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Trying to clone failing hard drive


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#1 1000cleverlines

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:58 PM

I'm looking to the wonderful user base at BC again for help with an issue that I'm scratching my head about...

I've been slowly working my grandma's older computer (running WinXP) back to health, first replacing/upgrading the RAM and I noticed that stuff was still taking time to load. I suggested a new hard drive that I could use to replace the older one. While we were waiting on the hard drive, she had been using her computer like normal and claimed that everything stopped loading. It seems like the hard drive is on it's last legs now as OS boot times are very long and I can't get anything to open in the OS once I wait 30 minutes for it to boot. I think that trying to clone to the new hard drive is going to be hard to do within the OS... what would be my best option at this point?

So far, I've messed with clonezilla a bit (using a boot cd), and I am getting I/O errors (most likely cause of the failing hard drive). I'm not really sure what other drive cloning software is out there that might solve my problems. She would like to keep all her files/software. Only other thing I could think of is installing a new OS on the 2nd disk and trying to get the data off the first disk from that 2nd OS.

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#2 James Litten

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:29 PM

Hi

I can try to help you.

First we need to decide on the best course of action with the resources that you have. Answer these questions please...

How large is the drive?
Do you have another drive either external or another computer that has enough empty space on a drive in it to hold the whole bad drive? (just looking for a place to recover the data to here).
Does she need the OS (doesn't have a way to reinstall it on the new drive)?
Are there programs that she doesn't have the disks to install on the new drive (like microsoft office)?

I think that a fresh install on the new disk is best. Especially, if she is only concerned about media files being recovered like documents, pictures, music, spreadsheets, etc.

It is important that you try nothing else with the disk until we have a good plan of attack.

Can you tell me more about what happened with Clonezilla. Were you trying to make a clone or image?
Were you copying the files back to the free space on the bad drive or to DVD's?
Do you remember the exact error it gave you?

James

#3 1000cleverlines

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:00 AM

Hi

I can try to help you.

First we need to decide on the best course of action with the resources that you have. Answer these questions please...

How large is the drive?
Do you have another drive either external or another computer that has enough empty space on a drive in it to hold the whole bad drive? (just looking for a place to recover the data to here).
Does she need the OS (doesn't have a way to reinstall it on the new drive)?
Are there programs that she doesn't have the disks to install on the new drive (like microsoft office)?

I think that a fresh install on the new disk is best. Especially, if she is only concerned about media files being recovered like documents, pictures, music, spreadsheets, etc.

It is important that you try nothing else with the disk until we have a good plan of attack.

Can you tell me more about what happened with Clonezilla. Were you trying to make a clone or image?
Were you copying the files back to the free space on the bad drive or to DVD's?
Do you remember the exact error it gave you?

James


How large is the drive?
The current drive is 120GB, she's only used about 40GB of it.

Do you have another drive either external or another computer that has enough empty space on a drive in it to hold the whole bad drive? (just looking for a place to recover the data to here).
I have an external that is pretty full, if the new drive was SATA (it's IDE) I could use the enclosure. I could always clear 100GB of data off and try to recover to that. No other desktops or cables that could connect it to a laptop. I really should have just went with a SATA drive had I known that all this were going to happen, but the computer is older and already had IDE.

Does she need the OS (doesn't have a way to reinstall it on the new drive)?
Probably not, it isn't a huge deal I just figured cloning it would copy the entire system over so she (and I, mostly) wouldn't have to reinstall everything.

Are there programs that she doesn't have the disks to install on the new drive (like microsoft office)?
I'm sure she has most of the disks. I think she was just worried about losing all her Zuma and Bejeweled game data...

Can you tell me more about what happened with Clonezilla. Were you trying to make a clone or image?
Well basically the drive was doing what it did when I was loading Windows... It would start fine, get about 12% into the first block and then keep sending I/O errors because the data couldn't be read and eventually failing. Basically the hard drive works fine but it gets tired and gives out. If you give it time to rest it works fine for that little bit of time but then it goes back to sitting there thinking (the light on the tower is solid almost the whole time). I was trying to clone the drive to the new drive.

Were you copying the files back to the free space on the bad drive or to DVD's?
No, I was using the new hard drive (a 160GB) connected on the primary IDE and set to slave. I set it up for a drive to drive clone.

Do you remember the exact error it gave you?
It gave an I/O error about 10 times and then it gave up and told me the cloning had failed. The error just said I/O Error and gave some different numbers every time. I googled around and didn't have any luck except people claiming the hard drive was failing.

Edited by 1000cleverlines, 04 July 2012 - 11:03 AM.


#4 James Litten

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:38 AM

Thanks for the great answers.

The IO errors in clonezilla indicate that cloning to a new drive and then using that drive would be dicey at best (based on personal experience :) ).

The option that I would go with, is to take out the bad drive and set it aside.

Install the new drive and set it up with all the service packs/updates and then start installing the software that she wants.

Then let her play with it and ask her to make a list of what she needs from the old drive. Then we can connect it and do a recovery of the data she needs using some powerful free tools.

If the drive needs to be as fully recovered as possible (for example, you don't have an XP install disc and can't get one for cheap from the manufacturer) then I would attempt a recovery with a boot cd like Clonezilla and use ddrescue to attempt to recover an exact image of the bad drive and then try to repair the image and subsequently put the image on the new hard drive. This would require a full 120GB of space on your external drive for the image (ddrescue doesn't care about data, it just looks at the value of each bit on the drive and copies it).

Let me know which you want to do or if you have something else that you'd like to try.

IMPORTANT: At this stage the bad drive is probably going to get worse with everything we try to do so use it as sparingly and efficiently as possible.

James

#5 1000cleverlines

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:58 AM

Thanks for the great answers.

The IO errors in clonezilla indicate that cloning to a new drive and then using that drive would be dicey at best (based on personal experience :) ).

The option that I would go with, is to take out the bad drive and set it aside.

Install the new drive and set it up with all the service packs/updates and then start installing the software that she wants.

Then let her play with it and ask her to make a list of what she needs from the old drive. Then we can connect it and do a recovery of the data she needs using some powerful free tools.

If the drive needs to be as fully recovered as possible (for example, you don't have an XP install disc and can't get one for cheap from the manufacturer) then I would attempt a recovery with a boot cd like Clonezilla and use ddrescue to attempt to recover an exact image of the bad drive and then try to repair the image and subsequently put the image on the new hard drive. This would require a full 120GB of space on your external drive for the image (ddrescue doesn't care about data, it just looks at the value of each bit on the drive and copies it).

Let me know which you want to do or if you have something else that you'd like to try.

IMPORTANT: At this stage the bad drive is probably going to get worse with everything we try to do so use it as sparingly and efficiently as possible.

James


I think I'll probably just end up installing the new OS on the 2nd HD, seems more practical and less troublesome in the future... What kind of software would you recommend to recover data off the drive once I go through with that? I'm sure she has pictures and documents that she needs off of it regardless, so I might as well grab the software and do it all in one (very long) sit.

#6 James Litten

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:28 PM

After the new system is all set up, put the old drive in it as a secondary drive. Turn it on and see if you can simply copy the files off of it in Windows Explorer.

If that does not work, try booting from a PartedMagic CD and again see if you can get the files straight out of the file manager.
http://partedmagic.com/doku.php?id=start

If you still can't get everything, try using PhotoRec or Testdisk while in PartedMagic for recovery of files or

Try using Recuva in Windows.
http://www.piriform.com/recuva

If you need to use any of those tools, let us know and we can give you some tips and instructions :)

Good Luck
James

#7 1000cleverlines

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:01 PM

Ok so now I'm having even weirder problems... I tried to install WinXP with a burned disc of mine on the internal drive and it wouldn't run. I tried an external USB drive and it wasn't running. The PC would stay on the Pre-boot screen (where it shows the computer's logo and you can get in BIOS) sometimes even. Eventually, I tried hooking up the old drive on slave just to see if it would run at all (thinking it was because the new drive wasn't formatted or something). The PC went to the stage where I could hit a key to boot from CD, so I did, and it went to a black screen. I've burned three different WinXP Home Edition OEM discs now and even checked all the cables (the internal CD-ROM was slightly unhooked). I'm leaning towards a bad motherboard now, this makes no sense to me at all why none of these things are working. The new hard drive won't do anything, the old hard drive gets me slightly further when it's hooked up as slave, but neither internal or external install discs are working... Only other thing I can think of is hooking up the old hard drive as master and the other one as slave and trying to run the install from there (which I'll probably try next)...

If it's a bad motherboard, then there's really no point haha

edit: okay i switched master/slave on the two drives and now i'm formatting/installing XP on the new drive. hoping i can get it to work this way.

Edited by 1000cleverlines, 04 July 2012 - 03:27 PM.


#8 James Litten

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:37 PM

Since it is IDE and old, it is starting to sound a lot like a bad IDE ribbon cable (I have replaced many :) )

You can try this (if you haven't already)
Hook up the new drive to IDE Primary as master (check the jumpers or if it's cable select make sure it is plugged into the right plug on the ribbon cable which is the end one on an 80 conductor cable and the middle one on a 40 conductor cable)
Hook up the CD on the IDE Primary as slave.
See if you can boot from CD. If not, check in the BIOS to make sure that the drive and CD are being detected.

If either is not detected or it does not boot, try another IDE cable if you can.

Also, since you are using a burnt CD, try a different boot CD that you know works like the Clonezilla one you used before.

Does the computer have a sticker on it with an XP license number to use? If it does, make sure that it is for "WinXP Home Edition" or else it will get you real far and then say 'You gotta pay!' :)

James




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