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  1. Hi.

    I'm trying to see if I can clone a hard-drive that was in all likelihood damaged by a power outage.
    The HDD contained an operating system which would be very useful if restored as it was, on a new drive.

    So the hard-drive is still detected in the BIOS of that computer, correct size, but would not boot at all. (It used to, but the power outage took very long, and very soon after the power came back the HDD failed. It was booted, worked for a while and then the OS stopped responding; upon reboot nothing worked anymore.) The drive is also constantly making a noise somewhat like a circular saw, always whirring, and almost always very loud. Very rarely, the noise lowers its volume temporarily, and then raises back to the same extremely loud pitch again for long, long intervals.
    The hard-drive must have been practically frozen during the power outage (- in wintertime).
    On some boot attempts, the computer itself says "Primary HDD not found", or "error" and then asks user to press F1 to go to CMOS settings.

    Would this tool: Ddrescue, from the Ubuntu Rescue Remix CD - I saw an article by someone at Geeky Projects describing how to utilize this, but 2 additional empty HDDs are needed - so, would Ddrescue work to read this drive, create a raw recovery file on the second drive, and then create the actual clone onto the third drive, as described in the article even though not even a SpinRite diskette program manages to detect it?? Or should a professional be employed for this?
    (Again, only the BIOS detects it, when asked to detect all drives, that's it. But unfortunately it cannot be selected to boot from, even in BIOS - I can only seem to select Floppy and CD-ROM.)
    I'm asking for impressions and advice from other people first because it would be extremely hard for me to get two empty drives for the process in the article. Which seems to be the only chance for recovery. One empty drive is okay, I guess I could find one, but for the second I don't know...

    And also I'm inquiring because I could use some opinions about whether it is recoverable or not. Either by myself and/or by paid specialists only. Whatever. I'd like to know.

    The failing drive is a Fujitsu, by the way. 10 GB, approximately.
    However, I do need to recover the bootable XP Operating System with its programs and files. Could it be done?
    Last edited by newsgroup guy; 25th Dec 2013 at 08:11.
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
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    It depends on how badly damaged the drive is, and you won't know until you try. Another option you might try is Seagate Discwizard that's a free download and requires only 1 target drive to try to either clone or create an image pf the drive. You can create boot CD with latest Discwizard version 13 or a BartPE CD including Discwizard if you can get version 11 Discwizard. Note you'll get an error running Discwizard if there's not a Seagate drive connected to the system, but there's a workaround for that which I can verify it does work as I've used it on desktops and laptops. At the Discwizard error simply press 'Alt" and type "t" then "o" without the quotes. I've had better luck with creating and restoring images than direct cloning, but you might try it both ways if the first try fails.
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  3. To give even an educated guess is difficult to do in such situations, especially without access to the hardware.

    In general, your odds of recovering individual data files are fairly good, given that the drive is still mechanically functional.

    However, the odds of recovering a complete OS, complete with registry and working programs, are pretty slim. MAYBE, an OS that can be made bootable with a repair install, for which SOME of the installed progs might still work. I wouldn't bet on it.

    Best recovery tool I have used in 20 years is GetDataBack. Hands down, the very best. That doesn't mean other tools might work, and I've never tried to use it to recover an entire, bootable drive image. That's an all-or-nothing beat.

    One emergency method that might work is to replace the interface board with one from an IDENTICAL drive, with careful physical examination that is is, in fact, identical. That is a last resort, short of sending it to a "clean-room" recovery facility, which offers no guarantees and starts around $500.00.

    The interface replacement has been effective in cases wherein either the drive motor never engages, or seems unable to regulate it's speed, which sounds like it might be your problem.
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  4. I will try your suggestions (Seagate Discwizard and GetDataBack) as soon as possible - and thank you very much! - but in the meantime I have another very quick inquiry.

    I saw on another website a suggestion about putting the hard-drive in a freezer for about two hours, and then using it quickly to recover some data that is absolutely a must to be recovered (because apparently there's only a 60% chance the drive will ever work after that).

    Have you guys heard of that?

    What if I just want the system to boot to get something which can only be found by having the system boot, and then it's okay to even throw away the drive?
    Should that method work if I try it?

    We basically just want the system to boot up one more time, even if for just 5-10 minutes.

    Or do you suppose that freezing thing has already happened, as described above, during the power outage?
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: Australia
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    Your simplest option with xp involved is to do a raw file copy to another formatted drive (same format type) having same or larger capacity.

    You can use roadkills unstoppable copier using a boot cd found on this link ... the file is 135mb

    The freezing thing can work ... but its a best guess if your drive is in such a state that this trick is needed or of any benefit.

    Also take the affected drive out of the system ... small vibrations (noise) can be multiplied by the housing or system case.
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  6. Member
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    I've not heard of the freeze it idea and can't advise you on that. Do you want the system to boot to try recover some data? If that's the case, you might try using Dsicwizard 11 to make a BartPE CD because it has something called the A43 Utility which is much like Explore when booted to Windows that you could use to try to copy data from that drive to another drive. Depending on drive damage you may get nothing, some data or all desired data if you get lucky. Note the BartPE plugin is not installed by default, and box must be checked for BartPE plugin during Discwizard 11 install. You may also find Discwizard 11 download difficult to find. I think I had to contact Seagate support to get it, and they emailed me the link to download. Maybe somebody else here will know something about the freeze it idea.
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  7. Member
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    It's called UBCD4WinV360.exe. Ver. 3.60.
    Last edited by jeanpave; 25th Dec 2013 at 23:43.
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  8. Originally Posted by newsgroup guy View Post
    I saw on another website a suggestion about putting the hard-drive in a freezer for about two hours, and then using it quickly to recover some data that is absolutely a must to be recovered (because apparently there's only a 60% chance the drive will ever work after that).

    Have you guys heard of that?
    I've used the "hard drive in the freezer" trick before and it can work, depending on what's wrong with the drive. I think the theory behind it is the drop in temperature might free up mechanical bits which are "stuck" as it'd cause them to contract a tiny bit.

    Years ago I had lots of important data on two hard drives. I reformatted one of them and installed Windows on it. The plan was to then copy the data back once that was done. Only because computers are such vicious creatures, that was the exact moment the backup drive decided to die.
    I managed to get all the data off it. Each morning it spent 15 minutes or so in the freezer, then I'd connect it to the PC. Usually I'd need to tap the drive on the desk lightly to get it to spin up. It'd happily copy files for ten minutes or so until it warmed up, then it'd stop. I think four or five days of that and I eventually got all the necessary files off it. It's really pot luck whether it'll work though, and it'd probably pay to wrap the drive in something moisture proof while it's in the freezer.

    Recovering a whole bootable partition with Windows and installed programs might be a bit of an ask, but I've never had to do that before. I'd imagine you'd somehow need to get the drive working, then use imaging software to create an image and restore that to the replacement drive. I'm not sure you'd be able to simply "recover" the Windows files and programs to a replacement drive and expect to be able to boot from it.
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  9. Bjs: I'm downloading now something called UBCD4WinV360.exe. That's the one, right? It's 269 MB. Using an official mirror from some German site. It's supposed to let me download version 3.50. 3.60 takes way longer to download, from securitywonks website. But it's roughly the same, 3.50 as compared to 3.60, no?

    So, guys, I downloaded Ubuntu Rescue Remix and HDD Raw Copy 1.10 portable, and I am in the process of downloading DiscWizard (if I can find the BartPE bootable CD - where? -) and two versions of UBCD4Win. But I don't even know which one to try first.
    And I assume all of these can be used directly from CD or somehow upon boot? Because I can't go into any operating system to run recovery Windows applications (like GetDataBack) unless I open up another computer of mine, which I don't really want to do unless absolutely necessary, and put that cursed HDD inside it, as slave or something...

    bevills1: Well, I downloaded something called "DiscWizardSetup.en", 126 MB, but I don't know how to use that to make a bootable CD. I'm afraid it will just install its files on this hard-drive, and I don't want to install anything on, or make any adjustments to, this computer. The options that 'DiscWizardSetup.en(.exe)' gives are: "Install Seagate DiscWizard", "Seagate DiscWizard User's Guide" and "Customer Support" (and the GUI looks somewhat like the Windows XP CD GUI for installation/upgrade of the OS).

    Thanks again, and sorry if I didn't respond to everything that was said. There are a lot of things to process. I'll come back later, to see what I've missed in the conversation(s).

    By the way, for a while the hard-drive acted better. By that I mean that, going into BIOS, I was able to select IDE-0 as a boot option. Of course, it still didn't boot properly, but I thought that was progress.
    However, then I tried SpinRite again, and this time it detected the drive, but said it was "Empty Drive" and didn't want to work with it. (Gave me error message in red popup, offering 'Esc' as the only option, to cancel and go back.)
    And then again the option for IDE-0 as boot device disappeared, on the next reboot attempt.

    Does that say anything to anybody about recovery possibility?
    (Because now I'm sure we're going to throw that hard-drive in the garbage, but if only I could boot one more time than my job would be done. - So, yes, bevills1, that's what I want. But I can't find the BartPE CD. What's the name of the image file or CD that you have, exactly? I'll Google it.)
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  10. Originally Posted by hello_hello View Post
    Originally Posted by newsgroup guy View Post
    I saw on another website a suggestion about putting the hard-drive in a freezer for about two hours, and then using it quickly to recover some data that is absolutely a must to be recovered (because apparently there's only a 60% chance the drive will ever work after that).

    Have you guys heard of that?
    I've used the "hard drive in the freezer" trick before and it can work, depending on what's wrong with the drive. I think the theory behind it is the drop in temperature might free up mechanical bits which are "stuck" as it'd cause them to contract a tiny bit.

    Years ago I had lots of important data on two hard drives. I reformatted one of them and installed Windows on it. The plan was to then copy the data back once that was done. Only because computers are such vicious creatures, that was the exact moment the backup drive decided to die.
    I managed to get all the data off it. Each morning it spent 15 minutes or so in the freezer, then I'd connect it to the PC. Usually I'd need to tap the drive on the desk lightly to get it to spin up. It'd happily copy files for ten minutes or so until it warmed up, then it'd stop. I think four or five days of that and I eventually got all the necessary files off it. It's really pot luck whether it'll work though, and it'd probably pay to wrap the drive in something moisture proof while it's in the freezer.

    Recovering a whole bootable partition with Windows and installed programs might be a bit of an ask, but I've never had to do that before. I'd imagine you'd somehow need to get the drive working, then use imaging software to create an image and restore that to the replacement drive. I'm not sure you'd be able to simply "recover" the Windows files and programs to a replacement drive and expect to be able to boot from it.
    Thank you very much, hello_hello!

    I'm very glad somebody suggested the freezer thing can work more than once. I'll try the freezer now, probably first, because it seems it's the quickest method.
    (I found a tutorial to make a BartPE CD, and it doesn't seem too simple.)

    Thanks again.

    P.S. Okay, maybe I won't be able to boot from the recovered image, but you don't think there's even a small chance, especially because I would be putting the new drive in the same computer? (So it's not like I would be getting a brand new computer for that recreated OS...)
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  11. Some Windows files (I'm pretty sure) need to be saved to a specific place on the hard drive for it to be bootable. I'd guess best case scenario, you could copy the Windows and program files to a replacement drive (it'd need to have an "active" partition) and use a Windows disc to repair it.... make it bootable. I've no idea if that'd actually work though.

    I can't remember what causes the problem, but I'm still using a quite old version of Norton Ghost which only works properly for XP or older versions of Windows. It'll image a setup containing a newer version of Windows and restore the image to the same (or different drive) but Windows won't boot from it. Using a Windows disc to run a repair makes it bootable..... but the upshot of it is, it's not as easy as copying the files from one drive to another. If the drive keeps working long enough for you to image it with imaging software then that'd be a different story, but chances are at best it'll work sporadically so I doubt "imaging" would have a high chance of success.

    If the drive is appearing and disappearing from the BIOS then the controller/electronics are probably the problem. The unnatural sound the drive is making may be due to mechanical problem or maybe it's because the electronics aren't working properly. Who knows....

    I've got a dead 1TB drive here. One day it was working perfectly, the next.... not so much. It always appears in the BIOS though and Windows can see it, I just can't access the files on it and it's making odd noises, so I'm faily sure it's a mechanical problem. Well the fact it's the drive the cat knocked off the desk a year ago is also an indicator it's mechanical..... I haven't been using the drive much but I guess I'm lucky it kept working as long as it did.
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  12. The problem you are seeing with Norton Ghost is because it does not make the partition active. Simple fix.

    If using the freezer trick, EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to wrap the drive in a dry paper towel and then put it into a plastic bag. Otherwise, you will get ice crystals on the electronics which can short the drive when warmed.

    If you have an available second PC, that is functional, then your first step should be to put the bad drive in that box as a second drive. About 90% of the problem in these cases is the fact that you need to examine the drive from a working OS. You have that, use it. This also gives you a different power supply and a different hard drive controller, and thus functions as a check on other possible problems.

    Put the friggin drive into a working box, use GetDataBack or Recuva (free), and quit screwing around with half-ass methods you are not familiar with.
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Location: United States
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    If you place the mouse pointer on the Discwizard install file, it should show the version, and only version 11 and earlier come with the BartPE plugin. Creating a BartPE CD is much simpler than it may appear, and you'd want to install Discwizard on a working PC to create the BartPE CD which will install nothing on the problem drive.

    However, if you just want to try to recover data, using GetDataBack as suggested in other posts would be much simpler especially if you have a working PC to which the drive may be connected. I'd be reluctant to use UBCD though because I once tried a version of it that changed all the drive letters including the Windows drive, and it was somewhat a pain to get drive letters correctly reassigned.
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  14. Originally Posted by Nelson37 View Post
    The problem you are seeing with Norton Ghost is because it does not make the partition active. Simple fix.
    I'll confess I've forgotten to make the partition active when creating a new one in the past.... although I only had to spend half an hour trying to work out why the computer wouldn't boot once in order not to forget since. That's not the problem though. It's hard to find info on such an old program but the issue was something to do with changes Microsoft made to the boot process for Vista. The pre-Vista versions of Ghost could image it fine, but they wouldn't always write the image in a Vista friendly manner. In order to boot Vista after restoring an image, it was necessary to repair the MBR.... or something like that. I went through the process once, confirmed I could image Vista and repair it so it'd boot after restoring the image, then went back to XP not long after and haven't really given it any thought since. This seems somewhat familiar though:
    How to restore Vista Ghost Image (Ghost 8.0 or 8.2)
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  15. Member
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    Originally Posted by newsgroup guy View Post
    By the way, for a while the hard-drive acted better. By that I mean that, going into BIOS, I was able to select IDE-0 as a boot option. Of course, it still didn't boot properly, but I thought that was progress.
    However, then I tried SpinRite again, an this time it detected the drive, but said it was "Empty Drive" and didn't want to work with it. (Gave me error message in red popup, offering 'Esc' as the only option, to cancel and go back.)
    And then again the option for IDE-0 as boot device disappeared, on the next reboot attempt.

    Does that say anything to anybody about recovery possibility?
    (Because now I'm sure we're going to throw that hard-drive in the garbage, but if only I could boot one more time than my job would be done. - So, yes, bevills1, that's what I want. But I can't find the BartPE CD. What's the name of the image file or CD that you have, exactly? I'll Google it.)
    Your statement about Spinrite recognizing it as and empty drive reminds me once I had a SD card with some photos that began showing up as empty drive, and a data recovery program recovered about 95% of the photos. This makes me think GetDataBack may be your best option in this case.

    I hope you succeed, but in any event you should consider Seagate Discwizard or other imaging program to create a backup image that would have averted the problem you now have. Whichever imaging program you may choose you should always verify the image created because an image that fails verification can't be restored.Also yYou should always use a boot CD version of the imaging program because the program can't be run from Windows if it fails to boot to Windows.
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