A client brought to me an HP Pavillion ze4400 laptop with a dying hard drive. It started out with BSOD's, but by the time I saw it, it had progressed to the "click of death" while trying to startup.
My usual tactic in these situations, if the customer does not want to spend the $$$ for professional data recovery is to place the driver in a hot swap tray in my testbed, copy the data off and burn a DVD. In about 95% cases, this has been succesful.
This drive, however seems to behaved differently. First, although the drive is jumpered as master, it is only recognized in my test bed when it is the only device on the secondary IDE channel and then it is recognized as Slave. There are no cable select settings, etc. and I've never had master/slave problems in my rig before. Being that the drive came out of an hp/compaq laptop, I wrote it off as the usual Compaq wierdness I have become accustomed too out of much of their gear.
After the test bed boots up, it does not recognize the hard disk. If I go into device manager and select "scan for new hardware", the drive shows up, gets a drive letter and I can access it from explorer, for about 30secs. During those 30 seconds I can browse the directory structure and open some files. After those 30 secs it disappears from explorer and device manager. Rescanning in device manager brings it back, again for 30 secs, before disappearing again.
What would cause the drive to disappear from device manager and are there any utilities, be it Linux or otherwise, that might work around this disappearing behavior? My suspicion is that the drive is going into some sort of self-protective shutdown, but that's just a guess.