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Hard drive problem


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#1 breakingbad

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:59 PM

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Hello when I turned on my computer before it would stay stuck on the windows start up screen with with windows logo and below it stating "starting windows" it stayed stuck on it for a long period of time. I simply could not get past it. I also tried windows start up repair however it never loaded. I could not boot it in safe mode either. Eventually I left it alone for probably 45 minutes on the starting windows screen. The screen now showed a check disk result scan. I left it on for another hour however the check disk results remained the same.

http://i917.photobucket.com/albums/ad17/printingmoney/chkdskresults.jpg

I have three hard drives on my computer. The E drive is the second hard drive I installed in the computer. It is a western digital drive. Looking at the check disk results I realized that there is probably an error with the E drive and unplugged it from my computer. The computer now starts normally, however my concern is what has happened to my hard drive. I have never had any hard drive problems in the past. Did my hard drive crash or is it something else? How can i get any of my data back? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Cliff notes:
View picture. The check disk did not progress any further. The computer will not get past the Windows logo screen with the hard drive plugged in. Does anyone know what the problem is with my hard drive and how to fix it or salvage the lost information it is infact gone.

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#2 Allan

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 07:12 AM

Either run chkdsk /r on the drive in question (autocheck does NOT run chkdsk /r) or visit the website of the hd manufacturer and download and run their diagnostic utility on the drive. Could be something minor, but in the end ALL drives eventually develop problems and die - it's simply a matter of time.

#3 AustrAlien

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:26 AM

How important is it that you retrieve the data from your ailing HDD? The first priority is retrieving your data if it is important to you. It is likely that your hard drive is failing and no longer fit for use, but that can be investigated after your data is retrieved.

Note: There are no guarantees in data recovery: It is possible that you will not be able to recover the data at all.

Please read the following link: DjLizard's data recovery guide

The first thing that should be done is to clone your ailing HDD to another known good HDD, so that you can attempt to retrieve your data from the cloned copy rather than from the ailing HDD. Do you have a spare (empty) HDD of equal or greater capacity than the ailing one that can be connected directly to the computer along with the ailing one? It needs to be a bare hard drive (not an "external" USB-connected HDD). The cloning would be done using a Linux operating system run from a bootable CD or bootable USB flashdrive.

It is possible that the data could be retrieved without first making a cloned copy, but there is always the risk that the HDD will fail completely while the data retrieval is in progress and you will lose any opportunity to recover the data.

How you choose to go about the data recovery is ultimately up to you and the resources that you have available. If you wish to proceed, I will walk you step-by-step through the process, so there is no need to feel daunted, or that it is beyond your capability.

Edited by AustrAlien, 24 June 2011 - 06:45 AM.

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#4 breakingbad

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:41 PM

My top priority is retrieving my data. I read the data recovery guide but am very unfamiliar with the majority of context. There is a topic on IDE I assume this is irrelevant to me since my hard drives are SATA? Is this correct to assume that? I also do not understand the booting methods category when it states

"If you put RIPLinux on a USB drive (as described on the RIPLinux site) then you should use the non-initramfs method as it boots a bit faster than the initramfs method, but this depends on your system
Basically, if you are in the US using a QWERTY keyboard, just select the second menu item, which uses the initramfs and skips the keymap prompt. Otherwise, choose the appropriate keymap for your keyboard by selecting the first menu item."

The second option however seems to be with using initramfs contradicting his suggestion. Also I am not sure what initramfs are despite googling it (I am not sure if it is important for me to know regardless however). Do you suggest burning the file to a cd or using usb?

My hard drive that crashed is a 1tb from western digital. I did not read anything regarding hard drive size but I thought it may be relevant.

I would really appreciate a step-by-step walkthrough since I never dealt with this. Looking at this website http://www.tux.org/pub/people/kent-robotti/looplinux/rip/ I am not sure what files I need to download also. Thanks a lot for your help already.

Edited by breakingbad, 24 June 2011 - 03:45 PM.


#5 AustrAlien

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 05:17 PM

I will walk you step-by-step through the process, so you do not need to worry about what you don't understand (your questions) at this time. But, first we need to determine how you wish, or a are prepared, to perform the recovery. I need you to answer my earlier question:

"Do you have a spare (empty) HDD of equal or greater capacity than the ailing one that can be connected directly to the computer along with the ailing one? It needs to be a bare hard drive (not an "external" USB-connected HDD)."

Are you prepared to buy a new HDD if necessary, to proceed with cloning the ailing HDD, before attempting recovery of your files?
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#6 breakingbad

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:40 PM

Yes I have another hard drive of equal capacity. What do you mean by empty? It currently has some files on it but I can delete all of the files on it to make it the full 1 tb of space needed. Yes I can connect it using the sata cables. If for some reason the fact that the hard drive has already been used (I believe about 20 gigabytes worth of files) I am also prepared to purchase another hard drive that will work.

Edited by breakingbad, 24 June 2011 - 11:50 PM.


#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 02:29 AM

Yes I have another hard drive of equal capacity. What do you mean by empty? It currently has some files on it

Very good! Let's go ahead with the 1 TB HDD that you already have. When we clone to that HDD, any data that is already on it will be erased, so you need to copy or move the data that you wish to keep to another location. For the cloning, it doesn't matter whether it is "empty" or not: The cloning will erase all data completely during the cloning process.

You will have the choice of running RIPLinux from either a bootable CD, or a bootable flashdrive. If you wish to use a flashdrive:
  • Your computer BIOS must be capable of booting a flashdrive, which will be referred to in the BIOS Setup Menu or Boot Menu, as one of the following:
    • USB KEY
    • USB HDD
    • USB ? (I can't remember, but think there is another commonly used term?)
  • You will need a flashdrive of 256 MB capacity or greater.
    • All data on the flashdrive will be erased, so there should be no data on it that you wish to keep.

Edited by AustrAlien, 25 June 2011 - 02:32 AM.

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#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 05:36 AM

Create a bootable RIPLinux CD or flashdrive:
  • Download Bootable ISO (RIPLinuX-13.5.iso) from the home page: RIP Linux home site!
  • If you wish to use a LIVE CD ...
    • Burn the .ISO image to CD: If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
      • Download and install ImgBurn.
      • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
      • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
      • Choose Write image file to disc.
        [list]
      • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
      • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
    • Click Posted Image
    • When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
  • OR ... if you wish to use a flashdrive ...

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#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:59 AM

:step1: Is the destination HDD known 100% for sure to be good? OR ... should we test it before cloning to it?
  • Perhaps we should wipe it and test it before we get started? What do you think?
Please supply some information that may be useful later on when trying to differentiate between the two HDDs of the same (1 TB) size attached to the system:
  • Is the ailing HDD patitioned into more than one drive? How many and what size? Formatted as NTFS or FAT32?
  • Is the destination HDD currently partitioned into more than one drive? How many and what size? Formatted as NTFS or FAT32?

:step2: TEST AILING HDD - setup your hardware

Warning: Ensure that all power is switched OFF, and that you ground yourself to the metal box before touching components.

  • Disconnect all HDDs attached to your computer motherboard, and disconnect any other unnecessary external devices from the computer.
  • Attach the ailing HDD to SATA port 0.
  • Ensure that you have also connected the power cable.

:step3: TEST AILING HDD - visible using RIPLinux?

(The following was compiled using RIPLinuX 12.9)
Boot from the RIPLinux CD or flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD drive or the flashdrive, which ever you are using.)
  • If the system successfully boots to the RIPLinux device, you will very quickly be presented with a blue box, listing a number of boot options:
  • Using the down-arrow key, highlight the second option down the list, namely "Boot Linux system! (skip keymap prompt)" and press the <ENTER> key.
    Please be patient: The system will take a little time to load into memory.

When the system has completed loading, you will be presented with a box containing some useful commands for your information, and at the bottom of the screen you will see "RIPLinuX login:" followed by a flashing cursor.
  • Type root and press <ENTER>.
    You are now at the # prompt.
At the # prompt, type fdisk -lu (that is a lower case L after the dash/minus sign, not a ONE) and press <ENTER>.
  • You will see listed there, information about the HDD.
  • SATA HDDs are represented by sda, sdb, sdc etc.
  • The partitions on a HDD (say sda) are represented by sda1, sda2, sda3 etc.
  • Note: If you are concerned about the above being different to that used in the guide, there is a simple explanation:
  • The guide uses hda, hdb etc. which is how IDE/ATA HDDs are represented.
  • SATA HDDs are represented by sda, sdb etc.
[/list]What do you see on the screen?

If you are using RIPLinux on a flashdrive, then you will see information about that also on the screen.
Are you able to use a digital camera to take a screenshot and include it in a reply to me?
Inserting An Image Within A Post

I would particularly like to know what the first line reads (it will probably start with "Disk /dev/sda: ....... ")
as well as the line that starts "Disk identifier: ...... "

Please ensure that the information that you report relates to the ailing HDD, and not to the flashdrive (if you are using one).

TO SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER:
  • At the # prompt, type halt and press <ENTER>.
    The system will shut down and the computer will switch off. (Remove the CD if you used one, as the system shuts down.)

Edited by AustrAlien, 25 June 2011 - 08:04 AM.

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#10 breakingbad

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 02:21 PM

"Is the destination HDD known 100% for sure to be good? OR ... should we test it before cloning to it?

Perhaps we should wipe it and test it before we get started? What do you think?"
The destination HDD should be good since it was just bought about a month and a half ago. It was only used once however. I am not familiar with hard drive conditions thus what ever you think is best is fine with me.

"Please supply some information that may be useful later on when trying to differentiate between the two HDDs of the same (1 TB) size attached to the system:

Is the ailing HDD patitioned into more than one drive? How many and what size? Formatted as NTFS or FAT32?
Is the destination HDD currently partitioned into more than one drive? How many and what size? Formatted as NTFS or FAT32?"

The ailing hard drive is 1tb. The destination hard drive that I can get from my friend is actually 2tb in size. I believe they are both partitioned to one drive. Both NTFS as well. The ailing hard drive is from western digital. The destiniation hard drive is from Samsung.

"Disconnect all HDDs attached to your computer motherboard, and disconnect any other unnecessary external devices from the computer.
Attach the ailing HDD to SATA port 0."

I also have to disconnect my C:drive? Is it important to attach it to SATA port 0? How do i know which is 0?

I am able to take a picture with my phone. After booting from a cd, approximately how much time should i make available for this? Is this going to take a few hours? Do I need to monitor it entirely?

Once again thank you very much for the detailed help you have already provided.

Edited by breakingbad, 25 June 2011 - 02:21 PM.


#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 04:38 PM

The above instructions are simply to test that RIPLinux can be booted with the ailing HDD connected to the system, and that the HDD can be detected. The time taken for you to complete the whole task will be only 10 - 20 minutes (and then you can connect everything back the way it was, and use your computer again, if you wish). After confirming that all is well, I will post instructions for the actual cloning. The 2 TB HDD for the destination should be fine in that case, and will be easily differentiated from the 1 TB ailing HDD, so that is good. Hopefully, you will not need to post a pic. Let's see what happens.

I would like you to disconnect ALL HDDs, and then connect ONLY the ailing HDD for this test. Yes: Disconnect the C: drive too. Connecting to SATA port 0 is preferable. The SATA ports on the motherboard will be labeled SATA 0, SATA 1, etc.
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#12 breakingbad

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:37 PM

I have a couple of questions if you do not mind. Does the actual cloning require the same setup of hard drives (basically after confirming RIPLinux boots should I just leave the ailing hard drive in SATA port 0 after confirming RIPLinux boots?). Also how will I know if I need to post a picture?

Just for your information I do not think I can get a screw driver to attach the new hard drive until tomorrow or Monday US time. I will update after I get a capable screw driver. Thanks.

Edited by breakingbad, 25 June 2011 - 07:41 PM.


#13 AustrAlien

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 12:43 AM

For the actual cloning, the hardware setup is the same, with the addition of the destination HDD connected to SATA port 1. Sure, if you don't wish to use your computer in the meantime, leave the ailing HDD attached to SATA port 0.

It's probably a good idea to take pics of various screens as you proceed: It may be easier to post the image than to type up what you are seeing on-screen. I don't think you will need to post a pic if all goes well in this first stage of testing: You will easily be able to tell which HDD is which because of the difference in their capacities (1 TB v's 2 TB), which you will see reported on-screen.

Re: "screwdriver to attach the new HDD"
No need really to remove the existing HDDs, and then "fit" the other HDDs into the box (into "proper" places/brackets) with screws. Simply place them on the bench beside the box (maybe raised by sitting them on a few books) and connect up the data and power cables (assuming they are long enough to reach the HDDs). That's all that is necessary to do the cloning job, as long as they can safely be left there and not be disturbed while the testing &/or cloning is in progress.

Ask whatever questions you wish: I am happy to help out if possible.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 June 2011 - 12:48 AM.

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#14 breakingbad

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:04 PM

Hi my motherboard's sata ports 0 and 1 are covered by my video card. I am currently following your instructions but with the ailing hard drive on port sata2.

#15 AustrAlien

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:19 PM

I am currently following your instructions but with the ailing hard drive on port sata2.

That should be fine.
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