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Looking for Harddrive expert.

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August 4, 2007 6:25:08 PM

Hi,

I have the following problem. I got one of those SATA -> PATA adapters which totally messed up my hdd. It is still recognized under the bios + the device manager but computer management does not recognize it at all. Also if I have this HDD connected along with my WINDOWS XP drive it takes windows about 30min to start while when I disconnect the drive it only takes a minute or so (pretty normal)

Now so far I used the Hitachi HDD checking tool under DOS with the short + long test + the SMART status and everything came back perfect. I repeated the test with the SEAGATE testing tool under DOS and it also said it was perfect. Those tools actualy read every Sector LBA from 0 - 488384154 and u can see the progress it makes while testing.

Now I tried to use other programs like DiskPatch 3.0 and HDD regenerator but those programs cant read the sectors of the HDD at all for some reason. It just starts but no progress is made at all. DiskPatch actually said it would take 500,000 min or hours not sure but the number kept going up every 5min.

So I assume there must be a difference in the way the basic Hitachi/Seagate tool works because they could read all my LBA sectors fine while all commercial programs I tested so far cant read anything at all. I also formated the HDD but problem still persist.

My main concern is that I have data which I need to recover which sits on the end of the HDD which is 250GB but I only formated the first 137GB so the other 100GB where my data is would be left alone.

Now I am at the point where I am actually considering a low-level format that does nothing else than writing zeros on all sectors. However I would prefer a tool that would allow me to use only 5gb of my hdd while the other 245GB will stay untouched. So I would like to do a low level format only of the first 5GB of the HDD so I can recover as much data as possible from the rest. Low level def. destroys everything while normal format etc. are pretty easy to recover.

If anyone has any suggestions pleas let me know. Still dont understand that the Seagate/Hitachi tool can read my HDD fine while all the commercial tools cant read anything at all. If anyone knows about a different tool I can try please let me know but remember that disk management does not recognize my HDD in XP so I am trying tools that run under DOS.

Thx.

PS HDD is HITACHI 250GB PATA

More about : harddrive expert

August 5, 2007 3:03:19 AM

Quote:
Hi,

I have the following problem. I got one of those SATA -> PATA adapters which totally messed up my hdd. It is still recognized under the bios + the device manager but computer management does not recognize it at all. Also if I have this HDD connected along with my WINDOWS XP drive it takes windows about 30min to start while when I disconnect the drive it only takes a minute or so (pretty normal)


This screams out "driver issues." Computer management not recognizing the device, the extended startup while the OS tries to look for and install a driver for the device and fails, it all goes away when you remove the device- it's the classic signs of that. You need to find a correct driver for the part and install it, THEN connect the adapter.

Quote:
Now so far I used the Hitachi HDD checking tool under DOS with the short + long test + the SMART status and everything came back perfect. I repeated the test with the SEAGATE testing tool under DOS and it also said it was perfect. Those tools actualy read every Sector LBA from 0 - 488384154 and u can see the progress it makes while testing.

Now I tried to use other programs like DiskPatch 3.0 and HDD regenerator but those programs cant read the sectors of the HDD at all for some reason. It just starts but no progress is made at all. DiskPatch actually said it would take 500,000 min or hours not sure but the number kept going up every 5min.

So I assume there must be a difference in the way the basic Hitachi/Seagate tool works because they could read all my LBA sectors fine while all commercial programs I tested so far cant read anything at all. I also formated the HDD but problem still persist.

My main concern is that I have data which I need to recover which sits on the end of the HDD which is 250GB but I only formated the first 137GB so the other 100GB where my data is would be left alone.


You have LBA issues- your HDD is fine. 137 decimal GB = 128 binary GB, which is the "old" 36-bit LBA addressing issue. Any space above that is unable to be addressed unless the programs and your OS are updated to use the new LBA48 addressing (good for 2 TB in its current form.) The Seagate/Hitachi program apparently is on a non-Windows bootable disk and does use LBA48, which is why it sees all of your LBA sectors. You need to make sure that you are running XP SP2 or newer and that your third-party tools are LBA48-capable. If they are, it will be in the documentation.

Quote:
Now I am at the point where I am actually considering a low-level format that does nothing else than writing zeros on all sectors. However I would prefer a tool that would allow me to use only 5gb of my hdd while the other 245GB will stay untouched. So I would like to do a low level format only of the first 5GB of the HDD so I can recover as much data as possible from the rest. Low level def. destroys everything while normal format etc. are pretty easy to recover. If anyone has any suggestions pleas let me know. Still dont understand that the Seagate/Hitachi tool can read my HDD fine while all the commercial tools cant read anything at all. If anyone knows about a different tool I can try please let me know but remember that disk management does not recognize my HDD in XP so I am trying tools that run under DOS.

Thx.

PS HDD is HITACHI 250GB PATA


My recommendation is to get a good bootable Linux live CD such as Ubuntu 7.04. It will be fully LBA48 aware as well as use an up-to-date driver set of different drivers than XP uses. This should allow you to see and work with your HDD if you need to. There are many tools that might be of use:

1. fdisk: This works like the DOS FDISK partitioner did, but supports almost any kind of disk partition, as well as ones up to many TB in size.

2. GParted: A nice graphical partitioner that also makes file systems on its partitions. You can resize FAT/FAT16/FAT32 and NTFS partitions with GParted, which would otherwise require expensive tools like Partition Magic for Windows.

3. shred: This tool writes random stuff, zeros, or both to an HDD or partition. For example, "shred -z /dev/sdb2" would write zeros to the second partition on the second SATA drive in your system.

4. Nautilus: the file manager, it will allow you to access and browse your system's HDDs.

5. mount: a tool to manually get the OS to recognize a hard drive if the file manager does not pick it up when the live CD boots. The manual "safe removal" program is "umount."

If you have any questions, just post back here. I've used Linux live CDs to save many Windows machines. The advantage is mainly that you use different drivers than Windows (gets around bum driver issues) and you can run the whole OS from a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, so you can use the computer if the HDD dies and also do stuff like partition the HDD.
August 5, 2007 1:06:31 PM

thank you very much for your great help.

I was able to run chkdsk from DOS yesterday with a little program called NTFS4DOS which allows u to access NTFS partiton under DOS and run chkdsk. The result was all fine again but the drive is incredible slow. That almost seems to be the main problem - even chkdsk took about 3hours instead of 5min of my 500GB SATA drive.
I will also try to disable the hdd cache and other options which should make it faster through the HITACHI DOS HDD tool even though it says everything works fine.

As with your idea about LINUX distribution. I tried GParted which should allow me to do exactly what I need but it does not recognize my HDD for some reason. It kinda knows its there but tries to lower the speed to UDM66 and then to UDM33 but then gives me an error message (forget exactly what it was). I tested GParted with my other drive and it recognized that fine.

As to the LBA issue - I do understand the whole 137GB limitation. What I actually wanna do is to only assign 2GB to the drive and leave the other 248GB unassigned for now.
The reason is that I just want to get to the stage where WindowsXP actually recognizes the drive and it works normal again with normal speed. Right now it seems like1/50th of the normal speed.
The 2GB drive then I want to low level format because that seems to be one of my last ideas to get it perfectly working again. Once it works in XP I can use my Partition/File recovery programs to recover the files from the unassigned 248GB. The reason for the unassigned part is so XP or Linux would not write anything to that part making file/partition recovery much easier.

So I guess what i need now is a partition program that supports NTFS under Dos. Furthermore I need a lowlevel format program - overwriting everything with zeros that can do the lowlevel format of only a partition (In my case the 2GB partition I want to create). I've seen software that does that for the whole drive but that wouldn't help me because it would not let me restore my data.

As I said Gparted would have taken care of the partitioning part but sadly it didn't like my drive at all. I guess if Gparted doesn't recognize the drive other Linux distributions wouldn't either?

Ok, I first will try to disable all the special HDD functions with the Hitachi tool and I'll see how that goes. Again, to me the problem seems to be the incredible slow speed of the HDD so maybe Gparted just kinda 'times-out' before it actually recognizes the drive. It took NTFS4DOS about 3min just to recognize the drive/partition.


Thanks again for your help
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August 5, 2007 6:53:36 PM

Ok, I checked GParted again and it really does start out with UDMA 100 then it times out goes to UDMA66 -> times out and finally tries UDMA33 but also times out there. After that it keeps trying UDMA33 for about 20seconds before it times out. However knowing this stupid HDD those 20seconds are not enough. As I said before even the NTSF4DOS tool needed about 3min to recognize the drive and the partition on it.

I also changed everything on the HDD bios to see if it was related to that. I disabled writing cache, disabled SMART and changed the Power mgmt settings from automatic to Highest Performance but none of those measures helped.

However I found something else interesting with the HITACHI tool. One setting allows me to permanently change the size of the drive to any size I chose. By permanent I mean computer bios and any software will see the drive size as the number of GB's I assign to it. So if I say its only 2GB instead of 250GB computer bios will only recognize it as a 2GB drive.
I also found another tool from Hitachi that would allow me to do a low level format (write zeros) on the drive. Now the $1million question is if it actually would only write zeros to the 2GB 'new' HDD or would it low level format the whole 250GB. As far as I understand it it should only do the 2GB because thats all it should see but I have to contact Hitachi to make sure thats the case.

After I do that I should have a brand new, low level formated 2GB HDD which I should be able to use with GParted. If the low level format wont help nothing will because I think I tried pretty much everything else. After I partition the 2 GB with GParted and Windows XP will recognize the drive and can reset the actual HDD size to 250GB with the Hitachi Tool and I should be able to recover everything thats after 2GB on my HDD. At least thats the plan.

Such a pain in the ***.

Thanks
August 5, 2007 7:10:13 PM

After all this it looks like one pin is pushed half way in on my PATA HDD. Not sure if I can just get some tweezers and pull it out but that just might be the explanation for all my troubles.
We'll see
!