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Are there tips to accessing a bad HD?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Snare


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Posted 24 June 2005 - 12:22 PM

My storage HD is become unaccessible to me. It shows in BIOS, but is garbled, as seen here that I copied from Everest:

"Device Description
Ma|tor$6]0<0T0$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ (]34HUR7E$ $ $ $ $ $)"

It is a Maxtor DiamondPlus 80G. It is my back-up drive unfortunately! :thumbsup:

I have Windows XP Home ed. My main drive is also the same as the back-up.
I ran Maxtor's debugging floppy and it tells me that the HD "R/W buffer test failed". I would like to know if there is a workaround fix so that I can get at and hopefully save the data myself. It is still warranted by Maxtor, and my replacement arrived today, so I have 30 days to send this faulty one back to Maxtor.

I went 1-1 with an online data service who said that recovery by them would run $400.00 to $1800.00 (ZOIKS!!!) depending on the severity and difficulty.

I would appreciate any info you may have.

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#2 pchartwell


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Posted 24 June 2005 - 01:49 PM

I may not be understanding you fully.

Are you saying that one drive (the backup, storage one) already went bad and is being replaced. But now your principal drive is acting up as well? Can you now get your PC to boot up and see the data on the primary drive at all?

If I've got that correct it sounds very serious. If both drives went bad or were defective then you're going to have to reload the Windows OS from scratch anyways and reinstall apps and restore your data. I would use the drive that just came back to become the new primary and install windows to it. Once you're done that slave the old primary to it and attempt to copy off all your important data. Then get that drive replaced and go back to a primary and backup configuration.

And bad as it seems, those quotes for data recovery are not out of line. You can generally expect to pay less if you're not in a time crunch about getting your data back which is another reason why they gave you a wide range. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

#3 stidyup


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Posted 24 June 2005 - 03:41 PM

Ultimateboot CD 4 Windows has many tools that may recover all your data, and they are all freeware. All you need is a PC and your Winxp CD and SP1/SP2 if it's not already integrated, full details on the site.

If your going to plug the hdd into another PC have a look here for freeware file recovery tools.

If you need to access a bad drive, put the hdd in a plastic bag squeeze out all the air and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. This may not fix your problem but it's worth a shot if you can't get it to work.

Got a cooling fan for the hdd something like this, if you've not got one and even if you have got a house fan and point it at the drive. Heat is the biggest cause of hdd failure, whilst attempting recover you need to keep it cold for as long as possible, once it's warm it's likely to go again and you may not get it back. So when you plug it in make sure your ready to go. Get familiar with the tools before you use them so you know what you are going to do.

Cheap file recovery software look at the following

O&O Disk Recovery
Active File Recovery

Edited by stidyup, 24 June 2005 - 03:45 PM.

#4 the2woots


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Posted 24 June 2005 - 06:02 PM

Howdy, this is actually "Snare", but this is another logon name from my work PC. Thank you both for the replies!

The back-up HD is seperate from my main Windows HD, thank God ! I am not having any problems with my main drive. The back-up/storage HD is the one that is bad. I submitted for and received from Maxtor a replacement HD, which arrived by FedEx today, so I have to get right on trying to recovery this data if at all possible.

Funny, I do have two seperate cooling fans/units as you describe, stidyup, one on each of my HD's. And interestingly, I also always have my side panel open and a small desktop-sized fan (8 inch) blowing into the area there! The new case I bought was a heat monger so I had to resort to that.

Interesting suggestion about cooling down the HD in the freezer to try and help me get my data. I have never heard of that, but am up for trying if it gets me my data! :thumbsup:

I will look more into the websites provided after I get home from work tonight or tomorrow morning.
I appreciate both responses and I will post a reply to let you know how it all turns out.

Thanks again!

Snare / the2woots

#5 Snare

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 09:42 PM

If you need to access a bad drive, put the hdd in a plastic bag squeeze out all the air and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours.  This may not fix your problem but it's worth a shot if you can't get it to work.


OMG!! I cannot believe how much you helped me 'stidyup' !!

And just to clarify, I am also the2woots. Sorry for the confusion if any...

I dismantled my bad HD ( BAD hard drive! Bad bad hard drive!!) and placed it in a ziplock bag and, um, sucked all the air out. Don't ask ! It works.

Anyway, I placed the bag / hard drive in cold storage, my chest freezer in the garage, for just over an hour or so. I didn't have time for two, but it was cold as a popsicle.

I decided not to mount it, just hook it up and re-boot my PC. Lo and behold ... disk boot failure. Um, OK ... my startup disk / main disk is FINE ... ???

I re-booted again and ... IT BOOTED UP! I switched to safe mode, and voila! I could access the "bad" hard drive again! But ahhh, all of a sudden the NOISES and SQUEALS coming from that thing!! Ouch!! I wasn't sure it was gonna work after all. I never heard those before today, but then again, my PC is up and running almost 24-7, so a good chance I never heard it when it DID happen.

Ok, I am rambling. (I like to fill in all the blanks!!) To make a long story longer :flowers: I was successful in copying pretty much the whole danged hard drive's contents back over to my main drive, until I can pop in the NEW replacement HD and rinse and repeat.

As a matter of fact, I thought surely time was against me once this puppy warmed back up, and one "copy" instance took nearly 30 minutes to run, so I was not entirely convinced I was in the clear with this drive.

It is STILL operating!! :trumpet: I will, of course, delete every file on it and send it back to Maxtor, since the new one is here waiting to be installed.

I am extremely grateful, stidyup for those excellent words of wisdom! I was so much a doubting Thomas when I read your suggestion, but figured I did not have the $400 to $1600 to spend on a recovery service and had nothing to lose since the drive was "DOA" anyway to me.

I will certainly pass along this useful info to someone else if the time ever comes up, and give ALL the credit to YOU!

Thank you so much! :inlove:

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