Special Data Recovery Drives?

Hi All,

Some background information about my problem: a friend burned all his family photos on a cheap DVD-R before wiping out his computer to reinstall windows. It turns out the backup didn’t work properly and I am trying to recover the photos from the disc. There were no errors reported during burning of this disc with Nero. Both this disc and a second disc that were burned at the same time seem to have the problem.

I tried ISO-Buster, CD-Roller, Alcohol and CloneCD on this disc. The best results so far are achieved by creating an iso image with clonecd and then extracting it. I managed to recover a lot of photos from the disc using this method. However, so far I have only imaged 20% of the disc.

The problem is that clonecd reports “failed to read sector” every 30 sectors or so, which makes the process incredibly slow. After 50 hours only 20% of the disc was imaged, and it seems to be getting slower. It now seems to be doing only 1-2% per day!

I have tried this with all the different settings under clondecd’s Fast Error Skipping (‘Software’ was slowest, and ‘Hardware’ and ‘None’ seem faster). I am not sure if my drive supports FES: It is a Plextor PX-708A. I tried using the original drive that burned he disc with worse results. I also tried various other more modern drives with worse results (among them a new ASUS SATA burner drive). So far the Plextor seems to be doing the best job of it.

I have heard that data recovery companies use special drives for these purposes. My question is: where am I able to buy such drives? Would they help in this situation (to speed up the reading)? Are there any Internet forums that discuss these data recovery specialist drives?

I know that I can probably just take the disc to a data recovery company and that they may be able to image it for me. But I often get handed problems like these and I am wondering if I would be able to do this by myself?

Thanks very much!


There’s also a prog called ISOPuzzle(r?) that allows using different drives and even computers for the same disk. I read about it at Doom9. It’s free, so worth a try…