Is there any way to see files that were on a hard drive that has failed?

25 replies
Found 27th Oct 2016
Hi there,

I've just had a hard drive fail and I was curious to know if there is any way to see what files were on the drive? Sort of like a cached image or file explorer tool that could see the files?

The drive may have been indexed if that helps.

Thanks

24 Comments

It depends on what has failed in the hard drive with regards to recovering data, impossible to give an accurate answer without that information.

Recuva was a pretty good free tool I used a while back

Original Poster

I mean assuming the drive has completely failed beyond all recovery. Not looking to see if I can recover files or repair the disk, just looking to see if the operating system keeps a record or index of what the hard drive contained just so I can see all the files that WERE on it as opposed to trying to get anything back.

rfc4spl1

I mean assuming the drive has completely failed beyond all recovery. Not … I mean assuming the drive has completely failed beyond all recovery. Not looking to see if I can recover files or repair the disk, just looking to see if the operating system keeps a record or index of what the hard drive contained just so I can see all the files that WERE on it as opposed to trying to get anything back.


Where would this information/operating system be stored???

rfc4spl1

I mean assuming the drive has completely failed beyond all recovery. Not … I mean assuming the drive has completely failed beyond all recovery. Not looking to see if I can recover files or repair the disk, just looking to see if the operating system keeps a record or index of what the hard drive contained just so I can see all the files that WERE on it as opposed to trying to get anything back.



If the failed drive was a secondary one and the OS was installed on a different drive then there will be a few cached traces (entered file paths, search results) but I'm not sure if there's anything that would give a complete listing. Maybe the search indexer?

If it was the drive that the OS was installed on that failed then it's very unlikely.

Original Poster

flickflack

Where would this information/operating system be stored???




EndlessWaves

If the failed drive was a secondary one and the OS was installed on a … If the failed drive was a secondary one and the OS was installed on a different drive then there will be a few cached traces (entered file paths, search results) but I'm not sure if there's anything that would give a complete listing. Maybe the search indexer?If it was the drive that the OS was installed on that failed then it's very unlikely.



Sorry I should have mentioned at the start the hard drive was an internal storage drive. The OS drive and the other 2 storage drives still work. I'll see if I can find any indexes.

Original Poster

EndlessWaves

If the failed drive was a secondary one and the OS was installed on a … If the failed drive was a secondary one and the OS was installed on a different drive then there will be a few cached traces (entered file paths, search results) but I'm not sure if there's anything that would give a complete listing. Maybe the search indexer?If it was the drive that the OS was installed on that failed then it's very unlikely.



Struggling to find anything unfortunately. The drive is not appearing at all in Windows or in BIOS so I'm guessing it's knackered beyond repair pretty much.

Is the disk getting hot when running?
If so double bag it in zip lock bags then pop it in the freezer for a few hours then try it again. It should stay cool enough for you to get some files off it.

joedastudd

Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in … Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in zip lock bags then pop it in the freezer for a few hours then try it again. It should stay cool enough for you to get some files off it.



​or put some cooler packs on it.

Even better if you can run it while In freezer. Just need a caddy.. They call them toasters..... And wrap well in plastic as you don't want air around it as that could form ice. Leave for a few hours and fire up. If it's welded together and don't spin its dead

Original Poster



joedastudd

Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in … Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in zip lock bags then pop it in the freezer for a few hours then try it again. It should stay cool enough for you to get some files off it.

joedastudd

Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in … Is the disk getting hot when running? If so double bag it in zip lock bags then pop it in the freezer for a few hours then try it again. It should stay cool enough for you to get some files off it.

wayners

Even better if you can run it while In freezer. Just need a caddy.. They … Even better if you can run it while In freezer. Just need a caddy.. They call them toasters..... And wrap well in plastic as you don't want air around it as that could form ice. Leave for a few hours and fire up. If it's welded together and don't spin its dead





Not getting hot when spinning but tried freezer trick regardless. Still spinning up but just no detection whatsoever.

rfc4spl1

Struggling to find anything unfortunately. The drive is not appearing at … Struggling to find anything unfortunately. The drive is not appearing at all in Windows or in BIOS so I'm guessing it's knackered beyond repair pretty much.



The Index files are kept in the ProgramData folder which is on the same drive as the OS by default so they shouldn't be affected by the loss of the drive.

I've never dug into them before, but a search brings up this page which suggests it's possible:
forensicswiki.org/wik…rch

Original Poster

EndlessWaves

The Index files are kept in the ProgramData folder which is on the same … The Index files are kept in the ProgramData folder which is on the same drive as the OS by default so they shouldn't be affected by the loss of the drive.I've never dug into them before, but a search brings up this page which suggests it's possible:http://www.forensicswiki.org/wiki/Windows_Desktop_Search



Perfect, thanks. I'll give it a try. Did some googling and had given up after not finding much.

When you connect it can you see it under disk management?
If it's spinning, not getting hot and not clicking it could just be the cable or a lose/broken connection.

Original Poster

EndlessWaves

The Index files are kept in the ProgramData folder which is on the same … The Index files are kept in the ProgramData folder which is on the same drive as the OS by default so they shouldn't be affected by the loss of the drive.I've never dug into them before, but a search brings up this page which suggests it's possible:http://www.forensicswiki.org/wiki/Windows_Desktop_Search



Whilst I can see the files in that directory, I have no way of making head nor tails of the information and that website seems to suggest it's pretty tricky.



joedastudd

When you connect it can you see it under disk management?If it's … When you connect it can you see it under disk management?If it's spinning, not getting hot and not clicking it could just be the cable or a lose/broken connection.



Nothing under disk management but had already checked all connections earlier and tried it with the other SATA ports and cables which are known to be working. Could something have blown on the PCB? I don't have a surge protector currently and an old fuse box in the house. Or is that a stupid suggestion?

rfc4spl1

Whilst I can see the files in that directory, I have no way of making … Whilst I can see the files in that directory, I have no way of making head nor tails of the information and that website seems to suggest it's pretty tricky.Nothing under disk management but had already checked all connections earlier and tried it with the other SATA ports and cables which are known to be working. Could something have blown on the PCB? I don't have a surge protector currently and an old fuse box in the house. Or is that a stupid suggestion?


Have you tried the drive in another system to see if it works on that one ? Sata drive controllers can and do fail and also you can have drive conflicts.

Not worth the effort.

Original Poster

kester76

Have you tried the drive in another system to see if it works on that one … Have you tried the drive in another system to see if it works on that one ? Sata drive controllers can and do fail and also you can have drive conflicts.



I don't have another system as such to try it on but I do have a caddy I could use plugged in to laptop USB.

In terms of the SATA controller - would that affect other drives too if it had failed? I have two more HDDs connected by SATA.

The drives were all working in harmony before the failure - can conflicts arise de novo?

Thanks for all the help and suggestions so far everyone.

rfc4spl1

I don't have another system as such to try it on but I do have a caddy I … I don't have another system as such to try it on but I do have a caddy I could use plugged in to laptop USB.In terms of the SATA controller - would that affect other drives too if it had failed? I have two more HDDs connected by SATA.The drives were all working in harmony before the failure - can conflicts arise de novo?Thanks for all the help and suggestions so far everyone.


Not really, sometimes drives just don't get along. I've seen this on a IDE systems before in the past, just out of the blue one wont function. Best to pull it and listen to it to hear if it has a trapped head. You've have nothing to lose so I would plug it into a caddy and see if it responds.

Also what make and spec is the drive ?

Original Poster

kester76

Also what make and spec is the drive ?



Samsung HD204UI. Will try it in the caddy when I can. Cheers

Do you remember if the firmware was the latest version ?
knowledge.seagate.com/art…1en
I've had around 4 of these drives and they tend to fail on drive communication and are prone to high disk activity issues.I've pulled most of mine due to this issue but they were the cheapest 2tb drives and samsungs last swan song before they sold up for SSD.

Original Poster

kester76

Do you remember if the firmware was the latest version … Do you remember if the firmware was the latest version ?http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/223571enI've had around 4 of these drives and they tend to fail on drive communication and are prone to high disk activity issues.I've pulled most of mine due to this issue but they were the cheapest 2tb drives and samsungs last swan song before they sold up for SSD.


I don't know what firmware version was on it but I never upgraded it. The drive was bought in 2010. I'm having a bit of difficulty creating the bootable USB. I've created one as I would if I were installing an OS from an ISO file but instead do I literally just copy on the .exe file and boot from it? Tried that and it didn't work despite changing the boot order to ensure the USB was first on the list.

rfc4spl1

I don't know what firmware version was on it but I never upgraded it. … I don't know what firmware version was on it but I never upgraded it. The drive was bought in 2010. I'm having a bit of difficulty creating the bootable USB. I've created one as I would if I were installing an OS from an ISO file but instead do I literally just copy on the .exe file and boot from it? Tried that and it didn't work despite changing the boot order to ensure the USB was first on the list.



I think you need a universal boot disc. I found one on the internet that would boot into older dos shells and then just mount a fat 32 USB stick to run The update
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