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HDD on the verge of going kapoot, and I need to save some data...

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by AntiM$, Jan 20, 2006.

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  1. AntiM$

    AntiM$ Thread Starter

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    Over the course of the last year, since I dropped 98 for XP, I've got a ton of crap from my computer. I was getting corrupted registry errors in a regular basis, like every 1-2 months, which would lead me to reformat often. Other errors were DLL corruptions and the like. After I dropped XP Home for XP Pro, the system ran OK for the next 3 months until now.

    One day I got again a corrupted registry preventing me to start Windows. I fixed it according to the guidelines in MS.com, then one week later an important DLL failed at life. I reinstalled the DLL, and that started a chain reaction revealing more corrupted DLLs and finally killing the OS with a boot BSOD. I reformatted. Everything was going fine until I got BSOD'D during the OS installation. I reformatted again. Now it was working but some programs like Acrobat 7 Pro didn't even install correctly. I couldn't even uninstall it, so I killed it manually. Yesterday I got a sudden BSOD, then some driver errors, then a corrupted registry boot failure.

    I tried to do a repair install, and when the system restarted the BIOS alerted me of inminent damage to the hard drive. So that was the REAL problem all the time.

    How do I recover my data before the disk gets trashed? There's no OS, and the XP CD recovery console doesn't let me access any folder except for c:\windows... I've considered trying a Linux live CD, but last time I tried using one of these the computer didn't do anything. I have no access to another computer (to use a slave connection with the bad drive)

    The disk has 2 partitions, the dead C: (NTFS) and the OS-less D: (FAT32) which has YEARS of work.
     
  2. WarC

    WarC

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    Put the harddrive aside until you can get a new one. Install an OS on the new harddrive, then slave the old harddrive off the new one. Then you can manually back up your data by moving it between drives or burning it on a CD or DVD.

    Since the old drive is dying, it is imperative that you use it as little as possible until you can back up the data this way. Without having an operable OS on the drive, you are limited to slaving it off another drive to recover the data.

    Once a harddrive dies, its dead. Invest in a new harddrive!
     
  3. kiwiguy

    kiwiguy

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  4. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning AntiM$, It is entirely possible that if you can download this Puppy Linux I am using and make a bootable CD with it http://www.goosee.com/puppy/
    and that you will be able to boot from that cd and the entire Linux system will be installed into memory as a RAMDRIVE. (Use option 4 as the boot process begins)
    The CD may then be removed and the machine will appear to operate as if it had a normal hard drive. (save nothing at this point)
    Use Puppy version 1.0.7 mozilla , this is a 63 meg ISO download.
    There is a learning curve involved in this new system but I am sure you would find it exciting and enjoyable. (bloody amazing, actually)
    Where this becomes interesting is that you will likely be able to see and enter the actual Windows hard drive and see the files on it. (after it is mounted)
    So you can't shift or save anything really at this point, but if you place a flashdrive into your USB, and mount both it and the hard drive (using the drive mount program in start>utilities) then you may find having the two drive windows suitably sized and oriented on your desktop will allow you to depress your control key whilst simultaneously depressing the left mouse button and using a drag and drop method, copy and slide the selected file from one window to the other. (this is a one click system, prepare to relearn basics)
    This procedure appears to work quite well for me, and does not affect the files being manipulated.
    Your machine will be immediately functional as a normal machine for other purposes (with a similar windows 95 kind of feel) as online or whatever with this ramdrive loaded system.
    Enough programs to do virtually anything are included.
    For some odd reason I haven't been able to get the burner program to burn an image off a hard drive using it, but I think that the burner I have been trying might be a little old and I need to understand a bit more about how this system is configged. Normally everything is done by the "wizards" (start>setup gives a plethora of wizards, even has a "wizard-wizard"!!)
    If you would like more info on how to go about all this stuff let me know, there is even a site with how-to tutorial videos.
    (After you start with it, it kind of grows on you!)
    Cheers, qldit.
     
  5. AntiM$

    AntiM$ Thread Starter

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    Whew! Damn Small Linux saved my rear. I'm never leaving home without a LiveCD distro anymore. Now what can I do with the drive before it kapoots forever?
     
  6. MysticEyes

    MysticEyes Banned

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    It cost a few bucks but this is a great program for retrieving data off a failing drive and in many cases can actually fixing it.

    http://grc.com/spinrite.htm
     
  7. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning Chaps, yes these small Linux distros are really amazing.
    One organisation is actually distributing a computer that has a flash device running one of these systems with no hard drive at all.
    It does virtually everything that a full high-end machine does at considerably less expense and considerably greater reliability.
    It most certainly confirms that sensible mainline computer engineering has gone off on some ridiculous tangent.
    DSL, Popcorn and Puppy are the big movers.
    Well done, cheers, qldit.
     
  8. AntiM$

    AntiM$ Thread Starter

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    Is there a HDD diagnostic tool for Linux? I have no Windows OS (the system BSOD'D during installation) and I only can use Damn Small Linux for the time being...
     
  9. qldit

    qldit

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    G'day, this program will make a bootable CD or Floppy but it needs to be done in Windows. It is called HDDRegenerator, it inspects the drive surface.
    It only repairs one bad spot but may be re-run.
    It does not affect data on the drive.
    If you find a bad spot you will know the drive has a problem.
    Get it here. http://www.dposoft.net/
    qldit.
     
  10. AntiM$

    AntiM$ Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Whoops! I forgot to mention that I need a SMART checking tool for Linux... I need to know how bad it is - The BIOS SMART alert is too vague... BTW I scanned the HD surface and it found like 70 bad sectors around all the drive.
     
  11. qldit

    qldit

    Joined:
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    G'day, in that you have confirmed bad clusters I wouldn't worry going further.
    A bit like finding you have a terminal disease.
    Those drive surface regeneration programs do actually work but a new drive is similar in price so economics apply, age of drive etc.
    Sometimes repeatedly formatting may improve the situation momentarily.
    Did you try the drive testing software, usually available from the drive manufacturer's site.
    qldit.
     
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