FAILED HARD DRIVE
We finished a service call yesterday that was initially scheduled as a virus removal and speedup. Before we could get there, the hard drive stopped working altogether. We arrived to find that the hard drive had failed, and that we were in for more than we expected. Our client was advised to order a replacement hard drive, or even an upgrade, and have the files either cloned or recovered onto the new drive.
Unfortunately, with a failing hard drive, you can never know what data recovery methods will work until you try.
Replacement hard drive in hand, we set about attempting to recover the data. This can be very stressful for both client and technician as years of family photos and important documents are often on the line. In this clients case, the hard drive was still physically functional and only beginning to fail, leading to corrupted sectors preventing the computer from properly booting.
Cloning the hard drive with two different utilities failed to work, so we had to resort to installing a fresh version of Windows 10 on the new drive and moving important files over manually. In case anyone was wondering, 50,000 photographs take several hours to transfer from a failing hard drive.
In the end, the client received a shiny new version of Windows 10 with all of their personal files intact. Unfortunately, they will have to spend some time downloading all of their favorite programs, but they still have what's most important after nearly losing it all.