Hello world So I have a 7200.11 - ST3500320AS that of course dropped dead 2 days ago taking a huge amount of data including some wedding photos I do not have any other way of getting someplace else. So nothing new here, apparently 85% of the .11 Barracudas have gone MIA. My drive is still under warranty but I need to get my files back before I can ask for a change. However I am not sure I am in the situation most people are in. Let me explain how it all went down and you guys can figure out if I should try and use the method in my case: As I said, it started 2 days ago, the PC was running for some hours all by itself. When I got to the PC, I tried opening up a folder and took about 10 seconds to do it so I figured out something is fishy. This HDD unit was the main one, had 3 partitions : a 85GB one which contained the OS and software, and 2 more for data of about 200GB each - Firmware was of course SD15. So ... the HDD was working, but very slowly so I figured, first thing to do is try a reboot. After reboot, windows ( 7 x64 ) failed to start giving me an error. I realized the HDD is going down so I decided that I should try and recover the data on the 2 big partitions if possible. Having no OS to do it with, I used a Win 7 Live CD just so I could have a file explorer. Installed fine and quick, managed to get some of the data from it on another HDD. Everything was showing nice and smooth. I had to leave home so I turned the PC off and decided to save the remaining data the next day. The following day, the Live CD Windows was having a hard time opening up My Computer, of course this only happened when the HDD was connected. If disconnected, it worked fine with my other HDD. I had an old 20GB HDD laying around the house so I decided to install a Windows on it quickly just to have a full working OS to try and recover my data. I kept my ruined HDD disconnected while installing OS so I wouldn't have any surprises. XP installed fine, had just the main chipset drivers and I decided to give it a go. When connecting the ruined HDD, the OS wouldn't boot, either was getting stuck at Win Logo or just on the blank screen after that. I thought maybe XP has some problems booting up with this "problematic HDD connected" so I installed Win 7 on the same 20GB HDD. Again same story: having the HDD connected, windows froze and would not start. Disconnecting it, made everything work fine. Mind you, this whole time the HDD was DETECTED on BIOS with the real storage amount ( 500GB ). Got the drive into an external USB case so I could have the OS start with it somehow. Via USB, the HDD didn't freeze up my OS ( nor it could've anyway ) but my partitions appear as RAW ( Windows keeps telling me I need to format them ). Being able to see the drive in BIOS I figured that the best thing is to try and update the firmware, giving the problems I was reading online on the laptop with the SD15. Got the firmware file, executed, asked me to reboot, and so I turned off the PC so I could connect the HDD again via SATA so it can be upgraded. Which I did, firmware upgrade went ok so now Im off the SD15 and on the new one ( can't remember the name exactly). However the firmware upgrade didnt help my OS to boot with the HDD connected so the only way I can actually have some access to it is via USB as an external drive. So far this seems like an easy fix but it's not. I can actually see my RAW partitions on My Computer ( of course I can't access any of them ). Also Computer Management sees them as they were ( 85 / 200 / 200 GB ) but no Data Recovery Software is able to read anything from it. Some operations took 30 hrs and still NOTHING. Sometimes, the BIOS would not read the HDD so I had to restart PC, unplug/plug the SATA cable and try again to work. I have many cables I kept trying and nothing changed so it's not a cable issue. I tried searching for LOST PARTITIONS, nothing came up. Also, what's interesting, is that I tried quick formatting the small partition ( 85GB one ) from windows as it only contained the OS and some programs so I wasn't risking anything. Although quick format would not erase my data from the partition, I figure it could get it in a state to be able to be read out by a recovery tool. Windows refused to format my partition for some I/O error and also Win 7 tells me that that "BitLocker status not encryptable" regarding the 3 partitions. I don't exactly know what that means. Right now Stellar Phoenix is reading out one of the Partition's sectors but it takes for ever, it will probably done tomorrow. Will let you know on the result although I have my doubts it will read anything. What do you guys suggest I try ? Maybe Seagate won't even recover my files for free as they said, cause my issue is a bit different than the one everybody's had. I have read the first post but I am not sure that my experience qualifies for one of the 2 situations covered. Any help would be hugely appreciated. PS - sorry about the long post - but I thought that explaining the whole experience might help some guru around here figuring out the problem and solution to recover my stuff.