Saturday, August 30, 2014

Recovering Laptop Harddrive with Sync Toy and USB Dock Master

Needed to recover data off of a laptop and moving the files just wasn't working...
Decided to try Microsoft's SyncToy. We use it on some of our laptops to backup data from the laptop user's documents folder to a server which has it's own backup.
Created folder pairs for syncing between the failed harddrive and new folder on my desktop.
Since the harddrive was failing (faint click sound), paging errors and the odd bad block error showed up in the event log and SyncToy would stall, but not stop responding.  (Unlike Windows explorer)
To get it to start copying again, simply unplugged the USB cable from my desktop and plug it in again.
Now most copy jobs would stop completely when you do this, but not SyncToy. It moved on to the next file and try to copy that one.  
Granted there would be some files that would be missed based on how long Windows took to re connect the drive however, that is better than no files at all or manually copying over file by file and trying to find out which one was failing.
Once that was done, reran the Windows Chkdsk program on the drive and then ran the SyncToy folder pairs again to recover more files. 
Since SyncToy catalogs and compares file changes, this time the Sync took less time.  The harddrive still had that faint click of death and still required unplugging and plugging the USB cable.  When SyncToy stalled on a bad file, wrote down the file name(s) and then went back into the Folder pair settings and excluded the file(s).  This helped recover as much as 90% of the folders contents in some cases.