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Is my Hard Drive Dead? (Long, extensive troubleshooting)

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December 6, 2012 1:59:09 PM

Hey guys, so I'm having some major trouble with a hard drive in my old rig.
A few days ago I turned on my PC and got the "Windows was not properly shut down" error message, and had to pick between starting Windows normally or booting in Safe Mode. I selected Start Windows Normally, only to find that it would switch to the Loading Windows screen for a few seconds, flash a blue screen of death for about .3 seconds, then reboot itself and begin the cycle again.

After a few more tries like this, I tried booting into Safe Mode, only to get a stream of disc errors filling the screen saying this:

multi(0)disc(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS\system32\ And then a massive list of drivers here. Here's a photo of exactly what pops up:



At this point I'm thinking maybe Windows XP somehow became corrupt and I'd have to do a fresh install. Not really a big deal, but I wanted to get some important files off of the hard drive before I wipe it clean. So I installed a new hard drive that is eventually going into the new rig I'm building, and connect this broken hard drive to the PC using a EZ-Connect SATA to USB Adapter.

I've used this Adapter to previously connect other hard drives, so I know there is no problem there. However, when I connected the drive I'm having issues with, the drive shows up in Explorer, but when I double click the icon to open up the drive, it just loads constantly and never actually opens. Even right clicking the icon to view Properties causes this to occur. This is when I got the thought that the drive might be dead, and after 4 or 5 tries I decided to try something else.

At this point I tried to install the messed up drive as a secondary drive and access it that way. I connected it to a SATA 2.0 port on my motherboard, put a jumper on the hard drive since it was originally connected to a SATA 3.0 port (Tried without jumper to the same results), hooked it up to some power and loaded up BIOS. The drive was detected immediately in BIOS, so there's no problem there. I made sure the PC would try and boot from the functioning hard drive, so there is no conflict there either. However, when the Windows loading screen pops up, it loads for about 5 seconds then the screen goes black. No error message or anything at all.

I then switched the drive to a different SATA port in case that was the problem, loaded up BIOS and saw that the drive was detected fine again, although listed as being connected by a different port, which is good. I then boot Windows, and the same thing occured: Windows loading screen processed for about 5 seconds, then a black screen.

At this point I disconnected the broken drive completely and booted up using the good drive by itself, in case something had happened there, and Windows loaded up fine.

At this point I really don't know what else to do. I could technically just try and do a fresh install of XP on it and see what happens, but I'd be pretty pissed at myself if that went fine and I wasn't able to get my data off of it through some fault of my own. Do you guys have any suggestions as to how I could possibly get my files off the drive, or do you think its just busted?

Thanks a ton.

TL;DR: Hard drive is acting like its broken. Troubleshooting indicates hard drive is broken. I don't want hard drive to be broken.
a c 119 G Storage
December 6, 2012 3:19:08 PM

You can do a lot of troubleshooting to try and get the drive to work but you do have to prepare your self for the fact that the drive can in fact be done and cannot be resurected. Thast's not to say that there's no hope for your data and there are a lot of ways to get data off a broken drive. It may come to a point where you will have to decide how important is the data and will you pay for it to be recovered. There are some free programs that can recover data and it goes up from there , the one thing to keep in mind is this , a format does not erase data it just makes it so you can write over i , and the only thing that erases data is when you write over it. So untill you write over your data there is still the chance for it to be recovered , you just have to find a way to get the drive to at least connect as a second drive for you to be able to do something and if that ends up failing then you have the option to take it someplace and have the data recovered for you but then you'll be spending money.
Having said all that have you tried to put in the Windows install disc and do a repair of Windows ? My thought on the drive is that by connecting it and seeing it in the bios is a good thing and may mean it's not phisicaly dead but maybe software wise there is corruption.
Another thought is the MBR iof the drive got corrupted and if so that would stop it from booting.
Try connecting the drive as a second drive with just the power connected to the drive and see if you can hear anything from it and see if the computer boots.
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December 6, 2012 4:00:38 PM

inzone said:
You can do a lot of troubleshooting to try and get the drive to work but you do have to prepare your self for the fact that the drive can in fact be done and cannot be resurected. Thast's not to say that there's no hope for your data and there are a lot of ways to get data off a broken drive. It may come to a point where you will have to decide how important is the data and will you pay for it to be recovered. There are some free programs that can recover data and it goes up from there , the one thing to keep in mind is this , a format does not erase data it just makes it so you can write over i , and the only thing that erases data is when you write over it. So untill you write over your data there is still the chance for it to be recovered , you just have to find a way to get the drive to at least connect as a second drive for you to be able to do something and if that ends up failing then you have the option to take it someplace and have the data recovered for you but then you'll be spending money.
Having said all that have you tried to put in the Windows install disc and do a repair of Windows ? My thought on the drive is that by connecting it and seeing it in the bios is a good thing and may mean it's not phisicaly dead but maybe software wise there is corruption.
Another thought is the MBR iof the drive got corrupted and if so that would stop it from booting.
Try connecting the drive as a second drive with just the power connected to the drive and see if you can hear anything from it and see if the computer boots.



I agree with what you said about it potentially being a software problem and not a hardware problem since BIOS detected it fine and everything. I did try putting in the Windows install disc and running a repair but that isn't one of the options for some reason with my CD, it only lists a fresh reinstall or the repair console, and I don't know anything about that repair console.
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December 6, 2012 4:18:58 PM

That pictures is normal for safe mode bootup. It's just showing you that it's loading drivers.

Google how to use that repair console. It's not that hard. It's like one line you have to enter.
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