How to cope with unmountable boot volume

The “Unmountable Boot Volume” error message is seen when there is a corruption to the computer’s filesystem. It’s an error message that’s only seen on Windows machines and concerns the FAT32 MS-DOS file and operating systems.

The laptop has failed, with the error unmountable boot volume, and gives a code on the HP diagnostic page, that refers back to Hp and gives error, harddrive failure, Can you do anything for me to retrieve all the data off it ?
In this condition, The laptop has a 2TB drive installed, and i can supply a 2TB drive to store retrieved info on to it.

unmountable boot volume

USB External HD in casing, unfortunately fell from a top shelf. Windows/Linux will not pick up HD via USB, HD light is constantly ON, no HD Spinning or read activity. Size 1.5GB, File format NTFS. I get an error very similar to “can’t mount volume [boot device]”

Possible bump caused the drive arm to lock out. This is what I was told in a local shop. Need to know how much it will cost to recover.

I have a LaCie external hard drive that I think has been knocked. It won’t power up (Power LED doesn’t light). I’d like to either have it fixed or have the data transferred to another HDD which I can provide. There is less than 500GB of data. I’ve been quoted GBP 350 as a recovery price which I think is too expensive so I’d like to get your estimate. I need the whole volume back, it’s my boot drive.

I have a Hitachi xl2000 2.0tb external hard drive that I hope you can recover. It was knocked to the floor by accident and started clicking when I powered it up so I immediately turned it off – the screen says UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. I took it to a local “specialist” who took it apart and said they cannot recover it. I needed to send it away to another “specialist” … I received it back in bits and am now so anxious all my photos are now gone. And they are old sentimental ones.

I have a mechanical problem. The disk spins in an unusual way. Power seems to be ok. My computer doesn’t mount the drive.

120GB 2.5″ external hard drive, is in casing, fell on floor last year, intact but won’t boot/mount as expected on my machines. MS-DOS/FAT as I recall.

August Postings

Here’s a roundup of what’s come in at the Helpdesk in August so far.

What would be the cost of recovering data from a 120GB imoga external hard drive (photos music etc).
I work in city so would be using Lombard street branch, lost all multimedia images videos etc. WD drive . getting click sound

example mailserverI’m writing this to inquire about email verification.
I need a report regarding the sender, receiver and possibly the date of the email.
The email is on the Webmail server ( I have access to it and can forward it .
I would be glad to give you more information.

My hard drive ,is clicking, ive got all my payroll info on there. need it asap.
I’m not able to speak today as im in interviews all day but i will be able to respond to emails.
How much does the recovery cost ?

I contact you because 2 of my external hard drives need data recovery/saving.
I really need to access the files as I need to find a new job and I need my data for it.
It’s a rugged Lacie maybe 5 years old with 3 ports (usb, Firewire 200 and 400) When I plug it, it appears on the computer desktop, (I can open folders and see the files) and then it suddenly disconnect by itself after 30 sec/1min. I can’t back up this hard drive at all. Do you think there’s a way to keep it connected?
It is a WD 1to that needs to be plugged on the electric system. So When I switch it on, I can hear it working and a little light appears, but if I plug it to the computer it doesn’t come up, no signals nothing.
My questions are: What do you think it could be? How much would it cost to get the data or repair the HDs? Is there anything that you could advise me to do please?

My toshiba 500gb external drive no longer responds to the usb plug. For a while I had to press the plug in at an angle to get the drive to power up, and hold it there, but now it doesn’t respond at all.

My external hard drive is called WD – My Passport. Its 3no. T in size. It cannot be opened or recognised / seen on my computer when I plug it in and I have tried in on 2no. different PC’s.
It also makes a terrible clicking noise when plugged in.
It has not been dropped nor had water thrown on it. It is however, around 5no. years old.
Can you provide me with a quote to fix and further information?

Mechanical Failures on HDD’s

Several LEA admins have reportedly that some student systems are running ever more slower, which is impacting on server availability across the academic network. Rather than rebuild the system, I advise Tech Support teams to run some hard drive diagnostics as I’ve found that the latest batch of hard drives received as not as good as previous batches.

Mechanical failure – nothing unusual preceded it. It happened as I was playing a game, everything slowed down and then the clicking started. Failed to boot up past the Asus logo after that. It goes without saying that the HDD is incredibly important to me – please help!

Samsung / Maxtor hard driveThe problem I am facing is that my external hard drive (Samsung Portable M3 1 TB) does not appear on “my computer” window (so I cannot access it) although it appears in “device manager”.
I have plugged in the external hard disk drive to 3 different computers and the outcome was the same as above stated. Moreover, its power light is on when plugged in to any computer and the boot procedure of the computer takes too long when the external drive is connected. Also, if I uninstall the drivers of the external hard disk, the reinstallation fails since the connected hard disk is “partially” not recognized.
Furthermore, when the external drive is plugged in a usb port it makes a thin noise for about 4 -5 seconds as if it is trying to read out the data and then it stops.
Regarding the data stored on my external drive, their size is approximately 250 GB which I would like to back up in order not to lose them. I would appreciate if I could have a first estimation regarding the severity of my disk’s problem and an approximate repair and data back-up cost.
My preference is to communicate via email rather than phone.

Macbook Pro 13″ Retina 2014 with 250GB SSD hard drive failed. Mac Store Covent Garden checked and could only boot from the store OS X the drive itself was not visible. Mac Store test highlighted drive failure and recommended Data recovery (yourselves and Kroll).
Prior to Mac Store test I tried Target mode (no joy) I tried download from Apple for OS X – first issue said hard drive needed formatting, second issue failed entirely to see it. Now only see Disk 0 and visibility of files but no access.
Could you email in the first instance as I cannot take calls easily at work.

I have a Drobo device connected to a Mac computer
I can’t access my photos
In essence it’s holding my photos to ransom
Could you help ?

The Best Way To Ruin Data

A lot of people are slack about their data – they very seldom go through the contents of their hard drive and clear all of the data and programs out that they no longer need. Finally their machines are consigned to the or are sold on. Whatever occurs to the hard drive is generally not good for the data.

I’ve been examining a number of the most effective methods for destroying data. Data destruction is an area of computing that’s little discussed, as computing is about data, however this is quite ironical. And data destruction is part of regular computing life.
Computer data
It is so critical that private data is removed from hard drives before they’re put up on the market on eBay or similar.

Data wiping is pretty simple but needs to be handled correctly – it is pretty simple to lose data, as an example, whole partitions lost and may be concealed when the time comes to remove the data from the hard drive. Initially, you may want to ask yourself –

Data Removal from A Hard Drive
Removing the data could be carried out with a software which overwrites the data on the hard drive. To ensure you remove ALL OF the data from the hard drive you are in need of an application which allows you to set LBA worth. LBA addresses each element of the hard drive from beginning to end and is brief for Logical Block Address. The beginning LBA is always 0, as well as the ending LBA is consistently the absolute amount of LBA’s on the hard drive. Input the entire hard disk and both of these values will probably be overwritten so removing your data from the hard drive. You’re then clear pass it to a close friend or relative etc. or to sell your hard drive second hand.

Data Removal by Destroying The Hard Drive
Some of us feel safer if we destroy the whole hard drive – and the best way of doing this is to take a hammer to the hard drive and smash it. The pro’s and con’s of hard drive destruction are discussed on these web pages, and

Big Problems For Data Recovery Companies

In the UK there are perhaps 5 data recovery companies. Now when I use the words “data recovery company” I am talking about a specialist company that can recover data from broken hard disks. A Google search for “data recovery company” in the UK will produce thousands of results, but 99.9% of the results returned will not be for data recovery companies, instead they will be PC shops that offer a data recovery service.

Heres the problem: the data recovery services provided by PC shops are far inferior to the data recovery services provided by these 5 or so proper data recovery companies, but YOU and I don’t know that. There’s a very high probability that a PC shop will be unable to repair a hard drive with a mechanical fault and therefore will be unable to recover the data from the hard drive, but a specialist data recovery company will be able to repair the drive and recover the data from it.

So the moral of this story is to understand that the data recovery services offered by most of the companies in a Google search will be useless as they are PC shops and not proper data recovery companies.

Data Clinic Ltd - A Specilaist UK Data Recovery CompanySo how do you find a proper data recovery company? Well, I recommend you start by visiting Data Clinic (, the UK’s premier data recovery company.

Take Care When Using Defrag

The word “defrag” comes from the defragmentation process computers regularly undergo as a means to free up unused space in their hard disk memory. Over time, data gets stored in the computer in ways that isn’t efficient, with many gaps appearing between files. The data becomes fragmented, which slows down the speed of the computer. Defrag’ing is a very common practice when troubleshooting computer problems and hard drive faults, although according to the site it is sometimes not recommended if there is data that has been lost or the  hard drive has bad sectors.

Some of the symptoms of hard drive problems include when the drive starts giving poor or very slow performance, it takes a long time to reboot. Also self lock ups is a major symptom that conveys some problem in the proper functioning of hard drives. It’s not always due to hard drive problems though, there are a myriad of reasons that computers start to run slowly: they can run out of hard disk space – programs begin eating into the spare hard drive storage space and eventually hard drive space runs out. The best way of combating this is to regularly clean the computer of files and programs that you no longer need – take a look in your downloads directory and you’ll find plenty of items that you’ve downloaded such as large program installers that you no longer need and things like movies. Choose what you don’t need and delete it. Once you’ve done that empty your recycle bin. This instructs the computer to use the space occupied by these files when necessary and then finally run a defray. Once completed you’ll probably be best rebooting your system so that it can load up with the new updated NTFS disk record and cleaned hard drive. Just watch how much faster your computer is now!

Following these steps and going through them in this order will speed up your slow windows laptop and stop you asking how to speed up my slow laptop. Defrag your laptop now and speed it up. Regular Windows users who have their updates set to ‘Never’ should be advised that downloading the new updates is a good thing to do and newer versions of files are often optimised to run quicker and use memory more efficiently.

New Developments In The Hard Drive Industry

:, is about seven 7x less dense than air. This produces less turbulence and resistance, this allows for enormous advancements to nearly every part of a hard disk drive’s operation. With a helium environment, you may spin the platters quicker, have more platters, have denser tracks on the platters, and consume less power.For now, it seems like Western Digital/HGST has opted to enhance the max number of platters (from five to seven) and reduce power consumption (23% lower idle power, 49% lower watts-per-terabyte). There’s no word on spindle speed, but it’s probably 7,200 RPM just like the standard, air filled Ultrastar drives. The Ultrastar He6, in case you were interested, is an enterprise-class hard drive — there’s no word on pricing, but the air-filled Ultrastar 7K4000 is $315 from Amazon, so the He6 won’t be affordable just yet. 6TB Ultrastar He6 is on sale from today. There’s no word on pricing, and it isn’t apparent if this will be a thing that you can buy from most hard dive suppliers. With helium costs are on the rise (and US authorities only narrowly preventing the closure of the world’s only strategic reserve), we might anticipate the He6 and future helium- filled drives to be high-priced, niche products. If you’re seeking to assemble an awesome submerged water-cooling rig, you need masses of storage capacity, and money’s no problem, then today’s your lucky day.


Watch Your IT Equipment – This Flooding Is No Laughing Matter

The existing bad weather and flooding we’re now seeing is having a remarkable impact on several regions of the United Kingdom. The Environment Agency has issued warnings to companies and individuals across southern England to be ready for more wet climate and flooding in the forthcoming days.

Regaining data from flooding and water harm is not an easy procedure. You may be thinking it’s only a case of permitting the gear to dry out extensively before re-starting it, but in the example of hard disk drives, this is one among the worst ideas imaginable. If water has permeated the HDD then this signifies the water has come connected with all the hdd’s steel surfaces. Now everyone understand that once metal comes into contact with the atmosphere and water it starts to corrode, therefore permitting a damp hard drive to dry out must be averted as this will cause the drive to start corroding, and once this happens there will be little chance of any successful data recovery attempt.

We’ve personally seen several hard drives lately where the harm is caused by flooding as well as water connected events come in to us for recovery. They reached work to save their gear just to find they were very late and a number of these hosts and computers were previously soaked or submerged.

The most important thing regarding a disk that’s been involved in flooding is to permit all extra water to drain from this – just rest it within an upright posture for 20 approximately minutes, then stick it in a sealed air-tight carton. This eliminates all extra water from your hard disc, prevents the hard drive drying out any more and stops any corrosion. It also stabilises the drive’s state and can enable us to recoup the data from this using a means of ours specifically made for handling data recovery problems from hdd which were involved in floods and similar occurrences.

Lost Access To Computer Data? – Try These Tips…

Damaged read / write head on a hard diskLosing data on a hard drive is tough because often our onsite support people don’t know what to do to recover the data. Neither do the teachers themselves who are often rather t computer-literate. Fortunately, there are companies which can help you to get that data back. These are called data recovery businesses and they can retrieve data from nearly any type of HDD in any type of condition. So when you realize that you are in a situation where your under pressure to get data back that hasn’t been backed up (again), don’t assume that the client’s data is lost just because their hard drive has stopped working. For first line support you might like to try the Data Recovery Tips web site, it has a few ideas about what you can try, explains the more serious type of hard drive fault and recommends when you should consider using a data recovery company.

Sometimes when there is no damage to the hard disk, software programs can be used to assist you recover your data by yourself. There are generally trial versions that can be found on the internet which will let you know what they can and can not recover first. If you decide you need to regain the data they find you’ll have to buy the program which usually costs several pounds. But at least it’ll get your data back for you. A word of caution though, what may at first appear to be a simple hard drive problem may be something far more serious and trying to regain the data yourself may cause many more difficulties. So if in doubt, you must always seek professional help as there could be difficulties inside your disk that keep it from functioning properly.

There are several businesses that specialise in repairing damaged hard-drives. In the complete process of retrieving your data, theses data recovery companies may also repair your hard disk. You’d utilize a hard drive recovery company when your local information technology provider cannot help you.

Understand that just because your hard-disk breaks or the data on it appears to have disappeared, this does not mean the data is lost forever. Skilled data retrieval businesses that may find and rescue lost data on the damaged hard drive. This helps as it ensures that it isn’t going to occur again.

If you need a data recovery service – please contact me first as I have a list of approved suppliers.

Useful post re SSD and budgeting

For those of who feel the sometimes overwhelming expectations to keep our IT infrastructures up to date and current comes this useful report about SSD’s. Now I know that many staff keep asking us to install them on their systems – it think they think that having one makes them look flash? So, finding the above report suggests to me that SSD’s are not the next big thing and perhaps (knowing the amount of data that some of our staff keep) we’d be better sticking to HDD technology.

The one big thing about HDD hard disk drives is that they’re cheaper than SSDs as we all know. But now we wont have to argue on cost basis alone – we now have storage capacity on our side and the industry belief that SSD is just for high end systems.

Of course, we also all know how to use HDDs so there won’t be any retraining options either.

A footnote is that I’ll be at the UK LEA conference on Friday so if anyone has any questions on this please ask me then.

Another footnote: I’ve added a new category called ‘LEA authority’ to my posts from here on in – it should make it easier to sort through posts.