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Hard drive failure, recovery possible?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Jiriki, Oct 16, 2002.

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  1. Jiriki

    Jiriki Thread Starter

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    Just yesterday I've lost all access to my 40 gig hard drive. It was my secondary drive in my system with no OS or programs running off of it. The drive was formatted to be FAT32 so my dual boot system (Windows 2000 and Mandrake Linux 8.2) could use it as a swap drive of sorts.

    At the time I was booted into win2k and I was trying to access some mp3s on the secondary drive, but winamp kept crashing. When I went to the music folder on the drive, only a few of my songs appeared instead of the hundreds of files in the folder. The window I was browsing with suddenly crashed and I decided a restart would be a good idea. It went to the loading screen of win2k, the blue bar filled to the top and then stopped for a few minutes before I restarted again. Same thing again. I unplugged my playstation that I recently hooked up (but had no problems with in months past) and the system booted up again... this time it showed that my D drive was missing.

    I have unhooked both hard drives' connections and reconnected them but nothing changed. If I go to my Device Manager (in win2k) it tells me there are two hard disks still, and the properties of both of them tell me they're working properly (obviously one of them isn't). When I boot into Mandrake Linux it tells me that if fails to mount a hard disk, and "ls /mnt/windows" returns an empty directory instead of the normal file filled one that I am used to seeing.

    With further searching I came across the program in Linux, "dosfsck" which should work with FAT32. However, it won't work because the hard disk can't be mounted. So my next choice would be to buy a copy of Norton Utilities and see if that works. Is there anything else I can do though? Will Norton really work for me? It seems that all I have is a file system corruption that can be repaired, but I don't know how.

    Any help would be appreciated, and I'll supply (even more) information if asked.
     
  2. cavp

    cavp

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2001
    Messages:
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    First: is there any grinding noise or a "click-click" sound? If so, hardware failure, hd needs replacement. Second: is it a compatible PC? if so, at BIOS Setup, check if in Advanced Setup the option S.M.A.R.T. for HDD is "enabled". Reboot and see if it gives you any error; if not, the most probable is that the FAT/MBR got currupted, that's why it cannot be mounted by any of the OS, Norton could give you a chance, but a faster way is with a Win98 disk that has the fdisk porgram in it: it will tell you at least if it can see the drive and the state of the partitions.
     
  3. Jiriki

    Jiriki Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
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    There is no grinding or clicking noises as you describe. And the hard drive is compatible with my PC because it's been running fine with it for nearly a year now. It's actually the same make and size as the original hard drive.

    How would I go about using the fdisk program from the Win98 cd?
     
  4. Jtoast

    Jtoast

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
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    navigate to the fdisk program(search..i dont remember the exact path) and type fdisk.

    choose the "View partitons" option(I think its 4...been a while).

    when you go to disk management in win2k what does it say about the drive?

    Have you tried "thorough" scandisk to check for bad sectors?
    (If it doesnt finish kill all running programs first)
     
  5. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    Whenever you observe strange behavior like this I recommend that you first eliminate the possibility of a virus. If any or all of your disk has been wiped out by some piece of malware you should deal with that before you lose something else or lose your Operating System altogether. Hopefully, this is not your situation and the virus scan will prove unnecessary. But, if you have been infected, and you can remove the malware, then you may have to use other tools to try to recover the missing data.

    You can find much information about anti-virus software (free versions) in the Security Forum.

    You can download the free version of Easy Recovery HERE. If the drive is spinning and recognized by the BIOS this freebie will NOT recover any lost data, but it will tell you what the fully licensed version COULD recover if you purchase it. This should only be performed once you are certain that any virus which may have caused the problem has been cleaned from your system.
     
  6. Vypr

    Vypr

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
    Messages:
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    Have you tried running a disk check from Win2k?

    Right click on the drive, select properties, click the tools tab and click on "Error Checking"

    It may be that either a disk cluster has become corrupted or the FAT is screwed up.
     
  7. Jiriki

    Jiriki Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    I do not believe it is any form of virus, seeing as how no programs actually run on the second drive. If anything, the virus would target system files on the drive on my operating system.

    The main problem is that I don't even see the D drive on my system. C drive would be my primary, which is just fine, and D drive is my secondary drive. My BIOS sees the drive just fine it seems, but Win2k doesn't seem to recognize it (aside from it still being located in my Device Manager) and Mandrake Linux cannot mount it. I tried doing a normal scan with win2k to fix the drive, but when it reboots and goes at it, it only does it to the C drive.

    I just installed Norton Utilities to see if Norton Disk Doctor would be of any help. It gives me the error "Norton Disk Doctor doesn't recognize the drive type on hard disk 2." And goes on to say that the CMOS drive type may be incorrect or that it was partitioned weirdly. When I click Okay to continue the only drives it shows me are the A and C drives... no D drive.


    Also, a big clue just came up. In the Event Viewer in my Administration Tools, I found about sixty error messages saying this, "The device, \Device\Harddisk1\DR1, has a bad block. " All happening between 10 minutes of each other, probably when I was moving two files onto it at that point, and then two of the same messages hours before that. I just tried doing a search for the Event ID 7 on microsoft's site without any luck, but perhaps the error message is an indication as to what can be done.
     
  8. Vypr

    Vypr

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    Sounds like oyu may have ahad a head crash on the disk that managed to wipe out the boot sector of the disk
     
  9. Jiriki

    Jiriki Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Alright, I've tried using fdisk from a Win98 bootup disk... it said that there was only one drive with two partitions (which would be my NTFS and Linux partitions on my primary drive).
    Second, I've tried Norton Utilities' Disk Doctor from both Win2k and the emergency disks... neither see it (in fact the emergency disks only see the A/floppy drive. Strange).
    Third, I've tried <a href="http://support.wdc.com/download/">Data Lifeguard</a> from Western Digital's download section (the manufacturer of both my hard drives), and the diagnostic tool just doesn't work at all. Maybe it too can only see my A drive and then stops immediately.

    The only thing I can think of is that LILO (the system booter that allows me to choose Linux or Win2k) is getting in the way of my emergency boot disks that scan for the hard drives.

    If this is a head crash, is there still a way to revive my hard drive for data retrieval? And what is with this Event ID 7 that reports, "The device, \Device\Harddisk1\DR1, has a bad block."?


    By the way, thank you all very much for your help. Even though it's not working yet, I'm still confident that I can get my data back.
     
  10. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    Well, it sounds to me like the Partition Table or the File Allocation Table (or both) on that drive has been clobbered. This could have happened for any number of reasons including a head-crash or a virus or even a power-surge while trying to write to the FAT. I still suggest the Easy Recovery freebie (see above). It does not use either of the tables - it does direct reads. If it cannot find the drive or any data on the drive then I would guess that the drive is not recoverable at all.
     
  11. Jiriki

    Jiriki Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Been running the Easy Recovery program for the past 23 hours on the hard drive. It sees it, but it doesn't know what file format it is. So for the past day my computer has been "determining the block size" and it's only a quarter of the way through. I'm considering letting this run for the hell of it, but is there a faster way around this?
     
  12. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    This does not sound good. The only other option of which I am aware is sending the drive to a forensics laboratory. However, that is expensive and only justifiable if the data is extremely valuable (critical).
     
  13. slipe

    slipe

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
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    Please forgive the harebrained suggestion – I haven’t tried it myself. I have read posts by several people who put their failing HDs in the freezer and were able to extract the data before complete failure by reading the frozen drive. It is worth a try as a last resort.
     
  14. buckaroo

    buckaroo

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    3,334
    Harebrained or not, I just read that recommendation in the Tech Guide of the newspaper. The rationale behind it is that if the HD failure was the result of some connection coming "loose" in the HD, that placing the HD in the freezer may allow the connections to set in place again (I'm paraphrasing here). Provided you can get the HD installed and working quickly before it warms up, you may be able to retrieve your data, if something alon this line was the problem.

    This is no recommendation, just piggy-backing on slipe's post and providing some background that I read.
     
  15. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    Freezing and banging both work in certain cases - usually they help free up a drive that will not spin. However, if a drive refuses to work these "radical" solutions are worth a try - there's not much to lose.
     
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