Welcome guest. Before posting on our computer help forum, you must register. Click here it's easy and free.

Author Topic: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?  (Read 5084 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

amandalee

  • Guest
Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
« on: February 13, 2007, 12:08:15 PM »
Hi everyone-
When I start my computer, I get a message that says something like "SMART failure predicted on hard disk, immediately back-up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent, press F1 to continue."
How do I back up my data if I can't even get in to Windows?  :-?

My computer is a Compaq notebook that I got in 2003.  It's running Windows XP.  I'm not sure who the hdd manufacturer is, or how to find out; on another thread
http://www.computerhope.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?num=1171315711 someone had a similar issue, and was advised to run the hdd manufacterer's diagnostic.  If I do manage to find out the manufacterer of my hdd, how would I run the diagnostic when I can't get into Windows?

Previously, after getting this error message I would press F1 and it would give me another message that said "NTLDR missing."  I copied NTLDR and ntdetect.com from the bootable XP CD hoping this would at least give me a chance to get into Windows and back up anything I already hadn't.  But when I restarted, I got the same "failure predicted" message, but this time when I pressed F1, it said "disk read error."

I've also tried running chkdsk /r and /p in recovery console, but it always stops at 75% and tells me that there were "one or more unrecoverable problems."  I tried the "fixmbr" command, then running chkdsk again and had the same problem.  I even tried using the bootable cd to reinstall Windows, but that wouldn't work either.  When it tried to format the hdd to do the install, I got an error message saying that it was unable to format the drive, because the file system may be corrupt, or something like that.

That's all I could think of to try and fix it.  I'm hoping someone can offer other suggestions before I just suck it up and get a new hdd.

I'm even wondering if it would be better to just replace the entire computer, rather than trying to figure out what hard drive to get.

So, to summarize:
**1. Can I access the data on this hdd, and how do I do it?
2. What else, if anything, can I do to try and fix this problem?
3. Should I replace the computer of just the hard drive?

Any help would be *greatly* appreciated!
Thanks  ;D

patio

  • Moderator


  • Genius
  • Maud' Dib
  • Thanked: 1708
    • Yes
  • Experience: Beginner
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2007, 02:01:16 PM »
Hook up that HDD as a slave in a known working machine and retrieve the data you need.
At this point the HDD diagnostics are redundant as you are already getting SMART errors...that drive is dying.
And they run outside of Windows anyways.
No sense in replacing the whole machine if it is adequate for your needs...just get a new HDD.
You will of course have to do a re-install of Windows and all your programs.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2007, 02:01:49 PM by patio »
   
 
" Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

amandalee

  • Guest
Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2007, 02:17:06 PM »
Thanks for the advice.   :D
As for slaving my broken HDD to a working machine, is that something I can do by connecting 2 machines through USB ports?  For example, if I connected the broken laptop to a working desktop?  When it comes to hardware issues, I'm pretty computer illiterate.
Thanks  

patio

  • Moderator


  • Genius
  • Maud' Dib
  • Thanked: 1708
    • Yes
  • Experience: Beginner
  • OS: Windows 7
Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2007, 03:37:28 PM »
The better way to do it is to get a 2.5" to IDE connector, this allows you to hookup any laptop drive to a desktop machine...
   
 
" Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

amandalee

  • Guest
Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 10:33:33 AM »
Thanks again for the help.  
Since laptop and desktop computers both have 2 USB ports, I got a cable with USB connections on both ends.  I thought it would just be a matter of hooking the broken laptop up to the working desktop, but maybe it's not that easy.  ::)
How do I access the data on the laptop using the desk top?  The desktop will detect my external HDD when I hook that up to it, but do I have to do something to make it detect the laptop?
Sorry for being so clueless, please educate me.   :)  I really don't want to pay Circuit City $60 to transfer my files for me if I can do it myself.

edit:  A picture of the cable I'm trying to use can be seen here:
http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/meritline_1936_116277086
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 10:50:15 AM by amandalee »

truenorth



    Guru

    Thanked: 253
    Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
    « Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 11:28:09 AM »
    Labprincess,i am aware of another way to create your connectability for a relatively very low cost.A portable case can be purchased that will allow you to put in an internal H/D and will include it's own power supply,internal connection cable,and external usb cable that in effect makes your internal IDEE connectable H/D into an externally connectable usb connectable H/D. they seem to range in price from about $14.00 to $23.00 (also available online from many sources but will involve shipping costs).If you live near a large city you should have no problem finding one and the beauty is that you can throw away the dieing H/D after you have retrieved your data and then reuse the case for any other internal H/D.I must confess though never having owned a laptop i don't know if there is a phsical compatability problem with the size of a laptop H/D as compared to the desktop H/D  size. So be sure to verify that element before you put out your hard earned money.do a google search on "internal harddrive case". Good luck truenorth

    amandalee

    • Guest
    Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
    « Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 11:43:26 AM »
    Thanks for the suggestion.   :D  I'll look into it.  I live in a fairly large city, so I'll go to some electronics stores tonight and see if they have anything like what you're describing.
    I've already bought a new internal HDD to replace my dead one, it's just a matter of getting my data off it, which is turning out to be more complicated than I expected, but that's probably my own fault.   :-[

    truenorth



      Guru

      Thanked: 253
      Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
      « Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 03:04:49 PM »
      Labprincess,here is an online link to the type of device i am reffering to.Hope i catch you before you go out to check on it.This is just to give a clear image of what i am talking about and you can also see the specs. and what it is capable of.this one is $14.99 at the site to which you will be going. truenorth http://www.xpcgear.com/blueenclosure.html

      amandalee

      • Guest
      Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
      « Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 03:31:02 PM »
      Thanks again for the help and the link, Truenorth. I'll be here (at work) for another 2 & 1/2 hours, unfortunately...  :(
      So just to make sure I understand the information correctly, I'd remove my broken HDD and put it into the external case,
      Then I'd put my new HDD in my computer, reinstall my OS and get everything up and running,
      And when that's done I'd connect my broken HDD in the case (essentially making it an external HDD) to my laptop and try to get what I can off it.
      Just want to make sure I've got the right idea before trying it.  ;)
      It's a much better plan than taking it to CC or BB...


      GX1_Man

      • Moderator

      • Mastermind

      • Because beige is beautiful !!!
      • Thanked: 24
        Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
        « Reply #9 on: February 20, 2007, 04:38:22 PM »
        And don't forget to do regular backups on your important data in the future. Sometimes drives fail instantly and that data can be gone forever with no chance to salvage it. Remember that ALL hard drives die eventually.
        Please post as much information about your computer, operating system, and problem as possible, what happened prior to problems, etc. Too much info is OK, too little is pointless! Don't just say "My computer doesn't work. What's wrong?"

        truenorth



          Guru

          Thanked: 253
          Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
          « Reply #10 on: February 20, 2007, 06:31:27 PM »
          Labprincess,I hope i can still reach you before you embark on your quest for the device i am recommending.I have yet to use the device i have suggested although i shall soon be purchasing at least 2 of them. However i will invite more computer savvy types on the forum to address my next comments. It was my intention to suggest this route in order for you to salvage the personal data that you might wish to try and save from your dieing H/D before you call a mortician in.It was not intended to copy everything that you have on that drive as it is my understanding and belief that this method will NOT be able to save your operating system (no matter what O/S it may be) in a manner which will allow you to replicate it on a new harddrive.To do that you would have had to copy the "image " of your harddrive (a different thing than what we are talking about here) and only 3rd party software such as Norton Ghost can do that. Given that your current computer will not permit you to do very much in terms of what you can do with the dieing H/D i strongly suspect that you could not use Ghost--even if you had it--to capture the image of your "C" drive that would allow you to create an "image " of it. I was simply responding to what i thought was your concern to try and salvage your personal data.If you did use the route i suggest you could then transfer the data that you have on your dieing H/D to any other compatible H/d that has the same file system ie;fat32 or NTSF . Even transfer it to your new H/D that you have to replace your dieing one--but only after that harddrive was formatted and had an operating system installed on it. I would appreciate that some of the higher level tech types here on the forum come in at this point to give you more thoughts  and guidance. So maybe you might want to await their comments before you rush into this. wish i could have said yes to all your points but i'm  afraid it is not that simple (i don't think). truenorth

          amandalee

          • Guest
          Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
          « Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 10:26:19 AM »
          Yes, I will be much more consistant about backing up my important data in the future.  I've learned my lesson.  :'(
          So far I have to thank the nice people on this forum for saving me the $500-800 I would have spent on a new laptop.  I installed the new HDD, set up Windows XP again and it seems to be working nicely.  I am still having issues with data recovery through.  The only files I really care about are the music in my iTunes library, a few pictures and Word documents, and some files for the Sims 2.  
          Alot of the iTunes files are backed up, the notable exception being the most recent purchases, since the old HDD started having problems while I was trying to back them up.  Most of the pictures and documents may be backed up somewhere, I just want to get them to make sure.  And all but the most recent changes to the Sims game are backed up.
          Truenorth, I tried your idea of putting the broken HDD in an external case, and the computer recognizes that new hardware has been added, but it isn't showing up in My Computer, and I can't seem to access it.  Any suggestions?
          Thanks!

          patio

          • Moderator


          • Genius
          • Maud' Dib
          • Thanked: 1708
            • Yes
          • Experience: Beginner
          • OS: Windows 7
          Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
          « Reply #12 on: February 21, 2007, 02:43:02 PM »
          Right click My Computer and select Manage...Open Disk Management...does the drive show up there ? ?
          If so right click it and select properties and report what it says.
          This is why i suggested the IDE adapter for this purpose. Much more reliable than a USB connection when it comes to HDD's.
             
           
          " Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined. "

          amandalee

          • Guest
          Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
          « Reply #13 on: February 21, 2007, 02:59:59 PM »
          Quote
          The better way to do it is to get a 2.5" to IDE connector, this allows you to hookup any laptop drive to a desktop machine...
          The HDD enclosure seems to work the same way as an IDE connector  (as far as I can tell, but I could be mistaken).  How is it different?  I imagine it would hook up to the old, broken HDD the same way as the enclosure does; but I'm guessing it would use something other than USB to hook up to the computer?

          This is the enclosure I have:
          http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=306130&pfp=AVAIL

          I tried finding it in Disk Management last night, but it wasn't showing up.
          Your continued help is much appreciated.  :)  Normally I would've given up and either bought a new computer or taken this one to the Geek Squad at BB, but I'm kind of broke and trying to save $ by doing it myself.  ::)


          truenorth



            Guru

            Thanked: 253
            Re: Hard disk failure - possible to retrieve data?
            « Reply #14 on: February 21, 2007, 04:46:46 PM »
            Labprincess,You are making progress.I am an advocate of saving money no matter how much you have. Also remember challenge breeds character.Now re the case you have--i looked at it--it does seem similiar.how is it powered? i didn't see any spec that talked about a power source.The one i sent you the link to as you saw has a 110a/c converter power supply with it. i cannot see how an internal H/D can function if it doesn't get power? As i said i am at a bit of a disadvantage re this device as i don't own one --nor have i used one yet.Patio may have a point re the reliability issue but i can add a very current experince--like today--i do have a portable 250gb Buffalo USB connectable H/D with 3 partitions and i created 2 aprox 4gb dvd video files today from an external vhs tape player to one of the portable partitions (did this on my own computer)took the H/D upstairs to my wife's computer that has a dvd burner on it (1st time doing that) and her computer using win xp-media centre 2005 (mine uses xp-pro ) had absolutely no problem detecting and allowing me the use of the portable H/D to burn the dvd on her computer. All this to say that is very similiar to what you are endeavoring to do.Yes you are absolutely correct you are using the internal circuitry of the case to replace the idee cable (on the inside of the case) so that the cable connection becomes a usb on the outside so you can plug it into a computer's usb slot. I see no problem with that as long as everything is compatible.When you plugged the portable(case) into your usb did the computer say "new hardware found" and identify it as a usb device. see what concerns me here are 2 things--1.where is the case getting it's power from and 2. is your dieing H/D still alive enough to do anything.How many partitions do you have on that case one? When and if it does get recognized by your new H/D it should show all the partitions on it.Keep us informed. I know you probably don't have one --but if you had a known working H/D you could put in the case that could make the difference as to whether your other H/D will detect it.Now mind you if your case is turned on and plugged into an outlet (power source) i suspect it doesn't need to have anything in it to be detected. I'll be able to comment on that aspect in a couple of months once i have one and have tried it.Don't give up until know the dieing H/D is totally dead. truenorth