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Any chance I can save some data from this old hard drive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jaybob, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    Hi folks, hopefully someone out there can help me with this as I rather stupidly didn't make backups for quite a lot of data.

    Here is the story, About a week ago my PC randomly blue screened. I didn't make a note of the error message which was another of my many mistakes. I tried rebooting and it just hung on the Windows splash screen, tried booting to safe mode and the same thing happened, tried booting to last known good config and same thing. Inserted the Windows XP install disc and set BIOS to boot from that, tried doing a repair and it just sent me to DOS prompt so after a little Googling I tried running chkdsk /r which was plodding along all night so I left it be. Before leaving for work the next morning noted it was at 75%. Came back from work 10 hours later and it was still at 75% so I gave it another couple of hours and still no change so assumed it had crashed and powered off.

    Next I tried running the Windows CD and going back to start the chkdsk again but this time as soon as it started a message same up saying the volume has one or more unrecoverable problem. Sensing the worst, I ordered a new hard drive and also a caddy as my PC only has one space for a hard disc so I planned to mount the old drive as a slave and see if I could have any more joy that way or at least run some diagnostics. Both arrived this morning so I powered up the new drive in my system, formatted, installed Windows and drivers etc. Then tried connecting the old drive in the caddy as external storage. Sounded to be spinning up ok and Windows recognized it and said the storage was ready to use but there was no icon to access the storage in my computer.

    Did a bit more Googling and saw a page with a method I hadn't seen before to rescue a hard disc using the Windows CD so just to see what happened I tried remounting the old hard drive back in the system and booting to the CD again. This time I couldn't even get to the welcome screen of the CD as after a few minutes it went to another BSOD. So have now put the new hard drive back in and posted this to pray for divine inspiration.

    In hope more than expectation.
     
  2. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    Sorry, forgot to mention, the PC is a Dell Dimension 5150c running XP SP2 and the old HDD was / is a WD 250gb.
     
  3. SUEOHIO

    SUEOHIO

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    SUE
    If the harddrive isnt totally dead you can maybe try a usb sata/ide connector and hope you can salvage what you think is worth saving.Ive only used that connector with laptops and have been able to recover what i thought was long gone.
     
  4. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    you maybe able to use UBUNTU - been quite a bit of success here

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    UBUNTU Stand Alone CD
    It may be possible to boot from another Operating System
    This will at least test the Hardware and also see if you can see the Harddrive and possibly get data off.

    If you have another PC with a cdwriter and spare CD
    goto http://www.ubuntu.com/ and download the ISO http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

    You can also run from a USB device now - if the Machine supports booting off a USB Stick
    http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

    full details are here (Note this is for version 9 - so the start up options are slightly different )
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/wind...backup-files-from-your-dead-windows-computer/

    click on the image "download ubuntu"
    Select a location
    then begin download
    Save the file onto your PC – remember where you saved it – so you can find it again to create the image bootable CD.

    You do NOT copy the ISO file onto a CD - you have to use the ISO to create a bootable CD
    The CD creator software you have on the PC may have an option to create an image from an ISO
    If not - use this free program http://www.imgburn.com/

    When the UBUNTU CD boots - you will see a screen - with Language on the left panel and two option images labelled

    == > Try ubuntu
    == > Install ubuntu

    You can try Ubuntu without making any changes to your computer, directly from this CD

    Use OPTION 1 "Try ubunto without any change to your computer" ONLY this option this will run from the CD and not install onto your harddrive - be careful, if you do install onto the PC - you will wipe the data and software OFF your hard drive.., so repeat only use option 1

    Now you should see a UBUNTU desktop
    This at least proves the main parts of the PC are working

    You may see your Harddrive on the desktop - if not have in look in the places on the tool bar at the top of the screen.

    If you can see your harddrive – see if you can find the your datafiles –
    XP look in “documents and settings” under the user name you had on the PC
    Vista/Windows 7 look in “user” under the user name you had on the PC

    Now if you have a USB flash drive or external harddrive – you should be able to copy your data from the harddrive onto the USB device

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I have already tried running the old drive as a slave via USB and it can't be seen by Windows.

    I tried downloading Ubuntu, booted it off cd with the old drive back in the PC and it booted to Ubuntu ok but there are no hard drives listed when I go to home in Ubuntu as described in that tutorial. All it sees are the memory card reader built into the PC and "File System" which appears to be the files on the CD which Ubuntu booted from. So apparently that can't even see the drive either.

    If I set the old drive as the primary boot device it gets as far as the Windows splash screen and hangs as it did before but I'm taking that as a good sign that there is some hope? Surely if it was completely bricked then it wouldn't even get that far would it?
     
  6. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    ==============================================================================
    Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
     
  7. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    Are these 2 links the same program or two different ones? If they are different, do you think one is a better bet to start with? Currently, neither Windows or Ubuntu even aknowledge the existence of the drive however I connect it, is there a particular way I can get any of these programs to look for it. If I were to mount it via USB to a USB port which I know my PC refers to as F or J for example, could I force any program to look there for a drive?
     
  8. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    OK, downloaded that Parted Magic onto a USB key and booted from it. From poking around there I still can't find the old hard disk which is mounted inside the PC. I can see the aforementioned media card reader, even though they have nothing in, the CD drive and the flash drive which is still in a USB slot.

    I don't really know what I am doing with this program, could you point me in the direction of anything I could be doing in here to detect the drive?

    If I click on Partition Editor, it only gives me the option of editing the flashdrive, if I go to System Profiler / Storage it just lists the items above, no HDD.
     
  9. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    sounds like you have tried everything - so i think the HDD is dead
     
  10. jaybob

    jaybob Thread Starter

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    Yeah, unfortunately I think you're right. Thanks for your help, but unless anyone out there has any ideas that haven't been covered above I'm gonna call it a day.
     
  11. raybro

    raybro

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    Here is a last ditch method I have used with some limited success over the years.

    Place the old drive inside a ziploc type plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight. When you are ready to try it, use either the USB setup or Ubuntu CD described earlier. If the drive is detected, be ready to drag and drop whatever files you wish to recover with all haste. If this works, it usually does not last to long.

    Good luck...:D
     
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