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HDD won't work after booting from external HDD


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#1 Nayr747

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 05:09 AM

So I tried to boot my laptop from an external hard drive enclosure with my laptop's old 120 GB Western Digital HDD in it by going into the BIOS and changing the boot sequence to "USB Storage Device". When I did, something happened to the 320 GB Western Digital HDD that was in the laptop (with all my important files on it). Now every time I turn it on it says:

"A disk read error occurred
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart"

I've done a lot of searching and did all the suggestions I could find with no luck. Some of these include:

Ran PSA+ Pre-boot System Assessment from Dell's BIOS menu
Result: Pre-boot system assessment complete. No diagnostic utility partition identified. Pease select ok to reboot your system.

Ran CHKDSK /R /P from the recovery console
Result: "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."

Ran FIXBOOT from recovery console
Result: "FIXBOOT cannot find the system drive, or the drive specifid is not valid."

Ran FIXMBR from recovery console
Result: "The new master boot record has been successfully written."

BOOTCFG /SCAN
"Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system, which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk errors.

Removed all power to laptop including the small CMOS battery from the motherboard in order to reset the BIOS to use defaults
Result: no change

I also used Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Tools, which finds the HDD's correct model number, WDC WD3200BEKT-22F3T0 (a Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Black), but it says the capacity is 118 GB (around the formatted capacity of the 120 GB HDD that was plugged in via USB). So I can only guess that somehow some identifying part of the 120 GB HDD got transferred over and the 320 GB HDD now thinks it's the 120 GB HDD. Both the quick scan and the extended scan find no errors, and results in "error/status code = 0000".

The only thing I can think to do now is to put the 320 GB in the external enclosure, connect it to another laptop, click format, and hope that Pandora Recovery can recover all the data. The laptop is a Dell E1505 running XP. Would really appreciate any help! :)

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#2 s1lents0ul

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:10 AM

Have you went into BIOS and checked the boot order, I see you reset to default, but you should manually check the boot order.
==]--s1lents0ul-->

#3 Nayr747

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:22 AM

Have you went into BIOS and checked the boot order, I see you reset to default, but you should manually check the boot order.


Yes I did. Thanks for the suggestion though!

#4 hamluis

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:37 PM

<<The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems.>>

My understanding of that is...Chkdsk ran into something it cannot overcome and one of the things chkdsk cannot overcome is a file system that is screwed up.

The other would be hard drive damage of some sort.

<<Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system, which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any disk errors.>>

There are utilities which purport to be able to repair file systems...I would just delete the partition and create a new one and then reinstall. I've not found any of these utilities to work on my systems as advertised.

But others may have different experiences.

Louis

#5 Nayr747

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 05:06 AM

I would just delete the partition and create a new one and then reinstall.


I'm not really an expert on this stuff so you'll have to bear with me. Do you mean use the Windows CD to do a repair install? My main goal is to be able to recover my data, so what kind of chances would I have of being able to do that if I reinstall?

Another thing I leaned is that when I attach the drive in the external to another laptop and click on format (just wanted to see what kind of info it would give me) it says that the capacity is 110 GB. So will reinstalling (if that's what you're talking about) get the capacity back to 320 GB?

#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:29 AM

My main goal is to be able to recover my data

If you wish to recover your files, do not do anything to that 320GB hard drive at this time. Do not format and do not attempt to install or repair-install the operating system.

Please tell us what happens when you connect the 320GB hard drive via USB enclosure to another laptop. Are you able to browse its contents using Windows Explorer, and see the files on it? If not, what do you see?

How many drives/partitions are on the 320GB hard drive?

Do you have another drive that can be connected via USB to the laptop in question to retrieve your data? Please report the size of that hard drive and the available space on it. Also, report how much data there is on the 320GB hard drive to be recovered.

Does the laptop in question (either laptop for that matter!) have an optical drive that can be used to run a bootable CD?

Edit ...
You said: "I tried to boot my laptop from an external hard drive enclosure with my laptop's old 120 GB Western Digital HDD in it"
Why did you do this?
Were you able to successfully boot to the old HDD? If not, what happened?
Does the old HDD have a problem of some sort?
Does the old HDD have a serious malware infection on it by any chance?

Edited by AustrAlien, 09 February 2011 - 06:34 AM.

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#7 Nayr747

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:30 PM


My main goal is to be able to recover my data

If you wish to recover your files, do not do anything to that 320GB hard drive at this time. Do not format and do not attempt to install or repair-install the operating system.

Please tell us what happens when you connect the 320GB hard drive via USB enclosure to another laptop. Are you able to browse its contents using Windows Explorer, and see the files on it? If not, what do you see?

How many drives/partitions are on the 320GB hard drive?

Do you have another drive that can be connected via USB to the laptop in question to retrieve your data? Please report the size of that hard drive and the available space on it. Also, report how much data there is on the 320GB hard drive to be recovered.

Does the laptop in question (either laptop for that matter!) have an optical drive that can be used to run a bootable CD?

Edit ...
You said: "I tried to boot my laptop from an external hard drive enclosure with my laptop's old 120 GB Western Digital HDD in it"
Why did you do this?
Were you able to successfully boot to the old HDD? If not, what happened?
Does the old HDD have a problem of some sort?
Does the old HDD have a serious malware infection on it by any chance?


Well, I wish I would have waited a bit and read your post. I did attempt to do a repair install. It made me format it, but I chose quick format since I thought I'd have a better chance at recovering data. The repair option wasn't available after that, so I decided to just take it out of laptop, put in in the external enclosure, and connect it to the other working laptop so I could use Pandora Recovery since it would at least be recognized since it was formatted. After hours of Pandora scanning, it didn't find too much so I don't know what to do now.

To answer your questions, when I connect the 320 GB in the external to another laptop, there's a pop up saying I have to format it.

I think there was only one partition that I was aware of.

I do have a Seagate 320 GB external with maybe 150 GB free, and an empty 40 GB ebay external.

Thankfully I happened to back up most of it before it died, but there was still maybe 10-20 GB that was missed in a few specific folders.

It does have an optical drive.

I tried booting from the old 120 GB in the external because I needed to get the EFS certificate and or password since some files that I had transferred over to the new 320 GB from the old 120 GB were encrypted for some reason. These files could not be opened on the 320 GB and were no longer on the 120 GB. I wasn't having any luck trying to find the certificate using the 120 in the external so I thought booting from it would work. When I tried to boot from it, I don't remember exactly what happened but it didn't work.

The old 120 GB drive didn't have any problems I was aware of or any malware problems.

#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:01 PM

I am sorry that I posted too late to prevent you formatting the drive. As far as I am aware, your only recourse now is to attempt data recovery as you have already tried with Pandora, or resort to expensive professional recovery services.

One data recovery program that I have seen being recommended on the forums:
Recuva - Undelete, Unerase, File Recovery - Home - http://www.recuva.com/

Good luck.
AustrAlien
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