Tuesday: Noticed that things on my computer were slowing to a crawl. Firefox took forever to load new pages, even opening a document took ages. Shut down the computer, went to bed.
Wednesday: Noticed that my computer did not actually shut down, still slow to a crawl. Rebooted computer. Upon reboot, the computer POST'ed as normal, but then took ages on this loading screen with a long horizontal bar alternating between grey and black. As it loaded, the black boxes turned grey. Enter Windows XP Splash Screen. And we get stuck here loading up. Held on the splash screen for 30 minutes plus.
Rebooted computer, tried safe mode, tried last known good configuration, nothing would work.
Went into BIOS, everything seemed fine there.
At the suggestion of a friend, took a DamnSmallLinux Live CD and booted to it. No speed problems, computer ran fine at normal speed.
At this point we ruled out hardware failure except possibly HDD. Other culprits possible include Windows issue, or virus.
Removed HDD from laptop and put into enclosure, plugged into Win7 machine. Tried to do a virus scan, but it took forever. Repeated on a different Laptop (Laptop
same issue. Data transfer rate is appox 500 kBps on USB from SATA hard drive to enclosure to usb to computer.
Thursday: Tried to run antivirus again on the other 2 machines, once again, no luck. Decided to do a backup of data and then reinstall windows and try that. When using windows explorer (of the Win7 Machine) to explore the HDD in question, it loaded each screen very slowly. Further, it would not let me access the MyDocuments folder to attempt a copy-paste into a hard drive since I did not have owner permissions. I tried to set the owner permissions (yes I know how to do it, but I'm not going to describe the procedure here since I did it for all sub-levels too) it took forever in processing so I killed that after 20 minutes.
Inserting a known good, small SATA drive into Laptop A )the laptop in question), I booted into it fine. This was my backup drive however I have not backed up since March and I have some very important documents for an application that I have created between now and then.
I boot into my backup without issues and computer runs at normal speed. After plugging in my HDD in question, I click to explore and it takes forever per click to navigate to the correct folder (my documents) which I want to copy. (Each click to select the folder takes about 30 seconds, each double click to open the folder takes from 2 up to 15 minutes)
Right now, I was able after 3 hours to get the my document's folder "right clicked" to select the copy menu item, and then over to my 1TB External HD to right click there and hit paste. As soon as I was done clicking copy and I went over to my external drive in windows explorer, my computer acted at the right speed again, so I am almost 100% positive this is a hard disk problem. Now I have been stuck on "Preparing to copy" for about 20 minutes. HDD is a little bit hot, but nothing out of the ordinary in my experience.
I plan on going to bed (it's 3:30 AM here) and seeing if we have made any progress in the morning. Maybe I'll get lucky and get the 30ish Gigs of drafts, blueprints, and most importantly application paper files over by the time I awake!
Failing that, I hear that a clone of the disk (taken sector for sector so the data is preserved and written faster than doing what I am doing) can work, but I have no idea how to do that. I would like to do it to one of my HDDs I have, but all the instructions I have found online for free programs teach you how to do it to a brand new, or formatted drive.
So, I am open to suggestions, (or an education on how to clone my drive) but the goal is to get my data back. I have a backup from a few months ago and I know where the important files are that I have changed since then.
To further help, here's what I have at hand:
Currently in use doing the copy-paste doo-hicky that's stuck on "preparing to copy"
-Laptop A with SATA Backup inserted in the internal slot
-Fantom 1TB External HDD with approx 700 GB Free, connects via USB
-"Bad?" HDD with SATA enclosure, connects via USB, 500GB capacity, about 360 GB free
Other things (not is use) I have at hand:
-Win7 Desktop with 1TB internal SATA drive
-Laptop B with about 8GB free space (Win7)
-Laptop C with about 10 GB free space (Vista)
-2 external hard drive with about 40 to 50 GB of capacity each, formatted
-various internal hard drives at maximum of about 80 GB, so nothing that will fit my approx 150 GB of data on the bad HDD.
- Various enclosures to fit the HDDs but the rest are all IDE. The only SATA HDD enclosure is the one in use above, and the only HDD hard drives I have are the internal 3.5 in my Win7 machine, the internal in my enclosure, and the backup internal in Laptop A.
Once again, thank you for any help you might be able to give me.