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How Do I Rescue A 'dead' Hard-drive?


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#1 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 04:34 PM

Continued from BC Forum topic http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...c=73020&hl=

To summarise, a friend of mine's computer crashed immediately after her son installed a 30-day trial of some Adobe software, and has resolutely refused to boot up again since. Immediately prior to installing the trial, he had been on Freeserials-dot-com looking for an illegal keycode for it (yes, he has been duly castigated!), so this lead me to initially suspect the problem may have been caused by malware and/or viruses, however acting on advice I have brought the drive home to connect it as a slave to my PC.

Brought the drive home and my PC won't even recognise it. I had my local hardware chap in to see if he could get it to cheer up, and still no luck, so he believes the drive to be beyond repair. He even had a fiddle in BIOS to see what was happenning, and it wasn't recognising the drive properly there either.

But he did tell me there is software available known generically as 'hard-disk rescue utilities', which might enable me to rescue the owner's personal files and folders, with a view to restoring them to her new drive, when she gets one.

Any ideas what software I might need for this, or if there are any other options available?
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#2 acklan

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 04:56 PM

What brand of hard drive do you have?
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#3 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 05:54 PM

Its a Western Digital
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#4 acklan

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 06:02 PM

Check this link out. It may help.

http://support.wdc.com/download/
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#5 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 08:27 PM

Thanks Acklan,

Have tried WD Data Lifeguard Tools and WD Diagnostics, and the WD Diag recognises the drive, and gives it a 'PASS' on the tests, whilst Lifeguard can't find the drive to copy files to another drive for backup.

Still stumped, and beginning to think the data on this drive is history.
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#6 acklan

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 09:59 PM

If you have a spare IDE cable trade them out. If not place your CD's IDE cable on IDE-1 and plug into your hard drive to rule out a faulty cable.
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#7 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 05:15 AM

Thanks Acklan and Siggyman,

I repositioned the 'guest' drive on the Primary Slave IDE cable position, with the Jumper in the Slave position, (in place of my 'resident' Slave drive), and BIOS actually recognised it properly, whereas it hadn't done in either position on the Secondary IDE cable. Sadly, however, My Computer still failed to find the 'guest' drive.

Nevertheless, I scanned all local hard disks with my Virus Scanner (Avira AntiVir PE Classic) to see what would happen, with the result that there was no infection detected on my 'resident' Primary Master drive, but it failed to notice or interrogate the 'guest' Slave drive.

Continuing my optimism, I performed a full system scan with AdAware SE, but with the same result (apart from finding and removing a TAC 3 Tracking Cookie from @real-dot-com in my 'resident' Primary Master drive).

Because My Computer and both scans failed to notice the 'guest' Slave drive, I did not continue to perform further scans (Spybot S&D, AVG Anti-Spyware and McAfee Stinger 2.6.0), because it seemed unlikely they would find the 'guest' drive.

Two questions pop to mind:

1) I normally have 'resident' Master and Slave hard-drives connected on the Primary IDE cable, and two CD/DVD drives (one reader, one re-writer) on the Secondary IDE cable, all of which have been working just fine. Does the fact that BIOS recognised the 'guest' drive properly on the Primary Slave position, but not on the Secondary cable in either position, indicate that I have a problem with my Secondary IDE cable?

2) Is there anything else I can do to the 'guest' drive to try to recover the drive, or at least the personal files from it? N.B. I'll need to be able to have both 'resident' hard drives connected at the same time as the 'guest' drive to back-up files from it, because I have Windows installed on my 'resident' Primary Master drive, but the only place I have any space for backing-up the files from the 'guest' drive to is on my 'resident' Slave drive.
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#8 usasma

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 08:49 PM

Free recovery software: http://www.pcinspector.de/
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#9 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 10:09 PM

Thanks usasma,

I tried file recovery using 'PC Inspector File Recovery' from the URL you gave, but could get nothing useful off the drive. I followed all the instructions in the Help file, but it is quite possible I am being dense. Have you any useful hints on how to get useful results?
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#10 nlinecomputers

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 10:59 PM

Are you certain that you are jumpering the drive correctly? WD drives are weird and have a master alone, master with slave, and slave mode. Many people misjumper the drive and that can cause you lots of grief.
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#11 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:14 PM

Hi, nlinecomputers,

I have the jumper on the position indicated for Slave (second vertical pair of pins from power socket side), but it is operating as a Slave on a cable with a Master, so should I change the jumper to 'Master w/ Slave Present'? I had assumed that setting was for the Master drive of a cable with two drives on it, not for the Slave drive.

Also, when it was operating as a Master alone (in its original PC), the jumper was horizontal , on the lower pins, across the center pair. It apparently worked fine like that for several years until it recently crashed, but this position is not indicated on the label at all (the 'Single or Master' position indicated is to remove the jumper altogether). Could this mean the label is wrong for this drive?

Edited by Sunset Breakfast, 26 November 2006 - 11:15 PM.

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#12 nlinecomputers

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:34 PM

No you are doing it correctly. I was just making sure about that as the symptoms could be from misjumpering the drive.
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#13 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:25 AM

Thanks, nlinecomputers,

It was worth finding out, and it would have been SOooo good if that was the problem, because it would have been easily fixed!

Any other useful ideas, or do I declare a 'dead drive'?

If its 'dead', is it worth trying to reformat the drive and start from scratch, or is it physically damaged and in need of replacement?
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#14 nlinecomputers

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 08:28 AM

If you are trying to retrieve data off of the unit I would NOT put it in a master/slave setup. I would put the drive on a cable alone, remove your CD-ROM's cable and use it.
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#15 Sunset Breakfast

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:24 AM

I have managed, after much effort and time spent, to recover a significant proportion of the personal files on the drive, including a completely irreplaceable Family Photo Album, which has cheered up the owner of the system somewhat!

The drive has now been replaced with a new item from Seagate, and the old one declared 'dead' by the owner, who decided that it was the best way to proceed. All I have to do now is a complete fresh installation of the Windows XP O/S, and all the other programs she uses (Ho hum; no rest for the Fool-Who-Doesn't-Say-'NO'-Quickly!) :thumbsup:

MANY thanks to all of you who have provided advice and assistance. I couldn't have done anything useful without you!
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