I was brought an hp netbook that had been stepped on and had a totally destroyed display.
She wanted me to see if I could get her 1.4 Gb of family photographs off of it and into another computer.
So of course, I said, "sure, no problem". I pulled the hard drive out of it and connected it to my main PCLOS machine with the intent of just dumping the pictures file.
I was very surprised to find out that my machine could not see the drive and it did not spin up.
I tried it on two other machines just in case it just could not work with my external USB adapter.
About then, I decided that the hard drive was probably spinning when the netbook was stepped on and was actually pinched such that the running platter was stopped and the circuitry overloaded or burned out. The thing has a real thin plastic case that provides no protection for the display or circuitry.
By now, I figured there was no way she was going to read anything from that drive without paying one of the data recovery outfits to do their magic for big bucks that she did not have.
I decided that drastic measures were in order as there appeared to be nothing to lose at this stage.
I took the circuit board off of the drive and found several overheated contact pads that had been severely overheated to the point that the gold plating was almost all gone.
I buffed up the pads as well as I could and put the board back on the drive.
It did not work but on holding the drive to my ear, I could hear an intermittent tone that kind of sounded like a motor on a variable speed drive that is stuck. This tends to cause the windings to sing.
I put it back on the external USB adapter on my main machine so that I could rotate the drive and and stop rotating it to give the inertia of the platter a chance to cause it to spin and maybe give it a bit of a boost start. I have had this work on a couple of drives that would not spin up reliably. That did not work this time so I figured I would go to more extreme measures.
I proceeded to tap the drive on the desk harder and harder. At some point, it started to spin up for a second or two and then stop each time I tapped it on the table.
When it reached the point where it would stay running for several seconds, I tried to access the drive. I was very surprised when it opened in dolphin.
I had no idea for how long it would stay running or if it would ever spin up again.
So while I could see the files in dolphin, I found her picture folder and copied it to my machine successfully.
The first thing that I did after retrieving that folder was to write it to a DVD.
Needless to say, she was more than happy.
The point of all this is that if you have nothing to lose, get creative and do whatever it takes if there is a chance to get a drive spinning long enough to recover your data.
Oh yeah, the other point is that if you have any family members who have all of their family pictures stored on only one machine, please educate them.