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Need help with rescuing corrupted XP installation disc with Linux Ubuntu


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#1 Dave Finlay

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:42 PM

My PC's given me trouble numerous times since I first got my hands on it over two years ago, but never enough that I'd have to resort to using the installation disc. And for good reason, because its accompanying XP Pro CD is pretty much a coaster that refuses to work (the PC, and all of it's accessories were a hand-me-down, yet in good, working condition.....sans the CD). I've tried several times to slipstream it with SP3 and the PC's SATA drivers (which come on Floppy), but get tons of CRC errors that kill the procedure. Similarly, when trying to boot from CD, I get error messages about corrupted files that cancel Setup then and there. The CD has numerous scratches, but they don't appear to be serious on the surface. I could see how one misplaced scratch could ruin everything though.

I've run up against another roadblock on my PC lately, as it refuses to boot past the BIOS screen, or show the Windows XP "progress bar" screen. This was after thoroughly scanning for viruses and malware beforehand, so I'm guessing its something wrong with the XP installation. I can't turn to the installation CD because it's FUBAR'd despite my efforts. I was suggested on my earlier thread here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic361132.html/page__st__30 that I could "rescue" my damaged XP CD with an Ubuntu disc, and was directed here to ask.

Given my explanation, what do you guys think I could or should do? Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:24 PM

Note1: Instructions prepared December 6th, 2010, using the latest release of Unbuntu, version 10.10
Your comments would be appreciated if you find something to be misleading or unclear.

Note2: Since you are attempting to repair a CD, your optical drive will be in use: You should therefore make plans to load Ubuntu from a USB stick/flashdrive.

Note3: Before you begin, you should check the following, since you will need:
  • Fat32 Formatted Flash Drive (large enough ... at least 1GB size should do the trick)
  • PC with a BIOS that can boot from USB (Check this, by going to the Ubuntu download page, and under the big orange #3 "Try it", click on "Show me how" and follow the instructions.)
  • A new blank CD-R on which to burn your rescued XP installation disk.

======================================

:step1: Download Ubuntu (693 MB)

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download
Under the big orange #1 Click on "Start download".
When completed go to the big orange #2.

Under the big orange #2, select "USB stick" (and ensure "using Windows" is selected) and click on "Show me how".
At item #2, hold down the Ctrl key and click on "Download the Universal USB Installer" (in red type).
>>> You will be taken to another website (which will open as another Tab or new page in your browser).
On the new website, click on "Download Universal-USB-Installer-1.8.1.5.exe" under the "Universal USB Installer Screenshot", and in the dialog box choose to "Save file" rather than "Run", and save the file to your Desktop. When complete, you may close that page.

Back at the Ubuntu download page, and under the big orange #2 ...
Disregard the instructions at item #3, and instead double-click on the "Universal USB Installer" file that you just saved to your desktop.
Continue on with the instructions at item #4 ....
When the step at item #8 is completed, you should be ready to "Try it".

Under the big orange #3 "Try it" of the Ubuntu download page, click on "Show me how" and follow the instructions.
When complete, you should be looking at your Ubuntu LiveCD desktop.

Notes:
  • Things to note along the Main Menu bar at the top of the screen:
  • On the far-right, is the "shut-down" button, which will provide you with similar shut-down options to the "Start" button in Windows.
  • On the left, you will see the menu items "Applications", "Places" and "System": Everything that you do will start from one of these buttons.
You can connect to the internet and browse, and if you go to the BC forums, you will be able to go to your topic and read these instructions while you work.
--------------------------------------------------------------

:step2: Put your XP installation CD in the optical disk drive: If a window should open as a result of inserting the CD, simply close it by clicking on the small orange&black-coloured x at the top-far-left.

Begin following the guide:
Rescue Old, Damaged CDs with an Ubuntu Live CD

Part way down the page, where it says

Once the search index has been rebuilt, enter “ddrescue” in the Quick search text field. Two different packages will come up; make sure that you choose “gddrescue” and not “ddrescue,” which operates slightly differently.

You may have to wait some time before you start on this part: First there is some information that needs to be downloaded from the net, and then the search index will show "Rebuilding Search Index", and it may take a little more waiting, before it finishes and shows "Quick Search" above the search box. Then you may proceed .... 3 packages will show (not 2), and you should choose gddrescue ONLY (check-mark the box).

The rest of this guide will be done in a terminal window ...

At this point you may close any open windows on the desktop before starting a terminal, by clicking on the small orange&black-coloured x at the top-far-left of the window.

The next couple of steps may require some input from me, in order to assist you to get it right first-time.

Navigate to the location in which you will save the .iso file. In our case, it’s a newly mounted hard drive, so we’ll first change to the /media directory, and then use tab completion to change to the directory that represents our hard drive.


Note: Be aware that in Linux, all text entries are case sensitive and capitalisation is important and must rigorously be followed. Also when using commands everything must be exactly correct or it will not work, so pay particular attention to any spaces that must be inserted.

When you open a terminal, you are looking at a new window with the prompt:
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ _

Now type
cd /media
and press the <ENTER> key.

You should now be looking at
ubuntu@ubuntu:/media$ _

Now we need to find the name of the place where you are going to save the .ISO file.
Type the following: (that is l as in Llama, s for snake)
ls
This will show you what directories are available under "media", and you may see 2 or 3 items. In my case it looks like this:
020103_0933 apt HDD1.3
.... where "HDD1.3" is the name of my hard drive which I earlier chose as the destination for saving the .ISO file. We now need to use that information.

Now type the following, inputting your own hard drive name in place of mine:
cd HDD1.3/
(Note: the slash is after the name, not before!)
and press <ENTER>
and you should now be looking at: (with your own hard drive name and not mine)
ubuntu@ubuntu:/media/HDD1.3$ _

If so, that is good ... very good.


:step3: Now to run ddrescue, and here we leave the guide: Please follow my instructions now, which come from the following very useful link:

DjLizard's data recovery guide
http://wiki.lunarsoft.net/wiki/Data_Recovery
"There are a lot of options for controlling the block size and other functions but I highly recommend using the retries option, which is -r. If you give -r the value of -1 (negative one; not a switch) it will continue retrying forever. You can let ddrescue clone as much as it can and when you give up, press CTRL+C to abort. "

At the prompt, type the following:
ddrescue -r -1 /dev/cdrom myxpcd.iso myxpcd.log
and press <ENTER>.

I would suggest allowing it to run for perhaps 24 hours, but it depends on what you are seeing on the screen under "Current status".
Let me know how it is going, and post the figures for the following:
  • rescued:
  • ipos:
  • opos:
  • errsize:
  • errors:

When you give up, press <Ctrl + C> to stop the recovery process. Please post the final figues, as above, for me to look at.

To leave the terminal, you may either type "exit" at the prompt and press <ENTER>, or simply click on the small orange&black-coloured x at the top-far-left of the window.


:step4: On the Ubuntu desktop, you should see an icon labeled with the name of the drive on which you saved the .ISO file. Double-click on that desktop icon, and in the window that opens, locate your .ISO file. Right-click on that .ISO file, and choose "Write to disc", and with a new CD-R in the optical disk drive, burn your new XP installation CD.


:step5: Test the CD by attempting to use it to boot from in the Clevo/Sager, and choosing to start the XP Recovery Console. Success? I guess the real test of the CD will come if you attempt a repair installation, or a clean installation of XP or attempt to use it to slipstream the latest service pack & SATA drivers?

Edited by AustrAlien, 06 December 2010 - 11:39 PM.

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#3 Dave Finlay

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 02:04 AM

Okay, I've followed all the steps up to 5 correctly (on my "damaged" PC). After letting the scan run for 1 1/2 hours, I interrupted it just to give you an idea of where it stands. Here are the stats:

Current status
rescued: 407695 kB
ipos: 26655 kB
opos: 26655 kB
errsize: fluctuated between 199-200 MB
errors: 223
current rate: 0 B/s
average rate: 74573 B/s

Splitting failed blocks........

I then burned the ISO (which was approx. 430 MB in size) to a blank CD, but I believe the burning process messed up on me because, at the end, after the image was burned and the image checksum was produced, I was prompted to manually eject the CD. Seeing as it was still noticeably spinning, I clicked "Cancel", and then got an error message saying that some files may be corrupted. Regardless, I tried out the disc after restarting.......and got no prompt to "press key to boot from CD".

Did I interrupt the process too early, or did my burning session go wrong?

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 04:33 AM

Dave

With 223 errors (errors: 223) amounting to 200MB of data (errsize: fluctuated between 199-200 MB), there's a lot more work to be done if there is any hope what-so-ever of rescuing that CD. That's a lot of errors and a lot of data.

Leave it running for awhile longer. Restart the recovery again from :step3:
Edit: On second thoughts ... if you have shut the computer down, you will need to start the instructions from the beginning again (step :step2: ). It will save to the same .ISO file, and use the same log file and will pick where it left off last time.

At the prompt, type the following:
ddrescue -r -1 /dev/cdrom myxpcd.iso myxpcd.log
and press <ENTER>.


Let me know if things are looking any brighter after its been running awhile longer.

On the bright side, it seems to have got 400MB off the CD without too much trouble.

--------------------------

I put my XP SP3 installation CD in the disk drive and tested how long it would take to copy with ddrescue .... 2 minutes.
The figures:
  • rescued: 641210 kB
  • ipos: 641204
  • opos: 641204
  • errsize: 0B
  • errors: 0

------------------------------

You said: "I've followed all the steps up to 5 correctly (on my "damaged" PC)."
I gather you are using the Clevo/Sager for this work. OK.

There are a couple of other "tricks" that I'd also like to try (to retrieve more info from the CD) when your Clevo/Sager has done all it can. I'll set to work and prepare some more instructions. I will say though, I am disappointed to see so many errors and so much data not yet recovered. All we can do is try: If it fails to work, there's not much we can do about it.

Edited by AustrAlien, 08 December 2010 - 04:44 AM.

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#5 AustrAlien

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:23 AM

Dave

Here's a couple of other "additional" things you can try in an attempt to get more data off your XP installation CD.

:step1: Use a different optical disk drive: Every optical disk drive is different and some read better than others. See the following quote:
"... other suggestion would be trying several different CD-ROM (and better yet CD-R as those have more precise mechanisms). I have some two dozens drives, all different models and manufacturers. Out of those a really cheap unit marketed by KHypermedia KHCRW482448 (OEM Benq drive)can read disks other will not touch. I do not even use it in a working computer - is nicely packed in a box for emergencies only..."
by ogryzek http://www.duxcw.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=6955

Run ddrescue using your "ancient DELL PC"
First, transfer the myxpcd.iso and myxpcd.log files to the location of your choice (root of C: drive would be simplest) on the DELL, so that you continue to use them.

If you have access to other optical disk drives/other computers, try them too. When you "give up" there, with data still not recovered, resort to the next step.


:step2: When you have nothing left to lose, try toothpaste & vaseline?
Googling for "scratched cd" brings up a myriad of results with some possibilities that may help. Have a google and a good read before picking the method(s) that you might try. Be gentle and start small. Some links that may get you started follow:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/geeks-weigh-in-can-you-fix-a-scratched-cd-with-toothpaste-nb/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/fix-unreadable-cds-or-dvds-in-windows/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-can-i-fix-a-scratched-cd.htm
How to Fix a Scratched CD
http://www.howtodothings.com/electronics/a3392-how-to-repair-a-scratched-cd.html
http://lifehacker.com/155741/macgyver-tip-fix-scratched-cds-with-toothpaste
http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Fix_a_Scratched_CD
http://www.digitaltrends.com/how-to/how-to-repair-a-scratched-cd-or-dvd/

Following each little attempted clean up of the CD, run ddrescue again (of course, continuing to use the same myxpcd.iso and myxpcd.log files.

Let us know of your progress, or lack thereof.
And now, it's back to the Clevo/Sager for me.

Edited by AustrAlien, 09 December 2010 - 04:25 AM.

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#6 Dave Finlay

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 11:57 AM

Update: I started the scan up again last night. It picked off from where it left off. In the last 12 hours or so, the error size has been reduced from 198 to 154 MB while the recovery size has increased, but the number of errors has increased as well(to 824). The reduction mostly occured during the first 3 or hours since I started off the scan, and has seen little progress since. I'm beginning to doubt if this is even worth the effort anymore, as it's obvious that this CD is HEAVILY damaged. Though I do very much appreciate your patience and advice up until now AustrAlien.

As far as the disk drive suggestion, the Lite-On slim optical drive in my Clevo/Sager (which is what's being used as I speak) is at first glance, superior to the circa-2001 CD-RW drive on my Dell. The latter, while still working fine after all of these years, can't even read DVD, and has a lower CD read/write speed. Given the damage of the disc, I honestly doubt that it'll make much of a difference.

Just curious, if I can't make a bootable copy of my XP CD, is there any way I can:

- retrieve files stuck in my hard drive? I've tried to with this trial version of Ubuntu, but got a message saying that I didn't have permission.
- perhaps install this Ubuntu as an interim OS, while I can try and get my hands on either another XP CD or a copy of W7? How well of a substitute is Ubuntu to Windows?

#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 03:53 PM

Good to see that the continued running of ddrescue is resulting in improved figures for the error and recovered sizes.

You said: "I honestly doubt that it'll make much of a difference."
I urge you to continue, despite your pessimism, and despite your lack of faith in the old DELL's optical disk drive. It will not take up a lot of your time, and the result may well surprise you (I say with fingers crossed, and little faith in Lite-On hardware).

You said: "is there any way I can retrieve files stuck in my hard drive? I've tried ... but got a message saying that I didn't have permission."
Yes, this is not unusual, and not a problem. I will work on this now and get back to you shortly with the instructions.

You said: "trial version of Ubuntu"
It is not a trial version: What you have is the "real" version. It runs just the same, whether installed on a USB flashdrive or installed on your internal HDD. There is one thing different that we could have done though: We could have enabled "persistence" on the USB flashdrive, so that any changes you make (such as installing ddrescue, or any updates or any downloads or any files that you create etc) are saved to the flash drive for the next time that you boot up. You can of course, save files to your internal hard drive also.

You asked: "How well of a substitute is Ubuntu to Windows?"
That depends on your own particular needs. Try it to find out, is the best answer to your question. For some people it is not a substitute: They do use it in preference to Windows. There are many other varieties of Linux too, and one that I find a little "flasher" and more pleasing on the eye is Linux Mint.

I haven't given up entirely on resurrecting the Clevo/Sager, and intend to have another look at it in the next day or so. I will get back to you on that.
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#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 01:52 AM

if I can't make a bootable copy of my XP CD, is there any way I can retrieve files stuck in my hard drive? I've tried to ... but got a message saying that I didn't have permission.

From what you have said, it seems that you can see/access all your folders & files, but can't "retrieve" them. Is that correct? How have you "tried to" retrieve your files?

Try the following:
With a second USB flashdrive plugged in, have you tried the right-click > Send to option?

Have you checked permissions? Right-click on the folder/file > Properties > Permissions tab

The following may help if you are having trouble mounting a drive:

Use Ubuntu Live CD to Backup Files from Your Dead Windows Computer

Part way down the page, starting "Once the system has started up, the first thing you want to do is choose Places \ Computer from the menu."
It then goes on to say "You can try and double-click on the drive to open it… and if it immediately works then lucky you! Most of the time it’s going to give you an error saying “Unable to mount the volume”, because Windows didn’t shut it down cleanly."

Is this applicable to your situation?
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#9 Dave Finlay

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:24 AM

Yes, I've now been able to save files from my HDD, just wasn't able to save them to the same USB drive I've installed Ubuntu to. Had to save them to a secondary USB drive. I've had no trouble accessing or mounting the internal HDD since I first started using LiveCD.

I've been wondering.........even though I had previously mentioned in the earlier thread that I'd ruled out viruses as the cause of my problem, what if this is indeed the case? Is there any way I can test for viruses and malware with Ubuntu? In trying to access malware apps from my Windows installation (and pretty much every other app in my Windows installation), I get error messages basically saying that I can't open them because "End-of-central-directory signature not found". I'm guessing that, because they're in a different OS installation and configured for it, I can't use them with Ubuntu. If this is the case, then is there anything else I could do to utilize my existing apps, and watch already-installed music and video with Ubuntu?

Would it cause any problems or interference with my XP installation should I get it up and running again? And can I easily wipe it from my HDD when I'm done with it?

EDIT: Tried to install Ubuntu anyways. Things seemed to go well initially. I chose an approx. 10 GB partition for it when I was told to allocate drive space. I chose to install it alongside the XP installation, and not wipe my HDD. The installation remained stuck at the screen where I was asked to input my name, computer name, nickname and password, as the "Forward" button was not highlighted. At the bottom, it said that it was "looking for the time from a network server". Waiting too much, I decided to shut down as I could'nt close the Setup whatsover. I now have a 9.6 GB partition, but get no indication of Ubuntu when booting up my Clevo. Did the installation go wrong? *sigh*, what a headache this is all turning out to be....thanks for your patience so far.

Edited by Dave Finlay, 12 December 2010 - 04:22 AM.


#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:36 AM

I've now been able to save files from my HDD ...

That's all good news.

I think perhaps I should reply to the rest of your post in your other thread:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic361132.html/page__view__findpost__p__2052742
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#11 Dave Finlay

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:50 PM

I'm back from a brief hiatus, AustrAlien.

In trying to continue the Windows XP CD Rescue job on my Dell, I've configured its BIOS to boot my USB drive first. The BIOS has two options for boot order: an general one and one specifically for the device (HDD, removable device/floppy drive and CD-ROM). The BIOS reads my USB drive as a HDD, not as a removable device (the only one of which is listed being the floppy drive), so I set it for the USB drive to boot first in the HDD-only option. The general option only allows me to set "Hard Drive", not the USB drive specifically, as first in the boot order.

Despite these settings, I don't get the Ubuntu boot menu as I do on the Clevo, as the PC goes straight to booting Windows XP. The Dell BIOS isn't as flexible as the Clevo BIOS when it comes to boot order, its more simplified. Any suggestions?

#12 AustrAlien

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:23 AM

G'day Dave

What you have done sounds good to me and I would have thought that it would now boot from the USB flashdrive.

Please post the DELL model details so that I can google for a user manual and check out the BIOS options myself.

I am wondering if the Menu allows you to set the USB flashdrive as first boot device, as well as second and third boot devices also. Sometimes that has been known to help.
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#13 Dave Finlay

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:20 AM

It's a Dell Dimension 4400, from Fall 2001.

#14 AustrAlien

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:34 AM

So far, I have not found anything specific about the issue of booting to a USB drive with a Dell Dimension 4400.

I don't know whether this will help you or not, but will include it anyway:

During the computers initial boot the BIOS supplier will be displayed. If the OEM(Original Equiptment Manufacturer) logo splash screen is displayed, press the ESC key to see the boot up information. Press the Pause/Break key if text displays too fast.



Instructions for the "Dell™ Dimension™ 3000" are specific:

Boot Sequence
This feature allows you to change the boot sequence for devices.
Option Settings
* USB Flash Device — Insert the memory device into a USB port and restart the computer. When F12 = Boot Menu appears in the upper-right corner of the screen, press <F12>. The BIOS detects the device and adds the USB flash option to the boot menu.

You can use this feature, for example, to restart your computer to a USB device such as a floppy drive, memory key, or CD-RW drive.
NOTE: If you are booting to a USB floppy drive, you must first set the floppy drive to OFF in system setup.

1. If you are booting to a USB device, connect the USB device to a USB connector.

2. Turn on (or restart) your computer.

3. When F2 = Setup, F12 = Boot Menu appears in the upper-right corner of the screen, press <F12>.

If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft Windows desktop. Then shut down your computer and try again.

The Boot Device Menu appears, listing all available boot devices. Each device has a number next to it.

4. At the bottom of the menu, enter the number of the device that is to be used for the current boot only.

For example, if you are booting to a USB memory key, highlight USB Flash Device and press <Enter>.


Do you press <Del> key to get to the BIOS Setup Menu, or is it <F2> that you have to press?

What happens pressing <F12> instead? Do you see a boot menu by any chance?

I have to ask the obvious here: When you changed the boot order/preference to "USB drive to boot first", did you save the settings before exiting the Setup Menu?

Edit: This is the best I have found on the BIOS Setup Menu ...
System Setup Program
Dell™ Dimension™ 4400

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4400/syssetup.htm#1101215

Edited by AustrAlien, 23 December 2010 - 04:47 AM.

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#15 AustrAlien

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:02 AM

Have a look at these also, from Pendrivelinux.com:

How to Access BIOS
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/how-to-access-bios/

Additional BIOS settings – USB booting tips and tricks
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/bios-usb-booting-tips-and-tricks/

Common USB BIOS boot options
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/usb-bios-boot-options/

Edited by AustrAlien, 23 December 2010 - 05:06 AM.

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