Hail Mary - lost partition with I/O errors

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Hail Mary - lost partition with I/O errors

#1 Post by Barnesie » 30 Dec 2017, 20:32

Hello all, I’ve done my best to try and sort this out on my own but I’ve reached a dead end and need to solicit the collective wisdom of the internet.

Baseline situation - I have a 1TB Hitachi drive (Nov 2009, yes - I know way past lifecycle) that has very recently failed. This drive was used in an OSX-based Apple Mac Pro tower and was partitioned into two 500 GB partitions via HFS+. Sometime in the last week or so, one of the two partitions became unmounted while the other partition is still accessible. Disk utility is unable to verify the file system on the unmounted partition, though it is still visible to the host computer. The drive SMART status is listed as failing, I have not downloaded any utility to examine the specific error fault.

Of the two partitions, the missing partition is naturally the most important and contains a lot of unfinished music that I’ve been recording over the last year (I’m not saying it’s good music, but it’s a year’s worth of work). I have attempted using chkdisk as well as testdisk to no avail at this point. Given the bleak prognosis, I have also very carefully opened up the drive to examine for surface damage, stuck heads, etc and see no physical fault at all... it’s pristine inside.

When attempting to run testdisk on the lost partition, it runs for well over a day with no progress - however, in checking the OSX console and the output log - I see a forever-long string of disk Input Output errors. I even tried the freezer voodoo trick to no avail. Groan...

I suppose it is possible that my partitions are on separate platters and one head could have failed as a reason for why one partition is visible and the other is not, but I was hoping to solicit the collective wisdom of this forum for any tips in moving forward. Are there any additional steps I could take to diagnose a hardware failure? WOuld it be possible to swap heads from a doner drive (I don’t even know if that’s a thing)?

I simply do not have the money for a physical data recovery service, so any tips would be appreciated.

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Re: Hail Mary - lost partition with I/O errors

#2 Post by cgrenier » 31 Dec 2017, 10:54

Opening the disk and the freezer trick were not good ideas...
All I/O errors are good indications of a physical problem.

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Re: Hail Mary - lost partition with I/O errors

#3 Post by Barnesie » 31 Dec 2017, 15:06

Freezer attempt and final physical inspection were last-ditch tests after a variety of software attempts (including testdisk) revealed nothing at all. As I said, I don’t have the money for any kind of data recovery service, so unless there’s some possibility for a DIY fix, I’m resigned to the fact that the disk will end up in an electronics recycling bin.

I was just hoping to get any additional advice before I give up, I take your response to be an indication that there is none.

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