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I have no idea what to do and the wife is about to kill me!!!

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September 12, 2008 1:26:30 AM

Kind of long ..

I have a pc running xp and it has 2 hard drives (WD Caviar) non raid. I heard a knocking sound a few weeks ago and wondered if it was possiblly a hard drive (i've never lost one yet so wasn't sure). Being eternally lazy I have never done a back up and decided I better do one. I started looking for some free back up programs to download and found one I wanted to try. It took 3 different sites before I found it without any viruses attached to it-or so i thought (ran kaspersky, trojan hunter and malwarebytes). I installed it and it asked that i reboot, which i did. On the startup it now asks for a password (i've never had one) and can no longer sign in. I then tried to reinstall xp on a reboot and was told that it could find no hard drives. I then unhooked my main drive hoping i could load xp on the other drive. I got the same message that it couldn't be found. Today I take it to someone and they say that both of my drives wont work that they must have quit at the same time.

Is it me or does this seem a little farfetched? I added the 2nd drive at a later date so it's not like they even share the same production date. I find it hard to believe that 2 drives break at the same time? The guy that looked at it ended up unhooking both drives and hooked up another that he had in his shop and it worked fine he said. Also a couple of things strike me as odd.

1. On the boot up, as the screens go flying by you can clearly see both my hard drives appearing on one of them.
2. Once the sign in screen is reached there is a little Kasperky in the top corner, if the drives failed would the name of my virus protection still appear on the sign in screen?
3. I think there is a place (never have used it) to get a hint to the password and on my sign in screen it is missing.

It's not the end of the world to buy another drive and throw it in; but I do have some stuff on the drives that I would like to retrieve. Did both of my drives both crash at the exact same time?

Also after i install the new drive/s is there somehow that i can hook the old ones up as an external drive and get some stuff off of them if they just have some type of virus and are not broken?

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated as the constant grief the wife is giving me over lost pictures is more than a guy can bare!

Thanks!

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September 12, 2008 1:44:34 AM

I had a similar problem a few years ago.
What I did was take the harddrive (two in your case) and connected them as a slave on someone elses computer. The computer found the HD and I retrieved just the files I needed. Just the files I needed only.
I got a new computer and put the saved files back after all the programs were installed again. I didn't loose a single .doc or picture. Perhaps I was "lucky". I did lose "saved games" and stuff like that, but in the slightly bigger picture, they don't matter.
Experts here can tell you if that is wise or helpful or applicable to your case.
September 12, 2008 2:04:21 AM

>=[ i still get mad when my cousin's solution to my no boot up problem was to format... THAT F****** ASS****.. i lost everything.. i was like 12 though, and i thought putting it as slave would work, but he said no... he lied
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September 12, 2008 2:16:50 AM

Well you can usually boot in safe mode under administarator and go in control panel and delete any passwords, or change them.

Also try running your AV in safemode. Some viruses cant be removed unless in safemode.

Also use your mfg diagnostic tools to check your disks.
September 12, 2008 2:21:43 AM

ive tried safe mode to no avail. no matter what i try it asks for password
September 12, 2008 2:25:46 AM

You'll probably have to slave them on another good HD and get you important stuff off, then reformat.

When you slave its possible it will give you issues, and you will have to take ownership of the files you want.

Don't go out of your way for free software. If you get a virus, from the first site don't try again.

I like to use acronis true image home for all my backups. You can make a complete image of your HD or just backup files you want.
September 12, 2008 2:26:52 AM

Sounds like you learned your lesson about "free" software. Do your research before you put crap on your machine.

The best way to take care of this is to connect your drive to another computer, back up your files to disc -including all those pictures.

Tell your wife to stop giving you grief because your drive could have failed and she didn't do a backup either! I guess atleast you made an attempt... You know you don't have to use software to make a backup...right? Just burn your pictures to DVD once a month at a bare minimum. If you have a large enough memory card just leave your old pics on there till they are backed up.

Anyways, good luck man..
September 12, 2008 2:46:27 AM

The knocking sound may be transistors on the mobo. Did the computer smell strange when that happened? Open the case and look for leaked transistors. Is your computer a relatively new one?

Putting the drives on another computer is a good idea. If you have another computer or laptop, you can put the drive in an external USB HD case and see if you can pull the data off that way.

just my 2 cents
September 12, 2008 2:55:00 AM

If it is a virus do i have to worry about spreading it to another pc? Both of my kids have pc's, my son's pc is easier to get into but his is ata instead of sata (not sure about my daughters). Would i be able to put it in his? Or am i better off just buying a new 500 gb sata for $80 or so and after i get mine back up and running slave the bad ones to it?

I can't remember how much total storage i have, but i'm guessing i could use more since the drives are a few years old and im guessing they total around 400 gb.
September 12, 2008 2:59:54 AM

Yes, make sure that you run a full virus scann before you copy anything from those drives.

Also, if you're hear a clicking sound on one of the hd's make sure you replace it. Use the new one to reinstall your os and be sure to get an external usb harddrive to backup your important files on. they're pretty cheap now.
Good luck
September 12, 2008 3:00:13 AM

Well after you slave it on a good system boot in safe mode and scan for viruses on the bad HDD. Might even fix it.

You cant hook it up to a mobo without a sata connecter, or sata PCI card, or a adapter of some kind. I use adapters, but I fix PCs for a living.

An adaper or PCI card is cheaper then a HDD.

A HDD might be in order if the drive was indeed clicking.

Have you tried a bootable disk from the HDD mfg, to run tests, it may have died and is giving wierd fits.
a b G Storage
September 12, 2008 3:18:07 AM

You can get a IDE/SATA to USB connector as well and connect it like it's an external HDD. They are cheap and have come in handy on more than one occasion for me.
September 12, 2008 3:25:59 AM

So far me or the pc guy i took it to can't get past the sign in password screen. After some research I did find something online that I tried

http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/walkthrough.html

i was kinda in over my head, but it appeared that I was able to reset the password back to no password. on a reboot it does the same thing, once it gets to the blue windows page (the one right before it goes to my desktop) it hangs for a very long time (2 mins) then asks for the password all over again.
September 12, 2008 3:42:11 AM

Yes the pc is older - 4 yrs i think. that ide/sata to usb sounds interesting, this is what you are talking about i guess?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

No the mobo(Asus A7N8X Deluxe) looks ok, never noticed any smells. i'm still thinking virus that is somehow adding a password during the start up.
September 12, 2008 3:49:45 AM

I'd be willing to be tmoney the program you used changed all the permissions on the HDD and password protected them. I had a buddy who was trying to set up share access on a win2k machine for the network and managed to change the core access parameters.

I'd take other people's advise and attach the HDD to another completely different computer and try to pull files. If not, you're probably screwed.
September 12, 2008 4:04:58 AM

plaz said:
Kind of long ..

I have a pc running xp and it has 2 hard drives (WD Caviar) non raid. I heard a knocking sound a few weeks ago and wondered if it was possiblly a hard drive (i've never lost one yet so wasn't sure). Being eternally lazy I have never done a back up and decided I better do one. I started looking for some free back up programs to download and found one I wanted to try. It took 3 different sites before I found it without any viruses attached to it-or so i thought (ran kaspersky, trojan hunter and malwarebytes). I installed it and it asked that i reboot, which i did. On the startup it now asks for a password (i've never had one) and can no longer sign in. I then tried to reinstall xp on a reboot and was told that it could find no hard drives. I then unhooked my main drive hoping i could load xp on the other drive. I got the same message that it couldn't be found. Today I take it to someone and they say that both of my drives wont work that they must have quit at the same time.

Is it me or does this seem a little farfetched? I added the 2nd drive at a later date so it's not like they even share the same production date. I find it hard to believe that 2 drives break at the same time? The guy that looked at it ended up unhooking both drives and hooked up another that he had in his shop and it worked fine he said. Also a couple of things strike me as odd.

1. On the boot up, as the screens go flying by you can clearly see both my hard drives appearing on one of them.
2. Once the sign in screen is reached there is a little Kasperky in the top corner, if the drives failed would the name of my virus protection still appear on the sign in screen?
3. I think there is a place (never have used it) to get a hint to the password and on my sign in screen it is missing.

It's not the end of the world to buy another drive and throw it in; but I do have some stuff on the drives that I would like to retrieve. Did both of my drives both crash at the exact same time?

Also after i install the new drive/s is there somehow that i can hook the old ones up as an external drive and get some stuff off of them if they just have some type of virus and are not broken?

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated as the constant grief the wife is giving me over lost pictures is more than a guy can bare!

Thanks!


Out of curiosity, what POS backup sloppyware did you download? (I am surprised that it hasn't asked you for money, must have been coded poorly)

You do know that most drive MFG's provide diagnostics, right?
September 12, 2008 4:16:38 AM

I can't remember anymore, hell I might get some advertisements IF i can ever sign on again. No i didnt know about the diagnostics, can they do it before i get to the sign in screen? That's the problem with most things, you have to be able to get on compputer first.

As of now I'm thinking about either putting the drive on my daughters pc (if hers is sata) or buying one of those adaptors mentioned above. Or maybe just buya cheap sata drive, reinstall xp and go from there.
September 12, 2008 4:35:57 AM

Seatools for DOS, if you have a floppy drive... Or a thumb drive that your bios will let you boot from. No ISO listed.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seat...

WD's diagnostics, I just picked a drive at random.

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=606...

Both of these MFG's also have installation / low level formatting tools available as well..

As already mentioned, Acronis makes very good backup software. Not free, but $35.00 or so is probably less than the hassle you are now getting.
September 12, 2008 5:04:42 AM

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/passre...

Crack the password. Log in, remove virus's.

Use online scanners such as trend micro's house doctor, MS's Live One Care and others.

Download spy-bot, ad-aware and any other legitmate free tool you can find. If you run into ones that the scanners will not remove, copy down the name and google for solutions.

Do not do anything in the system that requires you to put in your normal passwords like banking etc until you are sure you got everything.
a b G Storage
September 12, 2008 5:35:07 AM

Sounds like you have been hit with some form of RansomWare, do you know where you down-loaded the back-up utility from and what it was called?
September 12, 2008 6:19:23 AM

Yup, either Ransom ware or you just managed to screw something up in a weird way. There are a couple of things you can do. One thing you can do is download the trinity rescue kit from another computer here

http://trinityhome.org/Home/index.php?wpid=1&front_id=1...

Using trinity you can load up into command line linux, run some virus scans, and mount your computers hard drives as shared network folders. I use it all the time fixing crap like that. If you're afraid of the command line tho try Knoppix.

http://www.knoppix.net/

which you can use to mount your hard drives and save that information to a computer on the network or some external device. I doubt your whole hard drive is encrypted, in which case you're hosed unless you got a monster 100 core decrypting server in your back yard, so you should be able to retrieve your information rather easily using those tools.

PS. For the love of fuzzy bunnies don't take your PC to the geek squad, firedog, CompUSA, or anyone who might think just formatting it is the only option.
September 13, 2008 1:58:02 AM

Just to update...

The pc guy that told me both drives had crashed (for $25) and were broken loaned me a serial-usb adaptor and as we speak i am transferring mt data to an exteranal drive! :) 

After I am done i will reformat the drive and try to loads windows xp on it, just wondering - can i reformat the xp drive thru the cable from my vista laptop? I see when i go to my computer on the laptop i can right click the drive in question and reformat is an option. Will that cause me any trouble?
September 13, 2008 2:50:47 AM

You canformat it via usb, but you cant install windows that way.

Just boot from CD and format it when it asks you.
September 14, 2008 5:12:14 PM

Update...

I have hooked up both drives in question to my laptop with an adaptor, I have done virus scans on both and have copied both over to laptop. I then took my non os drive and reformatted it. I then put it back in my desktop and tried to load xp on it - it said that it could not find a hard drive. I then tried to put the os drive in (without formatting but clean of virus) and it came up as before and asked for a password. I havent reformatted it but figure it wont do much good. I then went to Newegg and bought a WD 640 gig sata drive for $84 and waiting for its arrival.

The good thing is that I was able to get my data off the problem drives. Does this sound like a hard drive problem? Was it a virus or did they just both happen to fail? Anything else I can try with them you think?
September 18, 2008 1:03:19 AM

I'm no expert but since you said you was able to retrieve your data why don't you just put the drives back in and do a fresh install of XP by going into the bios and set your CD drive as first boot device.

If it keeps saying it can't find the disk. If I'm not wrong you have to do the F6 procedure to load the raid drivers during the xp install.

Maybe a more seasoned expert can chime in and give more details on this.
September 19, 2008 3:27:10 AM

UPDATE-

Well I finally figured out tha I had to reload my sata drivers and all was well. (sorry warrior-didn't see your post till now). Maybe a virus deleted my drivers somehow???

Anyway since the 2 drives in question were only a 120/160 gb I went ahead and installed the 160 hd as my os drive and added the 640 gb drive as D. So i am good to go!!!

Thanks guys for all your help, I have learned alot thru all of this!
!