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Storage forum

General discussion

HDD (boot sector / partition) recovery

by senor freebie / January 15, 2006 7:30 PM PST

I recently had a major problem with my primary HDD on my work PC. It has months, even years of work on it along with many other important files. I am looking for advice on how to recover a boot sector or partition. The problem is as follows;

I put an old DVD drive into my PC (while it was turned off and unplugged).

As I loaded windows after doing this my HDD turned off then back on in rapid succession and the windows loading screen froze for about 4 minutes. I then restarted my PC.

Upon restart (with the DVD drive removed) the HDD turned on as normal and the Windows Loading screen began to come up. About half a second after this it froze, went to a blue screen and another second later restarted. The same happens if I restart, shut down and turn the power back on. If I load Safe Mode with or without command prompt it shows the text with each .sys file, can't find one and then restarts just as its about to change monitor modes and go into Windows.

I tried running a CHKDSK using Windows XP's recovery console but it had an error stating something along the lines of not seeing any partitions to check while in C: which is my primary partition.

I tried reinstalling windows onto an existing partition but Windows said that I first needed to delete the partition before continuing. However it did show the correct sizes for each of my partitions and did acknowledge their existence.

My specs are as follows:

Western Digital 200gig 7,200 RPM ATA-100 (or 133) HDD
Athlon X2 64 4400
BFG GeForce 7800Gt
ASUS A8N-SLI (I believe)
2 gig Corsair RAM
onboard sound & network

Up until this point everything including the HDD has ran perfectly fine and I suspect that it is not the HDD's fault. If anyone has had a similar experience or can offer some advice on how to check what might be wrong, or even fix it, please go ahead. I would be more then happy to recieve any help that I can get right now.

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Recovery tools and methods.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 15, 2006 11:04 PM PST

First, I will only supply the keywords you will type into Next, the goal is to get the files out and not to fix the drive since fixing it may wipe out the files. File recovery first, then attempt repair. Here's the tools you should try.


Boot your KNOPPIX CD and see if you can copy files out over the LAN, CDRW or other.


Since you don't have a booting OS, the drive may have to be moved to a working machine and files copied out with this tool.


I've had little luck with this one, but keep it in the kit. Research on your part is needed but can help is the repair phase. Do not tell me you wiped out the files with this one.


Now moving to commercial offerings, this one is quite nice.


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Data not available elsewhere ?
by VAPCMD / January 16, 2006 3:14 AM PST

My suggestion other than BACKUP BACKUP AND BACKUP are
add the corrupt drive to a booting PC that will recognize the file system, create a folder on the host HDD and copy your data/docs to it. Once you've copied it all, transfer it to CDs or DVDs as appropriate. Get your HDD straightened out, put the data back and thereafter BACUP BACKUP BACKUP.

Drive corruption or mechanical failure is a certainty ... the only questions are WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN and WILL YOU BE PREPARED TO DEAL WITH IT ?

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course of action
by senor freebie / January 17, 2006 12:08 AM PST

I put it in another PC and viewed the HDD under Windows XP disk management (xp service pack 2)
It told me that my disk was a dynamic disk (which I already knew) and that it was a foreign disk, which was obvious. I then tried to import the foreign disk and this didn't work. I am going to look into the second program you recommended as its the only one I haven't heard of. However at the moment what I am trying to do is install an OS on my machine on a spare hard drive of the same size so that I can do my backup work on that PC. Until I know that I can't read the files on my HDD I am not going to experiment further with any programs as I fear risking over-writing my files.

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Bummer...sorry to hear.
by VAPCMD / January 17, 2006 1:59 PM PST
In reply to: course of action

Didn't realize you were using DDO ... you're the second victim of DDO here in the forum if it's any consolation.

I've always avoided DDO in favor of a controller with an onboard BIOS. It gives full access to the entire drive and allows it to operate at full performance.

Good luck on getting your data back.

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best tools
by senor freebie / January 17, 2006 3:33 PM PST

What does DDO stand for? I still have hopes that I will be able to do this myself. I found out a friend of mine has a certain level of expertise in this area. If my attempts here to backup the contents of that disk fail, I will be able to take it to his house and he will be able to help me. However I am still not sure what the best program is for recovering files from behind a damaged partition.

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DDO=Dynamic Disk Overlay
by VAPCMD / January 17, 2006 11:02 PM PST
In reply to: best tools

Wish I could help....I've always recommended against using DDO for this very reason.

Good Luck on getting the data...I mean that and hope you will share your how you resolve it for others who will follow.

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