Repair Labor Costs Question
How much should I expect to pay to retrieve files from my Mac Book Pro? I just got the computer as a gift 5 months ago and the hard drive has gone bad. Luckily,bit is still under warranty to replace the hard drive but now they are telling me it will cost $300 for 2 hours to retrieve my files. This sounds like a rip-off to me, so I am researching my options.
I would ask for the hard drive back, and put it in one of these:
You can get a USB2 version even cheaper on eBay, in the $15 shipped range.
With the drive in an external enclosure, you can browse through the files on it and salvage whatever you want yourself.
$300 would tend to be somewhat of a ripoff, but I'd get some clarification as far as what they would be doing, and what exactly they think "gone bad" means. Often an operating system will become corrupted and will no longer boot, in which case the drive is perfectly readable in an external enclosure, and this is the ideal situation. But if the drive itself has a defect and is unreliable, the tech may be intending to use elaborate recovery software to re-construct your files, and this fairly advanced procedure could account for the $300 cost. However, true high-end disk recovery facilities usually charge $800-$1200 per drive, so the $300 figure makes me wonder if this is a hack who doesn't necessarily know what he's doing, or if your files are easily recoverable, and he's just trying to make easy money.
Either way, it can't hurt you to put the drive in an external enclosure, because it will let you try to salvage the files yourself, and if the drive ends up making odd noises, does not appear on the desktop, or does not let you copy files over, at least you have verification that the drive has problem. At that point you can always pay someone to assist you, and having the drive in an enclosure will make it easier for them to access as well.
External FireWire Hard Drive Enclosure for SATA laptop drives — Currently out of stock.
I'm a regulor tech and charges in my shop for data recovery depend on the machine (take drive out and put it back in), then I charge according to how many GIGs I have to recover and what I'm recovering to. I usually take this opportunity to have the customer purchase an external backup drive, so this doesn't happen again. So charges run $40 for physically moving ($80 for the replacement internal 320 GB drive, $40 for 2 hours of attempted recovery (if unsuccessful) and $40 for the first 100 GB + $25 each additional 100 GB recovered. This is NOT a request for business, it's just to let you have an idea of what normal shop charges plus a replacement internal and external drive. By the way, I've spent up to a week with a computer tied up to recover data.
Follow rdklinc's advice and get an enclosure, after that though, you can try a couple of things. For one, DiskWarrior is what I always try first to rebuild bad directories, it rarely fails unless there's serious damage.
If neither DiskUtility nor DiskWarrior are able to repair the drive, you have two options. First, you can use software to attempt to recover files from the drive. In my experience I have used Data Rescue and yielded great results, salvaging several GBs of data, that said, there's a chance that you can return nothing. However, these are your most economical options, and it's always good to have copies of both programs (DiskWarrior is especially useful IMHO, especially when traveling).
However, if none of these work, you can always pay for very expensive physical salvaging of the files by a company such as Drive Savers. It's generally very expensive, however you can get a lot of files recovered often.
i don't know how much it should cost, but $300 is a bit steep, i would try using a laptop ide to usb adapter case
there're is one
take the hdd out, sand put it in this case, plug it into another mac and backup your files,
if the hdd is shot it may not work, but its only about $10, and these cases are useful to have anyway