Can I get data back from a corrupted drive?

I have a PII350 w/128meg ram, 16meg rivatnt and 2 drives one Western Digital 18gig and one Maxtor 8.4.  I was pressing alt-tab and the machine froze. (Running win98).  When I reset it loaded to dos saying that windows couldn't load because I was missing vmm32.dll (or something close) so I though 'ok I can re-install windows' but when I reset again before starting windows gave me the message "invalid disk, remove and press any key" but there was no disk in the drive.  Using a boot disk I managed to get into dos.  Then when listing the directory on the c: each dir. was listed as ascii symbols. I can successfully copy a file from my d: (which is fine) to the c: then to the a:.  The machine also reads the correct amount of free and used space although scandisk can not fix the problem.  The 8.4 gig is fine as are the other parts of the machine (cd-rom, cdrw etc.) as far as I can tell.  This has happened once before a week after I bought the machine and I had the drive replaced.  The computer is less than a year old and the WD 18 gig is only 6 months old.  I'm wondering if anyone can suggest a program or solution that would allow me to get my data back, or even a reason for this would be helpful.
P.S. I cannot re-install windows because it says I need to run scandisk to fix problem(s) on the drive but scandisk won't fix them.
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doebuckConnect With a Mentor Commented:

a thing you have to take note:
WD hard disk larger than 6.4GB should come with an EZ-BIOS. EZ-BIOS must run right after memory check, and before reading A: or C: drive. Otherwise the hdd is unrecognised. If you do not have EZ-BIOS I suggest you go to the WD website to download it. boot it from a diskette.

2. I would assume the 18GB WD is the C: drive. Why don't you try to install Windows onto your D:\ instead (unplug the C: first). The Maxtor drive seems to be working fine. So it should boot up to windows. Then you can put the WD drive as secondary and try to salvage the data.
MordinAuthor Commented:
Edited text of question.
Get Norton Utilities and run the emergency diskette.  It will check the drive out and repair most problems, assuming that the drive has not died.
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Try the command "fdisk /mbr" and see that helps

If not then if there is nothing on the WD you need then try using Fdisk and remove all partitions (even if only 1) then make new partition and make it active, reboot and try to format it now.
While it is true that all (except OEM packaged) Western Digital HD come with the EZ-Bios that does not mean you have to use it, the use of it depends upon your BIOS, if your BIOS does not reconize a HD of that size then you may need it but please don't assume all computers does. Since he says his computer came with this HD new then I would assume his BIOS will handle HD's of that size
thanks for the info. I guess i dealt with too much WD hard disk to know the difference.
I have some suggestions on this problem.
I think if it is some kind of unkown virus do that to your computer.
Actually, Microsoft Windows always occoured these crazy things, looks like virus, but actually it's just a little mistake.
But to find out this little mistake will take you too much energy, so if you can, please reinstall your computer again.
I mean start from the "low-level format". It might not be the best way to solve your problem, but i trust it is the efficient method.

Try sys c: from A: prompt after you booted from your boot disk.  You may have a corrputed system file.  Also view your partion table information from fdisk and make sure you don't have any cross-linked files.  Let me know the result so I could give more inputs.
MordinAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot everyone, what I ended up doing was switching the drives, loading up win98 on the maxtor and salvaging the data from it.  It seems ok right now (I just have to finish salvaging the info and switch back the drives)

 - Mordin
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