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Possible Hard Drive failure.

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  • Hard Drives
  • Computer
  • Storage
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November 22, 2006 8:38:30 PM

A friends sister gave me her Dell 8400 computer today because it wouldn't boot up and I'm suppose to fix it. Right after the Bios gets done and windows is supposed to load it sais, "loading PBR for descipter 2...Done. Then a ways down it sais a disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl, alt, delete to restart. The hard drive don't make any unusual sounds right here. Then I put the hard drive into mine and set it to boot off of that drive and it gives the same error on my computer. I then decided to try backing up her stuff onto one of my hard drives so i put it as a slave drive and tried booting up. The windows bar takes 3 swipes (usually 5) then the screen goes blank. And that hard drive just stars clicking back in forth. So that leads me to believe it's failing. Windows boots up normally when i disconnect that Hard drive. SO should I tell her that the Hard drive failed and all her data is lost or is there a way to get it back and working? I don't want to give her bad news because she said she needed some data off that bad. She's go tons of family photos, school work, and etc.

More about : hard drive failure

November 23, 2006 1:24:23 PM

bump.
November 25, 2006 9:57:26 PM

So I'm guessing no body knows if it is dead or not? It's been 3 days and still no answer. I'm just going to tell them that they better get a new one from Dell if it's still under warranty. Is it dead or fixable?
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November 25, 2006 10:50:21 PM

hard drive is dead


try putting a new one in the DELL


:D 
November 25, 2006 10:55:45 PM

This really is the classic symptoms of a dying hard drive, and yes I imagine all the data is lost. The only possible way of recovering that data is by a professional restoration company like Ontrack and that will cost a fortune.

There's a lesson to be learnt here about the fact that a percentage of hard drives fail unexpectedly, and pretty much all of them will eventually. If you have important photos, documents or video on a PC it is important to make a backup. Either burn them to CD's or DVD's or otherwise copy it to a second hard drive. You should tell this to your friend's sister.

:?
November 26, 2006 12:45:04 AM

You might be able to get some (or possibly nearly all) of the data back with GetDataBack. Most important thing right now is to remove the hard drive from the machine and don't mess with it until you have everything together to attempt the recovery.

Get a new hard drive, run the Dell restore CD, get Windows XP reinstalled & running. Download GetDataBack, install it. Shut down the machine, attach the old hard drive as a slave (or use a USB external adapter), start it back up, run GetDataBack and see what it finds.

If you like what you see, you can purchase it at that point and copy the data to your new hard drive.
November 26, 2006 12:59:58 AM

Quote:
You might be able to get some (or possibly nearly all) of the data back with GetDataBack. Most important thing right now is to remove the hard drive from the machine and don't mess with it until you have everything together to attempt the recovery.

Get a new hard drive, run the Dell restore CD, get Windows XP reinstalled & running. Download GetDataBack, install it. Shut down the machine, attach the old hard drive as a slave (or use a USB external adapter), start it back up, run GetDataBack and see what it finds.

If you like what you see, you can purchase it at that point and copy the data to your new hard drive.


The only thing is don't use the suspect drive as a slave, that will most definitely cause the Master to hang. Set the bad drive as a master on its own IDE cable, that can make a difference.
November 26, 2006 1:24:19 AM

Could always try the hardrive in the freezor trick, put the hardrive in a plastic bag to avoid condensation and freeze it.
*Note this is likely a one shot deal, and it would be better to try other recovery methods before attempting this. (I personally have no idea if it works or not.)
November 26, 2006 1:50:09 AM

I heard that the hard drive in a freezer trick was NOT true. Although it got a lot of publicity and I have even tried it... I am not sure it actually works. This will be a great point of debate.

http://www.ontrack.com/newsreleases/index.aspx?getPress...

Quoting Ontrack:
"1. Data Defrost - One man brought in a hard drive in a wet plastic bag. He said he had read on the Internet that if you place a broken drive in the freezer it would fix it. So he tried that method and asked the recovery engineers not to laugh."

Other people's thoughts on this ?

In reply to previous post... the reason I suggested that his data was probably unrecoverable is because that drive did not appear to be mounting in his machine with a working installation. That probably means this is a severe situation and not likely to be recoverable.
November 26, 2006 5:12:53 AM

It's A Sata drive. I have a USB hard drive adapter but it's for IDE only. I doubt that GetDataBack program is going to work because all the drive does when I put it as a slave is just click back in forth and make beeping sounds. I also don't have an extra drive laying around to try reinstalling XP. Im going to attempt to reinstall windows on it. Maybe It has a few bad sectors in a certain error were it needs access to to boot.
November 26, 2006 6:03:39 AM

You didn't post what type of drive it was, or I overlooked it. But most drive manufacturers offer a free drive checking program that will work to determine how bad the drive is.

Some also offer a data rescue service as well, though in some cases not free.

However, in my experience, 'tick -- tick--' is not a good sign.

Past times I've been able to get a good (last boot) out of such a drive by mounting as a slave, then copying off whatever was still available by using such data recovery software as already mentioned.

Good luck...
November 26, 2006 3:30:09 PM

Quote:
I doubt that GetDataBack program is going to work because all the drive does when I put it as a slave is just click back in forth and make beeping sounds. I also don't have an extra drive laying around to try reinstalling XP. Im going to attempt to reinstall windows on it. Maybe It has a few bad sectors in a certain error were it needs access to to boot.


If it's clicking that means that there are some sectors that are having a problem, but it could be just a handful. Chances are high that the majority of the sectors on the drive (holding your data) are fine.

If you attempt to reinstall Windows on it you'll ruin any chance you have of recovering any data.

GetDataBack doesn't care if the drive is clicking or not mounting or whatever. As long as the BIOS recognizes that there is a drive present, it'll access it.

Since trying it is free, you have nothing to lose. And I'll tell you from experience that GetDataBack can resurrect data from drives that are totally b0rked.

Short story: I was in my machine about 6 months ago, switching drives around. One old 160GB Maxtor IDE was plugged in and running, but the molex power connector it was connected to was in the middle of a chain of 3 molex connectors coming off the power supply. The end molex connector on that chain that wasn't connected to anything was dangling, and hit the corner of one of the other drive cages. It shorted the +12V lead to ground. After that, the Maxtor drive wouldn't even appear in the BIOS. I swapped it's control board with another Maxtor 120GB, then the BIOS could see it but that's it. Even Maxtor's own utility wouldn't go farther than to say it wasn't working properly. I booted to Windows on another drive, it was clicking just like yours was - no drive letter, Windows Disk Management saw the device but wouldn't recognize any partitions. I ran GetDataBack. It took a while, but found the NTFS partition and all the data. I bought Runtime's package and copied everything it found to another drive. Every last file was recovered -- full filenames and folder structures intact. 8)

So, if an electrical surge high enough to destroy track 0 (MBR, Partition Table, NTFS boot sector, and part of MFT) and destroy the control board isn't enough to prevent GetDataBack from working, then the only thing that would is if the drive was wiped with one of those Department of Defense secure wipe programs.

I'm thinking your drive with a handful of bad sectors still has 98% of the data recoverable.
November 26, 2006 4:19:06 PM

GetDataback does not work because I can not get into windows if that drive is connected to my computer in any way. The model of the drive is a Seagate 7200.7 160gig Sata, I have the same model as a storage drive on my computer 8O . I was going to try to reinstall windows without formating. My Bios does detect the drive. Is there a bootable program that will do something helpful?
November 26, 2006 6:49:10 PM

I can't even reinstall windows on it. It gets to the part where it sais examining hard disk and sits there. I also tried Damn Small Linux to see if I could copy the files over in that. But it won't boot up with that hard drive installed. Works fine when it's out. I'm out of ideas. Getdataback won't work because windows won't boot. Seatools doesn't help either.
November 27, 2006 12:14:24 AM

You'll have to hook the drive up via a USB interface instead of directly to IDE. That way you can plug it in after Windows is booted up.

That USB adapter I linked to earlier in the thread is about $40.
November 27, 2006 1:32:57 AM

I have a usb IDE adapter already but this drive is SATA. You might of got confused when I said slave drive. I don't know what else to call it if it's not the boot drive in SATA.
November 27, 2006 1:33:16 PM

Ah, I see. That USB adapter I pointed to has connectors for IDE, SATA, and laptop 2.5" drives. Very useful device.

You say the Dell is locking up and won't boot to Windows at all with this drive connected? Do you have another computer with a 3rd-party motherboard that you can hook the drive to? Most of the time when I connect a bad drive to a machine, the boot process takes a long time (because the BIOS is attempting to identify/read the bad drive), but it eventually gives up and boots Windows anyway. Maybe a different computer would allow you to boot to Windows with the drive connected.

Also, whatever computer you connect it to, make sure and go into the BIOS and ensure that the machine didn't accidentally make the bad drive the boot drive in the boot order.
November 27, 2006 4:05:50 PM

This isn't my hard drive it is someone else's so im not going to buy any thing like that. This drive is the DELL's boot drive. I put it into my computer to get the data off of it. However my Windows installation won't boot up with it installed. The bios is fast and dosn't take any time at all still. But after windows gets done with the loading screen and it's supposed to show my desktop the screen goes blank and stays there forever. And that drive goes on clicking. I also tried to boot of that drive and what comes up is a screen with a blue bar on top that sais, "www.dell.com" and below that it sais, " Loading PBR descripter... Done" and then it sais, " A disk read error occured press control, alt, deleate to restart." It does this on both computers I put it into hers and mine.
November 27, 2006 7:42:03 PM

When you say you put the hard drive in your machine, and Windows sits there with a blank screen clicking the drive, how long did you give it? It could take 1/2 hour, 1 hour, maybe longer for Windows to finally give up trying to access it and go to the desktop.

Look, I'm not trying to be mean here, but the tone of your posts is a bit put-offish. You're the one who came here to post and ask for suggestions, and your friend's sister is the one who wants the data back. If these suggestions you've been given aren't to your liking, I'm sorry, but there's not much we can do about it.

You're the one who decided to go to the effort to attempt to get the machine running again and/or recover the data. I'm telling you how. The USB adapter I suggested is $40 ... if the data isn't worth that, then why are you messing around with this in the first place? Throw the drive in the trash & buy another one (or RMA this one and get the replacement), and reinstall Windows. Done.

And who says you'd be paying for either the USB adapter or a new hard drive? It's your friend's sister who "needs the data bad". Make her pay for them. She's the one that didn't make a backup.

It's up to you and the person who lost the data to decide how you want to proceed. I'm just relaying you what has worked very well for me in the past. I don't guarantee anything. Who knows, maybe the drive is completely toast and nothing is recoverable. How you want to proceed depends on the value that is attached to the data and the effort required to recover it.
November 27, 2006 9:39:08 PM

I don't think anyone asked this but did you enable SMART on the drive? Then you could tell for sure if the drive is going to die.
November 27, 2006 9:54:55 PM

Ya SMART is enabled but I don't know how to check the status especially when it's installed because I can't get to windows. How can I check smart status anyways? I would like to know the SMART status on my Seagate 320 gig because it is getting louder every day. I tried Speedfan it only detects my ATA drives.

Sorry for sounding put-offish. I just don't want to buy that 40$ adapter and making her pay for it and not having it work. I've tried a lot of things that didn't work so I think it's safe to say it's dead. I called her and told her that it's dead already and to talk to Dell and get a new one.
November 27, 2006 9:59:02 PM

Yeah, if you can't get into Windows (and use the administrator rights) checking the SMART status of the drives becomes a problem. but if you're going to get a new drive then I think our work is done.
November 27, 2006 10:13:32 PM

For the record Joe you've given some superb advice - I've certainly learnt a couple of things, very useful.

Mind you, you should stop poking about in your PC with it turned on!!
November 27, 2006 10:31:12 PM

I recently fixed up a friend's machine in a similar situation - he had some bad sectors on his hard drive on the critical files that Windows XP needs to start up. (He was getting the BSOD with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME).

The solution in his case was to boot from a Windows XP CD-ROM, and then run the chkdsk command on his C: drive, which fixed the issue (I assume it marked the bad hard drive sectors and copied them to good ones) and voila! It worked. I can't remember the exact steps, sorry - it took a little bit of fiddling to exit to a command prompt.

I've advised him to replace his hard drive soon as I've never heard of an HDD working for long periods after the first bad sector appearing. He hasn't yet and its been a couple of months - we'll see.
November 27, 2006 10:35:19 PM

I attempted to try that but when the XP installation disk is loading it gets stuck on the part that sais examining hard disk or something like that. Ill try it one more time here.

Edit: It didnt. In her computer it sais please install a hard drive. In mine it sits at the examining part.
November 27, 2006 10:53:19 PM

Quote:
For the record Joe you've given some superb advice - I've certainly learnt a couple of things, very useful.

Mind you, you should stop poking about in your PC with it turned on!!


Thanks. :) 

And yes, sometimes one has to learn things the hard way (again) to remind one's self that ye are still human. :o 
November 27, 2006 10:58:15 PM

Here's whatcha do.

1) Build yourself a clean room, complete with a body suit. I'd hate to see a fleck of skin ruin the project.

2) Buy a huge electron microscope.

3) Take 3 light years analyzing every single cluster and sector of the HDD magnetic disks and charting them on your Leapfrog Leapster.
4) Attempt to rebuild the HDD.

5) Finally figure out you need to buy a new hard drive if you've attempted to use the drive as a slave on another computer, and tell the ignorant girl to back-up her important data next time.

This reminds me of the idiots at my college who use old floppy disks and lose their powerpoint projects in the cheap HP drives. I tell them time and again...MAKE BACK-UPS! Do you think they listen?
November 27, 2006 11:06:53 PM

It sounds like your bios is trying to read from the IDE drive first. Set the drive to master, and check your bios settings to make sure it boots off your regular HDD first. If your regular drive isn't Sata, then check to make sure it's set to Master and not cable select. If you set it to master, you need to use the slave setting on your other drive if they're sharing a cable.
November 27, 2006 11:16:50 PM

How important is this to you? You could try downloading Ubuntu Linux, install it on a CD, and boot off it (this doesn't install on the hard drive). That *might* work. I'm not an expert on Ubuntu or Linux, but I've recently installed it on an old machine and it worked like clockwork. It could choke like Windows when starting up, or it might get past that point. If you've much experience with messing with machines you'll know that the time you could spend on this could be a long time...
November 27, 2006 11:44:43 PM

Quote:
How important is this to you? You could try downloading Ubuntu Linux, install it on a CD, and boot off it (this doesn't install on the hard drive). That *might* work. I'm not an expert on Ubuntu or Linux, but I've recently installed it on an old machine and it worked like clockwork. It could choke like Windows when starting up, or it might get past that point. If you've much experience with messing with machines you'll know that the time you could spend on this could be a long time...


A another solution may be knoppix. It is a live CD that can read a NTFS partion. You will need 2 CD/DVD drives, one to boot and run the OS, the other to burn the data from the HDD. I believe Ubuntu can be used in the same way too, but I've only actually used knoppix to back up a failing drive. OR if you are really savy you can back the data up over your network if you have one...
November 28, 2006 12:22:07 AM

Quote:
How important is this to you? You could try downloading Ubuntu Linux, install it on a CD, and boot off it (this doesn't install on the hard drive). That *might* work. I'm not an expert on Ubuntu or Linux, but I've recently installed it on an old machine and it worked like clockwork. It could choke like Windows when starting up, or it might get past that point. If you've much experience with messing with machines you'll know that the time you could spend on this could be a long time...


A another solution may be knoppix. It is a live CD that can read a NTFS partion. You will need 2 CD/DVD drives, one to boot and run the OS, the other to burn the data from the HDD. I believe Ubuntu can be used in the same way too, but I've only actually used knoppix to back up a failing drive. OR if you are really savy you can back the data up over your network if you have one...

Guys, why can't he just figure out how to attach his HDD correctly and get windows to read it? If windows can't read it, nothing can. A system can either recognize a working drive or it can't. It makes no difference if you use Linux or Windows to read files. Both will look at the data depending on if the drive works or not. He just needs to figure out how to attach it to the working computer he has as a slave drive.
November 28, 2006 12:32:10 AM

You think I don't know how to attach a hard drive right? Ive worked with tons of computers, fixed them, and built some. And you accuse me of not knowing how to hook up a drive? The drive is dead not hooked up wrong. I don't know why I even posted this thread. I knew it was dead. I just wanted to know if there were people out there that had a similar problem and maybe knew how to fix it.
November 28, 2006 12:35:29 AM

Woah Nelly. You didn't sound like you knew a lot, so I was just trying to help. If you know so much and already knew it was dead why didn't you just ask if anyone knows of a good cheap place that does data recovery off of dead drives?
November 28, 2006 12:38:21 AM

Might give Spinrite a try.
November 28, 2006 12:56:20 AM

Quote:
Guys, why can't he just figure out how to attach his HDD correctly and get windows to read it? If windows can't read it, nothing can. A system can either recognize a working drive or it can't. It makes no difference if you use Linux or Windows to read files. Both will look at the data depending on if the drive works or not. He just needs to figure out how to attach it to the working computer he has as a slave drive.


If I got what he said right, the problem is that he can't start Windows with the HDD connected up. *IF* he could start Windows (e.g. from another HDD or booting from CD) he might be able to run some kind chkdsk or scandisk or something to fix the problem, or to possibly retrieve some critical data. But Windows can't start, so a possibility is that another OS may not necessarily have the same problem. Yes it's a long shot - the probability of success is small. That's why I asked him how important it is. The chances are that the disk is stuffed and that without expensive recovery consultants he'll never get any further. But if it's important, here's another option.
November 28, 2006 1:05:20 AM

Quote:
Guys, why can't he just figure out how to attach his HDD correctly and get windows to read it? If windows can't read it, nothing can. A system can either recognize a working drive or it can't. It makes no difference if you use Linux or Windows to read files. Both will look at the data depending on if the drive works or not. He just needs to figure out how to attach it to the working computer he has as a slave drive.


Dude, he has already tried multiple times to hook the drive to the computer as a 2nd drive and Windows hangs on the bootup because the drive's bad.

And just because that happens, doesn't mean the data isn't accessible.

This is like the 4th or 5th thread that I've seen you barge in with incorrect information, and promptly assume that the OP and the rest of the people in the thread don't have a clue, but somehow you've got all the answers.

So the OP got peeved at you because you assumed he was some kind of n00b and put you down a couple notches. Good for him, you deserved it.

As far as the drive recovery goes, that was why I suggested way back on page 1 of this thread that a USB adapter might help, because Windows could be booted with the drive disconnected and then the USB adapter could be plugged in and Windows wouldn't be the wiser. Then a recovery program could be run to see if anything's readable.

He says that he doesn't want to purchase that item for this one-time recovery and I can understand that. But I suggested it to him because that's what's worked for me.

Other people have posted good options as well, including Linux boot CD's, chkdsk, Spinrite, etc. But you come in here with no option of your own and just put the guy down thinking he doesn't know how to work his computer. Jeez.
November 28, 2006 1:13:58 AM

Damn, over here is turning into the CPU section real fast. Time out.
November 28, 2006 2:11:30 AM

Quote:
Guys, why can't he just figure out how to attach his HDD correctly and get windows to read it? If windows can't read it, nothing can. A system can either recognize a working drive or it can't. It makes no difference if you use Linux or Windows to read files. Both will look at the data depending on if the drive works or not. He just needs to figure out how to attach it to the working computer he has as a slave drive.


If I got what he said right, the problem is that he can't start Windows with the HDD connected up. *IF* he could start Windows (e.g. from another HDD or booting from CD) he might be able to run some kind chkdsk or scandisk or something to fix the problem, or to possibly retrieve some critical data. But Windows can't start, so a possibility is that another OS may not necessarily have the same problem. Yes it's a long shot - the probability of success is small. That's why I asked him how important it is. The chances are that the disk is stuffed and that without expensive recovery consultants he'll never get any further. But if it's important, here's another option.

He should be able to get windows to boot up using another OS disk, regardless of the state of the secondary disk. If he can't, he's not as techy as he thinks he is.
November 28, 2006 2:12:08 AM

Joe, windows won't hang because of a bad secondary drive. The original poster didn't put me down a notch at all. It sounds like he doesn't know how to set up his drive if he can't even get into windows with it attached.

Here you come barging in running YOURmouth again. Shh, it's ok. Anything else not worth a crap you'd like to add?

You have to select which drive to boot to, as well as have the right jumpers set. Don't talk to me as if I don't know. I've built numerous systems, some with atapi laptop drives with connectors. I've had to mod pins. I don't think you know what you're talking about son. I've booted windows with a bad drive attached before. Did it just a few weeks ago.
November 28, 2006 2:54:47 AM

Normally, no, Windows won't hang, but in his case, it does. Who knows why. It could be his particular motherboard, or a BIOS bug, or any of a host of other things. It doesn't HAVE to be (as you've assumed) that he doesn't know what he's doing.

You say my suggestions aren't "worth a crap"? I've suggested many courses of action for him that are viable, you have yet to do anything but put him down and offer no alternatives.

And, as usual, you again reveal your childish tendancies with yet another "son" comment. How lame.

Again, put your money where your mouth is. In the last thread, I and another person repeatedly asked you for evidence to back up your RAID-0 claim and you never gave it. If you know what's wrong, then post your troubleshooting procedure instead of going off about how you're so knowledgeable and everyone else doesn't understand computers. You've made 6 posts in this thread and have yet to add anything constructive.
November 28, 2006 2:59:16 AM

Actually, I was putting you down. I never assummed he didn't know what he was doing, he just read what I wrote as an insult. When people get stupid and cocky with me, I dish it back. Got that? "Iggied" son. :-) I'm still waiting for him to look closer at his bios and jumper settings and tell us he screwed up. I won't hold my breath, but I wouldn't mind if you did. And the moron arguing with me in that other post was you...I pretty much ignored you then, you're right. :-) GG. Even IF your raid controller is software based, today's system components can lend a hand to hard disk drives, as HDD's are still one of the slower components in a system. Talk what you know biatch. :-P
November 28, 2006 3:06:40 AM

Quote:
he just read what I wrote as an insult.


Typical. You can do no wrong. It's always someone else's fault. * sigh * :roll:

You still haven't produced a shred of evidence on your RAID-0 claim. So your claim is completely invalid until you do. Ignore me all you want ... you're still wrong.

And the OP has told us on several occasions in this thread that he's already checked his BIOS and jumper settings. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't, but if he says he has, I believe him.

And now you've made 7 posts in the thread still without anything constructive.

Don't think your going to run me off or cause me to lose my cool. I'll wait patiently for you to continue ranting, and each post you make without offering substance will only go to prove to everyone here that indeed, you have nothing constructive to offer.
November 28, 2006 3:22:17 AM

Quote:

Typical. You can do no wrong. It's always someone else's fault. * sigh * :roll:


Now you're gettin' it son! Good work, you just made daddy proud. :-)
November 28, 2006 3:23:07 AM

*Proves he's an idiot. Yay! :-P You done son? Like they say, git'r done! Need me to whipe you?
November 28, 2006 3:23:48 AM

Oh look! A third retort. Huk!
November 28, 2006 3:24:40 AM

...and a fourth. You made me turn this thread into cheese. But who doesn't wish the moon was made of cheese? Except Mr. Constipation. You. :-P
November 28, 2006 3:31:54 AM

Haha, I got the thread locked. :-)
a b G Storage
November 28, 2006 10:15:49 AM

If you need to check the smart status of a disk and can't get into Windows, you can use a bootable floppy disk, like the Hitachi Hard Drive Fitness test.
November 28, 2006 10:53:30 AM

Finally, this thread is back on topic. good job man. Good job.
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