Hard Drive problems

Pooh BearAugust 12, 2011

Someone sent me a computer to work on.

Custom built, 512RAM, 2.6Ghz, XP Home, 80GB HD

First thing, I opened it up and blew the dust out.

Then I hooked it up and started it up. All was fine.

I have some utilities on a flash drive that I use

when I work on a computer, so I plugged in the flash drive.

It recognized it, but there was an error loading the driver.

Something like "driver was corrupted and unable to be installed."

I went into Device Manager, uninstalled it, and tried again.

Same thing. Tried a few more times. Same thing.

Ok, so I can't use my flash drive, so I tried an external

CD/DVD drive. Same exact problem as the flash drive.

I restarted the computer. Disk Error: Insert System Disk to Continue.

I restarted the computer again. Same thing. and again. Same thing.

I restarted the computer again, POST passed, and a screen

showing the settings came up showing the hard drive, but

it hangs at "Verifying DMI Pool Data...."

I looked this up online but so far nothing has worked.

It won't boot from a system floppy, it still hangs.

I put my XP disk in it and tried to do a Repair on it.

I got some kind of pathway error and it didn't work.

Maybe I need her XP disk to do a repair installation.

I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up to my computer

using an external USB connector. It wouldn't recognize it.

I put a different hard drive in the computer and put XP on

it and slaved the old drive to it but it wouldn't recognize it.

I set the jumpers correctly every time.

The computer worked fine with the different drive.

The old drive was recognized at POST as 13.xx GB,

but on the next screen it was listed as an 80 GB drive.

It is an 80 GB drive (74.xx) with 60 GB used.

All I need to do is somehow get the data off of this drive.

I am physically ill at the thought of having to tell that

sweet little old lady that all of her data was lost.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Pooh Bear

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You wouldnt have a linux machine handy Pooh,,,sometimes Linux can read what windows cant...If you dont, maybe get a bootable linux distro on a cd and just use that

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Computer First Aid Using Knoppix

"Windows just crashed. The computer won't boot back up. Those "System Recovery Disks" that came with your computer will erase all of your data. In most cases, when Windows breaks and will not start up again, none of your data has been lost, you just don't have a way to get to it. These instructions are a way of getting to your data when Windows won't work."

See link please and good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Computer First Aid Using Knoppix

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 8:25PM
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With custom builds I have always found it needs the original operating system CD to any chore. Strange that we can use a different CD on factory builds but not custom boxes.

Apart from Gene's suggestion I think I might download either a Kaspersky or Bitdender rescue CD. These need to be burned to a CD and the BIOS set to seek the DC/DVD player as first in boot sequence, then follow along to set it up, seek latest updates and scan the computer before Windows even starts.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 8:36PM
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You might consider using the driver manufacturer's diagnostic software. At least that would let you know if the drive is failing.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Pooh Bear

I have a Knoppix v6.2 CD. I booted into that.
But it didn't look anything like at that link
so I had no idea what to do with it from there.

I also have a Knoppix v3.2 CD. I booted into that
and it booted to a desktop. But I didn't know
what to do from there.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Pooh Bear

I put the Knoppix v3.2 CD in and booted from that.
I got the Knoppix desktop. But there were no hard drives listed.

I shut it down and took the hard drive out.
I put the other hard drive that I had fresh installed windows
on back in the computer and tried to boot it up. No go.
It wouldn't boot from that hard drive now either.
And it won't boot from floppy using a boot disk.

I don't know what to tell this nice lady about her computer.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Pooh Bear

I downloaded Hiren's Boot CD v14 and ran Tiny XP from it.
Then I downloaded the diagnostic utility from Western Digital.
This was the result:

The diagnostic utility recognizes that there is a drive there.
But I have no way to access it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:22AM
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Well at least you have a test report you can print to show the good lady. I suppose the date stamped on it is outside the warranty period?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 6:31AM
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Probably too late to save anything from the drive. Don't know if this works, but you could try removing the HDD and putting it in the freezer for several hours. Then re-install and see if it is recognized. That might allow you to save information from it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:37PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

depending on how the drive has failed using the freeze method does work in some cases. However you need to be very fast and be ready to copy the data off to an external drive or flash drive it will now last long when it starts to thaw which is instantly.
You need to put it in a zip lock bag in the freezer and leave it normally over night to get a good solid freeze. Then if you have those blue ice frozen things as soon as you take the HD out of the freezer keep that blue ice on it to keep it cold (some people actually use dry ice). Some people keep the HD out of the pc so they can keep it iced and last longer, if you have room to do that I would.

try googling freeze a hard drive

this is one of the many results
Data Recovery From a Failed Hard Drive - Freezing Method:

Freeze a clicking hard drive to recover data

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:44PM
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After taking the HD from the freezer, install it and initiate a cold boot?

Sorry just couldn't pass that one up at my old friend's expense.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 12:26PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

hahahaaa DA yes a VERY cold boot LOL

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 12:30PM
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    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 1:40PM
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Pooh Bear

I could try freezing the drive, but it would still take
several hours to move the data off of it. The computer only
has USB v1.1 ports. Couldn't move data fast enough.

I'm just gonna have to tell her about the hard drive.
Then we can discuss options on what to do with the computer.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 4:26PM
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Hey PB I could have sworn I saw you driving down the highway by Ann Arbor Friday. At least the license plate on the Honda said it was you.

When I pulled up along side the bleach blonde hair, the deep red lipstick, the dangling ear-rings, the cigarette, and the cellphone activity assured me it wasn't you.



    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 5:19PM
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