Can a repair install fix a No Boot Device errror message?

When I boot a 98SE HD, I get No Boot Device (or similar) sometimes and other times Disk Data error (or similar). Both errors come at the end of the BIOS information display and as it is trying to boot. (I did not go into the BIOS). The HD makes a lot of clicking noises before these errors occur.

IS it worth mounting the HD as a secondary on my Win XP Home SP2 PC and running CHKDSK /F on this HD?

Or would a 98SE repair install be better idea?

Or is it hopeless for this HD?

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Nick DennyCommented:
Hi Mike

The drive is most certainly on its way out.

If there are important files on it, try your option of mounting as a 2nd drive and see if you can copy from there.

If not - I wouldn't suggest you try to use it any more.

If you do even succeed with a fresh Windows install, you will not be able to trust it.

** Interesting analogy - someone has given me this comparison of a hard drive:
Imagine the Empire State Building on its side, 1" above the ground, travelling at 1000mph. This is equivalent to the speed and tolerances of a modern HDD.
No wonder they fail all too frequently.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Mike - if you boot from a '98 boot floppy can you "see" the hard drive?   The "clicking noises" are a clear indication of pending drive failure, so I would NOT use the drive for anything except attempting to recover any important data.   The best thing to do, if the drive is readable (sounds like it may not be) is to image the drive onto another one ==> then you have a failsafe method of recovering any data that might be needed from the image.   (and you only make one more read pass on the drive -- hopefully before it fails completely)   I would NOT run Chkdsk -- that is just more stress on an already-failing drive.
If the drive is a western digital, or another cheap brand, and it is "clicking" (i.e. defective seek head) get whatever data you can off it right now, copy that useful data to a new drive, and go with that.  Once the seek head starts to go (or there are enough bad clusters, like in the FAT area), the drive is walking dead.
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mgross333Author Commented:
There is no useful data, the entire point of the Question was to continue using the drive indefinately.
Lots of clicking is a seek problem, and if the bad sector is the fat sector, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do with the drive.  Now a Unix OS doesnt depend on a certain cluster for a FAT, so it might be useable there, but not on a PC OS.  Sorry.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... There is no useful data ..."  ==> well, you clearly anticipated the answers here.  You did ask "... is it hopeless for this HD?"    The answer was simply YES.  

If you recognized that it was hopeless (based on your comment "... The HD makes a lot of clicking noises before these errors occur.") you shouldn't have asked the question.   If you didn't recognize that, then I'd say the responses were useful.
mgross333Author Commented:

I did NOT know that the clicking noises meant the HD was hopeless.

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