Thoughts on "3rd chance recovery" on what I understand from 2nd chance company is "Head Crash"


Should I spend $50 to get a 3rd data recovery company to look over my broken Western Digital 500 GB MyBook Essential Drive assessed for recovery of up to 7000 files (.jpg, MOV and iMovie) when (a) the first local company delivered 60% of the lost data (but could do no more), (b) the 2nd national company informed me that my drive suffered a “head crash” and ALL data is gone (likely due to the work of the 1st company)? 

I am told by the 3rd company that there remains hope, but I would need to send it in and spend a $50 fee.  I am all for exploring every option but the diagnosis by the 2nd company seems pretty terminal, and they have no reason to say such things when they would love to charge me significant amounts of money to recover any and all data, yes? 

I have no experience and way of knowing what to do.

Thoughts are hugely appreciated!


In December, when on business, my Western Digital “500 GB My Book Essential” External Hard drive was being powered and in miduse by my Macbook Pro but then fell off the table about 1.5 feet to the carpeted floor.

The fall was not terribly hard, but immediately the drive stopped working.  I subsequently unplugged and plugged it back my macBook Pro, with Mac OSX, version 10.4.11.  The external drive registered, as evidenced by the drive turning on, but the sound it made was unlike any I had heard (never any grinding, but I did hear a sound as if the drive was initiated but then nothing, no movement of the drive) AND, most troublesome, my mac did not recognize the drive…

I was terrified of losing the data on the hard drive, which is very valuable photos (thousands) and invaluable approximately 12-15 imovies I have made, quicktime and “.MOV” and “.iMov”. 

On December 20, I took the Drive to the first local data recovery company who informed me it would need to be sent to their unnamed third party vendor and all should be fine with a delivery of my files within 10 business days (by end of December for sure).

Not until near the end of January,  after repeated inquiries on the status of the work, was told that the third party vendor was successful at securing only 60% of the data and that they could not tell me what data they secured.  I was offered the chance to pay 50% of the proposed fee for the data. 

On review of the data, I decided to pay for the data and the drive.  I immediately secured an image of the recovered data but the company, amazingly, did not have my drive and had to ask their 3rd party vendor for the drive.

Two weeks later, I finally secured the drive and sent it to a national data recovery company in California. 

They had the drive for one day and informed me that they could do nothing that the platters were destroyed. 

I asked for the drive back and contacted a third national company who explained that different companies have different capabilities. 

I agreed to send the drive to this company for one last effort to secure what i have since determined as 7000 specific missing photo images, video files and iMovie files.

I then called back the 2nd data recovery company for a full understanding of their failed attempt (so i could relay the information to the 3rd company).  They proceeded to tell me the following:

(1) there was significant damage to the platters

(2) the magnetic layer once present is totally gone, and

(3) the reason for drive failure is a “head crash”. 

I was then told they neither they nor anyone else could do any work. 

In essence, all of the data once on my drive is gone_forever_, likely caused by the work of the first company when powering the drive on and off, repeatedly, in their effort to snag the data they could get…

I am devastated by this news but it is what it is. 

I relayed such news to the third company largely because I am interested in doing all i can to make up for my error, but i dont want to throw money away nor waste anyone’s time. 

I asked for their professional opinion.

The representative of the 3rd company explains that “there are plenty of instances where our experience has proven to be the difference for recovery, where others have failed.  There is no real way for us to determine if there is a chance for recovery, unless the drive is shipped in for an evaluation…the rest is only speculation”

This makes sense, but it doesnt answer my question, and I dont want to waste $50 on something that just isnt possible. 

Basically, if the 2nd company cant help at all, and explains what they did and failed (and they are in the business of making money for sure…, why would the 3rd company be successful with a head crash?

As is obvious, I am operating solo and in an environment that is beyond me.  I have made repeated mistakes, starting with the cussin stupidity of not having priceless data backed up and continued with choices of 1st company who delivered 60% of the data but proved to be incredibly difficult to deal with and no seem to have destroyed any chance of further recovery.

Any thoughts are welcome.


Have you tried any data recovery software?

no… what would I buy?  I do have the image of information the 1st company gave me.  I could try to recover the data this way?  But i have no idea about any of this.  suggestions?

You can try to google one thats free or try to see if the data recovery agents on the Western Digital web site have a software. here is the link.