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Help! Broken hard disk, I need to recover data!!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bobby, Jul 6, 2005.

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  1. Bobby

    Bobby Thread Starter

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    I'm desperate here, really need some ideas.

    We offer B&B accommodation at home.
    All our bookings until October were on the hard disk.
    That hard disk no longer works!
    It does not boot the computer, nor can it be accessed from another computer.
    I took it to the shop where I bought it and they were unable to get it to work.

    The disk turns, but for some reason is not recognized.
    Then the message comes up asking if we want to format it.

    The problem began this morning when the computer got blocked up.
    I rebooted and got a message about a missing or corrupt ntfs.sys file in system32/drivers (the OS is Windows XP Professional).

    I tried all the suggestions I found, like trying to restore from CD etc., but to no avail.
    According to the shop where I bought it (the disk is a MAXTOR HD) there is something defective.

    Is there any way to recover this data? I really need to or else we cannot make any more bookings.
    Would the manufacturer be able to do so?
    Are there services that might be able to help?
     
  2. CouchMaster

    CouchMaster

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    You can do a google search for 'data recovery' - it can be done but it's very expensive.
    You might try booting with a live Linux CD like Knoppix, which will mount windows partitions automatically, and see if it will see the HD. If it does you can rescue your data that way.
     
  3. Bobby

    Bobby Thread Starter

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    Thanks Couchmaster, I just did that and found a place here in Italy that offers the service.
    You're right, it IS very expensive! I can't believe how much they want (somewhere between 700 - 2500 euros!).

    I'll check with my provider tomorrow, they have a Linux machine, perhaps they can help.

    What exactly is a "live Linux CD like Knoppix" and what do I need to do?

    Any info is immensely appreciated!
     
  4. CouchMaster

    CouchMaster

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    A Linux live CD is an OS that runs from the CD drive and memory. It doesn't mess with the OS on the HD but it will see it. This allows you to manouver around in Windows via Linux and sometimes correct problems that you can't correct with Windows alone.

    They are free and Knoppix can be DL'ed here, http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=02686#0

    You would first download the linux ISO file, then using a burning program like Nero burn the ISO as an Image to a CDR disk. Then boot with the disk - it will load linux and allow you to do all kinds of things - not to mention just run the computer via Linux...
     
  5. pugmug

    pugmug Banned

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  6. Bobby

    Bobby Thread Starter

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    Wow! I'm downloading the program right now as we speak, I've got my fingers crossed.

    So basically I can run the computer and try to access the hard disk right?
    Well, at the moment the hard disk is still at the shop along with my computer but I'll give it a go once I get it back.

    My friend who runs the shop suggested that it might be a problem with the little board attached to the disk itself (lots of chips and stuff there).
    Since I had 2 identical hard disks he said we could try swapping the board and the disk, but it might be risky.
    I've already saved the data on the other disk so that's not a problem, but I wouldn't want to blow my chances if this little jewel of a program might work.

    Thanks
     
  7. CouchMaster

    CouchMaster

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  8. pugmug

    pugmug Banned

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    I am sorry but I am not quite sure who you are talking to.If it is me download and go slow reading how to use the program well as it is very powerful.Good luck as there are no sure fixes with computers.
     
  9. Bobby

    Bobby Thread Starter

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    pugmug, I'm downloading the program Couchmaster suggested, not the hard drive mechanic.

    The trouble is not that I've erased files but that I can't get neither my computer nor another computer (even after installing the hd to another computer as a second disk) to recognize it.

    And all I need is one tiny little file that couldn't be more than 40 kb!
     
  10. pugmug

    pugmug Banned

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    No problem,hope it works for you.As far as what you said about your problem,that is what this program solves as nothing is really ever lost on a hard drive it just need to be linked back correctly in what ever OS and file format it was created in.This program will retrive files even after a format that is how good it is for me.But again,good luck to you.
     
  11. accat13

    accat13

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    As a last ditch attempt at recovery you could try the freezer trick if all else fails http://www.ozzu.com/ftopic32802.html you never know nothing ventured,nothing gained. The drive is air tight anyhow :)
     
  12. DCM1519

    DCM1519

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    You could try Spinrite. It may or may not recover the data but was written for that. It is very thorough and will not write to the disk and destroy any data even if it does not recover anything.

    Also, Ontrack (VCOM) nas a data recovery service.

    Another possibilty is called GetDataBack (for FAT and/or NTFS).

    http://www.runtime.org/

    You download the version you need and run it at no cost. It will tell you if the data is recoverable. If it is, you can buy the program (well under $100) and recover your data. I downloaded it and it is really a nice program.

    Your data sounds important enough to warrant a data recovery service if none of this works.
     
  13. StumpedTechy

    StumpedTechy

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    Is the Bios at least seeing the HDD? If you check in the bios is the HDD being reported? If not then even Knoppix won't be able to help.

    If the BIOS does see the drive you may want to try using Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional. Its very user friendly and will even find old deleted files on top of being able to recover top level files.
     
  14. Bobby

    Bobby Thread Starter

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    accat13,

    I'll try the freezer method if nothing else works, never would have dreamed it possible but who knows. The explanation at ozzu seems plausible. Even if it just works for a few minutes all I have to do is recover a small file (40kb).


    dmullen,

    I had a look a t GetDataBack, I may give that a try if others fail. Thanks for the lead.


    StumpedTechy,

    Yesterday when I took the computer to the shop my friend who runs the place physically removed the disk from my computer and hooked it up to another computer but had difficulty recognizing it.

    He went into Bios and still was unable to see it.
    Then he came out of Bios and played around with the Device Manager and somehow did manage to pick it up.
    He was unable to read any files from it however, and a screen came up saying that it needed to be formated.

    At that point he said it was probably the electronic board that is directly attached to the disk itself that might be defective.
    I have 2 identical hard disks.
    He then switched the boards from one to the other but still had the same problem, suggesting that it is a problem inside the disk itself (which spins and hums).


    CouchMaster,

    Would Knoppix be able to read it when I can't read it from another computer?
    I ask because from what I've read about Knoppix it seems like a great tool if you don't want to physically remove the disk and can't boot up the computer.

    I have already removed the disk and tried it in another computer though, so I'm just wondering if for some reason Knoppix is better skilled at picking up the data.


    *Note to all:

    I deeply appreciate all your input, this data will never be lost!
     
  15. CouchMaster

    CouchMaster

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    If the HD is physically broken Knoppix will not read it - but this is going to be one of those last ditch efforts, like the freezer!
     
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