it looks like it may not be very up-to-date (at least the installer still runs on Windows 10).

They also claim that it doesn’t work for mechanical failures, but that’s not my experience.

There are other, similar, programs available. Some free, some paid. At https://www.softwarehow.com/free-data-recovery-tools/ some of these are mixed in with ordinary file recovery tools. A paid alternative is available at https://www.easeus.com/

This works best if you keep the drive connected using SATA, not in a USB enclosure. Connect a new drive with 2TB of space to copy your stuff over.

If the data is essential to you, and you don’t want to risk making the problem worse, you may want to go straight to a paid data recovery service though.

And this is the main reason why I use One Drive. This is something I fear!

Man, I hope the recovery guys can help you out.

Many, but certainly not all, sorts of games which use the Windows/User folder are now automatically “uploaded” to the cloud, similar to iCloud and MacOS desktop and documents folders.

If it’s really essential, don’t do anything and take it to a pro who might bleed you dry. Sorry.
Otherwise, the first thing should probably be to image/clone the drive to another disk and start recovery from that - if the bios can access it, otherwise, see above. If you don’t know what the issue is, you don’t know if you might make it worse by sending it power.
After that, you can try the tools I don’t remember too well :) one thing that might work is Linux-based recovery cds (installed to usb, this isn’t the 90s), since they access the file-system differently, but they’re not that user-friendly. And Testdisk should get you a pile of files for you to figure out, if nothing else.
Sorry for whiffing out on the tools you should use, but I can’t be more useful than a google search there.

Syncing is not a backup, a disk/fs/os error that screws up a file will overwrite the copy without you knowing. And I should get around to doing actual backups too.

OneDrive and many competitors have document revision for these cases.

I don’t rely on it either, I do full backups to backblaze, but it’s there and I have used it in some limited cases where it was just easier than trying to restore from a backup.

My guess is the spindle motor broke. It sounds like it’s trying to turn the platters and they’re not able to move.

If you remove the drive from the PC, connect it to power & hold it in your hand by the sides, and there is no “gyroscope” feeling as you tilt it slightly around, yeah it’s mechanically dead and no software will fix it.

I’ll give that a try this weekend when I have more energy.