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Failed Hard Disk

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by saxman, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I made a blog post <a href="http://dgrove.blogspot.com/2010/08/failed-hard-disk.html" target="_blank">here</a>, but I doubt many people are going to see it, so I'll repost it here:

    <!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I turned on my desktop a few nights ago and decided once and for all, I was going to defragment the hard drive. It had been forever since it was done (possibly as long as a year). Disk Defragmenter likes at least 15% free disk space. I had about 12%. I decided to bite the bullet and clear off a bunch of stuff I really didn't need so it could do a complete and proper defragmentation of the drive. After several hours, I got it where it needed to be. I ran the process and let it go until it was done.

    The next morning, I turned on my computer to check and see if it was any faster. As it was booting, I walked out of the room to do a few things. I came back and noticed that although every was up and running, the computer was running very sluggish. Everytime I tried to open a program or access any files, it would load very slowly. A few programs crashed randomly too. I knew it was something serious, and I knew it was definitely not a virus. What I feared became a reality -- upon restarting it, it wouldn't even boot up all the way into Windows because it said a directory needed by the operating system was missing.

    Today I went out and bought myself a new hard drive. It's much bigger than the old one (500GB as opposed to 80GB). I haven't put anything on it yet, but I'm really hoping after I get the operating system loaded on there, I can access the files from my old hard drive and move them over. I've had hard drives malfunction and go bad, but I was always able to access files from them. This situation is different as the drive really seemed like it was dying a very painful death judging by the inability to read some very basic stuff from the drive. I backed up some of the important things, but not everything. I would like to keep as much as possible, and that is the big upcoming test I face.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should do?<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->


    Well? Do ya?
     
  2. steveswede

    steveswede

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    Ya not going to really know until you connect your hard drive and start going through it. Better now that your changing your hard drive than just ignoring it. I think you will be all right. If anything. when you connect it to your new hard drive externally. I would just right click, copy and paste the whole lot over to your new one. Then just take out the bits you don't want afterwards. That way it would reduce the risk of losing your stuff.
     
  3. Hey saxman.

    While these things might have something to do with dead sectors on the HDD, what I much rather have in mind is interference in the ATA data lines by bad capacitors or similar, or also dead RAM.

    Here's what you might want to do:

    0. before anything, boot into a recovery console using the windows CD or hit F8 before the windows bootscreen appears (hammer F8 if need be) and select Safe mode with command prompt (something like that) and run CHKDSK /F (your drive letter):

    Let it work and if we're in luck it'll find lots of errors (caused by power loss or improper shutdown during HDD operation) and you can still use your HDD by doing a repair install

    If that doesn't work here's some more steps that'll hopefully get you back up and running:

    1. Take a clean picture of the motherboard and let me inspect it -- I have a schooled eye so to say to spot bad capacitors and other faults on the circuit board
    2. If we found the colprit here already, here you go :S

    3. Download <a href="http://memtest86.com" target="_blank">Memtest</a>, burn and run it for at least 1 hour
    4. if any errors appeared, here's your colprit

    5. take the disk into another computer and back your data up

    I normally have a special test OS to test every little part of the computer... but it's in german, so =P

    Hope it helps!
     
  4. Conan Kudo

    Conan Kudo

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    With such a large hard drive, I'd suggest dual booting with a Linux distro, maybe <a href="http://ubuntu.com" target="_blank">Ubuntu</a>.

    If you can live without Windows as a boot option, then perhaps you should take a disk image snapshot of your entire old hard disk and store it on the new one as a single disk image file. As your entire Windows setup would be in the disk image, everything you have would be completely preserved.

    You can then later choose what you need from it without feeling as if it would be the last moment on Earth.

    You can of course still do all that even if you dual boot. You just won't be able to easily take a disk image snapshot from Windows, and you'd have to make sure to allocate at least a 255GB to Linux, so that you have room for everything.
     
  5. Tobin

    Tobin

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  6. <!--quoteo(post=486549:date=Aug 3 2010, 09:49 AM:name=Oerg866)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Oerg866 @ Aug 3 2010, 09:49 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=486549">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->3. Download <a href="http://memtest86.com" target="_blank">Memtest</a>, burn and run it for at least 1 hour<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    I'd suggest running <a href="http://www.memtest.org/" target="_blank">Memtest86+</a> overnight.

    If the problem works down to something physical with the hard drive, I'd suggest you do this:

    1. Get an external enclosure for the hard drive.
    2. Somehow, get a computer and a freezer close together.
    3. Find and apply some way to prevent condensation from forming on/in your hard drive.
    4. Put the hard drive in the freezer, close the door with the cables running outside the freezer (power unplugged from the wall), and leave it overnight.
    5. The next day, plug in the hard drive without opening the freezer. Hopefully it should work enough for you to back up your data.
     
  7. Kurosan

    Kurosan

    Samurai of Gaming Oldbie
    I had the exact same issue probably over a year ago, and believe it or not, it was actually a cable issue. After constant stress and many attempts at trying to fix the drive or even replace it, I figured out what had happened. I was using a SATA drive and the SATA cable connecting the drive to my computer was loose. That's it. I grabbed another cheap cable that just happened to be tighter and now the thing runs perfectly.

    Just in case, verify that it's not a cable issue, as silly as it is. And yes, my drive had been fine until it happened all of a sudden.
     
  8. PicklePower

    PicklePower

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    Another option could be to get an external hard drive enclosure and connect the bad hard drive through USB to another running system.
     
  9. TmEE

    TmEE

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    First put an OS on the new drive and have your old drive as secondary and see what goes on there.
     
  10. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I installed the OS today. Everything is up and running, and I have had no issues so far. As TmEE suggested, I hooked the old hard drive up as a secondary drive (or at least I *think* I did). The only issue is Dell supplied my computer with a simple single-node data transfer cable. In other words, I can power it, but I can't read/write with it. That's about as pointless as you can get.

    I am not sure what to do at this stage of the game. My laptop has an eSATA port. I don't know much about those -- would I be able to hook up my old hard drive to my laptop and read stuff from it that way?
     
  11. GerbilSoft

    GerbilSoft

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    <!--quoteo(post=486997:date=Aug 4 2010, 04:54 PM:name=saxman)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (saxman @ Aug 4 2010, 04:54 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=486997">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I installed the OS today. Everything is up and running, and I have had no issues so far. As TmEE suggested, I hooked the old hard drive up as a secondary drive (or at least I *think* I did). The only issue is Dell supplied my computer with a simple single-node data transfer cable. In other words, I can power it, but I can't read/write with it. That's about as pointless as you can get.

    I am not sure what to do at this stage of the game. My laptop has an eSATA port. I don't know much about those -- would I be able to hook up my old hard drive to my laptop and read stuff from it that way?<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    SATA cables are inherently single-node. Three-connector SATA cables don't exist, unlike with IDE.

    eSATA ports have a slightly different physical connector, so a regular SATA cable won't work. There are adapters, but you'd probably be better off just getting a plain old SATA cable and using your desktop system anyway. SATA cables are quite cheap online: <a href="http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10226&cs_id=1022602&p_id=4863&seq=1&format=2" target="_blank">http://www.monoprice.com/products/product....=1&format=2</a> - SATA 6 Gbps (works with 1.5 and 3), 18", locking clips: $1.56. (Note that Monoprice has a minimum shipping cost, so if you need other cables, you should probably get them at the same time. :P)
     
  12. Skidd

    Skidd

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    Well, seeing as you are on a laptop... (I thought it was a desktop system at first) you may need some outside help, or access to a desktop PC that has a free sata port and power plug.

    I can see a couple of things working for ya...
    1.) Install both HDDs into the Desktop, and use that system to transfer all of the data from your old drive to the new one
    2.) Install the old HDD to the desktop and use a network to put all of the files onto your laptop from the other PC (difficulty varies depending on the OS's installed)

    I would suggest transferring everything over to the new drive via software, but it sounds like the file system is corrupt, so that wouldn't be the best idea.

    as far as I can tell from your post, the HDD hardware isn't necessarily the problem... so sticking it in the freezer may not help. All that does is cool down the bearings in the motor, so they will spin more freely for a little while. But if all else fails.... freezing it could fix it... but I've only used that trick once or twice.

    hopefully this helps!
     
  13. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I borrowed a cable from another computer. Windows see's the two partitions from my old hard drive. The second partition is a recovery partition that Dell loads on all it's machines. It works fine... obviously it's not the important one though. The primary partition isn't readable. The drive just keeps ticking away (it reminds me of a floppy drive) as it tries to read something from it. I go into properties, and it doesn't detect the size of it or file system (it says "RAW"). That can't be a good thing. What I'd really like to be able to do is what the following page advertises:

    <a href="http://www.ptdd.com/datarecovery/recover-raw-drive.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ptdd.com/datarecovery/recover-raw-drive.htm</a>

    Unfortunately, no surprise, they make you pay money if you want to recover more than 1GB of data. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a free solution I can use to pull the data from my drive.
     
  14. Conan Kudo

    Conan Kudo

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    <!--quoteo(post=487289:date=Aug 5 2010, 11:41 AM:name=saxman)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (saxman @ Aug 5 2010, 11:41 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=487289">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I borrowed a cable from another computer. Windows see's the two partitions from my old hard drive. The second partition is a recovery partition that Dell loads on all it's machines. It works fine... obviously it's not the important one though. The primary partition isn't readable. The drive just keeps ticking away (it reminds me of a floppy drive) as it tries to read something from it. I go into properties, and it doesn't detect the size of it or file system (it says "RAW"). That can't be a good thing. What I'd really like to be able to do is what the following page advertises:

    <a href="http://www.ptdd.com/datarecovery/recover-raw-drive.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ptdd.com/datarecovery/recover-raw-drive.htm</a>

    Unfortunately, no surprise, they make you pay money if you want to recover more than 1GB of data. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a free solution I can use to pull the data from my drive.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    At that point, I'd recommend you take a snapshot of the partition being considered "RAW". Then you can safely back it all up, make a duplicate image, and try to recover data from there...

    There is a free tool called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TestDisk" target="_blank">TestDisk</a> that can potentially recover from a damaged partition. I've used it with some success before.
     
  15. Mad Echidna

    Mad Echidna

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    One word dude: <a href="http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm" target="_blank">Spinrite</a>.

    The homepage may look like the best the 90's have to offer, but Steve Gibson knows his shit.
     
  16. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I am running a program called "Snapshot" that can create images of an HD partition. It's not going so well... 0% into reading the primary partition, and it can't read 2 sectors, and it's been sitting here for about 5 minutes doing nothing...

    I tried reading something on the end of the drive, and about 12% into that, it staled because some 2000 or more sectors couldn't be read. This disk is FUBAR. Still, I really wish Snapshot would skip over these sectors and just get to the rest of the drive. It's like my hard drive just stopped reading anything altogether. It's not even ticking. Now if I turn this thing off and turn it back on, then it starts the ticking storms again.

    Oh yeah, and funny thing -- sometimes my bad drive will bring Windows to a complete hault during boot up (like, I have to physically power down the computer.) FUN! Actually, watching Snapshot sitting here, I can't seem to do anything else with the computer. I think Windows is about to freeze again o_o

    I'd give Spinrite a chance, but it appears to not be available for free download.



    EDIT: I'm going to give TestDisk a go. I don't know if it can make image copies, but I think that's what I'm going to need.
     
  17. Conan Kudo

    Conan Kudo

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    <!--quoteo(post=487380:date=Aug 5 2010, 04:19 PM:name=saxman)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (saxman @ Aug 5 2010, 04:19 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=487380">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I am running a program called "Snapshot" that can create images of an HD partition. It's not going so well... 0% into reading the primary partition, and it can't read 2 sectors, and it's been sitting here for about 5 minutes doing nothing...

    I tried reading something on the end of the drive, and about 12% into that, it staled because some 2000 or more sectors couldn't be read. This disk is FUBAR. Still, I really wish Snapshot would skip over these sectors and just get to the rest of the drive. It's like my hard drive just stopped reading anything altogether. It's not even ticking. Now if I turn this thing off and turn it back on, then it starts the ticking storms again.

    Oh yeah, and funny thing -- sometimes my bad drive will bring Windows to a complete hault during boot up (like, I have to physically power down the computer.) FUN! Actually, watching Snapshot sitting here, I can't seem to do anything else with the computer. I think Windows is about to freeze again o_o

    I'd give Spinrite a chance, but it appears to not be available for free download.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    There's an awesome tool called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dd_(Unix)" target="_blank">dd</a> that can record each sector into a disk image quite easily. This tool, while more susceptible to hard disk failure than TestDisk, produces extremely accurate backups of disk images. And I would definitely not recommend booting into an OS on any hard disk while doing an operation like that. Recording a disk image to another disk from a disk is best done when there's near zero other hard disk activity going on. A Linux Live CD/DVD or bootable Windows DVD of some kind would be more useful and may yield better results.

    EDIT: TestDisk doesn't make disk images, it attempts to recover the hard disk itself. I recommended making a disk image first before running TestDisk....

    A variant of dd that is for backing up corrupted hard drives is <a href="http://www.garloff.de/kurt/linux/ddrescue/" target="_blank">dd_rescue</a>. However, unlike dd included in Linux distros and some variants available for Windows, dd_rescue is out of date, and may not be suitable for backing up NTFS partitions without loss of partition structure. And while dd_rescue is intended for backing up corrupted hard disks, regular dd can do the same as well, with certain command line options set.
     
  18. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I need something for Windows, or something I can put on a bootable MS-DOS disc at the very least.
     
  19. Mad Echidna

    Mad Echidna

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    So, did you completely ignore the spinrite suggestion then? Because it's exactly what you need. The more you muck around with the disk the worse it will get. It's like hitting a screw with a hammer.
     
  20. Conan Kudo

    Conan Kudo

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    <!--quoteo(post=487399:date=Aug 5 2010, 04:46 PM:name=saxman)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (saxman @ Aug 5 2010, 04:46 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=487399">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I need something for Windows, or something I can put on a bootable MS-DOS disc at the very least.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    I don't know of any free tools that run off a floppy that support NTFS anymore.

    However, if you don't mind bootable CDs or DVDs, then there are a couple of options:

    * <a href="http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping.html" target="_blank">PING</a>
    * <a href="http://clonezilla.org/" target="_blank">CloneZilla</a>

    Windows based ones.... Hmm. While I don't recommend doing disk image backups while running from an OS booted from a hard disk, there is one solution I've used before that works nicely, and it is free for non-commercial, home use: <a href="http://www.macrium.com/" target="_blank">Macrium Reflect</a>

    <!--quoteo(post=487416:date=Aug 5 2010, 05:10 PM:name=Mad Echidna)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Mad Echidna @ Aug 5 2010, 05:10 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=487416">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->So, did you completely ignore the spinrite suggestion then? Because it's exactly what you need. The more you muck around with the disk the worse it will get. It's like hitting a screw with a hammer.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    SpinRite would be incredibly stupid to use on SATA drives. I've messed up more than one by using it on a SATA drive.