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Need HDD crash advice


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#1 bloodybrains

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 11:08 PM

Hey everyone!

This is my first post, so I hope you'll excuse any noobism.

 

My hard drive crashed a while ago and I need some advice on what to do to recover it.

 

My Specs:

I've input all of my specs into my profile, so I hope everyone can see that. But here are the basics:

PC with Win 7 X64 Pro

BIOS American Megatrends, V. 2102

AMD Athlon II X4 635

(C: new) Seagate ST3750528AS 750 G Sata 3

(D: crashed) WD WD5001AALS-00L3B2 500G Sata 1 (1.5 - 2 yrs old)

 

What Happened:

I Just loaded up an old Fallout III game and I was pressing the letter keys just to remember what they did. As soon as I pressed the key to strafe right the screen scrambled and I heard a high pitch squeal. I'm not certain now if I received an error message and an auto restart, or if I had to do a hard restart, but either way, upon restart I got the "Please select proper boot device" message.

 

Some Background Info:

My drive was really full, like 99% full and getting "virtual memory minimum" messages. Just prior to the crash, I was stepping through some old code of mine in Visual Studio when I jumped into a lengthy section of assembly code. As I was stepping through the code, I realized I was late for work and just left. I don't know if this had anything to do with it or not, but maybe Windows tried to free up some memory and it conflicted with the assembly code, causing a file corruption somewhere? When I came back to my PC, still running like a day and half later, I just closed Visual Studio and didn't do a restart or anything. Plus, the save file for the Fallout III game was really old-so old that some of the other save files I tried to load first couldn't be located.

 

What I've Tried:

BIOS recognizes the drive, but when I try a repair install from disk, Windows doesn't recognize it.

 

I bought a new hdd, (the Seagate) and put Windows on it. Now, the drive is recognized in Explorer but no info is shown. (ie capacity/free space) When I click on the drive, I get the "You need to format the disk in drive D:... Do you want to format it?" message. (I've always clicked 'cancel')

 

I've followed the steps outlined here-

http://www.dtidata.com/resourcecenter/2012/02/10/basic-hard-drive-problem-you-need-to-format-the-disk/

Using the trial version of WinHex, it appears the MBR is there as well as the backup boot sector and both are where they should be. However, you can't write to disk without the full version of WinHex, so I haven't actually copied the backup to the master. One thing I did note was something that was almost halfway down the page. It said,

"[...]we can read the book sector information, note the “hidden sectors” that number should match the “sectors preceding partition” from the MBR. (Note: if these numbers do not match then again this makes the fix more difficult and you should call the office for help.)"

They don't match. The backup boot sector 'hidden sectors' are 206448, while the 'sectors preceding partition' of the MBR is 2048 as it should be. Like I said though, everything still seems as it's in the right location even the master file table and mirror.

 

Another note: the drive isn't making any strange mechanical noises.

 

My Questions:

1) What do you guys think happened?

2)Should I try to actually copy the backup boot sector to the MBR? If so, does anyone know a free way to this, or a better way to check/fix a corrupt boot file?

 

Thanks in advance,

-Dave

 



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#2 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 11:33 PM

Hi

 

There are more easy ways to recover the partitions without using any hex editing tools. Any mistake while doing the editing may make the things worse. Follow the below steps.

 

1 ) Connect the HDD to recover as a slave drive (which you already did )

 

2 ) Download TestDisk Windows version from http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

 

     TestDisk is the best partition recovery tool in my knowledge. There is no commercial tools available which have the same features of this free tool. Read the below guides.

 

  http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 



#3 bloodybrains

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:00 PM

The TestDisk dl for x64 Windows says only to use without WoW64. Will it be ok for me to use it?



#4 bloodybrains

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:37 PM

Here is the screenshot when I used TestDisk to analyse the drive:

2wnpvh4.jpg

 

I hope that worked.



#5 bloodybrains

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:57 PM

Here is what I got after the deeper search. I have no idea what any of this means.

 

k97050.jpg



#6 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:12 AM

Hi

 

Test disk scan shows two partitions. One is the hidden system reserved partition (size 100 MB )and the other is your main C drive (size 465 GB). If the partition info is correct, just select the write and press enter key. On next restart, you will see the partitions.

 

 

You can open the drives listed and verify the contents before writing the partition table. Detailed info is given in the step by step guide. Read it carefully.

 

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 

Highlight the second partition Partition 2 and press p to list its data. You will see a screen similar to this.

 

List_files.gif

 

Navigate using the arrow keys. Your Desktop and Documents will be located under the profile folder. For example ,

 

Users\<your username>\Desktop 

 

To go back to the previous screen, press Q. Write the partition table after verifying the files.


Edited by Anshad Edavana, 12 June 2013 - 09:25 AM.


#7 bloodybrains

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:42 AM

So I can just overlook the "bad starting head" warning and just write it without any adverse affects?



#8 bloodybrains

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

Great! It worked! Now, if I want to swap my drives and boot from the one I just recovered, do I need to do anything first. At the moment, it shows the system partition and the storage partition as two separate drives. System in D: and storage in E:

 

If I go into bios, will I be able to set the recovered drive as the primary drive?



#9 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:13 PM

Hi

 

Don't worry about the drive letters. When we hook the drive in to another system, C will be mounted as another letter due to the first hidden 100 MB partition.

 

Even though the partition table is restored, drive may not be bootable due to the difference in partition GUID number. With little effort it can be corrected but i highly advice to check the drive using manufacturer's diagnostic tools first. 

 

Here is the download link for WD Diagnostic tools - http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=613&sid=3

 

Run an extended test on the WD HDD before trying any other things.


Edited by Anshad Edavana, 12 June 2013 - 11:13 PM.


#10 bloodybrains

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:20 PM

It passed the extended test! Does that mean it's bootable?

Thanks so much for all of your help!



#11 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:40 AM

Hi

 

Yes, you can use it as a bootable drive. Do you really want to do that ? . Since you already  have another HDD, isn't it better to use this disk as a exclusive data backup unit ? 



#12 bloodybrains

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:58 PM

Well, I'd like to, but I'm not sure how I could get my copy of Windows on to the new drive. Right now, I'm just using a temporary copy that I borrowed from a friend, as I lost my disk and Windows key. Is there a way to get my copy of Windows onto the new drive if I don't have my registration key?

 

Thanks for all your help!



#13 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:17 PM

Hi

 

You can use your friends installation DVD if the SKU edition is same (Home basic, Home premium, Pro etc ) . There are also ways to retrieve the installation key from an unbootable system. So don't be panic. Let us first try to make your hard disk bootable. Please follow the below steps.

 

1 ) Disconnect the currently using HDD and plug only your crashed disk. Now boot from the installation DVD.

 

2 )When you presented with the Install Windows screen, Press Shift + F10 key combination to open a command prompt. Or you can open a command prompt from the Repair option.

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/windows-7-recovery-environment-command-prompt/

 

 

      setup-language-options.jpg

 

 

recovery-command-prompt.jpg

 

 

3 )Now we are going to fix the boot sector. Enter the below commands one by one.

 

    Bootrec /fixboot

 

    Bootrec /fixmbr 

 

 When you will be asked for permission to write a new boot sector and MBR, press Y to confirm.

 

4 ) Now we are going to fix the BCD (Boot Configuration Data )

 

     Type C: and press enter key to navigate to the boot partition. Prompt will be changed to C:\>

 

     Now enter CD Boot to change the current directory. Prompt will be changed to C:\Boot>

 

     Enter the following commands one by one.

 

     Ren BCD BCD.old

 

     Bootrec /rebuildbcd

 

You will be presented with a message similar to the one below.

 

 Successfully scanned Windows installations.

Total identified Windows installations: 1
[1] D:\Windows
Add installation to boot list? Yes<Y>/No<N>/All<A>:

 

Press  Y to confirm. Now reboot the system and try to boot from the hard disk.



#14 bloodybrains

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:41 PM

Wow! I'm running my Windows from my old drive. I don't no if I should be. So, I guess now I'm supposed to somehow retrieve my installation key?



#15 bloodybrains

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:39 PM

Ok, so I dl'ed Belarc Advisor and ran it. It opened a browser that listed a bunch of product keys for everything on my computer. The one for Win 7 was weird. There was like three different ones and the only one that was the correct format was weird. It was all 'B's except for the last 5 numbers. I tried it anyway, and of course it didn't work. Did I do something wrong?






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