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System Disk Failure

Posted on 2003-10-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I was urnning scandisk today morning and i heard a cracking sound coming from my computer. I went to check it out and it showed the message "system disk failure". i have restarted my computer numerous times and it says it is unable to detect the harddisk. Whenever i go into CMOS BIOS setup, it can autodetect the harddisk after 15 seconds or so, I have important documents in this harddisk please help
Question by:ghost85
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9640868
>  it is unable to detect the harddisk.
Hmmz, this can get pretty expensive, but first, check all cables. Reseat them. Shake the harddrive (sounds like a joke, but it helped me once)

> it can autodetect the harddisk after 15 seconds or so
that sound like good news.

I suggest you slave this drive to another system and try CrazyOnes list of file recovery you can find here => http:Q_20778366.html

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 9640915
>Shake the harddrive
Called the PIND test. It is a very expensive test for Hirel systems.
Bascally shake it, and if it rattles, the test fails.

Any time you hear a scraping or clicking sound from a HD, it is a catastrophic failure, and you will need a new disk.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 9641127
If your data is so important, you need to take the hdd to a doctor  :>)  but hdd's doctors aren't cheap at all.
A specialized laboratory can retrieve your data even if the mechanics of the hdd failed (it seems so, reading what you described)
I'd say don't bother booting it anymore cause you'll have the same result. It seems the engine still spins but not enough.  Sorry dude. If you can afford a few hundred $$ you'll be able to retrieve your data, otherwise, that's a lesson you've learned the hard way: "ALWAYS BACK-UP YOUR DATA"
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9648646
The shake test, I would recommend as a last resourt.  The more things you do to this drive...ESPECIALLY PHYSICALLY, (can solve your problem...but moreoften hurt the situation) could cause problems later on.  Especially if the data means a lot to you.   As stated by kronostm, try seeing what it would cost to have a recovery specialist look at it.  

Otherwise here are some software tools that may be of some help:
Props given to Crazyone, because it is his list!


File Recovery is a data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. The current version 3.x replaces the previous version 2.x, which is now over 6 years old.

For 9x/NT/2K/XP. Restore deleted files that are no longer in the Recycle Bin!

Tool to check and undelete partition
Works with the following partitions:
- FAT12 FAT16 FAT32
- Linux
- Linux SWAP (version 1 and 2)
- NTFS (Windows NT)
- BeFS (BeOS)
- Netware
- RaiserFS


EasyRecovery DataRecovery is a simple, yet powerful tool that recovers data that is lost, inaccessible or deleted. It's the ultimate do-it-yourself solution for nearly all causes of data loss (except physical hardware or system problems) where your hard drive and system are fully functional.

File Rescue 2.5

GetDataBack for FAT
GetDataBack will help you retrieve your files if the hard drive's partition table, boot record, FAT, or root directory have been damaged by a virus, formatting, fdisk or power failure. GetDataBack can even recover your data when the drive is no longer recognized by Windows.

GetDataBack for NTFS
Recover your files when the data is no longer accessible due to formatting, fdisk, virus attack, power or software failure. Get everything back even when the drive's partition table, boot record, Master File Table or root directory is lost or corrupt.
Hard Drives
Floppy Drives
Drive Images
Zip/Jaz Drives

Norton Utilities/SystemWorks
The Norton Protected Recycle Bin helps you recover deleted and overwritten files.
The UnErase wizard helps you retrieve files you've accidentally deleted.


Data Recovery
Fast File Undelete


File Recover 2000


File Restore
If you've deleted your data and you want to get it back, you need FileRestore.
FileRestore is a simple, easy-to-use tool for recovering files that have been lost or deleted from your Windows system. Designed for Windows XP, 2000, NT, Me, and 9x

Disk Commander
In virtually any situation where you need to recover lost data from a Windows system, Disk Commander is the solution. Disk Commander performs a wide range of data recovery operations.

As a tool to 'UNDELETE' files that have been accidentaly deleted.
This feature is implemented for HPFS and NTFS only.


Emergency Undelete
I believe this is free
For Win2000 and NT may work on XP


Hard Drive Mechanic
It's true. Even if you just re-formatted your entire hard drive, you can still get all of your data back because, unlike what most people believe, formatting does NOT erase your files! With Hard Drive Mechanic's Unformat Feature, you can restore all of your valuable data in about 10 minutes!
demo version:

Filerecovery for Windows
Filerecovery for Windows. is a safe and affordable do-it-yourself data recovery solution that is designed to recover deleted files from all types of media such as Hard Drives, Floppy Drives, SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Sticks, and other types of removable media.

You know how upsetting it is to accidentally delete a file that you needit takes just a moment to lose hours of work. Undelete file-recovery utility captures ALL deleted files including those that typically bypass the Recycle Bin. You can even recover files you purged from our Recovery Bin. With our Emergency Undelete feature, you can recover files deleted prior to Undelete being installed on your system (provided they have not been written over). Buy Undelete and you'll never again be at the mercy of lost data.

Fast File Recovery
A definite must for the PC guru! It will allow the user to perform all data recovery tasks associated with disks which are not physically damaged.

File Scavenge
File Scavenge is the most comprehensive, award-winning file undelete and data recovery for NTFS volumes on Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Active UNERASER is a compact and powerful undelete utility that can recover deleted files and folders on FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS systems. It can even restore files from deleted and re-formatted partitions.

Undelete 3.0
Undelete 3.0 restores accidentally deleted files within seconds from anywhere on your system. Version 3.0 includes new SecureDelete, full Windows XP support and expanded search options.

FinalData Data Recovery
FinalData Data Recovery Solution will recover files that have been lost by   quick formatting, FDISK, FAT damage, MBR damage or directory   destruction. It recovers data from FAT12/16/32, NTFS, and EXT2, EXT3.

Or Data Recovery Services

Ontrack offers a full range of data recovery solutions to address your data loss needs. Unlike other data recovery companies, Ontrack provides exclusive and patented solutions that do not require you to send in your media for recovery. In situations where the hardware is functioning normally, our patented Remote Data Recovery service and EasyRecovery software solutions can solve your data loss needs safely and effectively in a matter of hours. If another company claims that there is no alternative to shipping your drive, it's because they don't offer an alternative. For situations in which the hardware is physically failing, our In-Lab services will utilize our Class 100 clean-rooms to retrieve your mission critical data.




Total Recall
Our recovery and forensic technology is used by support and call centers as well as data recovery providers world-wide.

ESS Data Recovery
ESS Data Recovery, Inc. has been removing barriers in the data recovery and computer forensics market ever since its inception

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9648904
Wakeup, please read my first post, I already provided a link to CrazyOnes list, I started doing this because it only fills up the site with duplicate solutions.

LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Rob Stone
ID: 9650241
try putting it in a freezer for a few hours and then plug it in again.  Put it in a Anti Static bag though.  if it then boots up then get the data off quick.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9650276
Dangerous attempt though... You could short out the board... Make sure there's no ice on the board...
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Rob Stone
ID: 9650492
Yep, there is an eliment of danger, obviously you wouldn't plug it in if it had icecles hanging off it :-)

As long as its cold and not damp its ok to try.  4 hours may be a bit overkil though, should have said check after every 40mins or so until you think its ready.

If you do the freezer trick make sure anyone you live with doesn't put it in the microwave and try and eat it ;-)
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9650539
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 9650574
listening .....
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9651293
Lucf, sorry.

Oh and just so you know....the freezer method is probably one of the last ditch efforts you would want to use.  It may or may not work....and could cause condensation to build up inside and outside of the drive.  And if it is on the inside........yer platters would have residue from the condensation later on causing the heads if they still move to damage the platters and so on....so last ditch effort.  My 2 cents worth on that one.  we've done it quite a few times....and I would say about 40% of the time it helps.....and the 60% is split between did nothing or damaged the drive further (in our opinion.)
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9651577
Wakeup, no problem, could happen to anyone, I just wanted to let you know. ;-)

Author Comment

ID: 9655711
i bought a new HDD already, but is there any method that i can retrieve the data from the old HDD? and what exactly does the freezer methods do? won't the condensation water damage the drive?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9655859
ghost85, exactly on the point with the water condensation...exactly what I said...it can/could/would/may/might cause damage to the drive.  If the data is critical, you may want to contact a hard drive doctor of some sort or a data recovery specialist.  (they are not necessarily cheap)
Other than that.....you can try to reinstall the OS on the new drive...and then slave the old drive in as a secondary drive...and hope that the drive will come up....and then if so drag and drop what you can onto the new drive....


Expert Comment

ID: 9658531
The idea with the freezer trick is to make sure there is no air in the bag that you are using to store the HD while in the freezer.  I recommend a anti-static bag inside a zip-lock (get as much air out as possible first).  After you pull the drive, install it immediately and get the data off ASAP if it can be read.  BTW what happens when you are trying to DIR at the command prompt?  

Author Comment

ID: 9661808
i cannot even access the command prompt, it just keeps appearing the message "system disk failure, replace system disk".
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Wakeup earned 1500 total points
ID: 9662058
If it is saying that, then either the OS is hosed or the boot sector is not readable or the boot files are missing corrupt or damaged.....
So the best bet is to try it in another machine.......and go from there, if you dont want to take it to someone to fix it.  Realize the longer you sit on it and play, toy, tinker with it, the lesser chance you have of gaining access to the data, and you make it harder on the companies to do their job.


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