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Solved: How to keep HD on life support for backup

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jmc, Jun 1, 2005.

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  1. jmc

    jmc Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Well, the story starts here.

    I asked essentially the same question there, but since it's more appropriate here, am re-asking:

    My hard drive failed this morning. I woke to the kernel_stack_inpage_error BSOD, got various others as I tried to get the machine to boot, and finally (why didn't I get it days ago??) got a BIOS message that SMART had failed.

    I'm a bit annoyed 'cause I received no previous SMART warnings, else I'd have backed it up the first time the error happened. Subsequent errors made me think it was a driver problem...

    The failed drive is a 120GB IBM that's no more than two years old. There were no real indications, aside from the above BSOD, that there was anything wrong. Machine had been working fine after a reboot. The HD wasn't making 'I'm DYING!' noises or anything, though now it spins down suddenly sometime during the boot process. Sooner in the process each time.

    Good thing I have a WD Raptor waiting in the wings, I just hadn't got around to installing it and reinstalling the OS yet.

    I've done a backup pretty recently, but not necessarily recently enough. On top of that, last night I started deleting data off my external backup drive, so that when my new equipment arrives in a day or so (including a second 200GB SATA), I could move the 120GB into the external casing, replacing the current 40GB. Murphy just waits for little things like that!

    So, what sort of software exists out there that will help me recover particular files, or directories, off the dying hard drive? What can I do to try to keep it alive long enough to get that data off?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    20,583
    Since you are in such dire straights, if you can spend ~$90, check out the webpage at: http://www.grc.com for SpinRite v6.0! It may be able to recover your data and fix the drive - looks like a promising recovery technology. Its at least worth a look to consider in your options.

    To keep track of your SMART in the future, there are a couple of alternatives:
    1) Active SMART ($24.95)
    http://www.ariolic.com/activesmart
    2) Everest Free
    http://www.lavalys.com

    -- Tom
     
  3. jmc

    jmc Thread Starter

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    I'm not quite sure how dire my straits are yet, as I can't quite remember which partitions were on the failed drive, and which are on my data drove. I'll keep SpinRite in mind though, it looks like a good product (I've heard of it before, and have used grc's ShieldsUp! and Shoot the Messenger)

    Everest Free seems similar to SiSoft Sandra, on a quick look.

    Problem is, if the BIOS wasn't warning me that the HD was nearing failure, would an app catch it if the BIOS didn't? I did not receive any SMART errors until the HD was clearly failing, this morning. I thought it was pretty reliable technology, what went wrong?
     
  4. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79

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    If you watch Everest long enough, you can see the sensor temps change, and also the SMART values.

    BIOS warnings re: SMART depend on the disk capabilities, i.e. if it has SMART turned on or not, and whether the BIOS does anything at all about SMART values in terms of criteria to notify you in the first place. SMART has to be turned on, and there needs to be a way for the disk reporting capabilities to be processed - BIOSs may or may not have this capability. Does yours?

    If you visit the disk mfgr websites, all of them have a utility that can be put onto a floppy, etc. for boot up analysis of your disk - you should do this, and see what happens. Also, checkout the capabilities of your BIOS at your motherboard mfgr website - maybe there is a BIOS update available.

    -- Tom
     
  5. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    First Name:
    Rob
    If the drive still works you may be able to simply use Windows Explorer to copy off any files you need.
     
  6. jmc

    jmc Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    solved: The drive works when laid flat. I'm getting the data off it now. Have new issues, but they're Win2K related, so I'm starting a new thread in that forum. Thanks for the help!
     
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