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Failing laptop HDD won't boot to Windows - data recovery?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
If this is a simple one, please go easy on me - I'm new at this smile.gif

I have hooked up the drive to my main rig by some spare SATA cables, and it's recognised but won't let me access its main partition. Is there any way in to rescue some of my friend's data before I resort to formatting his computer and possibly installing a new HDD?

The error is along the lines of "format disk before use", followed by a "cyclic redundancy check" failure. I can get into the random extra partition OK, just not the main drive.

Thanks,
Sam
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post #2 of 23
    First of all, don't run chkdsk.  What you need to do is image the partition with a program that will quickly image a failing HDD, and when that's complete, try to recover as much data from the bad sectors as possible.  Since I couldn't find any free software that could do that, I wrote one of my own, and have used it to recover data from many customers' failing HDDs.  You can download it here: DiskImageRecovery.zip.

   You will need enough space on your computer for the disk image (the disk image file will be the size of the laptop HDD).  So a 256 GB HDD in your laptop would mean you would need space for a 256 GB disk image file.  When you have successfully imaged the disk, I will explain how to recover data from the image file. thumb.gif

P.S. Don't save the image onto the failing HDD...
 
Edited by Techie007 - 8/1/16 at 12:27pm
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post #3 of 23
    Since I don't want to increase our "latency" by waiting for your response, I will explain the next steps below:

1: Download and install Gizmo Central.
2: Download and install Piriform Recuva (the free version is adequate).
3: Reboot your computer (you should turn off and disconnect the failing HDD at this point, if you haven't done so already).
4: Using Gizmo, mount the *.img file that my disk imaging program created.
5: Go to Windows Explorer.  You should see a drive there that looks just like the one that was failing.  If you click on it, it will probably ask if you want to format it (answer [No], of course).
6: Open Recuva, and go to its options and tick "Deep scan" and "Recover non deleted files" and "Restore folder structure".
7: Select the partition to recover data from, and then click the [Scan] button.
8: In a few hours when it is done, parse through the results and recover what you want to recover.  On some HDDs, the filesystem is intact enough that Recuva will be able to distinguish between files that the user deleted and files that the user actually had stored on the drive at time of failure.  On other systems, it won't be able to distinguish that, and the user will have to re-delete files that you recovered that they had deleted previously.
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thankyou - that's a massive help.

I'll get onto this tonight - last night was absorbed tearing down a whitescreening Toshiba C655 in the vain hope it would be the video cable... naturally it was not.
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post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well it's almost a shame I didn't get stuck into this.. I spent most of the weekend building a new gamer for a friend, came together pretty nicely.

In the meantime I got to reading and realised I could go about this a simpler way, since I misled you a little in the OP - the HDD isn't necessarily failing, it's just that it can't boot to Windows. I only realised this after further testing booting it with Ubuntu when it wasn't randomly shutting down at all... so just the Win OS is messed up.

Not knowing any ways to fix this reliably off the top of my head (never been much good with fixing Windows), I figure I'll rescue his data and give it a format, undoubtedly it'll run better that way anyway.

I'll certainly be keeping this thread in mind for next time I am dealing with an actual failing HDD though!!
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post #6 of 23
Run seatools, do both short and long drive self test. You can download windows installer from seagate website. Link
that would tell you if HDD is healthy or not more or less acurately.
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Can I run that installer through Ubuntu? It won't boot into Windows at all. I've never used Ubuntu before.
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post #8 of 23
    You sure the HDD is OK?  The "You need to format the drive before you can use it" and the "Cyclic Redundancy Check" messages are classic Windows messages for a failing HDD (you can also get the format message if some program has corrupted the NTFS filesystem, but that's rare).

    As far as SeaTools goes, just connect the HDD to a functioning Windows computer, install SeaTools and test the drive from there.  Another way is to check the HDD's SMART data with a program like HD Tune (again, with the HDD connected to another Windows computer).  With HD Tune (don't bother with the Pro version), you would take a screenshot of the Health tab with the laptop's HDD selected in the dropdown selector.
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post #9 of 23
I dont think there is a linux version BUT there is a nice bootable recovery/maintenance cd that contains it, its called hirens boot cd

Download Link

download that, unpack then burn image. Then boot from the cd/dvd and run seatools.

It also has plenty other useful toools and utilities.
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post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Just using those utilities on a HDD in my crappiest old spare PC, Seatools fails it on long and short generic tests, but HDTune's error scan doesn't pick anything up. I'm not sure how to read the Health tab of HDTune but I think it might be pretty bad. Do I interpret this as a HDD that hasn't necessarily lost any sectors but the working parts are getting old and worn out?
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