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  1. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    I am a software engineer, but my expertise in IT hardware support is very limited

    I had a problem with a laptop starting up. On a previous occasion I had removed the hard drive placed it in an enclosure and backed everything up before I started to play aroound with what was wrong.

    I had a similar situation so thought I would do the same thing. In this case the laptop appeared not to be able to read the drive. I took it out and put the drive in a brand new enclosure.

    Windows 7 could map the external drive to a letter but 1) wanted to format the drive 2) said there was cyclic redundancy. I did some reading and decided to create a bootable partedmagic cd. I used this on another laptop connected the drive and booted up. Under the advice of a HDD article I tried to mount the drive but it could not be seen also could not be seen in GParted. I took advice from the author of the article and executed TestDisk.

    Currently TestDisk has been running for about 18 hours. The screen always shows:

    Analyse cylinder n/476939 xx%
    Read error n/1/1 (lba=<some increasing 9 digit number>)

    xx is currently 14. n continually increments by 1. the /1/1 is always the same the 9 digit number increases by very roughly 2000 each time.

    Incidentally is /1/1 logical/virtual head and sector? Why are these always 1? I thought head may always be 1 but I thought sector may change. Why might the read error for each cylinder ALWAYS be only on head 1 sector 1?

    I want to know whether I should continue to wait and if not what is recommended next. Reading and requesting advice returns the full range of suggestions and reading the TestDisk Wiki I cannot seem to find enough detail to help with this problem (though I may well be unobservant or misinterpreting).

    Any help or advice (with some help in distinguishing its veracity from any other advice) woukld be very much appreciated.
    Last edited by hardya; 19th Feb 2014 at 05:49.
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: Australia
    Search Comp PM
    Number 1 rule : Do not use any external enclosure for recovery purpose ... it is better to mount the drive internally.

    Number 2 rule : As you have already experienced not all products work well in this situation even if designed to perform the same function.

    Personally active@recovery is better (payware) or testdisk (freeware).

    The computer expects data to be in a certain position according to the MFT table (only for ntfs format) and if mismatch then crc error is indicated ... most technicians will persevere and continue either with testdisk or another application to make a RAW image copy of the drive before attempting any type of repair.

    In poor condition data can take many days, weeks or even months for a whole drive's data to be recovered.

    So stick with testdisk but mount the drive internally, avoid using external enclosures of any kind.

    And welcome to the forum.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    Thank you for your welcome. Firstly let me say thank you so much for responding to my enquiry, I really do very much appreciate you taking your own time to do this.

    Please forgive me, I am not always the best at picking up on what people are saying, so if you don't mind I have just a fewquestions about your response. I do definitely apprecaite and accept the advice you are giving, but it just helps me if I feel that I understand it a bit better.

    Number 2 rule : As you have already experienced not all products work well in this situation even if designed to perform the same function.
    What is the actual rule here? What do you mean by products, different enclosures? different data retriveal software?

    Personally active@recovery is better (payware) or testdisk (freeware).
    Do you mean you think these are both better than most other disk recovery software? Or did you mean to say you think active@recovery is better than testdisk. BTW - testdisk is what I am actually using at the moment.

    I assume not, but to be explicit, is there any risk to my stopping testdisk in its current state (as I described it)? Or is it probably only reading at this point? and is probably the only thing I have lost time? and maybe any physical damage that may occurr solely due to continued use?

    I am not properly clear what may happen (in lay terms) when the quick search completes and what resources and abilities testdisk or other software may expect of the laptop that the drive is back in and partedmagic/testdisk is CD booted on. For example will it just (hopefully) fix the partition, then I can boot up the laptop and backup the data as any one would or will it suggest I copy the contents of the fixed partition to somewhere else and is it likely partdedmagic and the laptop will be able to support that?

    Basically if I am going to run something for days I want to be as confident as I can be that when it reaches the end I am not scuppered by something I should have understood at the start.

    If I still get the read errors with the drive installed internally is there anything that it would be useful for me to understand about them? Or any decisions I should make assosiated with them? Does it mean there was 'a' read error but possibly on retry there was success or does it mean sector n/1/1 could NEVER be read?

    Sorry for all the questions, FINALLY... It occurred to me that perhaps I had madea stupid mistake and perhaps I should have just run the generic Win 7 repair disk and it would perhaps have just fixed the MBR or run CHKDSK if the MFT was intact or something and solved the problem. Or is there anything in what I have already said that would suggest that using the Win 7 recovery disk to do that 'would' not have worked or would have been a bad thing to do? If so why? Instinctively I wanted to do something at first that wasn't likely to write to the drive to change its current state, which is why I was unsure whether to use win 7 recovery tools, but I am inexperineced.

    Thank you again. I realise what I have written will have taken up your time to read and that when you have expertise in an area you can immediately see that many of the points a lay person is interested in are irrelevant, never the less if you can reassure me on some of these points I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by hardya; 19th Feb 2014 at 08:40.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    Hi Thank you again for your kind advice. If you able to give any reassurances regarding the questions in my previous post that would be appreciated.

    I have moved the HDD to the laptop and rerun testdisk as far as Analyse. The current partition structure table is empty and at the foot of the table it says "Partition: read error". Is the partition table located in the master boot record (MBR)? Is the MBR possibly corrupt and is this something can be or needs to be rectified before I run the quick search?

    Thank you again for your advice.
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  5. You are pretty well screwed.

    At this point, you need a converter to attack the laptop drive internally on a desktop PC, one with a separate boot drive and enough capacity to store the entire contents of the laptop drive.

    Then you can try the free Recuva or pay for GetDataBack, and while you are praying that one of these might get some of your data back, you can carefully plan out and prepare to implement the backup strategy you are going to use in the future.

    And, this is on a LAPTOP hard drive, that already had a serious screwup once already??? With that, you have no current backup and are developing (presumably valuable) software on this machine??? Slap yourself silly.

    You might get lucky with the backup copy of the partition table, but multiple CRC errors indicate that multiple data packets are failing the Cyclic Redundancy Check, which is a basic error-check not at all related to position on disk, sfaik, but to data consistency. What is being read is NOT what was written. Not good odds with such a failure, but you never know. It could be a controller problem. That's why you connect the drive to a second PC.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    Hi Nelson37. I do appreciate your submission and you taking your own time to give your advice. Thank you.

    ...while you are praying that one of these might get some of your data back, you can carefully plan out and prepare to implement the backup strategy you are going to use in the future.

    And, this is on a LAPTOP hard drive, that already had a serious screwup once already??? With that, you have no current backup and are developing (presumably valuable) software on this machine??? Slap yourself silly.
    To be fair, I guess in my initial post I haven't been particularly explicit about the circumstances. The previous occasion was my own machine. Some data was backed up some was not. The failure was not the hard drive but the memory. I took the drive out and did a full back up before I did anything else. The current problem is on some one elses machine and there is no software under development on that machine. I guess by saying I was a software engineer I was trying to give a general picture of my computer literacy while conceding my inexperience. I would however agree I may have made some poor decisions in handling this problem and I am grateful for your advice.

    I shall carefully consider your advice. If there is any further detail you think may help that would be very much appreciated.

    Please forgive me for my lack of understanding. The controller, do you mean the disk controller? Is this a part of the disk unit? If the controller is at fault but not the disk, is it possible to seprate them? How might connecting the drive to the second PC help in this situation. By converter, are you refering to an additional piece of hardware or some software?

    Thank you again for giving up your time to post on this thread. Much appreciated.
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  7. There is an electronics board on the drive itself which is possible to replace, but not something I would recommend you do. Each PC has different circuitry to communicate with the drive, technically the "controller" is on the drive itself, but I was referring to the communications end anchored to the motherboard. Always change parts of the equation to things that you KNOW are working correctly and not possibly suspect in the current problem. A bad power supply in the laptop, or bad memory as you experienced, can cause hard drive issues. Divorce the testing from as much of the failure environment as possible by putting the drive in a different PC.

    The reason you do this is very often the suspect component will function perfectly in the new PC, pointing out that the real issue is something else. Also, never forget the chance that two different things are going wrong at the same time.

    Never, EVER, do any major maintenance or recovery of a hard drive through a USB port. This adds an extra, un-necessary layer to the process and the USB converter has a high rate of failure. Also slows everything down. Emergency use only.

    Some laptop drives will require a converter to connect to a standard desktop PC. This is for connector type only and not in any way a circuitry change like the SATA to USB converters.

    You can most likely replace the drive for around $60.00. If you don't need the data just chuck it.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: UK
    Search Comp PM
    Thank you for you clear and detailed response. Much appreciated.
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