In need of hard drive help!

Hi, I'm trying to fix an older PC that all of a sudden won't boot. It is running XP pro SP2. The hard drive is a WD 200 thats seems to spin up ok? meaning it makes noise.

Dispite what I do at start up I can only get to the windows advanced options menu where it asks if I want to start in safe mode, normally, etc.. I can get to bios as well. No matter what I pick it always comes back to this advanced screen. I suspect I have bad boot files on my hard drive? of course this hard drive has important info that hasen't been backed up in a long time! Should I put my bootable XP CD in and do a system replace or fix?

I tried to hook the drive up to another XP PC as a slave. it see's the drive but when you double click on it it says "F:\ is not accessible The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable".

what is the best next step for me in order to save the most data?

Thanks for helping a novice out!
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  1. Try this:

    Go here:
    and download a free utility called TestDisk (I downloaded the latest NON-beta version). It's a zipped file, just extract all files to a folder of your choice leaving the option "Use folder names" checked. Then, go to the folder where you unzipped the files, go to the Win folder, and run the testdisk-win.exe file. It runs in a DOS window, even though it says it's a Windows app, but it doesn't really matter at all.
    So, start the app (you must run it with administrator privileges), wait for it to recognise all the drives, it will take 5-15 seconds. Choose the external drive. Confirm Intel/PC partition. Analyse it. Proceed. Enter to continue. Write on the next menu. Confirm. Quit the app. Disconnect USB cable from the device following the safe hardware removal procedure. Reboot your pc. Re-connect the device and it should be properly recognised, and the whole thing doesn't take longer than a couple of seconds!

    You may need data recovery software.
  2. Run manufacturer hard disk diagnostics also.
  3. thanks evongugg, I tried what you said and ran Testdisk. I believe I did it correctly, but when i restarted my "host" computer with my problem hardrive hooked up as slave I get the same respose of "the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" when I double click on the hard drive icon in question under my computer.

    Is there something obvious I'm missing? this is somewhat new to me. this is also an old IDE drive not a USB drive that I think you have have refered it too?

    thanks a ton for the help and time!
  4. Try this:

    Select Run from start menu and type cmd

    from there type "chkdsk X: /f" no quotes and replace X with whatever drive it is.
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