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Data partition messed up

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by pianoman1948, Oct 14, 2008.

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  1. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    I'm at my wits' end about a strange problem, and I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas I haven't thought of.

    It seems that something about the file/folder structure on a large hard drive partition is screwed up. My entire machine locks up occasionally; I have no choice but to turn it off and reboot. I believe it's when Windows is trying to access certain files/areas on the partition.

    My system is Windows XP Pro, Pentium 4, 1.6 gHz

    I will try to reconstruct the long string of events that got me to where I am:

    I keep OS and data in separate partitions on the same hard drive. I recently bought a new hdd, like I do every year or two, and partitioned and formatted it same as the old one: with Windows installed in one small partition and all my data in the remaining large partition.

    I then moved what used to be the primary hard drive to a secondary position and booted to the new installation of Windows XP on the new drive. I did occasionally hook up the old drive so I could grab some data off its data partition.

    My first sign of trouble was Windows startup insisting on doing a consistency check on the old data partition on every bootup. The process made it just about all the way through and then froze. I could do nothing to free it except hit the power switch.

    I was able to boot into Windows (either old or new) by bypassing the consistency check. It worked mostly ok, but eventually, I'd click the wrong file or application and the machine would freeze and I'd have to hit the power switch.

    I disconnected the old hdd, and kept only the new one hooked up, and for weeks everything was fine, as long as I kept that old partition on the old drive out of the way. I guessed that there's some weird file structure problem on the old drive.

    Then a few days ago I was doing some wholesale copying of data from the (suspect) data partition on the old drive to the (previously uncorrupted) data partition on the new drive, and the *new* operating system locked up when accessing data on the *new* hard drive partition, displaying the same behavior as the old one (grr).

    It appears that whatever was causing the problem on the old drive was contagious and has now been spread to the new hard drive. My best guess is a file structure problem, but nothing I've run seems to be able to fix it. Everything just freezes.

    It's an old computer so I considered hardware failure, but I've run full manufacturers' diagnostics on both hard drives and they appear to be fine. A RAM diagnostic says the memory is fine too.

    I googled and made a list of things to check:
    The partition doesn't need to be defragged.
    I have run chkdsk and it freezes.
    I doubt if it's malware, although when I run virus scans it freezes 19% in. I have Comodo firewall with Defense+ and Avast antivirus.
    I couldn't find any folder/file names that might be too long.
    If I boot to Partition Magic floppies, the partition looks fine.

    I'm guessing I'll just have to reformat the partition, which would not be the end of the world. That *should* make the problem go away. I'm just afraid to then try to salvage data, because it seems to be data that is causing the corruption.

    Does anyone know of a program or technique that can further diagnose and/or fix this?

    Thanks,
    Ted
     
  2. Wanderer2

    Wanderer2

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    download the drive manufacturers diagnotics and run them

    can you run chkdsk on the OS partition?
    what is the data partitions format and size?
     
  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    You will have to complete a chkdsk or the drive will not be usable. Try doing it from a bootable CD or the XP CD. Chkdsk /r is best, but /f will be good enough. Stopping chkdsk in process will cause severe damage to the file system. Files in the process of being moved and changes made to the MFT are stopped abruptly, possibly causing unrecoverable damage to the file system. It may already be too late. Corrupted files may have been moved to the other drive.

    The drive should be repartitioned using XP and not some thrid-party tool, and reformatted if chkdsk will not complete.
     
  4. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Thanks very much for responding.
    As I said above, I already did that. Hardware seems to be fine.
    Yes, I've done that too. Only the one partition seems to have a problem.
    221 GB, NTFS
     
  5. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Thanks very much for your input.
    I've tried both, same result. chkdsk will not complete.
    I believe you, and that's probably what happened. But chkdsk will not complete. I've left it frozen at 76% or whatever for literally days.
    Probably. A lot of the partition seems to be ok, just every now and then something corrupted is attempted to be accessed (I presume), and then everything hangs.

    Yeah, I'm pretty much resigned to having to do that. I just wondered if there was some magic bullet I was unaware of.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
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    If chkdsk won't complete, you end up with a drive that is corrupted, possible file corruption at unexpected times (whenever a bad section of the drive gets used), the defragmenter won't run and it will become increasingly fragmented, and you can't clone the drive or make an image of it for backup purposes. So, normal operation is basically not possible. Even partitioners will refuse to try any operations on the drive.

    To get things back to normal, I don't see any alternative but to back up your files and repartition. You may want to also run diagnostics on the drive, too, after you get it ready for a new OS so you are not wasting your time. Any workaround would only be temporary and you would probably end up someplace you don't want to be when you least want to be there. :D

    Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:

    Manufacturer's Tests
    Victoria for DOS
    Victoria for Windows (Both versions of Victoria are among the best and most thorough tests available.)
    HD Tune
    CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
    HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
    MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
    Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

    Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:

    TachTech
    BleepingComputer

    ****************************************************************

    For the future, make a periodic image of the entire drive to an external, and you can restore everything to a fixed or new drive is a matter of minutes.

    Macrium Reflect is a good, free one.

    Free Drive Cloners/Imagers:

    Macrium Reflect
    Clonezilla (Bare-metal restoration from image)
    Partimage
    Dubaron Diskimage
    SystemRescueCD
    EaseUs Disk Copy (Copies disks or partitions)
    XXClone
    CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
    Partition Saving
    PCI CloneMaxx
    Drive Image XML
    HDClone
    DriveClonerXP
    Self-Image
    copyr.dma (Copies disk with bad sectors for recovery)

    Commercial Apps:

    [email protected] Disk Image
    O&O DiskImage
    Acronis True Image Home
    Farstone Drive Clone (Drive image, snapshots, file/folder backups.)
    EAZ-FIX Professional and Easy Image
    Drive Snapshot
    ShadowProtect (Also online backups.)
    Keriver Image
    Avanquest Copy Commander
    Paragon Drive Backup
    NovaBackup
    R-Drive Image
    Norton Ghost
    HDClone Pro or Enterprise
    Terabyte Image for Windows
    Terabyte Image for DOS (can directly access FAT, FAT32, and NTFS partitions)
    Spotmau Disk Clone & Backup
     
  7. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Messages:
    100
    Yep, that is exactly where I'm at. At the moment, it's working ok most of the time, but can freeze seemingly with any click.

    Well, that's essentially what I did, copying files I wanted from the old drive to a new one. But it appears that whatever is causing the problem is contagious, and it came with it/them. That, and not understanding what caused it, is what scares me.

    I wish I understood what caused chkdsk to freeze in the first place.

    I'm inclined to just reformat that one partition. I don't see a need to disturb the other partitions by repartitioning (the os seems to be fine). I have a program to recover files from a partition that's been formatted over, and I've had good luck with that in the past, so I can probably recover enough data with it so my life can go on.

    As I said above, I already did that with the manufacturer's utilities (Seagate). The hardware seems to be fine.
    I don't plan on messing with the os as it's in a separate partition and seems to be ok. It's only data I'm talking about here.

    I regularly do full partition backups of the os partition, and it's very handy for recovering out of os changes. But my data partitions are much larger. I need a good way to back up an entire drive (or a large partition - 220 GB) without it taking forever. Will have to investigate the links you sent. What's your favorite way to do this?

    Thanks very much for your input,
    Ted



    For the future, make a periodic image of the entire drive to an external, and you can restore everything to a fixed or new drive is a matter of minutes.

    Macrium Reflect is a good, free one.

    Free Drive Cloners/Imagers:

    Macrium Reflect
    Clonezilla (Bare-metal restoration from image)
    Partimage
    Dubaron Diskimage
    SystemRescueCD
    EaseUs Disk Copy (Copies disks or partitions)
    XXClone
    CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
    Partition Saving
    PCI CloneMaxx
    Drive Image XML
    HDClone
    DriveClonerXP
    Self-Image
    copyr.dma (Copies disk with bad sectors for recovery)

    Commercial Apps:

    [email protected] Disk Image
    O&O DiskImage
    Acronis True Image Home
    Farstone Drive Clone (Drive image, snapshots, file/folder backups.)
    EAZ-FIX Professional and Easy Image
    Drive Snapshot
    ShadowProtect (Also online backups.)
    Keriver Image
    Avanquest Copy Commander
    Paragon Drive Backup
    NovaBackup
    R-Drive Image
    Norton Ghost
    HDClone Pro or Enterprise
    Terabyte Image for Windows
    Terabyte Image for DOS (can directly access FAT, FAT32, and NTFS partitions)
    Spotmau Disk Clone & Backup[/QUOTE]
     
  8. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Messages:
    100
    Interesting, one of your links is to DriveClonerXP from Lexun. I actually already have that, but have never used it. His drive imager is what I have used for years to (as mentioned previously) back up my os partitions.
     
  9. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    If you plan to do some file recovery, you'll have much better luck using those recovery utilities before you format than after. There is no need to format anything other than the damaged partition. It's good that the tests come back OK. That probably means that though there is file system damage on one partition that chkdsk can't fix, the drive itself is OK and will work fine after repair.

    Run chkdsk /f on drives as normal maintenance, especially after a power failure or improper shutdown.
     
  10. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Messages:
    100
    That's what I'm thinking, and what I plan on doing. Thanks so much for the tips.

    Weird thing is, for the moment my computer seems to be working ok. Haven't had a freeze in awhile. I ran chkdsk /r from the XP CD, it stopped at 69%, but I let it sit there for a day or two. It apparently fixed something, even though it didn't finish. I still need to save data and reformat, but maybe it doesn't have to be right this second. I still wish I knew what caused the problem in the first place.

    I still would like to get the old hdd recognized by my system again. I may be back with further questions.
    I may be back
     
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