Can I retrieve data from an unbootable hard drive?

  walrus365 12:09 21 Nov 2009

A couple of days ago, I was transferring data from my computer (Dell Inspiron 6400) to my phone via USB however the data transfer was very slow so I clicked to cancel the file transfer. Little seemed to be happening so I logged off, but after 15 minutes Vista still showed 'logging off...' so I closed my laptop lid in an attempt to put it into standby/sleep mode as it was getting late. I turned the plug off so the laptop was left running on only its battery overnight, and in the morning I plugged it in and pressed the power button, to be greeted with this sound from my laptop (on closer inspection, I realised it was from the hard drive, which is a Western Digital WD1200BEVS): click here (if you cannot play the file, it is basically 15 sets of 3 beeps, two low then one higher).
The screen looked like a black screen of death, with the text saying something involving 'no bootable drive'. There was no primary hard drive listed under the BIOS, and the DST Short Test failed with the Dell error code 1000-0141. I have contacted Dell but they weren't willing to help because the drive is out of warranty.

I have since bought a new hard drive, but I am wondering if there is any way that I can salvage some of the important, irreplaceable files off of the broken one, e.g. by opening it up, if it is a mechanical problem (I'm not sure what the beeps mean...). I have tried the freezer method but the beeps still occurred.

I am not very skilled with things like this so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  johndrew 12:22 21 Nov 2009

You should be able to `Repair` Vista click here and recover your files/data with (hopefully) little or no loss. You will need a Vista CD and the Windows Key which should be on the PC.

By turning off the PC whilst it was still writing you may have damaged the data which forms the OS, you may also have damaged the HDD but this is less likely.

In the event you are unable to repair Vista, the only other suggestion I can make is for you to remove the HDD from the PC put it in a caddy (external HDD enclosure) and plug that into another PC as an external drive. This should allow access to the drive contents.

  johndrew 12:24 21 Nov 2009

Another link with a bit more information on the repair option click here.

  walrus365 12:29 21 Nov 2009

Thanks for the response, however I have tried putting the hard drive into an external enclosure and it still makes the beeping sounds. When I tried to repair the drive using the Vista disc, it seemed as though there was no hard drive whatsoever, so I couldn't repair the installation.

  User-1229748 13:10 21 Nov 2009

if it's not listed in the bios i reckon you will have to take it to a professional data recovery could try booting from a live linux disc but i would be very,very surprised if it will be listed.

  walrus365 13:16 21 Nov 2009

Okay thanks. I had a feeling that would be the only plausible solution.

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