back to article Microwaved hard disc, run-over PC and other data disasters

Recovering data after a user had somehow managed to microwave a hard disk or dropped a PC from a second floor window were among the more unusual data recovery problems successfully tackled by Disklabs during 2010. Other bizarre cases included helping a client who had managed to drive over his computer. Disklabs has put …


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  1. Tom Watson 1



    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Disklabs has put together a list

      Disklabs has put together a list of its oddest data receiver(sic)* jobs of the last 12 months...

      ...Honestly? Sure they didn't put this list together down the pub the other night? It's a well known fact that a lot of top ten lists published by magazines and websites are made in this fashion. I'm sure the same holds true for PR departments too!

      Paris, cos she features in all ten of my list of oddest data recovery jobs in the last 12 months.

      *I've always wanted to say "sic" whatever the frigg it means, have I done it right?

      1. Ammaross Danan

        The comment of [sic]

        Unable to determine the level of sarcasm in the previous post, I'll post a brief about the use of [sic]:

        A bit of wording enclosed in square brackets [such as these] is used in journalism to denote editor's comments [Thanks for the ack. -Ed].

        Sometimes, in particularly sarcastic writings as found here on The Reg, the author will use it as a stab at the sudo-journo stylings of would-be "proper" rags, pointing out terrible ("unprofessional") spelling or grammar. Therefore, if the article had sum impropur spelting [see? a "sic" would be due here], then you can ding the author for it, within a direct quote.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Sometimes, in particularly sarcastic writings as found here on The Reg, the author will use it as a stab at the sudo-journo stylings of would-be "proper" rags, pointing out terrible ("unprofessional") spelling or grammar.

          So, journalists run their text editors as root??? Methinks you fell victim to Muphry's Law with regards to "pseudo"

          1. elderlybloke

            I love Sudo

            I often Sudo in the Terminal of my Ubuntu OS.

            Will now leave very fast.

        2. unitron

          sic semper grammar tyrannus

          I'm pretty sure that "sic" is Latin for "thus", as in "thus was this when I found it, the mistake is not my own", indicating that you have quoted or reproduced the words of another accurately, but are well aware of a mistake having been made by the originator.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            And it is useful...

            ...not merely another form of Internet snideness. It's quite handy in, for example, litcrit, if you're quoting an obscure passage which contains errors; some of your readers are likely concerned with the niceties of the source text, and "sic" tells them they don't need to go back and check the original.

            Some style books even recommend it for quotations that are correct but may appear wrong, such as the double "you" in a sentence like "I'll tell you you are wrong". (Some authors would put punctuation between the indirect-object "you" and the direct-object clause "you are wrong" in a formulation like that, or avoid it entirely; but this sort of thing is not uncommon.)

        3. LinkOfHyrule

          That's very helpful thanks!

          That's very helpful thanks!

          Being someone who reads the Guardian I am of course not up to speed on spelling, grammar and the correct formatting of articles!

          1. MnM


            I thought sic was an acronym for 'spelling is correct' (in the sense that it's true to the original snafu), although that had always sounded like a duff explanation to me, especially as usage isn't limited to mis-spellings. Latin for 'thus' will do nicely.

            Now all I need to do is find the bastard who misled me all those years ago.

            1. Jimbo 6

              I *knew* my Latin degree would come in handy one day

              It's short for "sic in originam" - "thus (it is) in the original", meaning "I've not copied it wrong, that's what the original author wrote" (back before parchments had a cut-n-paste option). Any explanations like 'spelling is correct' are just backronyms.

      2. unitron

        ...have I done it right?

        Yes and no.

        Seeing as how that was probably intended to read "data recovery jobs", then you are probably correct in performing the print equivalent of saying "this is how it read when they handed me the copy, not my fault", but you missed the rest of that sentence "...all of which concluded with the recover of data " in which "recover" was almost cetainly intended to be "recovery". That makes it a spelling mistake on the correct word, rather than the use of an incorrect word, which you example seems to be.

  2. K. Adams

    "My kids decided my hard drive was a bath toy."

    Wow! That brings back memories...

    My cousin's kids were visiting my dad's place one day, and after it got dark they quit playing outside and came indoors.

    Being sequestered in the den to keep them from being underfoot, they decided to stuff rubber bands into the 5.25" floppy drives in my dad's KayPro II.

    He turned it on the next morning, and instead of hearing the pleasant "whirr" of diskette drives waiting for media, he heard a "twang-twang-twang" as the rubber bands kept fighting the read/write heads as they tried to seek to track zero...

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    My favourite

    User to help desk person: "When I run the XYZ programme with these options, it deletes all my data"

    Hell desk person (after a few seconds pause) "Oh yeah, it does ....."

  4. Bonce


    I'm not sure if I admire or pity the kind of chap who would phone a data recovery company to save his pornography collection from a dead hard drive.

    1. Mike Lewis


      The way I see it, computer user - technician confidentiality is like lawyer - client or doctor - patient confidentiality. If there's nothing blatantly illegal in the data I'm recovering, I don't even mention it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        I don't even mention it

        Nor the fact that I kept a copy.

  5. Wheaty73

    Backup, Backup, Backup...

    That is all.

    1. JustMathew

      @ Wheaty73

      Almost, it should go like this...

      Backup, Backup, Backup, TEST!

      Otherwise you don't have a backup solution, you have a backup hope ;-)

      Happy Holidays to everyone!

      1. Doug Glass

        Backup, Backup, Backup ....

        .... and have either a system image (several?) or a fully cloned drive in a safe or bank box or both. I mean wow, given the low cost of hard drives, how much is your data worth to you? Sadly though, many people think "backup" is some sort of Michael Jackson dance move. Well, not sadly really ... not to me since I'm just a crusty old fart with paranoid tendencies who believe people generally get what they deserve and work so hard for.

  6. Nater

    The Town

    In the opening band heist scene in 'The Town' one of the guys microwaves the security camera hard drives. I guess that might not be enough.

    1. david bates

      If you think about it...

      the case would do a pretty good job of ensuring that the microwaves would do nothing to the platters. Depending on which way up you put the drive you might fry the electronics, but looking at a handy 3.5" I have here shows it has a pretty damn solid metal case.

      1. Kanhef

        Intact, yes

        but now I wonder what would happen if you remove one of the platters and try cooking it.

        1. Ammaross Danan


          If you removed the platter in the first place, just take an awl to it then give it a good hammering. The data may technically be there, but with the drive warped, dented, and scratched beyond recognition, it's likely the data isn't usable/retrievable anymore. Especially since it won't be able to spin at any decent rpm and allow read heads to pass over safely....

          1. Allan George Dyer

            Use wire wool...

            While denting or warping (or, apparently favourite for USA, umm, "deletion consultants" a bullet from a high-powered weapon) causes localised damage and makes spinning the platters difficult, I'd have thought that applying some wire wool to each surface of the spinning platters would do a far more comprehensive job of scrambling the data.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A belt sander works too

            Reminds me of my early years with AT&T.

            I remember watching one of the data center operators physically removing the platters from a decommissioned drive and then removing the magnetic media from disk platters...using a belt sander.

            Yes, the data was rendered irretreivable, but the ensuing dust got everywhere.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        A faraday cage needs to be grounded to do anything

        Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

        1. Steve X

          faraday cage

          Doesn't need to be grounded. Grounding one changes the characteristics, but it will still shield its contents even if not grounded.

    2. Doug Glass


      All you need to do is obliterate the magnetic coating on the platter. Nothing works better for doing that than sand paper or emery cloth. Got to get at both sides of all disks, but once you do it's simple. But then so is using a planer, an end grinder, a bead or grit blaster. H3ll, I knew one fellow who dipped his in acid and another who seal welded the entire surfaces. No big deal. Lots of industrial processes that will work.

  7. Tigra 07
    Thumb Up

    What do you guys think?

    I would say number 10 was the funniest.

  8. Richard Porter



    All those backups seemed a waste of pay.

    Now my database has gone away.

    Oh I believe in yesterday.


    There's not half the files there used to be, And there's a milestone

    hanging over me The system crashed so suddenly.

    I pushed something wrong

    What it was I could not say.

    Now all my data's gone

    and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.


    The need for back-ups seemed so far away.

    I knew my data was all here to stay,

    Now I believe in yesterday.

    (Sorry, I don't know who wrote this version but it's brilliant!)

    1. Joe H.

      Misty water-colored memories

      I will usually remind folks that if they don't do backups, they may very well end up singing the blues with Barbra. Most everyone remembers the song and it is good for a chuckle when one of the IT folks is doing something with a boxen and I ask if they have done a backup. The misty water-colored memories as sung by her is particularly heart rending, as is not having a backup of hours of work when "the worst happens"TM. I will sometimes hum this tune when saving a router config to startup after making changes, or backing up my own boxen.

    2. unitron

      millstone, perhaps

      I suspect that should have been "millstone" (i.e., big ol' heavy rock), and not milestone hanging (like the sword of Damocles) over the author/lyricist, otherwise brilliant.

      1. hj

        maybe the original author ...

        worked on a project (in a controlled environment)?

        definition Milestone:

        A point at which you can measure progress on the way to achieving an objective. Sometimes used interchangeably to show on a plan the production or completion of a Deliverable, or the meeting of an objective.

        Milestones are usually phrased using the name of the relevant Deliverable, activity, or objective followed by a passive verb, for example: “submission agreed”, “website launched”, or “Project Team in place” to identify that the milestone has been achieved.)

  9. Graham Marsden

    First rule of computing...

    ... have a backup.

    Second rule of computing:

    See Rule One!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      No, sorry, the second rule of computing is

      have an *off-site* backup*).

      Rule 3: do not expose to the internet what you wish to remain private.

      Rule 4: have a backup*).

      Rule 5: have a backup*).

      Rule 6: there is noooo rule 6.

      *) for definitions of 'backup' that include 'being able to restore same'.

      1. Ammaross Danan


        I definately agree with " for definitions of 'backup' that include 'being able to restore same'."

        I had to recover some data from a tape written with an arcane version of ArcServe. (guess how long it took me to figure out it was ArcServe, and what version.... and how I came about getting a copy with key...)

        Since then, I've been hesistant to entrust my data to proprietary backup systems. It's always fun to have to not only backup the data, but to keep backups of the equipment used to write the data, plus the software with which to read the data back....any of which can fail along the way.

        So what can one use? Well, tape is the go-to for large archives of data (multiple terrabytes), just remember that your tape is likely dead after 5 years. Perhaps 10 if kept in "ideal" storage conditions. <3TB of data? Hard disk is a good way to go. SATA may not be around forever, but I'm willing to bet it will outlive a 5-10yr lifespan of a tape. The hard disk itself may last as long or longer than the interface technology (think how long it took to kill onboard floppy controllers....and you can still get USB fdds). With data on a hard disk, it's definately speedy to recover random files. Tape does have the benefit of on-the-fly encryption and any number of protective measures....what what if your drive that you "backed up" (retired with the tapes) fails to work when dusted off? How will you decrypt your data now? At least with hard drives, the encryption can be software-driven. Perhaps TrueCrypt v6? Win/Lin compatible, and shouldn't be hard to dust off or download a copy of Ubuntu9 if it came down to it. Can't rightly say that about Symantec's BackupExec 2010. Since Win98 can't run on some newer hardware, it may be a bit difficult getting an LTO drive into a VM to be able to run your old BackupExec on an aging Win2k3.

        Of course, it's all a moot point if one simply considers >7yr-old data "dead" and destroys it. Depending on your area of business, one can't do that. Home users? Likely won't care about anything deleted more than 6 months ago and a couple USB HDDs to cycle through would be plenty (just keep one a family/friend's house! encrypted preferrably).

        /end rant/evangelizing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Two stories

          A previous company where I worked moved their accounting system from mainframe to Sun servers (mid eighties). As part of the process multiple full back-ups were made of all the data on the mainframe. A number of successful restores were also made to test that it was working.

          Once the Sun servers came on-stream, the two systems were run in tandem for six months and all transactions compared to make sure that a) all data were correctly migrated to the new system and b) that the new system worked correctly.

          All fine and dandy, so the mainframe was decommisioned and disposed of and the backups safely stored in various locations (both on- and off-site).

          Six months after the mainframe was decommisioned, a major error was discovered, which meant that data had to be restored from the mainframe back-ups.

          It was only then that they discovered that back-ups can only be done to the mainframe, using the original equipment, which meant that the backups (which cost a couple of million) were worthless.

          Case two: Exchange 5 (or was it 4?) (with its weird database that had to be restored in full in order to restore a single mailbox) also required that restores be done using similar equipment and equal-spec server hardware. Similar scenario as above when a mailbox needed to be restored (employee had left some months before, criminal activities discovered subsequently) and, despite an extensive DRP and reams of paper printed on the whole process, we found that, due to the fact that the mail servers had been upgraded in the mean time and the old (obsolete, not a one to be found anywhere) servers and back-up devices disposed of, all the Exchange backups were worthless.

          I am sure that the inexorable march of progress has caused similar problems and will do so in future, as no-one bothers to transfer information/data from old media to new as the old gets replaced.

          I can fill pages on this aspect - just read up on Knowledge Management, Libraries and preservation of information if you want an inkling of the size of the problem.

          Anonymous, obviously.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        online backups?

        breaking rule 3 can count as compliance with rule 2

        trains also serve as a good offsite backup location, although recovery could be an issue unless you can identify who is keeping your backups safe for you

      3. Mike Lewis

        Missed it by that much

        And make sure the backup really is off-site. When I was interviewing an employer for a job, one of the questions I asked was "Do you have any off-site backups?" "Oh yes," he said. "They're in the building next door."

      4. unitron

        re: offsite backup

        If you don't have off-site backup, you don't have backup.

        I'm thinking this is more Boffin than Pedant

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Damn straight

          Our backups are in a different city, a good 150 miles from the main database, just in case of earthquake, nuclear explosion, Godzilla attack etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Second rule of computing....

      ...test your restores not your backups!

    3. Michael C

      nothing is ever backed up

      ...until it has been successfully restored.

      I work as an analyst and constant. I can;t tell you the number of companies i've worked with that had $100,000+ backup systems, and still would routinely fail to recover anything more than a simple file or folder and would often fail to even do that.

      Great, you ran a backup. Now:

      - did you check the backup log for success?

      - Is the size of data backed up consistent with the size of the data? (unmounted disk, typo in path, permission issues, etc)? Some "successes" are simply because it failed to find files it could not back up, but it if could not SEE the files, it doesn't know it failed... Go on, remove "system" read and write permission from directories, when your backup runs as system, and see what happens, lol.

      - do you have the install media offsite too? license keys? ADSR passwords?

      - do you know what order to recover things in? documented prerequisites, patch versions, etc?

      I just helped a company finish a DR plan for 5 servers. It took 10 weeks of planning, testing building parallel systems, the writing of several scripts, and creation of a 120 page manual. They had a 3 day SLA for recovering this system, and The first recovery attempt took 16 days while we found all the bugs in the process. The 3rd test took 4 days, and had over 350 individual steps in the process. By the 9th week, we had that down to 4 hours and less than 80 typed commands or other steps. Week 10 they did it off site in a non-eventful DR test. This server system, which is just 1 component of a major infrastructure of more than 60 servers, but one critical to real-time business, was a system a dozen people supported daily, 4 of which knew inside and out, and yet could not recover on their own from simple file backups until we identified critical system settings, hidden files, mismatched versions, inconsistencies in the builds, and more.

      If you have a backup, great. Now actually try to restore it in a secured VLAN, see how far you get. I've done this a hundred times, and short of recovering VMDKs to to VM infrastructures, or baremetal images to identical hardware, no company has ever successfully restored a single system inside of an SLA in a DR test if they had never practiced that recovery before. not ONE.

      A folder structure, that's easy. Data inside of a database, that's easy. A fully functional system, top to bottom, exactly as it existed before a crash, on new hardware? you better test that........

  10. Youngone Silver badge

    Run over my laptop

    I had a user phone last year to tell me the sad story of how he ran over his laptop with his company truck. There was a long and involved story that boiled down to "I'm a bit thick, ok?"

    I managed to recover his data tho'.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Old quotes...

    "Nobody wants backups. What everybody wants is a restore."

    "How do you convince family members to take periodic backups? Repeated, tragic data loss. Same as everyone else."

    "The zen nature of backups: if you are wondering if you can just throw the tapes in the garbage, the answer is no, they have data on them. But if you're wondering if you can restore your crashed disk contents from a tape, the answer is no, they have no data on them."

    "If you link /dev/tape to /dev/null, your backups go WAY faster - and only about 20% less likely to fail a restore than if you'd used Exabyte."

    1. Allan George Dyer

      Is that zen...

      Or Heisenberg?

  12. FerretOfDoom

    Missed one

    The BOFH told me that if I wanted to optimize my disk, to run the command rm -r *. For some odd reason, all my files were gone!

    Mine's the one with backups set to null.

    1. unitron

      Re; disk optimization

      "...if I wanted to optimize my disk..."

      Well, now its optimized, no more pesky files with which to have to deal.

      Mines the one with the de-fragmented version of the print-out on fanfold paper in the pockets somewhere.

  13. Mark Graybill

    Faster Backups

    If you're doing /dev/null now, you can speed up your backups dramatically by replacing your current backup command with:


    kill -9 $

  14. Haku


    I'll always remember a teacher at school telling us about his son saying:

    "Look dad, these discs are magnetic!" and proceeded to show dad how he can pick up 5.25" floppies with a magnet...

  15. Diogenes

    How to like like a hero without really trying (tm)

    Was dev team leader for a contract house doing work for a QANGO that did very very high profile stuff (ie final state wide school exams) - they religiously backed up - but never checked the log.

    Came in to work one Monday just after completion of the exam round & the sky had fallen HD failed as they were rebooting the server. I walked in just as they were discovering the entire series of tape backups for the last 6 months were blank !

    Luckily I had come in on the Saturday to prepare our test server for a volume test & had taken a full copy of the production environment for some baseline testing of some changes we were going to make to a downstream process...

    30 mins later BOFH was sacked, and yours truly looked like a hero - but my boss didn't pay the overtime for me working on saturday !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Somthing that bothers me....

      And that should have bothered the BOFH too... and if he was a true BOFH would have shouted out loud and clear for everyone to hear in an attempt to save his job at the expense of yours...

      So let’s get the time line...

      Saturday, you are in the office, took a complete copy of the production environment for testing blah blah...

      Monday morning the hard drive failed after a server re-boot....

      You arrived later in the day to save the day..

      Question 1...

      Why did the server needed to be re-booted next working day after YOU were taking backups?

      Question 2

      Why did you not just take a copy of the backup media instead?

      Question 3

      Why did you need to do your tests on actual real world data?

      Question 4.

      If you took backups on Saturday why did you need to be back on site Monday afternoon? Surely you took the backups to do work off site. Unless you were doing unpaid work on Sunday too, or just selling the database to our rivals?

      If I was the BOFH, I would be saying that it was you who screwed the system up taking your backup, and that you screwed up the backup media taking copies from those, which was why you decided to take a copy from the production machine! I would then go on to say that you should have been using a test database over the real database for testing your work on... then question the real motives for taking mission critical data off site. Then make accusations that you were trying to screw me over for whatever reason. Most likely Industrial espionage

      In my previous life working on government sites, I have seen the same thing happen, contractors screwing over the onsite staff to make sure the contractors get extensions...

      big brother because a closer eye needs to be kept on outside contractors !!!

  16. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "I put it into the microwave." A student had the bright idea of putting his machine into a microwave "just wanted to find out what happened". This resulted in a smelly microwave and a costly data recovery job.

    And these people complain they cannot get suitable employment after their study terms have finished?!?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yes, but this is probably made up. People like to make up nasty stories about students. You'll notice it doesn't tend to be graduates who come out with the 'hur hur, students is stupid' crap. Mostly it's people who prefer to learn a few occasionally stupid heuristics and blunder through a specific job rather than understand the fundamentals, claiming 'experience' is the key factor to camouflage the fact that their experience consists of a decade or two of failing to grasp the extent to which they are doing a terrible job.

      Or maybe it was an Arts student (just kidding, Arts students who might be offended).

  17. Allan George Dyer

    Isn't 5 a double-fail?

    "During a demo to show how to clean off data from a machine that was to be donated to charity, a user accidentally deleted data from her hard drive"

    Not only did the user clean of the wrong data, she didn't do it securely.

    I wonder how drives are sent in with the note, "I'm trying to recover someone-else's confidential data they thought was erased"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My stupid data loss...

    I've lost data a number of times, but the worst I ever did, was when I first started using linux and it was all down to using a single character out of place.

    I'd been backing up (for god knows what reason), /bin /etc /home in a /backup folder.

    I decided I needed a new backup solution & decided I didn't need the data in the backup folder anymore - and issued, in the /backup folder, as root:

    rm -rf /etc /bin /home

    For some reason, I then rebooted the box. Classic neophyte error.

  19. Doug Glass

    Gotta Love It

    Sooner or later, you either have to be a good mechanic or know one. Pity the poor bustard who thinks a backup is a dance move.

  20. Steve X

    Removable disks

    Might seem like an easy way to do backups. Dump data to disk pack, remove & store, job done.

    Until the day one of our admins got her CLI switches confused, and dumped the blank pack onto the full one...

    Call me old-fashioned, but I still miss having a write-protect switch on a disk drive.

  21. Doug Glass

    As a Dinosaur ...

    .... from the DOS age, I have batch files that make DOS copies to multiple destinations: internal hard drives, external hard drives, LAN computers, smart phones, flash drives and etc. They run several times a day in background based on certain events. Slow as hell, but who cares, and any comparable computer can open any of the files "restore" involved.

    Yeah, my former employer with 25,000+ personal computers worldwide had bazillions of gigabytes of data and therefore had to have a true backup program. Still, me as the employee kept multiple native format copies (.xls, .doc, .bat, .txt and etc) of my work for my own piece of mind. And it paid off more than once. Imperfect for sure, but what isn't?

  22. Apocalypse Later

    If you like this sort of thing...

    ...drop into, where people post their tech problems with all kinds of equipment (mostly consumer electronics) for volunteer "experts" to solve. The "I lost my manual or CD" stuff quickly gets old, but there are some gems.

  23. James Pickett


    If they managed to recover the data from the HD in the photo, I'm impressed...

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Pendrives don't work either.

    I lost data due to one of these ()!£!$!!$ing things.

    Seems that some desktops and laptops made a few years back by a "Famous Brand" work perfectly if you use them with old usb hardware, but can sometimes damage newer pendrives without properly designed input protection to the point that the entire drive becomes unreadable.

    Lost >3GB of data, most of which wasn't backed up.

    Then the same thing happened AGAIN! a year later with a "tough" pendrive and an ageing PIII-600 system. 1GB gone forever, no way to get it back as both flash chips were fried beyone repair.

    interestingly enough most of my hdd failures have been faulty USB controllers, only had one genuinely fried drive which had mechanical damage due to acute concrete poisoning.

    AC, because i really hate a certain "Famous Brand" with a religious fervour.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Backup......

    I once .... sorry gotta take my medication --- starting to foam at the mouth and jibber about demons and my tin foil hat...

    Yeah I once got into TRYING to use Microsoft Backup... in Win 95 or 98 and MS then encrypted or hashed up the data into a "fucking lump" that could not be recovered...

    And I got to thinking "What a crock of shit"......

    Plain and direct back up copies work best.

    And fuck any corrupted bullshit "dream land scams" from Microsoft.

    In fact Microsoft make the most idiotic operating systems in regards to interrupts and restrictions and halts, to backing anything up......

    Linux - copies everything "No Problemo" - Microsoft "This file already has a file called thumbs.db, did you want to over write it?"

    (Go through system and delete EVERY fucking thumbs.db file in the entire system)

    This file name is too long = HALT copying process part way through.... Change to Linux.

    It's beyond me why people in ANY company systematically saturate their software with "fucking idiot" functions that fulfill no other purpose than to fuck everything totally up, every step of the way.....

    But the dickheads of Microsoft do it......

    Oh copy everything????? YES? ---- YES TO ALL???? -----NO???

    How many meanings are there for YES TO ALL?

    YES - fuck you .... YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

    Fuck you Microsoft - Fuck you and your idiot bullshit, and your MORONIC software.

    I am changing to Linux.

    No make that I have changed to Ubuntu Linux.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Data Recovery ha-ha

    I take all this data recovery with a very large grain of salt. For instance I had emails, correspondence and photographs, eBay receipts plus tons of really useful downloaded information on my best laptop, an Advent 7016 (Pentium 4 2.7GHz). Much of this information was backed-up on my spare laptop (3 spindle Toshiba with a Pentium 4 2.2GHz processor) The important photographs of an accident damaged car of mine were left in the Panasonic camera (litigation still dragging on) and other data was backed-up on USB drives. Pretty well backed up you might think - actually NO. The pikeys burgled the house and an adjacent builders yard whilst I was at the supermarket and they took all the decent stuff. EVERYTHING GONE! Old Pentium 1 and Pentium 2 laptops which I'd planned to refurbish for a hard-up friend were ignored as was a Kodak 2 megapixel camera. The 10 megapixel 12 x zoom Leica lens Panasonic Lumix vanished needless to say along with all the decent cameras in my collection. There must have been an army of burglars considering how much stuff was taken in the time I was away. (six copper hot water cylinders, copper pipe, heavy armoured cable and a pallet load of slates all went as well as numerous other items some of which were virtually irreplaceable) My Christmas wish would be for them to be all caught and put in the electric chair but we don't do that over here. I am a senior citizen so its not like I can go and work overtime to get the money to replace the stolen items. A friend who works in Cardiff has also been burgled. The front door was forced whilst he was at work and his three month old HP laptop was stolen complete with all its accessories. In England laptop theft is a major growth industry!

  27. Juan Inamillion
    Black Helicopters

    Permanent secure erasure.

    Some pretty exotic ways of destroying the drives in that lot.

    The best and, to my mind the easiest, is to hold the drive in a bag or towel then strike it sharply with a blunt object like a hammer or heavy tool. One or two 'taps' usually shatters the platters making the drive useful a a maracas...

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Simple solution, back everything up onto Carbonite, or for the cheapskate, Humyo.

    Problem solved.

    Oh, and did I mention that copper thefts are becoming a growth industry, even to the point that scrap yards are being broken into to steal the scrap copper?

    There is enough useful metal in a reel of electrical cable to make it worth stealing, as many unfortunate electricians with white vans will confirm.

    Hang the thieving scumbags high I say, or send them to the electric chair, yay for poetic justice.

    AC, because I don't want said scumbags to know where I live...

  29. Joe 61

    my recovery story of the year

    had a poor grad student come to me and say her computer had been hit by a car when moving back to school. i figured... ok, she was packing and left it on the ground and never put it on the car and ran it over, pretty tragic. turned out.... she had it packed and strapped down with all her stuff on the car, it slipped off on highway around 75 mph and got it full-speed by a SUV. bag contained both her machine and ext hard drive. her ext hard drive enclosure took the brunt of the blow.... her laptop was smashed up beyond repair... however the internal drive worked and i was able to help her recover!!! her external actually took the blow well, it disintegrated it's own ext enclosure and even shattered her connectors to the sata pins, but the drive itself maintained it's integrity... it plugged in, no broken plastic or anything into a new external enclosure! i thought "this thing may work!". it was then i rested it on a flat surface and realized that it (the bare-bones drive) was no longer a flat surface... the impact had essentially warped the drive just barely. and... ya... it powered up but could not spin. overall i was still impressed! but dont let your computer take a 75MPH blow or you could be sending your drive to these guys.

    just had to share.

  30. Martin Huizing

    data recovery... I made a youtube video!

    search for 'mhuizing' on youtube for a fun little video called 'replacing hard drive read/write heads'

    I made this a while ago and features me and a home-made dust-free box. Some of the comments are hilarious.

    For the record: I know I am not doing it the right way but I did the best I could with the tools I had at my disposal. Physical damage to the platters... and I managed to retrieve some of the data.

    On my right hand I have a ring that was seated between two platters and belonged to a 3.5 inch notebook hard drive that was given to me for data retrieval.

  31. LesC

    Microwaved Hard Drive

    It's what we call 'cold', three minutes on high should do the trick?

    (from the much missed Salmon Days series)

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