Hard Drive Issue


K

KCB

Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD from
here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in another
computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file was
unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without, but
nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.
 
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P

Philip Herlihy

Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD from
here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in another
computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file was
unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without, but
nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.
I've had some success with Spinrite (paid) TestDisk and Photorec (free)
but this disk is clearly well down the road to ruin and your best chance
is to give it to someone with some experience of using this sort of
software.
 
P

Paul

KCB said:
Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD
from here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in
another computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file
was unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without,
but nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.
I wouldn't run CHKDSK as the first step.

My first step, is doing a sector-by-sector backup. I use "dd", but
if you know of another tool that can do it, then by all means use it.
If the disk has a bad area, you can also use ddrescue.

(This is just to illustrate the concept, of a sector by sector tool.
I've seen it mentioned somewhere in the Acronis manual, they can do
that too, but I didn't find any details. One problem with this
tool, is it won't let you access a partition, depending on what
mood it's in, and what permissions it thinks it has. Since Linux
also has a "dd", one way or another, I'll get what I want.) This
one runs in a Command Prompt window, and you want the Command Prompt
to be "Run As Administrator", so any program launched in the Command Prompt,
will have administrator permissions (to allow access to the disks as
block devices).

http://www.chrysocome.net/dd

The procedure here, mentions ddrescue down near the end. Instead
of building it yourself, in Linux LiveCD you can try the Package Manager
and see if the binary is ready to be downloaded from a Linux server.
The ddrescue program is a good concept, because it tries to grab
as much of the disk as possible on the first (easy) pass. And then
you can go back and do a subsequent pass, to try to get the missing
bits.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Damaged_Hard_Disk

*******

CHKDSK is a "repair in place" tool. It's OK to run it on healthy
hardware. But if the hatdware is sick, and you force CHKDSK to
do a ton of writes in an attempt to fix stuff, you can multiply
the level of data loss involved. I've read of one case, where
an IDE cable was slightly loose, the user ran CHKDSK, and the
drive ended up completely trashed.

I prefer tools which "scavenge". They read the sick disk, and
write to your "known good recovery hard drive". The idea being,
no writes to the sick drive, just reads.

You can try recovering the files with this. If's a freebie, but
the original site is long gone.

http://web.archive.org/web/20070101070056/http://www.woundedmoon.org/win32/driverescue19d.html

driverescue19d.zip 1,007,764 bytes
MD5SUM = 63b7e1e8b1701593d5f52c7927d01558

And if you don't like the results of that, you can try this
one. I don't really know if the tools approach the problem the
same way or not.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

*******

There are even data recovery tools on the web, where they
allow you to download some software, you run it on the PC,
it tells you the names of the missing files. If you're happy
with the file names (or any teaser files it gives you), you
then arrange payment for a license key, and then you can
complete the recovery job. Since I'm a cheapskate, I've never
used stuff like that.

Paul
 
K

KCB

Paul said:
I wouldn't run CHKDSK as the first step.

My first step, is doing a sector-by-sector backup. I use "dd", but
if you know of another tool that can do it, then by all means use it.
If the disk has a bad area, you can also use ddrescue.

(This is just to illustrate the concept, of a sector by sector tool.
I've seen it mentioned somewhere in the Acronis manual, they can do
that too, but I didn't find any details. One problem with this
tool, is it won't let you access a partition, depending on what
mood it's in, and what permissions it thinks it has. Since Linux
also has a "dd", one way or another, I'll get what I want.) This
one runs in a Command Prompt window, and you want the Command Prompt
to be "Run As Administrator", so any program launched in the Command
Prompt,
will have administrator permissions (to allow access to the disks as
block devices).

http://www.chrysocome.net/dd

The procedure here, mentions ddrescue down near the end. Instead
of building it yourself, in Linux LiveCD you can try the Package Manager
and see if the binary is ready to be downloaded from a Linux server.
The ddrescue program is a good concept, because it tries to grab
as much of the disk as possible on the first (easy) pass. And then
you can go back and do a subsequent pass, to try to get the missing
bits.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Damaged_Hard_Disk

*******

CHKDSK is a "repair in place" tool. It's OK to run it on healthy
hardware. But if the hatdware is sick, and you force CHKDSK to
do a ton of writes in an attempt to fix stuff, you can multiply
the level of data loss involved. I've read of one case, where
an IDE cable was slightly loose, the user ran CHKDSK, and the
drive ended up completely trashed.

I prefer tools which "scavenge". They read the sick disk, and
write to your "known good recovery hard drive". The idea being,
no writes to the sick drive, just reads.

You can try recovering the files with this. If's a freebie, but
the original site is long gone.

http://web.archive.org/web/20070101070056/http://www.woundedmoon.org/win32/driverescue19d.html

driverescue19d.zip 1,007,764 bytes
MD5SUM = 63b7e1e8b1701593d5f52c7927d01558

And if you don't like the results of that, you can try this
one. I don't really know if the tools approach the problem the
same way or not.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

*******

There are even data recovery tools on the web, where they
allow you to download some software, you run it on the PC,
it tells you the names of the missing files. If you're happy
with the file names (or any teaser files it gives you), you
then arrange payment for a license key, and then you can
complete the recovery job. Since I'm a cheapskate, I've never
used stuff like that.

Paul

Do you think that since I've already run Chkdsk, that the drive is fubar?
The Rescue CD wasn't showing me any files, so I figured it might be a goner
anyway.
I'll check that ddrescue.
Thanks
 
P

Phil

Do you think that since I've already run Chkdsk, that the drive is
fubar? The Rescue CD wasn't showing me any files, so I figured it might
be a goner anyway.
I'll check that ddrescue.
Thanks
I have used a program from Stellar Phoenix with great results recovering
files in the past.

Recover Deleted Files - Documents, Photos, Audio Files, Video Files

• Recover Formatted or Lost Files - Retrieves data from a formatted hard
drive

• Search Lost Volumes - Recovers lost or deleted hard drive partiitions

• Supports Various Storage Media - Hard drives, iPods, memory cards,
external hard drives, CD and USB drives
 
K

KCB

Phil said:
I have used a program from Stellar Phoenix with great results recovering
files in the past.

Recover Deleted Files - Documents, Photos, Audio Files, Video Files

• Recover Formatted or Lost Files - Retrieves data from a formatted hard
drive

• Search Lost Volumes - Recovers lost or deleted hard drive partiitions

• Supports Various Storage Media - Hard drives, iPods, memory cards,
external hard drives, CD and USB drives

Thanks for that
 
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K

Ken Blake

Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD from
here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in another
computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file was
unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without, but
nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.

Three points:

1. As a general rule, file recovery software is used to undelete files
(if they haven't yet been overwritten). It seldom can do much with
files that can't be read because of hardware problems with the drive.

2. There are companies to whom you can send the drive that sometimes
can recover files from a drive like this one. But be aware that their
service is very expensive and may or may not work in this case.

3. For the future, be aware that if files are important to you, it's
critical that they be backed up to external media. As has often been
said, it's not a question of *whether* the files will be lost, but
*when*. You might want to read this article I've written, "Back Up
Your Computer Regularly and Reliably: at
http://www.computorcompanion.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=314
 
K

KCB

Ken Blake said:
Three points:

1. As a general rule, file recovery software is used to undelete files
(if they haven't yet been overwritten). It seldom can do much with
files that can't be read because of hardware problems with the drive.

2. There are companies to whom you can send the drive that sometimes
can recover files from a drive like this one. But be aware that their
service is very expensive and may or may not work in this case.

3. For the future, be aware that if files are important to you, it's
critical that they be backed up to external media. As has often been
said, it's not a question of *whether* the files will be lost, but
*when*. You might want to read this article I've written, "Back Up
Your Computer Regularly and Reliably: at
http://www.computorcompanion.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=314
Hi Ken,
Thanks for the advice, which I follow pretty closely. Unfortunately, she
had no backup plan, when all it would have taken was burning the files to CD
or DVD, or even using one of the cloud storage services which are so
prevalent (and free).

I use a 3TB external drive, plus optical discs, and one of the other
computers in my house for backup, so I hope I never run into the situation
myself. She doesn't live with us, so couldn't utilize the assets I have
available.

The utilities mentioned in the previous posts, and maybe some others, will
be tried over the weekend. I'll post any results, good or bad.
 
J

Jeff Layman

Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD from
here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in another
computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file was
unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without, but
nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.
Do what Alias told you to do in the first place.

The freezer trick is well established for getting files off disks. If
the disk controller electronics are screwed you are wasting valuable
time with attempted software fixes, and possibly making any data
recovery less likely. Get the HD out of the computer, put it in a
polythene bag, and put it in the freezer (I would leave it there for 2
hours).

In the first place I would replace the frozen disk in the computer and
try to boot from it. Have an external USB HDD or memory stick handy and
as soon as the disk comes to life start copying files over. After a
short time the disk will fail again. Repeat the freezer trick as many
times as you can. It will eventually fail as the electronic component
responsible for the fault fails beyond repair. If it won't boot first
time around, boot from and use the Linux liveCD to try to read files
from the frozen HDD.
 
M

Michel S.

Toshiba laptop with Win7 Home Premium. Started by getting file access
errors, then eventually wouldn't boot. I've tried the System Rescue CD
from here:
http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
and was able to access the directory structure, but no files would show up.

There is about 220GB used on the 250GB drive. I put the drive in
another computer and ran Chkdsk, which basically said that every file
was unreadable, as it ran for a solid 80 hours.

Question is: What recovery software have you used that might be able to
recover any of the files? These are mostly my daughter's pictures and
music, with some school work thrown in. Nothing she can't live without,
but nonetheless have high value to her. Any help would be appreciated.
Hello,
I realize that because of the age of the laptop and its HDD, the
following may be hard or even next to impossible but here's another
approach.

Remove the disk and note carefully its make, model and capacity.
Search/scavenge (!) the web, contact the manufacturer, resellers, etc
for the exact same model.
Transfer its electronics (pvc board) to the failed one using antistatic
techniques, try to boot.
Success: t'was the electronics. Fail: mecanical.
Way cheaper than retrieval firms.

Mike S.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Do what Alias told you to do in the first place.

The freezer trick is well established for getting files off disks. If
the disk controller electronics are screwed you are wasting valuable
time with attempted software fixes, and possibly making any data
recovery less likely. Get the HD out of the computer, put it in a
polythene bag, and put it in the freezer (I would leave it there for 2
hours).

In the first place I would replace the frozen disk in the computer and
try to boot from it. Have an external USB HDD or memory stick handy and
as soon as the disk comes to life start copying files over. After a
short time the disk will fail again. Repeat the freezer trick as many
times as you can. It will eventually fail as the electronic component
responsible for the fault fails beyond repair. If it won't boot first
time around, boot from and use the Linux liveCD to try to read files
from the frozen HDD.
I would *strongly* recommend against trying to boot from the disk, or
doing anything else that might try to write to it.

Attach it to another computer via a USB or other adapter and copy its
files to a different disk (I have used a second external disk to do
this).

One should also do the same if using recovery software. Don't try to
install it to the broken disk.
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

Hello,
I realize that because of the age of the laptop and its HDD, the
following may be hard or even next to impossible but here's another
approach.

Remove the disk and note carefully its make, model and capacity.
Search/scavenge (!) the web, contact the manufacturer, resellers, etc
for the exact same model.
Transfer its electronics (pvc board) to the failed one using antistatic
techniques, try to boot.
Success: t'was the electronics. Fail: mecanical.
Way cheaper than retrieval firms.

Mike S.
Excellent idea - thanks!
 
J

Jeff Layman

I would *strongly* recommend against trying to boot from the disk, or
doing anything else that might try to write to it.
That's a good point. I guess that an exception might be if the disk is
encrypted (eg with Bitlocker). Then you'd need to boot from it (I guess
- is there another way?) to get access to the files. But I see from the
OP that we are talking about Home Premium here, so no Bitlocker involved.
Attach it to another computer via a USB or other adapter and copy its
files to a different disk (I have used a second external disk to do
this).
Thinking about this a bit more, I wonder if it would be possible to
place the faulty disk in an external USB box, and using a long enough
cable, keep that inside the freezer while an attempt is made to read
data from it. If the disk is kept cold, maybe reading would be
successful for a lot longer.
 
C

charlie

Excellent idea - thanks!
The only problem is finding an exactly identical HD!
There is a fair chance that the the substitute electronics
on the same model are only partially compatible, which can result in
partial or total data loss. The logical/physical mapping is just one issue.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Thinking about this a bit more, I wonder if it would be possible to
place the faulty disk in an external USB box, and using a long enough
cable, keep that inside the freezer while an attempt is made to read
data from it. If the disk is kept cold, maybe reading would be
successful for a lot longer.
Great idea - or use a laptop and a shorter cable.

The main advantage (in my view) is that while the freezer is open, you
can take out the ice cream and serve yourself a bowl to help make the
whole task a lot pleasanter.
 
C

Char Jackson

Great idea - or use a laptop and a shorter cable.

The main advantage (in my view) is that while the freezer is open, you
can take out the ice cream and serve yourself a bowl to help make the
whole task a lot pleasanter.
I don't have this idea fully thought out yet but there should be a way to
slip a sandwich bag over the drive and push it down into the ice cream
container. That should keep it cool for a while and you can snack on the ice
cream while you work.
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

I don't have this idea fully thought out yet but there should be a way to
slip a sandwich bag over the drive and push it down into the ice cream
container. That should keep it cool for a while and you can snack on the ice
cream while you work.
That's exactly the idea I needed - many thanks...BTW, I had to calm down
a bit before trying to type this :)

I'd suggest Gorilla tape around the cable and the edge of the bag to
make the setup waterproof. I mean ice-cream proof.
 
C

Char Jackson

That's exactly the idea I needed - many thanks...BTW, I had to calm down
a bit before trying to type this :)

I'd suggest Gorilla tape around the cable and the edge of the bag to
make the setup waterproof. I mean ice-cream proof.
Marketing opportunity? :)
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

Let Ben & Jerry's know. They already have Chunky Monkey - I'm sure they
can come up with a name...
After careful and long consideration (15 or 20 seconds) I came up with
"Chkdsk Chocolate".

I suspect almost anybody can come up with a better one than that :)
 

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