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Getting files off hard drive that wont boot properly


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#1 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:53 AM

My Windows xp computer is more than 6 years old. I have never opened the case and cleaned the inside. My computer has been making a sawing noise some of the time. I have been busy so put off dealing with it. Today I went to the store and bought a Seagate Free Angent GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive. I was going to back up my computer. I installed the backup software that came with it but uninstalled it because my computer only has 512MB of ram and I was concerned my computer would freeze up. Would a 320GB hard drive be too much for an old computer to handle? It shows up as a mass storage unit so I am hoping that I can just drop and drag personal files over.

The sawing noise came back so I turned it off at the surge protector switch. When I turned it back on it did a check disk. About half way into check disk the sawing noise came back so I turned it off again and again the check disk came on but this time part way into it I somehow ended up in a loop where it keeps coming to a boot screen then gives me options but they all restart the computer. When I press F8 repeatedly I get to an advanced options page but I don't know what to select. I haven't heard the sawing noise since it started wanting to reboot.

Is there a way I can get my files off the hard drive before I take a chance and open the case to clean it? A few weeks ago I disabled my dvd drive because I read somewhere that that can cause a sawing noise if malfunctioning and I knew I had problems with the dvd drive because the only way I can open it is to use a paper clip. For a while that seemed to stop the sawing noise. I rarely ever use the dvd drive anyway so I left it disabled. The portable drive was not plugged into my computer when reboot thing started. I'm going to plug the portable drive back in and see if that might have something to do with it?

The reason I edited this post is because I can get to an advanced options page by pressing F8 but was tired last night and accidentally typed that I had tried all options. I am lost when I get to the advanced options page I don't know what to select.

Edited by cat33, 20 November 2012 - 10:05 AM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:00 AM

I plugged the portable drive back in and turned it back on that didn't help.

I remember reading about there being a way to connect a drive to another computer and be able to see the contents by somehow getting it to show up as a mass storage unit on another computer. I am not that computer savvy. Could I connect this windows xp to a windows 7 with a switch or router? It seems like I recall linux can be used to somehow look at the files?

#3 James Litten

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

Hi Cat

Can you tell us more about the computer and the hard drive in it? I'd like to know the manufacturer and model number of both if you can see them.

James

Edited by James Litten, 20 November 2012 - 10:22 AM.


#4 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

It is emachines W3503 celeron D destop pc. About 2 years ago, I had trouble removing malware and then discovered that the disk that came with my xp, is pretty much useless now for me unless I want to start all over again and go back to factory settings which would wipe out my personal files. And now the only way I can open my dvd drive is with a paper clip which one of the reasons I disabled my dvd drive.
Here is part of what I posted when having computer problems 2 years ago:
"I tried the sfc/scannow and it told me "Please instert the windows XP professional [i]Service Pack 3 CD into your CD-rom drive."

I google searched sfc/scannow and found this link:
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

I think the problem is that somehow when I installed service pack 3 back in 2008, it somehow don't match with what it needs to match up with for the sfc/scannow to work?

I am researching what to do next. I guess it wouldn't do any good to try the recovery disk that came when we bought the computer back in 2006 which don't have Service Pack 3 on it.

When I click on start then accessories then click system tools then click System Information it says my operating system is "windows xp professional" and the version is listed as a version of service pack 3 but when I get system information by clicking start then "my computer" then "view system information" it says I have "windows xp media center edition" version 2002 service pack 3. I wonder if this would make a difference? I noticed this difference a long time ago but didn't investigate it.

My computer is a Windows XP media center edition so I have always wondered why in some system info it says windows xp professional instead."

Also 2 years ago, I also tried slip steaming but couldn't figure out how to do it with the DVD that came with my computer. I can't find what I posted yet but it seems like posted that my disk is a recovery dvd that is somehow suppose to be used with my d drive and my d drive seems to have been damaged by the malware. I hope I remembered it correctly.

Edited by cat33, 20 November 2012 - 12:06 PM.


#5 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

I just remembered that I turned off the computer at the switch while in a check disk. And it started the reboot loop after I turned it back on. Yikes, I would take this to a repair guy if I didn't have my personal stuff on it. I am so confused. Is there a way to get back into check disk when I start my computer.

#6 James Litten

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:31 PM

That all makes sense to me. XP Media Center is a variation of XP Pro.

I'm assuming that has a 160GB drive in it.

Sorry for all of the questions but I need to know in order to help :)

Does it boot into Windows or are you still unable to boot into Windows?

If it does not, try the F8 thing again and choose SAFE MODE and let me know if that works.


What do you want to do first...

Discover the true source of the sawing sound.

Try to get it to boot.

Recover data from the drive.


Do you have another computer that we can take the drive out of your emachine and connect it to?

Do you have a USB flash drive and if so, do you see an option to enter a BOOT MENU when you first turn on the emachine (maybe we can try booting from a USB flash drive loaded with repair tools)?

James

#7 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:53 PM

Yes, it's 160GB drive. A year ago it had about 70% free space on it until my family member went wild and starting downloading stuff. I kept an eye on it and watched as it filled up. I would mention that at the rate we were going it would be full in a year. I would also explain that as it fills up it takes longer and longer to scan for malware but the downloading continued.

When I defragment the drive I write down how much free space I have. Last time I defragmented the drive, was about 2 days ago and it now has only about 26% free space on it and about 39GB left on it. I would prefer to get back to 70% free space but my family may not be able to agree on what to delete. I guess the best they might let me do is drop and drag to a portable drive and then delete copies from the windows xp. I hope they at least let me do that.

I have a windows 7 laptop. If there is a way to take the hard drive out, I would rather not mess with it. This is now the only computer that works in our house.

I have already tried safe mode. I am able to get to a screen that mentions which operating system I want to use. It only has the xp system on it. I can also get to the screen that asks what boot order I want. The dvd drive is first.

I have a USB flash drive I can use to put repair tools on. I would like to try to recover data first.

#8 James Litten

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:10 PM

Good. Thanks for the answers.

I'll write up some instructions for you maybe tonight but it might not be until tomorrow. We'll see if we can get the data off of the drive to the external drive and then we'll try to repair the drive so it boots again. And we'll try to do it without taking anything apart :)

James

#9 James Litten

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

I'm going to try to lay this out for you in a way that doesn't waste your time with going down dead ends :)

Here's a summary of what we can try first.
  • Make a bootable USB flash drive with Parted Magic on it
  • Connect the bootable USB flash drive and the 320GB external drive to the emachine
  • Turn on the emachine and get into the BOOT MENU so we can boot from the USB flash drive
  • Mount the 120GB internal drive and the 320GB external drive
  • See if the files on the 120GB drive are visible and if they are, copy them to the 320GB drive (copying your most important files first)

If this works then we'll talk about repairing your booting problem.

LET ME KNOW IF YOU HEAR THAT SAWING NOISE
That sounds more like a noise a fan would make and not a hard drive but we don't know for sure yet.

Make a bootable USB flash drive with Parted Magic on it
You'll need to do this on your Windows 7 Laptop.

Your emachine probably needs a different copy of PartedMagic to run instead of the standard one so let's get that first. Download and save this ISO file...
http://sourceforge.net/projects/partedmagic/files/partedmagic/Parted%20Magic%202012_10_10/pmagic_2012_10_10_i486.iso/download
It is pretty big (about 250MB). Remember where you save it.

Plug in the USB flash drive. Make sure that anything already on it is not important because we will be deleting everything on it when we make it bootable.
Download and run Unetbootin (it's a tool to make bootable USB flash drives)
http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/unetbootin-windows-latest.exe

Click next to Diskimage and next to where it says ISO select the large ISO that you downloaded. Make sure that the proper USB flash drive is selected and click OK

I did it on my Win7 computer and here is what it looked like right before I clicked okay (G: is my flash drive)

Posted Image


Next plug the USB flash drive into the emachine and also plug the 320GB external drive into it. Turn on the emachine and see if you can boot it from the USB flash drive. If you have any trouble let me know.

If it is successful, it will give you a blue list of options.
Choose 1. Default Settings (Runs from RAM)
and it should boot into PartedMagic after a few moments.

When it finishes booting you will notice that it looks kind of like a Windows desktop. The button in the lower left works like the START button in Windows XP and allows you to select and run various programs or shutdown the computer. To make things easy, Ill just refer to this as the START button.

Mount the 120GB internal drive and the 320GB external drive
Click the MOUNT DEVICES button in the lower left of the desktop

Posted Image

and it will open a window with a list of disks that you can mount. It will also open a file manager similar to Windows Explorer.
In the Mount-gtk window, click the green MOUNT button for /media/sda1 (should be your 160GB drive) and click the green MOUNT button for the 320GB drive (which might be /media/sdb1 or /media/sdc1) and the button should turn into a red UNMOUNT button.
STOP HERE AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHICH TO CLICK

Now go into that file manager window and click on sda1 in the left pane and see if you see your files. If you do, you can right-click them and choose COPY and then click on the 320GB drive in the left pane and right-click in there and choose PASTE. Just like in Windows.

This way you should be able to get your important files backed up to the external drive.

STOP AND ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS OR SOMETHING LOOKS DIFFERENT THAN I DESCRIBE

We are not doing anything dangerous here and it is easy to restart and try again.

James

#10 cat33

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:30 PM

I may have to wait until sometime tomorrow to try this. I didn't know an internal hard drive could be mounted on a bootable USB flash drive?

I took a flashlight and got a better look at the fan. I think it's a cooling fan and it does have some dust on it. I guess not much would be needed to cause a problem?

Edited by cat33, 20 November 2012 - 08:32 PM.


#11 cat33

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:33 AM

I was using a maxell flash drive. It didn't work. I have heard that about half the brands don't work as bootable usb drives. I have heard sandisk don't work for booting. I did not try it on my windows 7 because I read somewhere that somebody had used a bootable disk and accidentally wiped out windows and ended up with nothing but some type of linux on their computer. I can open the dvd drive with a paper clip but I doubt any dvd will work because I disabled the dvd drive and I should have known to enable it again when the sawing noise came back. I haven't heard the sawing noise since it went into the loop. My drive is not a rom drive so dvd roms and cd roms don't work in it.

#12 James Litten

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:04 AM

Hi Cat

That's a shame. I don't have any other options that I can offer you since we

can't access the disk via a bootable optical disk
can't access the disk via a bootable USB drive (brand name does not matter, you can either boot from USB or not)
can't remove the disk and connect it to another computer.


Perhaps someone else has an idea.

James

#13 cat33

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

This is the video where they said some brands don't work. They said sandisk don't work. The video is 24 minutes long.



#14 James Litten

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

Hi Cat

That example uses PC2USB instead of Unetbootin like I asked you to try. That is why they have a problem with some drives.

James

#15 cat33

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

It's ok. The only reason I bought the windows 7 was because I didn't think my xp would last much longer because of the sawing noise. Looks like I bought the windows 7 just in time.




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