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Need to recover data from a HDD... I/O error

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I have a Dell laptop, and the Western Digital HDD it came with failed on me. Dell has since sent a replacement which works fine, but I have a week or so to try to recover from the old drive before I have to send it back.

In my laptop, the drive would fail to boot (drive recognition failure, ctrl alt delete).

When I connected it to my friends internal/external converter, the drive was recognized and auto run started up, but we could not access the drive. It said there was a problem with the I/O connection. So, it's getting power and spinning up fine. It even recognizes that there is a partition. But we can't access the data.

Using a data recovery service will cost me hundreds of dollars... is there anything I can try myself?

Thanks in advance...
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    Je suis Napoléon!

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well....it seems that the I/O portion of the drive (i.e. the on drive controller) is the part that's gone bad on the drive...which pretty much means you can't access the drive through normal means....generally if that controller is hosed the only way to reliably get the info back would be to use a recovery service that can look at the platters directly or remount them in another drive to get the data off....IF you could get your hands on a drive of the EXACT same type...you MIGHT be able to pull the controller board off the one and put it on the broken one and maybe this would give you access (i wouldn't take the controller from a drive you want to use later...just in case)
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