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Trouble Accessing an Old (Damaged?) Laptop HDD

by Fawkesequus / April 19, 2016 8:10 AM PDT

Hello all!

I'm dearly in need of some help and advice. I also dearly apologize beforehand if I come off as more than a little under-educated and noobish on the issue I'm asking for help on.

So about a week ago my old (4-ish years) Toshiba Satellite A665 laptop took a pretty good tumble (about 3 feet off a desk). Nothing immediately seemed broken and up until then it had been running just fine. After the tumble, my explorer (Windows 7) and browsers and everything began to completely freeze up. I did a restart which resulted in a blue screen boot failure. After many failed attempts at restarting I eventually was able to get into Startup Repair (which also failed a couple times) and get it to boot up all the way, at which point everything seemed to run properly. The computer seemed to run fine for about 2-3 days, but I refused to shut it down completely for fear that I wouldn't be able to get back into it. You would THINK this would be the point where I would do the crucially logical thing and backup all my files, but no. I'm clearly not a very smart person and as such my files aren't backed up.

Eventually, my system froze up completely again and I was forced to restart. Boot up failed. I tried doing Startup Repair again but it would simply freeze up and not complete. I went into BIOS to check if my computer was still detecting my HDD (Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB) and it seemed to be doing so just fine. After multiple restarts to try to get the start up to complete, the laptop eventually just went straight to a black Boot Failed screen.

At that point I decided to just buy a new cheap laptop (HP Notebook, Windows 10) and remove the HDD from my malfunctioning laptop. I plugged it into my new laptop using a Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE Hard Drive Adapter to try to get at my files. In my computer folder, the drive showed up lettered as F:, but the entire folder seemed to freeze up and wouldn't load 100%. After I turned off the adapter though, the HDD drive would disappear and the folder would unfreeze immediately.

After doing some panicked reading on the internet, I decided to try to do a chkdsk on the HDD, which I managed to run via the command prompt window. It has now been running that disk check for roughly 72 hours. It has returned a couple dozen unreadable file record segments and deleted a couple dozen corrupt attribute list entries. However, the progress is 211863 of 320256 done; Stage 66%; Total 0%; ETA 999:00:00. It has only moved 2% in the last 24 hours and has been stuck on the same file for the last hour, so I was going to stop the current disk check. But from what I recently found on the internet, doing that might also be catastrophically bad.

The HDD isn't making any funny sounds or anything. It has a steady hum to it.

I have no idea what to do at this point in time. Should I stop the disk check and if so, how? What could be the possible issue with the HDD? Is there anything at all I can do to try to retrieve my files on my own or is the HDD too far gone? Is it too far gone even for a professional data recovery company to retrieve my files?

Any help or advice would be appreciated beyond words or measure! :c

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All Answers

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Here's the thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 19, 2016 10:34 AM PDT

Never write to a failing drive. It can only make it worse.

Since Windows may have issues reading a failing drive I try other OSes. I wrote about this years ago at so that we don't have to repeat we don't learn or install Linux. We just boot it and copy what we can out.

If this is not doable we get recovery estimates from say

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by Jared Palmer / April 19, 2016 1:12 PM PDT

#1 Stop CHKDISK, literally just yank the cord out of the wall as fast as you can. It is actively destroying any chance of actual data recovery. Chkdisk is only for logical issues, and you have a hardware issue. It's like putting a bandaid over a gunshot wound instead of going to the hospital.

#2 If you value your data, get the drive to a pro data recovery shop. Had you done that first it'd probably have only been $300-$400. Now you're probably in the $500-$700, and if you keep pushing it, it will become impossible to recover the data.

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