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Need To Rescue Internal HD Using External Enclosure


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#1 Mitch_H

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 01:24 PM

I am a developer that made a nasty newbie mistake, I didn't backup all the appropriate folders on my development server. I woke up the other day to a blue screen of death, and have not been able to recover the hard drive. I purchased a new hard drive, and reinstalled most of my programs, but have lost tremendous amounts of work and several MySql databases.

I believe that the hardware is ok, but I lost the boot sector. I believe this because I downloaded several tools (after installing a new hard drive) and was actually able to see a hex dump of the drive with one tool.

I purchased a USB enclosure to help me rescue some of the data on the drive, but the drive under is not recognized by Windows XP as valid, even though it detects it when powered up. In other words, you hear the sound file played indicating a new drive was plugged in, but it does not get listed as a drive under "My Computer".

I cannot afford to send the drive to a data recovery firm. Does anybody know of any website providing instructions or tools to help recover a drive that has lost it's boot sector?

I would really appreciate any advice.

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#2 caperdog

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 01:38 PM

you can download diagnostic software from drive manufacturers web site to check drive. i think that if the drive has a messed up boot sector it should still be recognized as a mass usb storage device when installed in external enclosure so there may be more wrong than that.

i am trying to recover from a messed drive also and you may think i am nuts but if the workings of the drive are worn and stuck freezing the drive to contract the parts may work. it worked for me. i put the drive in the freezer for 4 hours and than in the external enclosure and was able to recover 15 gigs before it heated up and stuck again. refreeze and try again. good luck.

#3 Sneakycyber

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:19 AM

Are you able to see the drive in diskmgmt? ( To enter diskmgmt.msc : Hold down the windows key [key between the ctrl and alt key] and press the "R" key then type diskmgmt.msc and "ENTER"). try exploring the drive through diskmgmt. Is the drive SATA? You may want to try installing it as a slave drive and trying to access it that way. If you can gain access to the drive and the files seem to be corupt you can try Easus Data Recovery wizard I can personally vouch for its success you can download a free scanner and it will try to find your files. You only pay for it if it can find your files and you want to restore them.

Chad Mockensturm 

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#4 Mitch_H

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:48 PM

caperdog and Sneakycyber, I really appreciate your input and assistance. Thank you.

I tried everything I can think of to get the drive to be visible. I set it as the slave for IDE0 and IDE1, but when I do that, the bios no longer sees the master drive. I also tried to make it a master for IDE1, but the bios won't see it then either. Using the external enclosure, the device shows up as a USB Mass Storage device as caperdog said, however it has an exclaimation on it. The device status shows "This device cannot start. (Code 10)".

When I go into diskmgt, the device does not show up there at all.

I opened the drive (I know I'm not in a clean room, but....) , and can see that it spins up at boot-up, and the read/write heads cycle back and forth. I don't believe it's a hardware issue.

My copy of Windows XP is actually part of a recovery CD from eMachines, so it doesn't allow me to run fixmbr or fixboot. I do have some old knock-off copies of XP, but when I try to run this with just the bad drive set as the master for IDE0, I get an error saying that there is no hard drive installed to recover to.

So, I'm still pulling my hair out. Any more suggestions?

#5 Mitch_H

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:01 PM

Oh yeah, the bad drive is a Western Digital 200GB PATA WD2000BB Caviar

#6 caperdog

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:14 PM

opening the drive is a no-no but anyway. its possible the read arm is not starting in the proper position even if it is moving. does drive manufacturers diagnostic boot disk recognize the drive ? and what does it say, as far as error codes go ? their software can fix some issues.

in my case the drive messed up during our summer heat wave. i froze it again and it seems to be working fine now although it cannot be trusted. this would be a last ditch laymans effort. diagnostics first. if you plan to send to drive recovery people you should get the drive sealed up again before anything happens to platters.

#7 Sneakycyber

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:10 PM

Try the manufactures scan tools to see if the drive is recognized and can be tested. You can find the tools here. If you can not get the drive to be recognized its time to determine how valuable the information is. The information if its there, can be recovered by professionals by removing the platters in a clean room and putting them into a working host. However it is quite expensive.

Chad Mockensturm 

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Certified CompTia Network +, A +





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