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Crashed hard disk ... please advise

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Crashed hard disk ... please advise was created by ayiomamitis

Dear Group,

I was running the defragmentation utility within Win XP and it has managed to crash my hard disk. I have installed a new disk with a fresh copy of Win XP and I would like your advice as to how best to try and salvage some very critical image files from the damaged hard disk.

I have a USB cable with mini-box which allows me to install an external disk to my laptop and I have already set it up with the damaged disk. The good thing is that the damaged drive is recognized as "Drive E:" but it shows 0 bytes in use. Earlier in the day at a friend's place where we installed the new disk, precisely the same setup (with the external disk) did confirm my 35 Gb of programs and image files. My only concern is the 1-2 Gb of image files and email correspondence.

I know there is a lot of computer experience on this board (fellow hackers) and I was wondering if someone has any specific advice as to how best to tackle this problem.

I am told the SpinRite software is the bes t solution out there. Any and all advice would be very much appreciated!
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
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15 years 7 months ago #47863

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Replied by voyager on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

I think you've already got the best advice I can give, SpinRite. I've never had to use it myself (*touches wood*) but I've never heard anyone say a bad word about it and I've heard loads of people sing it's praises. Good luck with it!

Bart.
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15 years 7 months ago #47866

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Crashed Hard Disk

Anthony,
Although I have never heard of SpinRite I do know that ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery) software does work. I somehow scrambled a 250GB hard drive last year and managed to recover everyone of my photos (and lots of files I thought I had long deleted!) with the software. It took time but worked. Not only that but after recovering the files I reformatted the drive after testing it's integrity with the manufacturers disk software and am still using it with no further problems to this day.
It also has a nifty little piece of software with it which recovers photos from flash drives and cards. This was the reason I took an interest in it in the first place.

It's available at www.z-a-recovery.com/

Best of luck,
Brian
"There is a theory that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. Another theory states that this has already happened."
15 years 7 months ago #47868

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Bart/Brian,

A huge thanks for the feedback. I just downloaded ZAR and I am eager to see how it does.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
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15 years 7 months ago #47870

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed Hard Disk

It took time but worked.

Beggars can't be choosers at an old friend used to tell me.
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15 years 7 months ago #47872

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Replied by artyfarty on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,

Sorry to hear M$ Windows crashed :o , I would urge caution depending on your IT skills and simply say if the information is valuable to you why try and fix it yourself, spend a few quid and get it done professionally. This of course depends on your IT skills but if you have any doubt go to a professional otherwise you might make a bad situation worse :shock:

Would now be a good time to introduce you to Linux? :wink:

I've been there before so believe me when I say I wish you the best of luck with the recovery.
15 years 7 months ago #47876

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Crashed Hard disk

Hi Anthony,
ZAR works perfectly if the Master Boot Record has become corrupt or if the filing system has become scrambled, which is what happened in my case. If the hard drive has physical faults then SpinRite may be able to recover lost files. If you Google SpinRite you will also get some bad reports about it's claims
As ArtyFarty so rightfully advised, sometimes you have to pay to recover lost files, especially from a hard drive which is physically damaged. I recently recovered the contents of a hard drive (not mine) which was physically damaged and just about to crash completely. In this case I could hear the drive struggling to read and write and an audible "click" was heard every now and then. The sysytem would freeze after one of these clicks and a reboot would get it up and running again. Most hard drive manufacturers supply analytical software on their web sites and with this you can determine whether the drive is worth reformatting and using again. But recover your files first. The more you try and write to a scrambled hard drive the more difficult it becomes to recover lost files in my experience.
Let me know how you get on with ZAR. There is a good (but small) forum on their web site also and the guy who writes the software appears to refund your money if the software does not recover your files!
My main experience is with Micro***** systems. Linux is much better as we all know, but unfortunately the software I need to use for work is not available for Linux.
Brian
"There is a theory that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. Another theory states that this has already happened."
15 years 7 months ago #47880

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Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,

Sorry to hear M$ Windows crashed


Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but it might not have been a Windoze fault at all! Hard drives do age with time and use you know!;)
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15 years 7 months ago #47887

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Replied by voyager on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,

Sorry to hear M$ Windows crashed


Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but it might not have been a Windoze fault at all! Hard drives do age with time and use you know!;)


They do indeed. And if they are about to go belly-up then it's quite likely to happen during a stressful task like defragmentation which does put a lot of strain on a disk.

Bart.
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15 years 7 months ago #47888

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,

Sorry to hear M$ Windows crashed


Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but it might not have been a Windoze fault at all! Hard drives do age with time and use you know!;)

Seanie,

During defragmentation, the defrag utility seemed to freeze while 40% complete and at that point I pressed "Cancel" ... and my problems started thereafter.

I agree that drives to start to slowly malfunction due to age and useage but I never had any indication of a possible problem (ex. corrupted file, slow response etc).
Anthony Ayiomamitis
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15 years 7 months ago #47892

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed Hard disk

In this case I could hear the drive struggling to read and write and an audible "click" was heard every now and then. The sysytem would freeze after one of these clicks and a reboot would get it up and running again.

Brian,

The clicking is something I encountered with my first drive crash (2004) and which was replaced with the current drive (which just crashed). With the latter, the encouraging thing is that there is no absolutely "clicking" sound. Also, I can hear the drive functioning normally during attempted reads.

But recover your files first. The more you try and write to a scrambled hard drive the more difficult it becomes to recover lost files in my experience.

The recovery is certainly my number one priority. I am not writing to it since I have removed it and I am now accessing it as an external drive via the USB 1.1 port.

Let me know how you get on with ZAR. There is a good (but small) forum on their web site also and the guy who writes the software appears to refund your money if the software does not recover your files!

The problem with ZAR is that it does not even realize there is a drive available via the USB port. I will try again just in case it was a one-time bleep.

About an hour ago I rebooted with the damaged drive already connected (via USB) and I could hear the drive working. When I want into "My Computer", it showed it properly as "Drive E:" and with 34 Gb free (which is accurate). I also got a complete directory listing including the subfolders ... which is very encouraging. When I try and copy one or more files (or folders) back to my drive C (my recovery drive), it is there that I get a message that reading is temporarily not possible. Last night I did manage to grab a few small subfolders.

I hope all of this mess somehow makes sense.

As for SpinRite, as much as many people may seem to love it, I think it has problems with crashed drives were the "volume" info is missing and in spite of the fact that the files are still there.

Any idea if a reinstall of the WinXP OS would impact my existing data files? I am not sure but I think the OS goes to specific parts of a hard disk which, technically, should mean no impact on my existing data files.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
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15 years 7 months ago #47895

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Replied by voyager on topic Re: Crashed Hard disk

In this case I could hear the drive struggling to read and write and an audible "click" was heard every now and then. The sysytem would freeze after one of these clicks and a reboot would get it up and running again.

Brian,

The clicking is something I encountered with my first drive crash (2004) and which was replaced with the current drive (which just crashed). With the latter, the encouraging thing is that there is no absolutely "clicking" sound. Also, I can hear the drive functioning normally during attempted reads.

But recover your files first. The more you try and write to a scrambled hard drive the more difficult it becomes to recover lost files in my experience.

The recovery is certainly my number one priority. I am not writing to it since I have removed it and I am now accessing it as an external drive via the USB 1.1 port.

Let me know how you get on with ZAR. There is a good (but small) forum on their web site also and the guy who writes the software appears to refund your money if the software does not recover your files!

The problem with ZAR is that it does not even realize there is a drive available via the USB port. I will try again just in case it was a one-time bleep.

About an hour ago I rebooted with the damaged drive already connected (via USB) and I could hear the drive working. When I want into "My Computer", it showed it properly as "Drive E:" and with 34 Gb free (which is accurate). I also got a complete directory listing including the subfolders ... which is very encouraging. When I try and copy one or more files (or folders) back to my drive C (my recovery drive), it is there that I get a message that reading is temporarily not possible. Last night I did manage to grab a few small subfolders.

I hope all of this mess somehow makes sense.

As for SpinRite, as much as many people may seem to love it, I think it has problems with crashed drives were the "volume" info is missing and in spite of the fact that the files are still there.

Any idea if a reinstall of the WinXP OS would impact my existing data files? I am not sure but I think the OS goes to specific parts of a hard disk which, technically, should mean no impact on my existing data files.


It sounds to me like you need to mount the old drive internally instead of via USB. If this is a desktop machine that should not be a problem. If it's a laptop you'll have to borrow desktop off someone. Once the drive is internally mounted you should be able to use ZAR on it. Trying to work on a low-level drive problem over USB is a bad idea and probably won't work. A lot of data is not passed along the IDE-USB bridge.

As for SpinRite, since you can see the folders and mount the disk I don't think the volume info is missing.

Finally, don't re-install WinXP on to the drive. Don't write to it at all. Writing to it is the worst thing you can do as it will dramatically lower your chances of recovery.
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15 years 7 months ago #47896

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Replied by Macros42 on topic Re: Crashed Hard disk

Any idea if a reinstall of the WinXP OS would impact my existing data files? I am not sure but I think the OS goes to specific parts of a hard disk which, technically, should mean no impact on my existing data files.


It won't affect your existing data files as long as you don't tell it to format the hard disk. That will be one of the options during the install and it will give you a warning about data deletion so you can't miss it.

How old is your PC? If it's fairly new it should have SATA. I'd recommend getting 2 data drives and setting up mirroring. That's my set up at home - RAID0 basically mirrors all data from one disk to the other. That way if one drive fails I lose nothing. I know this is locking the door after the horse has bolted but might save you some heartache in the future.
Steve
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15 years 7 months ago #47897

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Replied by SeanOSullivan on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,
From the sounds of it, the clicking I mean, is that the reading heads on the disk are about to come loose. I didn't read to whole thread but I saw that the lads were suggesting recovery software, that s deffinetly the way to go if the disk lasts that long. In work we have this problem all the time and if the data is very valuable we send it out to a crowd that re-consitutes the drive by opening it in a vacum and recreates the drive from stratch.

believe it or believe it not, when the disk is completely gone and it won't read anything off the disk, as a last ditch effort we have put the disk in a freezer over night and 1 out of 5 times it will work, but you have to try and get everything of the disk staright away. It has something to do with the reading heads and the disk contracting with heat and age, and sticking to the disk.

It sounds whacky, but it has worked on many occasions for me so..... 8-)

I just read more of the thread and since it isn't clicking then forget the above . I would slave that disk internally off another disk and change the jumpers on the disk to slave. Then straight away schedule a check disk on that the slaved disk. If it doesn't show up in my computer, it is usually the jumpers settings on the master or slaved disk.

My two cents :roll:

Best of luck and let us know how it goes!!

Regards

Sean
15 years 7 months ago #47901

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Replied by DaveGrennan on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Anthony,

I the files on it are *really* important to you, the best advice I can give is take it to a professional recovery firm. They are expensive but you are at far less risk. Any tinkering you might try could very easily make things worse.

Hope it works out for you.
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15 years 7 months ago #47943

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Hard disk crash

Hi Anthony,
As an exercise I have just connected a 500mb USB hard drive to my sysytem and ran ZAR. It found the drive no problem and listed its contents.
My USB drive is a dedicated USB 2 drive. Yours appears to be a an internal hard drive which you are trying to connect through a USB port by means of a USB mini port

Question. Is it powered from the USB port? Some motherboards cannot power another hard drive through a USB port. I have a seperate mains connection for my USB hard drive. I didn't even try to run it directly through USB power only. I have been down that road before and wrecked a motherboard. So be careful there!

When I want into "My Computer", it showed it properly as "Drive E:" and with 34 Gb free (which is accurate). I also got a complete directory listing including the subfolders ... which is very encouraging. When I try and copy one or more files (or folders) back to my drive C (my recovery drive), it is there that I get a message that reading is temporarily not possible.


This is exactly the message I received when I thrashed my hard drive. In your case I think the volume settings became corrupt when you interupted defragmentation. So your files are still there. Its just that the OS does not know where to find them any more because it's "index " is missing so to speak. ZAR can look for missing volumes and to some extent reconstruct them if it can.
My thrashed hard drive was an internal secondary drive powered off the power supply. So I think putting the hard drive back into a known working system, with its jumper settings switched to slave is the best way to go, as has already been pointed out. Check in the bios on boot up and see if it is recognised as a slave. If I recall correctly I spent a good 24 hours over a weekend recovering my data, a lot of which was spent looking up info on the web before I proceeded with each step.

Failing all this you can mail it to me and I will give it a go for you!
Brian
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15 years 7 months ago #47944

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Gentlemen,

I got a call from the local professional data recovery service and they confirmed for me that the problem with the hard disk is physical as opposed to logical/software.

They asked me to locate a second hard disk with precisely the same specs as the crashed disk so as to presumably transfer the magnetic media onto the new unit.

Is anyone aware of any outfit in Ireland (with a web presence) whom I can contact with my requirements? I need the following:

Seagate 60 Gb hard disk .... model ST960822A
PN:9w3237-505
FW:3.02
Site: AMK
Made in Singapore
PCB: 1003422440 REV A

I have sent an email to Seagate Tech Support to find out how perfectly I have to match these specs and whether they can help me obtain such a unit (which I doubt).

I have found a unit on eBay which seems to match perfectly but the fellow will only ship within the US and he is selling the PCB.

Thanks for any possible leads and advice.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
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15 years 7 months ago #48280

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Crashed hard disk

Anthony,
I cannot find a company in Ireland that sells this hard drive but here is one in the UK that may have what you are looking for.
This is their web page.
www.microdirect.co.uk/ProductInfo.aspx?P...&source=Dealtime

Hope this is the one,
Brian
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15 years 7 months ago #48281

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Brian,

A thousand thank you's would not be enough. With over 60 units available, they are bound to have the unit I need.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
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15 years 7 months ago #48282

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Crashed hard drive

Anthony,
Re Microdirect.co.uk
Make sure they have the correct Seagate manufacturers no.! I just noticed another glitch on their web site where they list one man.no at the top of the page but in effect are selling a different model. They seem to list your model no. as ST96812A also. I am not sure if they are two different hard drives and are compatible, maybe Seagate can advise on that one or even your local professional data recovery service
I also found your hard drive on German web sites but as my German is useless you will have to find someone to help with translation for you.
Look at all these !
www.hardwareschotte.de/hardware/preise/p...0822A+Momentus+54002

Regards,
Brian
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15 years 7 months ago #48283

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Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Brian,,

Thanks for the advice and additional info. I have also sent an email to Seagate to see which additional hardwware configurations (ie. drive models) are compatible.

I am really hoping something materializes out of all of this mess.
Anthony Ayiomamitis
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15 years 6 months ago #48307

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Replied by Greenflashman on topic Crashed hard drive

Hi Anthony,
If you cannot get a matching hard drive,try this software. I have succesfully used Disk Patch to rebuild damaged partitions and recover data. This software is called iRecover and is made by the same company as Disk Patch. Again there is a trial version which can take hours to rebuild the file system on a hard drive and then only allows you to save one folder. However this software also has a free mode which states

# The iRecover trial version allows you to recover the contents of one folder each time you run it. There are no file size limitations! (Also see file validation below)

# In digital image recovery mode, iRecover operates as freeware with no functional limitations. Recover lost or deleted digital photos, images, pictures and multimedia from all types of digital media including digital cameras, SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Sony Memory Sticks, IBM Micro Drives, Flash cards, harddisk, and others.


It could be worth downloading the trial version and seeing if the mode known as "Digital Image Recovery mode" can actually find your lost photos. No harm at this stage.

www.diydatarecovery.nl/irecover.htm

Brian
PS Why do the data recovery specialists need to recover your data to an exact copy of your hard drive? I have recovered files from a broken hard drive to a completely different model before with no problems.
"There is a theory that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. Another theory states that this has already happened."
15 years 6 months ago #48315

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Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Anthony - I hope this is going in the right direction for you.

After a similar situation a few months back, I can empathise.

I recommend (as I did) you seriously consider upgrading your PC to include either some kind of backup system or RAID.

Personally, I found backing up a pain and I'd forget (I know there is software but it didn't help me much). So, I have just bought a whole new PC and have RAID 10 working away quite nicely. As it happens, we had a power cut this evening - and on a power up, the RAID system kicked in, checked the volume and fixed all errors. Just like that!

With the price of hard-disks being cheap, I went for four 500 GB disks which gives me a 1 terabyte RAID 10 volume and complete peace of mind.

Consider it and avoid this pain again...

Dave
15 years 6 months ago #48367

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Replied by Brian Richards on topic Re: Crashed hard disk ... please advise

Hi Anthony,

As previously stated, don't try to do anything with this drive while you have it connected via USB.
The best way to recover anything is with the IDE connection, if your PC doesn't have a dual IDE controller just use the one on your CD or DVD drive.

One other recovery utility I have found to be good is OnTrack, it should be able to recover your data.

I would also offer to try to recover your data for you, I've been working in the It industry for nearly 20 years and have come up against this problem more than once, and have had a great deal of success.

Best of luck !!
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15 years 6 months ago #48370

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