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'[PIC] Code recovery expert needed'
2011\08\02@113046 by Dwayne Reid

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Good day to all.

We've been asked to assist a company recover from a fatal hard drive crash.  Unfortunately, I suspect that we are not the right people for the job.

The situation is this: this company has a fairly mature PIC-based product that has undergone significant code changes over its lifetime.  Most or all of the PIC code is written in C.

The company has source code for previous versions of the product but has lost the current code base due to a hard drive crash.  They do have current hex files for the PIC(s) used in the product and want to regenerate the C source code, starting with the previous versions of the source and changing as required.

I'm not even comfortable working with C, let alone being competent with it.  My co-worker is better with C than I am but he also does not feel adequate for the job.

So: I'm looking for someone who IS competent with C and would be able to work with the resources that I have mentioned above.

This can be handled one of two ways: we can simply hand the project off completely or we can act as a middle-man, where that person would subcontract to us.  Either way, a non-disclosure agreement is required.

Public discussion is welcome but private responses are appreciated.

Many thanks!

dwayne


PS - comments regarding the lack of backup procedures is not necessary.  I think that the people concerned have learned their lesson.

dwayne

-- Dwayne Reid   <spam_OUTdwaynerTakeThisOuTspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2011\08\02@113821 by Yigit Turgut

picon face
What is the size of the hex binary and which compiler did they use ?

On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM, Dwayne Reid <.....dwaynerKILLspamspam@spam@planet.eon.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\08\02@114739 by rhurst2

picon face


I have an excellent disassembler that can be purchased here:

http://myworld.ebay.com/favorites4u/

My contact info is .....rhurst2KILLspamspam.....cox.net

Ray

---- Yigit Turgut <EraseMEy.turgutspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> > --

2011\08\02@120051 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face


KILLspamrhurst2KILLspamspamcox.net wrote 2011-08-02 17:47:
>
> I have an excellent disassembler that can be purchased here:
>
> http://myworld.ebay.com/favorites4u/
>

Or: http://cgi.ebay.com/350431894117

(The "Items for sale" link on the other page seems broken...)



{Quote hidden}

>>> --

2011\08\02@121359 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
They need C code though.

Dwayne, do they have some sort of development log so we can check what sort
of change they have made since the last available source code?

Tamas




On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM, Jan-Erik Soderholm <
jan-erik.soderholmEraseMEspam.....telia.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>

2011\08\02@123815 by Bob Ammerman

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Reverse engineering to C source is likely to be quite difficult )-:

Have all reasonable attempts been made to recover the code from the hard drive? It is quite likely that such a recovery, if possible, will be the cheapest alternative.

How much has the app changed since the last backed up revision?

What version of "C" is being used?

How big is the app?

What type of PIC is targeted?

-- Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems


{Original Message removed}

2011\08\02@125216 by Bob Ammerman

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Another question:

What optimizations are turned on? This can greatly affect the resulting code and could make it much more difficult to "reverse compile".

-- Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2011\08\02@134337 by Bob Ammerman

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Even more questions:

Any chance you have an up-to-date .COD file or linker map?

-- Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2011\08\02@135343 by Nicola Perotto

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Hi,

On 02/08/2011 15.30, Dwayne Reid wrote:
> Good day to all.
>
> We've been asked to assist a company recover from a fatal hard drive
> crash.  Unfortunately, I suspect that we are not the right people for the job.
There are company that do hdd recovery, say 1000 to 2000 $, and very often they can recover all your data.


can recover all your data.

2011\08\02@140726 by jim

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All,

When I worked at T.I., we had an HD crash that left us without access
to several irreplacable files.
We sent the HD off to a data recovery facility where they recovered
about 95% to 98% of the  files on the drive, and shipped the files and the remains of the drive
back to us.
The files were shipped on CD's (Probably DVD's now).  All we had to do
was copythe files to  the new hard drive.
The service wasn't cheap (2-3K IIRC, and this was mid 90s dollars), but
it was worth every penny
bacause as I said, the files were virtually irreplacable.  This
situation seems similar.
I can try to find the name of the recovery company and pass it on if
you would like me to.
 It would probably wind up being less expensive and certainly faster to
have the original files recovered,
rather than trying to regenerate them from object files, bit and pieces
of support data, and  ones ability at programming in C.

I would think the programming option could takes weeks to many months
to regenerate the source code,
if it could even be done.  And if it could, as other have said, there
are many other considerations
to account for such as optimizations, the specific compiler,
differences between versions, etc.

A formidable task at best.


Regards,

Jim

> ---{Original Message removed}

2011\08\02@141455 by David VanHorn

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>
>  I would think the programming option could takes weeks to many months
> to regenerate the source code,
>  if it could even be done.  And if it could, as other have said, there
> are many other considerations
>  to account for such as optimizations, the specific compiler,
> differences between versions, etc.
>
>  A formidable task at best.


5 minutes a day to copy source to a thumb drive, Priceless.

2011\08\02@143000 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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Em 2/8/2011 15:14, David VanHorn escreveu:
>>  I would think the programming option could takes weeks to many months
>> to regenerate the source code,
>>  if it could even be done.  And if it could, as other have said, there
>> are many other considerations
>>  to account for such as optimizations, the specific compiler,
>> differences between versions, etc.
>>
>>  A formidable task at best.
>
> 5 minutes a day to copy source to a thumb drive, Priceless.


It is strange how in the present days so many people lose ireplaceable
data. Everybody knows that sooner or later their HDs will break. It is
like playing russian roulette not keeping several levels of back-ups. It
seems that even IT professionals fall in this trap...

Once a day, once a week at least. There are so many options: CDs, DVDs,
thumb-drives, cloud storage (very vell encrypted before sending),
e-mailing the data to yourself, etc.


Isaac

2011\08\02@143013 by Peter Johansson

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On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:46 AM, Nicola Perotto <RemoveMEnicolaKILLspamspamnicolaperotto.it> wrote:

> There are company that do hdd recovery, say 1000 to 2000 $, and very often they
> can recover all your data.

Those prices are typically for accidental deletion, not hardware
failure.  When the drive has suffered hardware failure, costs can be
much, much greater.  Data can be recovered from just about any crashed
drive, it's typically just a matter of how much you want to spend.
Since you probably are only interested in a relatively small amount of
data, you may be able to negotiate a price to recover this limited
subset of the entire disk.

-p

2011\08\02@154952 by Peter Johansson

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On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM, Isaac Marino Bavaresco
<isaacbavarescoSTOPspamspamspam_OUTyahoo.com.br> wrote:

> It is strange how in the present days so many people lose ireplaceable
> data.

It is strange how in the present days so many people don't use source
control, either.

-p

2011\08\02@160417 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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Em 2/8/2011 16:49, Peter Johansson escreveu:
> On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM, Isaac Marino Bavaresco
> <spamBeGoneisaacbavarescoSTOPspamspamEraseMEyahoo.com.br> wrote:
>
>> It is strange how in the present days so many people lose ireplaceable
>> data.
> It is strange how in the present days so many people don't use source
> control, either.
>
> -p.


Sure, but even the repositories must be backed-up.


Isaa

2011\08\02@160417 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM, Peter Johansson <KILLspamrockets4kidsspamBeGonespamgmail.com>wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM, Isaac Marino Bavaresco
> <EraseMEisaacbavarescospamEraseMEyahoo.com.br> wrote:
>
> > It is strange how in the present days so many people lose ireplaceable
> > data.
>
> It is strange how in the present days so many people don't use source
> control, either.
>

I like the way how MacOS X's TimeMachine works -- automatically backs up at
every hour for the last 24 hours, every day for the last month and every
week for older than a month -- and drops oldest if not enough space so that
is not for archiving, but it can actually save time and money situations
like this.

Is there any backup software like this available to Windows and Linux?

Thanks,
Tamas



>
> -p.
>

2011\08\02@160950 by William Couture

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM, Isaac Marino Bavaresco
<@spam@isaacbavaresco@spam@spamspam_OUTyahoo.com.br> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

zip -a <projectname><date> *.c *.h *.prj
copy <projectname><date>.zip \\networkdrive\<projectname>

Then again, I'm an old commandline fart...

Bill

-- Psst...  Hey, you... Buddy...  Want a kitten?  straycatblues.petfinder.org

2011\08\02@161233 by Bob Ammerman

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> I like the way how MacOS X's TimeMachine works -- automatically backs up
> at
> every hour for the last 24 hours, every day for the last month and every
> week for older than a month -- and drops oldest if not enough space so
> that
> is not for archiving, but it can actually save time and money situations
> like this.

It probably wouldn't have helped here: the whole hard drive crashed.

-- Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2011\08\02@161821 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 9:12 PM, Bob Ammerman <spamBeGonepicramspamKILLspamroadrunner.com> wrote:

> > I like the way how MacOS X's TimeMachine works -- automatically backs up
> > at
> > every hour for the last 24 hours, every day for the last month and every
> > week for older than a month -- and drops oldest if not enough space so
> > that
> > is not for archiving, but it can actually save time and money situations
> > like this.
>
> It probably wouldn't have helped here: the whole hard drive crashed.
>

Only if you are backing up to the same hard drive which I agree is not a
good idea. I have an external hard drive for TimeMachine to avoid this --
whenever that volume is available to the Mac it automatically recognises and
start backing up my data.

Tamas




>
> -- Bob Ammerman
> RAm Systems
>
>

2011\08\02@162019 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 02:07 PM 02/08/2011, you wrote:

>  All,
>
>  When I worked at T.I., we had an HD crash that left us without access
>to several irreplacable files.
>  We sent the HD off to a data recovery facility where they recovered
>about 95% to 98% of the
>  files on the drive, and shipped the files and the remains of the drive
>back to us.
>  The files were shipped on CD's (Probably DVD's now).  All we had to do

These days the HDDs are so big and cheap they just throw it on
a new HDD.

They can do things like swapping the drive boards from a working
identical drive to the dead drive.

Most of the time they get almost all the data, and the cost is
really only a few hours of a good consultant's work. I would
STRONGLY suggest they exhaust this avenue first.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
.....speffspam_OUTspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

2011\08\02@163221 by Barry Gershenfeld

picon face
A while back, I traded my "infinite number of zip files" strategy for a
version control system (Subversion).  And while what I know about
configuration management would fit on a PIC10F, just that fact that it goes
to a separate server is a really good piece of insurance.  Having a central
repository also solves the "now which computer or thumb drive has the latest
version" problem.

As to the original request, it's worth considering whether the cost and time
would be better spent developing the code over again.  It would probably
come out better, and the guys working on it would be that much more
knowledgeable about it for the future.

There's also the "put the drive in the freezer and try it again" strategy,
which works about half the time

2011\08\02@164038 by Richard Prosser

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On 3 August 2011 08:26, Spehro Pefhany <TakeThisOuTspeff.....spamTakeThisOuTinterlog.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

We had a major fire here about 10 weeks ago and the server room was
near the centre of it. Most data was backed up but that days work
hadn't been at that stage. Even so, the IT guys managed to recover
~80% by removing the electronics and replacing it with a pcb from a
new drive of the same type. Well worth a try.

RP

2011\08\02@165829 by Charles Craft

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These guys have been around a long time:
   http://www.krollontrack.com/data-recovery/


On 8/2/2011 2:07 PM, .....jimspamRemoveMEjpes.com wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>> ---{Original Message removed}

2011\08\02@171039 by Dwayne Reid

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I'm in the process of finding out more information.

The original developer is currently away on vacation - it sounds like this problem occurred while he was away.  My partner tells me that our client said that the developer almost had a nervous breakdown when he found out about the data loss.

The developer is back after August 11 and I will be able to get more information then.  However, I've also been told that some of the information given to me was incorrect - this is NOT a mature product, but rather, fairly new.

I was also told that the original firmware was written in somewhat less than a month.

The client is not opposed to a fresh rewrite of the code from scratch.  In the meantime, I don't have any more information regarding which compiler was used, what optimization settings were used, etc.  I guess that I will have to wait until the developer gets back to work.

However, a re-write may work out better.  Start with the most recent available version of the source and simply modify it to meet whatever the client needs it to do.  Not even bother with disassembling the hex file..

I'll see how this shakes out and let everyone know when I know more.  In the meantime, several people have contacted me off-line and I WILL be talking with them.

Many thanks!

dwayne


PS - I believe that I ** DID ** mention that comments on lack of backups wasn't particularly helpful or relevant <grin>.

dwayne

-- Dwayne Reid   <RemoveMEdwaynerspamspamBeGoneplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2011\08\02@171745 by Carl Denk

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face
What software/hardware setup?
"volume is available to the Mac it automatically recognises and start backing up my data."

I would be going from Win XP to Ubuntu Linux.

On 8/2/2011 4:18 PM, Tamas Rudnai wrote:
>
> Only if you are backing up to the same hard drive which I agree is not a
> good idea. I have an external hard drive for TimeMachine to avoid this --
> whenever that volume is available to the Mac it automatically recognises and
> start backing up my data.
>
> Tamas

2011\08\02@180842 by Michael Watterson

face picon face
On 02/08/2011 21:04, Tamas Rudnai wrote:
> Is there any backup software like this available to Windows and Linux?

Nothing special about Timemachine.

Solutions for DOS, OS/2, UNIX, NT, VMS etc etc before Apple ever had Timemachine.

NT/AKA Windows has had "AT" and ntbackup since 1993
cron on Unix/Linux (was doing scheduled backups on Cromix in 1986)

Many solutions of incremental scheduled backup.

2011\08\02@181448 by Michael Watterson

face picon face
On 02/08/2011 22:10, Dwayne Reid wrote:
> However, a re-write may work out better.  Start with the most recent
> available version of the source and simply modify it to meet whatever
> the client needs it to do.  Not even bother with disassembling the hex file.

For sure dissassembley of Hex to ASM is easy.
Creating meaningful C from it is harder than re-writing it usually.

2011\08\02@182102 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:17 PM, Carl Denk <spamBeGonecdenk@spam@spamspam_OUTwindstream.net> wrote:

> What software/hardware setup?
>

MacBook Pro / MacOS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) does this backup thing, no need
additional software or hardware except an external hard drive for your
backup. You can buy this disk from Apple for 3x or 4x more or what I did is
to plug a Western Digital MyBook with the FireWire port (for my needs is
fast enough).


> I would be going from Win XP to Ubuntu Linux.
>

I did use Ubuntu and before that other Linux for long -- but I am not very
happy with the traditional backup it provides (tar or cpio). There must be
some good software out there (for money I guess) but then I have found Mac,
which is Unix based so I like it, solid, and full of with nice features like
this backup.

The MPLAB works from the VirtualBox with shared directory, so the actual
project files are stored on the host machine which is then backed up by this
Apple software. If anything happens I can throw the faulty HDD and install a
basic MacOS then restore the rest from the backup. Also I can restore files
individually, works pretty awesome - better than anything else I have seen
before.

But I am not sure if Win7 contains anything like that, or if there is any
commercial or free software out there? (A Windows workstation is cheaper, so
would be nicer to use in this matter.)

Tamas




{Quote hidden}

>

2011\08\02@184029 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM, Michael Watterson <TakeThisOuTmikespamspamradioway.org>wrote:

> On 02/08/2011 21:04, Tamas Rudnai wrote:
> > Is there any backup software like this available to Windows and Linux?
>
> Nothing special about Timemachine.
>
> Solutions for DOS, OS/2, UNIX, NT, VMS etc etc before Apple ever had
> Timemachine.
>

Sure, however, what nice in it is that it is included in the standard
installation, and when I plug a new hard drive it asks me if I would like to
use the disk as a backup drive. If I say yes then it does everything for me..
No need to think or setup or read tons of docs how to configure. And when I
need a file back, I just say 'Enter to Time Machine' from the System
Preferences or other places and browse files while can going backwards in
time.


> NT/AKA Windows has had "AT" and ntbackup since 1993
>

NTBackup is a good idea, thanks -- Wikipedia said was not on the standard
installation but can be found on the install disk. Will try it out, thanks.


> cron on Unix/Linux (was doing scheduled backups on Cromix in 1986)
>

Sure, however, you need to be a system administrator to set it up correctly,
testing in a separated test server if you can restore from backup etc as you
are writing your scripts to launch cpio or tar or whatever from crontab to
do the backup. So you need to test if that works. Then you still need to do
something to be able to browse files on the backup system, to be able to
open it by normal apps to see file content, so it seems to be much much less
than what Apple is providing.

Once I was even thinking to use CVS as a backup -- so the repository is on
the external hard drive and with a graphical CVS interface could browse
files. Not quite the same as Time Machine as still cannot open a Word
document from there for example unless checking it out first, however, could
store versions of files.

Tamas



> Many solutions of incremental scheduled backup..
>

2011\08\02@184316 by Bob Blick

face
flavicon
face
> MacBook Pro / MacOS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) does this backup thing

This is not [PIC]

The [PIC] and [EE] tags are very important not to clutter up with
computer chatter.

The original poster had a specific PIC-related question - whoever
hijacked it (yes I will find out who) ABSOLUTELY should have changed the
tag to [OT].

Also, whenever you reply to a message, always make sure you are replying
with the correct tag, if needed please change it to match your reply.

Thanks,

Bob


-- http://www.fastmail.fm - Send your email first class

2011\08\02@184539 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM, Tamas Rudnai <tamas.rudnaiEraseMEspamgmail.com> wrote:
>> I would be going from Win XP to Ubuntu Linux.
>>
>
> I did use Ubuntu and before that other Linux for long -- but I am not very
> happy with the traditional backup it provides (tar or cpio). There must be
> some good software out there (for money I guess) but then I have found Mac,
> which is Unix based so I like it, solid, and full of with nice features like
> this backup.

rdiff-backup provides similar functionality (it uses rsync
internally). I have been using it for a few years in Linux and
Windows

2011\08\02@185611 by Jim Franklin

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face
5 minutes to a thumb, a couple to zip the folder, and another couple to
upload to an offsite FTP.  
Scared? Me?
Yep, you bet.


{Original Message removed}

2011\08\02@190142 by Isaac Marino Bavaresco

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Em 2/8/2011 17:09, William Couture escreveu:
> zip -a <projectname><date> *.c *.h *.prj
> copy <projectname><date>.zip \\networkdrive\<projectname>
>
> Then again, I'm an old commandline fart...
>
> Bill


I have a specific Perl script for my back-ups. It knows how to check-out
and hot-copy the SVN repositories, zips everything, and saves to a
freshly created TrueCrypt volume.

Then I copy the dismounted TC volume to anywhere I want.


Isaac

2011\08\02@200310 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Aug 2, 2011, at 1:04 PM, Tamas Rudnai wrote:

> Is there any backup software like [Apple's time machine] available  
> to Windows and Linux?

I think it requires OS hooks to efficiently notice that files have  been changed.  Incremental backups without OS support are rather  painful.

The size of todays disks, and the way people/programs organize (or  not) their file systems, and the way backup programs are structured,  make it pretty easy to think you're doing adequate backups, but  somehow miss something important.  The latest external drive I bought  to backup the family computers cheerfully offered to backup  "documents, pictures, and music"; I hope it did what I expected it to  do :-(  What happened to the nice logical directory hierarchy I tried  to set up?  Sigh.

BillW

2011\08\02@224500 by RussellMc

face picon face
> Only if you are backing up to the same hard drive ...

Same PC - electrical fault, theft, fire, disaster ...

Same room - fire, disaster ...

Same building - fire, disaster

Same city - disaster

Same ...

Off site, at least, or very well physically secured.
Other city if paranoid.
(Our next volcano is overdue).

Do what I say, not what I do ...

But, eg GMail to self with attachment is not too bad.
Even dropbox is not too bad.
Encrypt as one's predilections persuade.

ALL hard drives fail. Most between 10 years and ~ 1 hour from new.

              Russel

2011\08\03@062841 by cdb

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face
I got sidetracked by the noise, but I believe it was mentioned the hex files survived. That being so, other than using a data recovery place or trying the exchange hard drive electronics method (doesn't always work if the new board has a different level firmware version or if the bad sector table is waaay out), then obviously a hex disassembler and a rewrite to C would work, but then one might as well code it again form the beginning.

Colin
--
cdb, RemoveMEcolinEraseMEspamspam_OUTbtech-online.co.uk on 3/08/2011
Web presence: http://www.btech-online.co.uk   Hosted by:  http://www.justhost.com.au
 This email is to be considered private if addressed to a named  individual or HR department, and public if addressed to a blog,  forum or news article.

2011\08\03@065124 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 11:28 AM, cdb <@spam@colinRemoveMEspamEraseMEbtech-online.co.uk> wrote:

> I got sidetracked by the noise, but I believe it was mentioned the hex
> files survived. That being so, other than using a data recovery place or
> trying the exchange hard drive electronics method (doesn't always work if
> the new board has a different level firmware version or if the bad sector
> table is waaay out), then obviously a hex disassembler and a rewrite to C
> would work, but then one might as well code it again form the beginning.
>

Also would not work if the problem is not on the panel but on the motor for
example or on the head especially if the head hit the disk. But worth a
shot. If the data worth much more than the professional data recovery
companies are asking for, then I would not do it by myself though -- also a
professional company has a clean room and the technology for disassembling
the drive and replace the motor or the head if necessary.

Tamas




{Quote hidden}

>

2011\08\03@144920 by Brooke Clarke

flavicon
face
Hi Dwayne:

I'd recommend a hard drive recovery service such as:
http://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com/
They charge depending on the unformatted capacity of the drive which can be thousands of dollars, but worth it.

-- Have Fun,

Brooke Clarke
http://www.PRC68.com
http://www.End2PartyGovernment.com/

2011\08\10@135005 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Tamas Rudnai wrote:

> Is there any backup software like this available to Windows and Linux?

Check out Acronis (Windows) or rsync (Linux). Acronis does pretty much
what you describe; rsync (or similar Linux tools) are a bit simpler but
can be scripted to do something similar.

Gerhar

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