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How to access data from a failing OS (C) HDD?


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#1 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:29 PM

Hi all

I had a recent problem with my XP OS HDD. Left up and running it worked fine for weeks and months on end. And if the PC was restarted it was fine too. But if the PC was switched off and on again it would not boot and always reached a screen which said: "MBR Error 1. Press any key to boot from floppy". 

To begin with (over a year ago now), a few restarts would get passed this and back onto Windows. The last time but one took several hundred hits of restart to get Windows back. And then yesterday we had a power cut. I tried quite a few restarts with no joy. Maybe after lots it would have loaded, but I thought enough was enough. I gave up, put a spare HDD in, and am now typing this on a fresh install of Windows 7.

I keep all my data on separate HDDs; so that's all safe. But there were one or two docs I had on the desktop of that XP drive. Plus, I have most of my program settings saved, but not all of them. So it would be really handy if I could access the data on that drive. I've put it in a USB/eSATA caddy I've got and plugged it in. Windows recognised the device (as in "This device is ready to use"), but it doesn't show in My Computer. Is that because it has problems, or because it is a bootable drive with an OS intalled on it? 

It's not the worse loss inthe world, but it would make life a lot easier if I could get those settings and few files. So any help wuld be much appreciated. 

Cheers


Edited by hamluis, 05 February 2018 - 07:16 AM.
Moved from Internal Hardware to Disk Management - Hamluis.


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#2 britechguy

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:51 PM

My suspicion is that the issue is because the drive is in the late stages of failure.

 

If you have a spare drive available you could try cloning the dying drive to that spare drive and doing your digging on the cloned copy.  This may, or may not, work depending on how far gone the original drive is.  Some disc cloning software gets pretty creative in how it can access data from a failing drive.


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#3 OldPhil

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 03:17 PM

If you have a problem getting it run you can try an old trick, put it in a Ziploc bag then leave it in the freezer for a few hours.


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#4 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 06:11 PM

Thanks britechguy, I'll look into the cloning option, although tbh I wouldn't know where to start so any tips would be helpful.  

 

OldPhil - when you say "getting it to run" do you mean physically?  Or getting it to be recognised in Windows?  I should add that mechanically the drive is still making noise as it should (I have more of the same model HD and they sound identical). It is not dead in that sense.... 

 

Cheers for the replies.



#5 RolandJS

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 09:31 AM

If you have power problems in your area, you might want to purchase and always use an UPS that includes AVR.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#6 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 12:25 PM

Thanks for the thought RolandJS.  It's usually pretty stable where I am.  Maybe one or two power cuts a year on average.  It is something that has crossed my mind but I think it might be overkill for where I am and what I do.  It just became more of a problem in this instance because my PC was quite happy running indefinitely.  It only stopped working when turned off/on!  

 

Cheers



#7 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:53 PM

Everything in this thread screams that the old drive has a problem on track zero which is only used during the initial boot and I'll bet that, if you ran disk management (DISKMGMT.MSC) with the drive connected, it would show as raw or unformatted.

Cloning might get you past that or it might just render the copy with a solid failure depending on whether or not it copied track zero successfully.


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#8 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:59 AM

Hi DavisMcCarn
 
I don't know much about these things, but I think what you say RE track zero makes absolute sense.  And it ties in perfectly with why the drive wold run for months once I got it passed that initial booting problem.  
 
Is there any kind of walkthrough anywhere that you know of on how to do the cloning you propose? I'm up for giving it a go.
 
Cheers


#9 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:09 AM

In addition to the above....

 

I connected it again via the USB caddy and ran DISKMGMT.MSC as suggested.  It has popped up with a small window which says the following:

 

"You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it.  Select Disk:  Disk 3". 

 

That's the HD.  It then gives me a choice of MBR or GPT. 

 

I'm not sure what the initialise process would do, so I have not done it yet...  Any ideas? 

 

Cheers 



#10 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:45 AM

Disk Management failed to read the MBR (track zero) on the drive which is why it prompted you to initialize the disk.  Do not do it or you will be in much deeper kimchi!

 

Is the data worth an attempt at a cloning operation?

 

As a note, using a USB adapter seriously limits our control of the drive.  It is always best to hook it up as a second drive to the PC's hard disk controller.  I have four PC's here that are setup to let me connect four (or more) drives.


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#11 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:14 AM

Kimichi - I've not heard that one before :)  

 

I'm up for trying a cloning operation, I'm just not sure how....  

 

I did try hooking up direct to the MOBO and in the first instance it did not work.  It kept booting to the XP drive (and therefore failing to boot), and I couldn't get it to boot to Win7 no matter what I did in BIOS.  But then I tried the XP drive on a different SATA port cable and I could boot to Win7.  No idea what or why, but hey.  

 

Anyhow, now back in Win7 with the XP drive attached direct to the MOBO, and my data drives disconnected to keep them safe.  In Windows and in DISKMGMT.MSC the XP drive is not listed at all now.  Don't know if that complicates things further?

 

Thanks for all the help.



#12 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:52 AM

1) You need to keep the Win7 drive connected as the boot drive and I may need to know the make and model of the system board in the PC.

2) You need another drive to clone to which needs to be the same size or very slightly larger and it is best if it is another manufacturer as it makes it much less likely that you will accidentally clone in the wrong direction.

3) A freebie I have had great success with is Rawcopy ( http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=22 )

4) In it, you really want to choose the physical drives which are below the logical ones and I might suggest checking the box to start at the end and go backwards.

5) Connect the "good" replacement drive and the failing one as drives 2 and 3 to the PC.  Reboot several times, if necessary until all 3 drives appear in the device manager (DEVMGMT.MSC), fire up RawCopy using the settings I mentioned and let it go which may take several hours.

6) Once it is done, shutdown and disconnect the failing drive.

7) Fire it back up and pray a little.

 

What we are doing is physically photocopy the filing cabinet, sector by sector (just like pieces of paper in an actual filing cabinet), to another drive to get away from the one with a hardware problem and, at that level, we don't care if it is a Windows drive, a Mac drive, Linux, or anything else.  Once the copying is done, we will have an exact copy of everything that could be read from the failing drive.


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#13 RolandJS

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:55 AM

"...I'm not sure what the initialise process would do, so I have not done it yet...  Any ideas?"

In my experience, initialization means whatever was within the MFT is removed via a quick format.


Edited by RolandJS, 07 February 2018 - 10:56 AM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#14 Sheilasnuts

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:05 AM

This is fantastic help and very much appreciated :)  

 

1) No problem.  If you mean the MOBO, it is an Intel DP35DP.  If you need any other specs, just let me know.  

 

2) Does it have to be an internal drive or can I use an external USB drive?  I'm afraid all of my drives are Western Digital.  The choices would be a WD external 2TB.  I do have an internal WD 2TB drive.  I'd rather use the external...

 

UPDATE:  I sold off a couple of old laptops a while back but kept back the 2.5" drives from them.  So I could use them maybe?  They would be smaller than the TOTAL size of the broken HD.  But BIGGER than the partition of the broken HD which had XP on it.  And that's all I need.  The other partitions are not needed.  But does this process only copy total drives or can you choose partitions?  

 

3) Great, I'll download it.  

 

I'll wait to hear on the above before moving to the next steps if that's ok.  

 

Thanks again

 

Edit:  And thanks RolandJS.  After a bot more reading I realised that initializing is what you do to brand new disks with no file format.  And so it would wipe everything on the drive which would not help much!!!  Cheers.


Edited by Sheilasnuts, 07 February 2018 - 11:07 AM.


#15 DavisMcCarn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:37 PM

The first rule of data recovery is to never, ever let anything write on the drive.  Back in the 1980's what loved to blow was the write circuitry after which all the drive would do was write bad data which doesn't help, does it?  So, no CHKDSK, no initialization, nothing that might write (period).

I had been guiding you through copying the entire drive which is the safest approach and the target would need to be the same size or larger.  Everything that is on the copy will magically disappear, too, as we would write the failing drive over whatever was there.

What is the full model number of the XP drive?


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