Hard Drive Hard Luck Story

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

I would be really grateful if anyone could help me recover a huge amount of
important data which I, in my wisdom/arrogance/meanness, haven't backed up.

I was upgrading my XP Home to XP Pro when I was hit with a succession of
BSOD's (IRQ_NOT_EQUAL, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA or similar) in the
middle of the upgrade. The shortened version of a very long story is that
now I can't boot from that drive. If I boot from the XP CD, it keeps trying
to re-install XP.

I've removed the drive and put it in another PC. The Bios sees the drive
but Windows doesn't.

The strange thing is that the Hardware Manager sees the faulty drive and
says it's OK. Not only that, but If I go into Properties (in Hardware
Manager) I can populate the drive and get the correct information displayed.
If I go into Tools (still in Hardware Manager) I can get the Error Checking
utility to scan the disk and if I start Norton Disk Doctor, it will also see
and scan the disk. Surprisingly, both these tests tell me that my drive is
OK, but I can't see the drive in Windows Explorer. If I go into Norton
System Information, it sees the drive and allocates it the same drive letter
as the previous tests but if I highlight it, an error message appears saying
that there is no valid media in the drive and that I should make sure that a
disk is inserted and the drive door closed.

The drive is formatted as NTFS.

Please help prevent a kind and generous old man (me) from topping himself
I promise I will buy a back-up system and use it - honest.

Many thanks,
Mick
4 answers Last reply
More about hard drive hard luck story
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    The other computer if not XP will not be able to access NTFS partitions.

    You may be better off running the Xp Installation and choose to repair or upgrade, depending on the options available to you and the nature of your Xp installation disk.

    In repair mode you could run a CHKDSK /R and this will repair errors.

    This article describes how to perform an in-place upgrade, or reinstallation, of Windows XP. This is also named a repair installation.
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q315341
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    In addition to the other excellent advice given, I would
    consider calling the Drive Savers and asking for any advice
    that they might have. www.drivesavers.com


    "BAR" <anonymous@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:B040CEEB-6C2B-455C-9090-928210D51921@microsoft.com...
    | The other computer if not XP will not be able to access
    NTFS partitions.
    |
    | You may be better off running the Xp Installation and
    choose to repair or upgrade, depending on the options
    available to you and the nature of your Xp installation
    disk.
    |
    | In repair mode you could run a CHKDSK /R and this will
    repair errors.
    |
    | This article describes how to perform an in-place upgrade,
    or reinstallation, of Windows XP. This is also named a
    repair installation.
    |
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q315341
    |
    |
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    "Michael Walsh" <mickwalsh@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:uZwRwCHIEHA.3444@TK2MSFTNGP10.phx.gbl...
    > I would be really grateful if anyone could help me recover a huge amount
    of
    > important data which I, in my wisdom/arrogance/meanness, haven't backed
    up.
    >
    > I was upgrading my XP Home to XP Pro when I was hit with a succession of
    > BSOD's (IRQ_NOT_EQUAL, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA or similar) in the
    > middle of the upgrade. The shortened version of a very long story is that
    > now I can't boot from that drive. If I boot from the XP CD, it keeps
    trying
    > to re-install XP.
    >
    > I've removed the drive and put it in another PC. The Bios sees the drive
    > but Windows doesn't.
    >
    > The strange thing is that the Hardware Manager sees the faulty drive and
    > says it's OK. Not only that, but If I go into Properties (in Hardware
    > Manager) I can populate the drive and get the correct information
    displayed.
    > If I go into Tools (still in Hardware Manager) I can get the Error
    Checking
    > utility to scan the disk and if I start Norton Disk Doctor, it will also
    see
    > and scan the disk. Surprisingly, both these tests tell me that my drive
    is
    > OK, but I can't see the drive in Windows Explorer. If I go into Norton
    > System Information, it sees the drive and allocates it the same drive
    letter
    > as the previous tests but if I highlight it, an error message appears
    saying
    > that there is no valid media in the drive and that I should make sure that
    a
    > disk is inserted and the drive door closed.
    >
    > The drive is formatted as NTFS.
    >
    > Please help prevent a kind and generous old man (me) from topping himself
    > I promise I will buy a back-up system and use it - honest.
    >
    > Many thanks,
    > Mick
    >
    >

    As a first step, I would boot the machine with a Win98
    boot disk (www.bootdisk.com), then run ntfsdos.exe
    (www.sysinternals.com) to see if the partition is
    readable. The next step depends on the result of
    this test.
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 10:29:24 +0100, "Michael Walsh"

    >I would be really grateful if anyone could help me recover a huge amount of
    >important data which I, in my wisdom/arrogance/meanness, haven't backed up.

    It happens regularly in the real world, that :-p

    >I was upgrading my XP Home to XP Pro when I was hit with a succession of
    >BSOD's (IRQ_NOT_EQUAL, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA or similar) in the
    >middle of the upgrade. The shortened version of a very long story is that
    >now I can't boot from that drive. If I boot from the XP CD, it keeps trying
    >to re-install XP.

    When I see cases like this, I follow a very formal approach:
    - pull HD out of sick PC
    - test PC without HD (RAM test loops, fans etc.)
    - pull data off HD in another host PC and then test/av-scan HD

    >I've removed the drive and put it in another PC. The Bios sees the drive
    >but Windows doesn't.

    Same version of NT? NTFS gets re-versioned, so an older NT may not be
    able to read a newer NT's NTFS (and disasterously, a newer NT may
    upgrade an older NTFS even if that breaks that HD's ability to boot).

    Are the two PCs of the same age? Else there may be geometry
    mismatches at the CMOS settings level.

    Is the HD physically OK? Test with the HD vendor's OS-agnostic
    diagnostics to determine that; NOT ChkDsk.

    Is the file system OK? Don't let ChkDsk "fix" anything yet, in fact
    it's safer to use some compitent 3rd-party utility.

    >The strange thing is that the Hardware Manager sees the faulty drive and
    >says it's OK. Not only that, but If I go into Properties (in Hardware
    >Manager) I can populate the drive and get the correct information displayed.

    What do you mean by "populate"?

    It may be the file system's barfed - something that a poster in an
    earlier thread things will never happen, i.e. that NTFS is so
    bulletproof you'd "never need ChkDsk".

    Did you have Black Ice Defender on the afflicted PC? Witty is a pure
    worm (like Lovesan, only needs vulnerable PCs to be connected to
    attack them) that exploits a defect in Black Ice Defender firewall and
    related products, and then performs direct raw disk writes to trash
    the HD contents. Yes, right through NT and NTFS's defences.

    >If I go into Tools (still in Hardware Manager) I can get the Error Checking
    >utility to scan the disk and if I start Norton Disk Doctor, it will also see
    >and scan the disk. Surprisingly, both these tests tell me that my drive is
    >OK, but I can't see the drive in Windows Explorer.

    That really is strange.

    >The drive is formatted as NTFS.

    Yes, I thought that would be the punchline, else you'd have evacuated
    it from DOS mode by now (Tip: Use Odi's LFN Tools to preserve LFNs)

    >Please help prevent a kind and generous old man (me) from topping himself
    >I promise I will buy a back-up system and use it - honest.

    OK; what I'd start with is a DOS-based tool that can copy off subtrees
    from NTFS volumes. In fact, you have a few possible free tools, and
    I'll list the ones I've played with...

    1) ReadNTFS (www.NTFS.com)

    This is a stand-alone DOS-based tool that lets you view the NTFS file
    system much as the old "PC Shell"used to. You can then copy off files
    or subtrees. You can't select more than one at a time, and you will
    lose LFNs (Long File Names). Also, it takes quite a while to first
    read a directory, and it doesn't "remember" where it was before and
    has to re-read all the time.

    You will come to HATE gratuoitously-nested paths like "Documents and
    Settings\Somename\My Documents\Blah\Blah\Blah\x\y\z\aargh!"

    2) NTFSDOS (www.systeminternals.com)

    The "free" version is a read-only DOS TSR that hogs about 300k of DOS
    memory, fails to recurse the directory tree properly, and doesn't
    preserve LFNs. Other than that it's OK.

    The "fee" version can write NTFS as well as read it, but it is
    "informal" from the perspective of malware clean-up; it shells the
    HD's own NTFS reading code to read the HD. That's great for
    compatibility, but bad if that code is barfed or malware'd.

    3) Odi's LFN Tools

    A set of replacement DOS commands that perform LFN-aware file
    operations from DOS mode; LDir, LMD, LCD, LRen, LDel and most
    powerfully, LCopy. This utility is brilliant for evacuating sick HDs;
    it doesn't beat the HD to death retrying on sick sectors and just
    carries on until all is done. LCopy D:\* C:\SICK /A /S will
    copy *everything* from D: to C:\SICK in one go, with LFNs.

    But Odi's LFN Tools won't work through an extra driver layer, and thus
    can't be used with NTFS via (say) the NTFSDOS TSR.

    Other LFN tools for DOS mode exist, including two TSRs that confer LFN
    skills to software that can use them (uncommon in DOS mode, but
    examples include InfoZip and Edit). One of these is fatally flawed;
    it generates non-unique 8.3 names under matching LFNs, e.g.
    LONGNA~1.TXT, LONGNA~1.TXT instead of LONGNA~1.TXT, LONGNA~2.TXT

    4) The Recovery Console

    As booted off XP CD, this can perform a number of useful recovery
    tricks. But it is NOT an OS and cannot run other apps such as
    antivirus scanners, and unless you manually set a couple of registry
    settings *beforehand*, it will not read volumes other than C: and will
    not write to other disks - making it useless for data recovery.

    Also, no matter how you set it up, it will NOT copy off files in bulk,
    using wildcards or whole subtrees at a time. So compared to ReadNTFS
    or Odi's LFN Tools, it's pretty useless for data recovery even if you
    do set it up beforehand to allow access and copying other than C:

    5) Bart's PE Disk

    Not really useful for your case, but potentially useful for malware
    management (if you can find an antivirus that will run from it, and
    you do the registry fixes manually). This creates a bootable XP CDR,
    which can do.... some stuff.

    You can also use Linux bootable CDRs to access NTFS, but even the
    Linux fans are cautious about the quality of NTFS support.

    6) Boot It New Generation (www.bootitng.com)

    BING is a partition and boot manager, and it can do an image copy of
    your NTFS volume if you need to evacuate a dying HD. The process can
    take days (literally) as it bogs down on bad sectors, and if the HD
    dies partway through, you are left with zilch.

    7) NTFS Data Recovery Tools

    Not much that is free, but they do exist; some have time-bombed trials
    you can download, others may work but only let you save 5 files or
    something. No much free lunch for NTFS victims, I'm afraid;
    understandable, gived NTFS is undocumented and thus has to either be
    reverse-engineered or the beneficiary of a close relationship with MS,
    and both of those cost a lot, one way or another.

    General approach:

    a) Cherry-pick via ReadNTFS
    b) Image off the whole volume
    c) Paste image onto a known-good HD
    d) Perform data recovery on this known-good HD
    e) Meantime do diagnostics on the original HD

    Because a dying HD may have an hour or less of remaining spin time,
    and may shed sectors faster than something that sheds stuff very
    quickly, it's important NOT to do (e) or (b) before (a). If (d)
    screws up, you want the original image to exist somewhere safe, not
    only on the sick HD. If you have kit to get three systems going, you
    can test the rest of the PC, test the sick HD, and work on the image
    splatted onto a known-good HD all at the same time.


    >-------------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
    Running Windows-based av to kill active malware is like striking
    a match to see if what you are standing in is water or petrol.
    >-------------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
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