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Boot Sector Failure


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#1 azrael

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 07:35 PM

I am currently engaged in a steep learning curve. I thought, I had the answer to a friends boot problem. I couldn't access the recovery console on their computer (they couldn't remember the admin password) I took the the hard drive home. They were getting the blue screen of death with the message unmountable boot volume. I managed to access the drive as a slave on my pc, it seemed to be ok so I tried to boot it as master and my drive as slave, it wouldn't boot so I changed it back. This is where my problems began, I now got the blue screen of death and since then have been unable to access my drive. What I thought was a missing boot.ini has turned into a severe headache. I have tried recovery console chkdsk,fixboot,fixmbr. Nothing works and I fear some very important college assignments are lost. I have set up windows on a borrowed drive and set the troubled drive to slave it shows up in the bios and device manager, but not in my computer. I hope someone can give me some hope. Thanks.

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#2 cmgedc

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 08:06 PM

I am currently engaged in a steep learning curve. I thought, I had the answer to a friends boot problem. I couldn't access the recovery console on their computer (they couldn't remember the admin password) I took the the hard drive home. They were getting the blue screen of death with the message unmountable boot volume. I managed to access the drive as a slave on my pc, it seemed to be ok so I tried to boot it as master and my drive as slave, it wouldn't boot so I changed it back. This is where my problems began, I now got the blue screen of death and since then have been unable to access my drive. What I thought was a missing boot.ini has turned into a severe headache. I have tried recovery console chkdsk,fixboot,fixmbr. Nothing works and I fear some very important college assignments are lost. I have set up windows on a borrowed drive and set the troubled drive to slave it shows up in the bios and device manager, but not in my computer. I hope someone can give me some hope. Thanks.


Your computer's boot problem should be fixed when you disconnect the slave (messed up disk) from your computer. As for the friends messed up disk, if there is truly files on there that are important and not backed up I recommend spending the $89 and getting Spin Rite http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm
There is a video on the website that shows you what it does, I used it and recovered just about everything from a similar problem that my sister had on her unbacked up hard drive. All in all it took a couple of days to repair an 80GB drive and then probably another day to buy a new hard drive and reinstall everything on the messed up computer (the formerly messed up drive is now a slave from which everything was copied to the new drive).

The one caveat to using SpinRite is that it is made for running from a boot floppy disk which most newer computers don't have anymore. There is supposedly a way to make a bootable CD Rom and run the Spin Rite program but I never got it to work.

Another thing, there may be other ways to get the messed up disk to be readable again, I'm giving you my personal experience that was based on the fact that the files absolutely needed to be recovered and my sister could not afford the hundreds of dollars it would have cost to have an outside company get them back.

#3 usasma

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:49 PM

SpinRite is a great program, and if used properly can save stuff that almost nothing else in it's price range can. I've used it as a CD image without issue.

If the hard drive is failing, you may have a limited number of attempts to get anything from it. I'd suggest that you use a free tool from the manufacturer of the hard drive to assess if the drive is dead or not.
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#4 azrael

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 10:11 PM

Thank you for your replies. I have seen no evidence that my HDD is faulty. I have tried some free programs. I can't get testdisk to work or findntfs. NTFS reader found an empty HDD so did hutil from samsung. I can't believe the entire disk has been wiped. How could this have happened? It's like really bad luck. I was checking a disk to see if it had failed and then mine failed too. That is some coincidence. I wonder if it was a virus. Does anyone know of any other good free programs, as I am loathe to shell out $89 to find that my HDD is empty. If the files are there, I don't mind paying to have them recovered.

#5 cmgedc

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 02:19 PM

Thank you for your replies. I have seen no evidence that my HDD is faulty. I have tried some free programs. I can't get testdisk to work or findntfs. NTFS reader found an empty HDD so did hutil from samsung. I can't believe the entire disk has been wiped. How could this have happened? It's like really bad luck. I was checking a disk to see if it had failed and then mine failed too. That is some coincidence. I wonder if it was a virus. Does anyone know of any other good free programs, as I am loathe to shell out $89 to find that my HDD is empty. If the files are there, I don't mind paying to have them recovered.


Spin Rite even found the deleted files on the hard drive I used it on. It's pretty scary actually. If you watch the video (actually I think there are two to watch) he has on the site it kind of explains what it does and how other programs miss what it finds. I could almost guarantee your files are still there. Whether it's a virus or not, bad disk or not, etc, in my opinion by the time you figure out everything that could be wrong you will have wasted a ton of time and time is money. If you do an internet search on Spin Rite I know you'll find lots of other people that had problems similar to yours. I would highly recommend at least doing that before paying someone else to recover your disk.

#6 ThorXP

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 02:34 PM

What you need to do is find out the pin assignments for the drive select on the hard drive that were set on the hard drive before you changed them. One of the pin assignments changes how many sectors the drive sees. This is important and I would call the manufacturer of the computer tech support and ask them they might know where the jumpers go. Or if you made a drawing of them before you changed them you can use that.

#7 TheTerrorist_75

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:39 PM

Double check to see if you placed the hard drive jumpers back in their original position.
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#8 azrael

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 06:34 AM

My HDD shows up in CMOS and Device Manager but not when I click on my computer. It's totally weird what happened; a complete mystery; perhaps there's a ghost in the machine. I downloaded a demo of a program called R-Studio, and hey presto, after fiddling with the interface for a while, I managed to find the files; everything was there. I bought the program and I am in the process of recovering all the important stuff. I still think the drive is ok, and I'd like to find out just what went wrong, but I might junk it, and treat myself to a SATA drive.

#9 cmgedc

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 07:45 AM

My HDD shows up in CMOS and Device Manager but not when I click on my computer. It's totally weird what happened; a complete mystery; perhaps there's a ghost in the machine. I downloaded a demo of a program called R-Studio, and hey presto, after fiddling with the interface for a while, I managed to find the files; everything was there. I bought the program and I am in the process of recovering all the important stuff. I still think the drive is ok, and I'd like to find out just what went wrong, but I might junk it, and treat myself to a SATA drive.


Good job. I actually tried the R-Studio demo before getting Spin Rite, the R-Studio couldn't get my disk back. I would bet the disk was damaged from power surges and/or power outages and overheating.




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