Repairing an image of a damaged hard drive

My hard drive in my Lenovo Y580 laptop failed and got the click of death a few days ago. I could not start my computer up because it said 'No bootable device'.

I made an image of the hard drive and tried TestDisk on it. It said "Can't open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged". I tried 'Deeper search' as well, which found nothing.

I tried using chkdsk as well, and it said "Unable to determine volume version and state. CHKDSK aborted".

Currently I'm going through the image with PhotoRec, which sucks because there are a huge number of files which aren't titled, some are incomplete/broken, none have the right dates etc.

I have read one guy who recreated the 'partition maps' using fdisk because he knew them. Will that work and if so how do I do it?

By the way, I'm aware I was dumb not to keep it backed up so I will not benefit from being told this.
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  1. I do not quite understand what you are saying. "I made an image of the hard drive..." Do you mean that prior to the hard drive dying you made some type of image of it? Or did you make an image of the hard drive after it initially failed? If you made an image of the hard drive what type of image is it?
  2. You can't make an image of a failed or corrupt hard drive - the image will be bad. If you don't have an image from before the failure, you can't do anything to restore the HDD.
  3. hans_pcguy said:
    I do not quite understand what you are saying. "I made an image of the hard drive..." Do you mean that prior to the hard drive dying you made some type of image of it? Or did you make an image of the hard drive after it initially failed? If you made an image of the hard drive what type of image is it?


    Sorry, I should have clarified. After everything went haywire, I burned Hiren's boot cd onto a usb stick and it wasn't much help. I then made it into an Ubuntu live usb and I've been running Ubuntu Linux off that usb stick since.

    I created an .img of the hard drive using the dd command in Linux. It took over 20 hours because it's a 1tb drive.

    That's what I used TestDisk and CHKDSK on and that's what I'm currently using PhotoRec on.
  4. ss202sl said:
    You can't make an image of a failed or corrupt hard drive - the image will be bad. If you don't have an image from before the failure, you can't do anything to restore the HDD.


    Maybe, but the fact that Photorec does recover files indicates that it still has a lot of stuff on it, so is it not possible to repair what is broken about the image or partitions and at least be able to browse through the file system?
  5. http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=31291

    Here is a guy who got the same TestDisk error and was able to fix it. The only problem is that he says the deeper search did find his NTFS partition, whereas mine didn't. However, this is the part that gives me some hope:

    Quote:
    Edit 4: I know what the partition map of the disk was. I could use fdisk to recreate them. But I cannot make a backup. Is this reasonably safe?

    Edit final: I did it. It's done. My data is safe.
  6. If you were able to make an img file, can you still somewhat see or access the bad drive? There are many programs out there that will read damaged hard drives if you can see/access them. You also may be able to glean the files from the img file that you made. I would say of the latter "you are in for a great deal of work". When you say that Hirens CD did no good, what exactly did you mean. Also, some versions of Hirens are a waste of time. The one you want is version 13.2. The biggest thing is if you can see the hard drive. Also if you are getting it to work a little here and there, you can try wrapping it in paper towels then in a zip lock bag and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. They sometimes will work for a little while when cold.
  7. hans_pcguy said:
    If you were able to make an img file, can you still somewhat see or access the bad drive? There are many programs out there that will read damaged hard drives if you can see/access them. You also may be able to glean the files from the img file that you made. I would say of the latter "you are in for a great deal of work". When you say that Hirens CD did no good, what exactly did you mean. Also, some versions of Hirens are a waste of time. The one you want is version 13.2. The biggest thing is if you can see the hard drive. Also if you are getting it to work a little here and there, you can try wrapping it in paper towels then in a zip lock bag and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. They sometimes will work for a little while when cold.


    Sorry, let me clarify again. The .img was an .img of the entire hard disk. It can see the whole hard disk, but there were 3 partitions. The important one which comprises almost all of the 1tb is the one that cannot be found.

    When I used Hiren's CD, I opened explorer. When I clicked "C", which does refer to the actual laptop's C drive (I saw others see its contents), it said 'The drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now?' I also opened disk management and it said that the C: drive had 59gb capacity with all 59gb free. I wasn't exactly sure what this meant.
  8. hans_pcguy said:
    If you were able to make an img file, can you still somewhat see or access the bad drive? There are many programs out there that will read damaged hard drives if you can see/access them.


    I am able to recover a lot of files using PhotoRec, but what I want is to be able to browse the file system like I did before or at least close to that. PhotoRec has recovered many tens of thousands of files. Some are incomplete, they aren't organised at all and they have random titles like f323423423432.
  9. Hirens has many different programs. I do not know which one you were using.
  10. hans_pcguy said:
    Hirens has many different programs. I do not know which one you were using.


    When I used Hiren's CD, I chose Mini XP and opened Explorer. When I clicked "C", which does refer to the actual laptop's C drive (I saw others see its contents), it said 'The drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now?' I also opened disk management and it said that the C: drive had 59gb capacity with all 59gb free. I wasn't exactly sure what this meant.

    I also used the Linux rescue mode and it caused my hard disk to start to click again so I ended this.
  11. Update:

    I ran GetDataBack and it actually did detect partitions that had almost all of the structure of my computer (directories, files etc). The only problem is, all of the files are corrupted. This is different to PhotoRec, which got mostly correct files but they were unnamed and sometimes impossible to find.

    Can't these two recoveries be somehow combined to get the best of both worlds?
  12. The mini xp program in Hirens is very very poor for getting your corrupted files back. Have you tried taking your hard drive out of the computer it was running in and adding to a different PC that has a healthy operating system? Then you can use a program called "recuva".
  13. hans_pcguy said:
    The mini xp program in Hirens is very very poor for getting your corrupted files back. Have you tried taking your hard drive out of the computer it was running in and adding to a different PC that has a healthy operating system? Then you can use a program called "recuva".


    I am currently searching the disk with PhotoRec, which is similar to Recuva. I can use Recuva after it is finished though.
  14. Ok lets go back to the beginning. 1. Do you have the hard drive installed on a PC that has a functioning Windows operating system? Are you accessing this hard drive through this operating system? or Are you using a boot CD or USB with the PhotoRec program on it? 2. What level is the hard drive functioning at? Does it show up sometimes and not others. Can you consistently access it now? I need to know these things. 3 Have you tried to repair the file structure of the hard drive with a file structure repair program?
  15. hans_pcguy said:
    Ok lets go back to the beginning. 1. Do you have the hard drive installed on a PC that has a functioning Windows operating system?

    No, like I said, I have an image of it on an external hard drive that I'm working with instead of the physical hard drive.

    Quote:
    Are you accessing this hard drive through this operating system? or Are you using a boot CD or USB with the PhotoRec program on it?

    No, I haven't been accessing the hard drive and haven't been using the hard drive. I've been working with the .img only and I've been doing this from other devices.

    See:
    Quote:
    I burned Hiren's boot cd onto a usb stick and it wasn't much help. I then made it into an Ubuntu live usb and I've been running Ubuntu Linux off that usb stick since.


    However, since my last post, I've started using Photorec on a different computer which has Windows 8 on it and I'm still scanning through the .img with Photorec.

    Quote:
    2. What level is the hard drive functioning at? Does it show up sometimes and not others.

    You mean the physical hard drive? I don't know, the data partition didn't show up since it broke but I didn't check it. I've been exclusively working with the .img since.


    Quote:
    Can you consistently access it now? I need to know these things.

    If you mean the physical hard drive, I do not know. The .img... well I can't access it properly.

    Quote:
    3 Have you tried to repair the file structure of the hard drive with a file structure repair program?

    What would be an example of a program like that? I've used CHKDSK if that is one of them. GetDataBack was able to detect the file structure but none of the files worked - they were all corrupt.
  16. OK, you can work on that img file as much as you want. It won't hurt anything. I thought you were still accessing the hard drive. Since you have made an img file of your hard drive, what I would do is try and accessing your bad hard drive to get a more comprehensive fix or a better program to recover files etc. You may even be able to repair the file structure of the hard drive (at least temporarily) to make a good copy of the files on there. You want to get everything ready first since you might only have one shot at this. 1) Have a drive with enough free space (preferably and empty hard drive) to be able to copy the whole 1tb of files you have. 2) have a machine with either a good Windows operating system on it with the ability to install 2 more hard drives one for your bad hard drive and one for the files that you want to save. Or a GOOD bootable dc/dvd with the right repair program on it. (I cannot advise you as to which program to use. I have used several in the past but cannot remember which were good etc) 3)Learn how to use the particular program that you will be using to do the work. Practice with it first. AGAIN, YOU MAY ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT AT THIS, you want all your ducks in a row before you begin. Here is a page with what appears to be a good program to try:
    http://ntfs.com/
    If it were me doing this, I would have a dedicated machine running Hirens 13.2 with 2 extra hard drives one being bigger than the bad one you have. I would analyze the bad hard drive and determine if I could repair the file structure and then just clone it to a good drive. OR if I could I would repair it as well as I could and copy the files to the good drive. And go from there.
  17. I dont think once you have copied damaged files to img you can repair them on the img image. Maybe you can, I just don't know.
  18. hans_pcguy said:
    OK, you can work on that img file as much as you want. It won't hurt anything. I thought you were still accessing the hard drive. Since you have made an img file of your hard drive, what I would do is try and accessing your bad hard drive to get a more comprehensive fix or a better program to recover files etc. You may even be able to repair the file structure of the hard drive (at least temporarily) to make a good copy of the files on there. You want to get everything ready first since you might only have one shot at this. 1) Have a drive with enough free space (preferably and empty hard drive) to be able to copy the whole 1tb of files you have.

    OK, I'll try and get this soon.
    Quote:
    2) have a machine with either a good Windows operating system on it with the ability to install 2 more hard drives one for your bad hard drive and one for the files that you want to save.

    I may do this. I will see if I can get a 2.5 inch hard drive into my computer case.


    Quote:
    Or a GOOD bootable dc/dvd with the right repair program on it. (I cannot advise you as to which program to use. I have used several in the past but cannot remember which were good etc)

    Can anyone else tell me which one to use then?

    Quote:
    3)Learn how to use the particular program that you will be using to do the work. Practice with it first. AGAIN, YOU MAY ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT AT THIS, you want all your ducks in a row before you begin. Here is a page with what appears to be a good program to try:
    http://ntfs.com/
    If it were me doing this, I would have a dedicated machine running Hirens 13.2 with 2 extra hard drives one being bigger than the bad one you have. I would analyze the bad hard drive and determine if I could repair the file structure and then just clone it to a good drive.

    I've already made the .img so couldn't I just clone that onto the good drive?
    OR if I could I would repair it as well as I could and copy the files to the good drive. And go from there.
    Right, but can you tell me anything more about how to do this?
  19. You made an img file of a corrupted hard drive. The files on the img are corrupt. If you can fix these corrupted files, it is going to take you a lot of time and work, good luck with that. HOWEVER, If you can re-copy files from your drive AFTER fixing file structure on that "bad drive". You could get files that are not corrupted. Does that make sense?
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