Unrecognized Hard Drive!

After installing and running Norton systemsorks, the computer wouldn't shut down properly. I turned off power and rebooted only to get a message that the \windows\system32\config file is corrupted or missing.

Couldn't get it to boot nohow! So, I installed a new boot drive and made the original a slave so I could transfer the information. But, the new operating system won't recognize the drive. It's visible in the bios and with the utiltiy Maxblast 4, but no drive letter is assigned.

Is there a way to assign a letter so I can get the data off?
ggraymanAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
EksteenCommented:
I'm quite new on this forum... only been actively taking part for 3 days now. find it to be fantastic. the debate is great and one learns a lot... been looking at other threads too.  Still not sure how this points thing work. Not worried either. I do this cause I enjoy it.  I'm very glad you got it going.  A buddy recently almost lost 16 GB of family photos and  got all of them back for him. I know how he felt it is a huge relief when you finally get it all together. glad to be of service even if it as not the final sollution you needed.
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joolsCommented:
How did you install the new boot drive?

To assign the drive letter it would help to know the operating system being used? as in what version of Windows?

J
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The_IT_GarageCommented:
The new boot drive needs to have an active parition and maked as bootable, what does Maxblast show you? As jools said what OS is this new boot drive supposed to be?
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
Windows XP Home Edition. Maxblast 4 is showing the drive bootable. In the column that is supposed to show the file system, rather than saying NTFS or FAT16, it says 68(44h).
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I installed the new drive by putting the system restore disk in the drive and turning on the computer. It ghosted the original system and the new drive was installed. Then I powered down and installed the original C: drive as a slave. Bios saw it but not Windows.
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knoxzooCommented:
You need to rebuild the boot sector/MFT.  The problem you encountered is somewhat common when you have a BIOS based anti-virus that blocks the boot sector changes.  You can check this in CMOS.  If your motherboard's BIOS has the AV, and it's enabled, turn it off until you've completed your repairs.

Do you know how to rebuild/recover the boot sector/MFT?
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
No, please advise.
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knoxzooCommented:
Make sure the damaged drive is the only one attached to the controller(s), for simplicity's sake.  Boot from the CD into the Repair Console.  At the prompt, type in "fixmbr /?" for the full set of command arguments.

If that doesn't do it, follow the above, but run "fixboot /?" instead of fixmbr.

If neither of these corrects the problem, the problem runs much deeper, in which case we'll help you find some decent recovery software to pull what's left off the drive.

 
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I haven't been able to boot into the console. I just get that message about the corrupt file.
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knoxzooCommented:
When booting from the CD?
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
This is an emachines computer and the erstore cd that came with it simply comes up with a choice to lose all information or to get me to a command prompt. That prompt is an A:> prompt from which I can't access the C: drive.

If I boot from the hard disk, I get a Norton message that says there is some kind of overlay installed. If I continue booting I get that message about the corrupt file.
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knoxzooCommented:
Ahhhhh!  Another eMachine victim.  

Does the computer say something like "Starting Windows 98" during the boot process when booting from CD?

And, do you know anyone that might be willing to let you borrow their real XP CD for a day?  You won't need a key, and you won't be installing from it, it's just for the use of the repair console tools located on the CD.  

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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
No, I saw nothing about 98. I do have a friend that will probably lend me the disk...

Just called him. He has XP Professional. Will that work on my XP Home Edition machine?
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knoxzooCommented:
Absotively!  Take him a twelve pack of his favorite, thank him profusely, grab the disk and run!  :-)
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joolsCommented:
Just going back a few posts for a recap...and to verify my understanding...

Your original hard drive barfed!
You installed a new drive and installed the system from your install (ghost) CD.
The new install worked!
You powered off and installed the original barfed drive as a slave.
On powering the PC up the BIOS saw the new drive (master) AND the original drive (slave)
In windows (XP) the PC cannot see the drive in the explorer or from the command line.
Apparently you have an eMachine and no XP Installation CDROM but you are trying to obtain a copy from a mate.

I'm a little concerned about;
"Maxblast 4 is showing the drive bootable. In the column that is supposed to show the file system, rather than saying NTFS or FAT16, it says 68(44h)."
But I don't use maxblast so not sure if this is supposed to relate to a specific disk type or an error with the partition table (which won't be good).

In summary we have a working system but you can't see a drive that is reported as available in the BIOS?

Have you tried accessing the Computer Management from the Control Panel/Administrative tools?
There is a bit there for disk management, are all the drives shown?
Do they have ID's assigned?

J
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norganCommented:
there is a little utility called mrecover made when that chernobyl virus was out that was blasting everyone's mbr's.

anyway this great little utility recovers mbr's and fat tables by searching the hard drives for partitions and re-establishing the partition table information. i woudl suggest running it.

http://www.kristenonline.com/lain/cih/mrecintro.htm this is the link to more info on it, not sure where or if there is a download stil but it has got me out of alot of problems in the past and it's a relatively fast and easy fix.
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
jools:

You have described the situation accurately. I just tried the Disk management from the control panel. The drive is there, it says its ntfs; it's just missing a drivle letter. When I click on the c: drive and then right click there is anoption to change the drive letter. But when I click on the mystery drive, that option is greyed out. It seems to be there and healthy.

norgan: I'm afraid to try that utility since it works by reversing that particular virus.

Just picked upthe XP professional. I'm going to boot to the restore panel.
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norganCommented:
no ggrayman, it says it is for reversing that virus but what that virus does is take the partition table out. i have used the utility to fix many systems that have not had anything to do with the virus. it will not do anything but scan for partitions and rebuild the mbr and partition table.

it looks to me like your hard drive just doesn;t have the basic partition table info there to allow windows to see and active primary partition and a logical drive, i have fixed many problems like what you are experiencing with this utility. it can;t make you problem any worse.
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
norgan:

Just downloaded and tried. Firstly, it said it only works on FAT32 or FAT16. My drive is NTFS. The drive info it showed was not accurate and when I ran it, a warning message came up about a program directly accessing the drive, so I didn't continue.

Do you still think this might work? What is that warning? And what about it being used on NTFS formatting?


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nobusCommented:
For your problem : "\windows\system32\config file is corrupted or missing"  lok here how to remedy it :

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545
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EksteenCommented:
Hey guys one interesting thing.

From all the posts I see one thing. It is assumed he ran windows 98 or some older fat 16 Partition. From the last few posts it seems that the drive he started off on had windows XP.  this means the boot drive is by default installed as a basic disk. Basic disks store the partition and file information in the registry.  This means that if you mvove the drive to another computer or in this instance in the same compuetr with a different installation of the OS on the first drive you will not be able to read it as the OS you started up with is not the OS that has the registry settings.

It has not been proven that the drive is faulty just that it could not find a file which may have been locked at the time you switcched it off and as such became corrupted.
My suggestion would be as follows.  
Put the origional drive back in the boot "position" and do an inplace upgrade of windows xp. This should replace the standard OS files so you can start up with Safe mode. ( if you don;t know how to do this post ehre and Ill give you more details)  once the machine is in safe mode go to drive management under computer managarement in the control panel and converrt your drive to Dynamic. this way all file and partition related info will be stored on the HDD. then swap the Drives aain and copy the files off that you wnat to copy off. Run a full HDD burnin test on the suspect drive to confirm that it is still ok and you are ok.

If the drive has been damaged though and the above procedure konks out on windows XP upgrade/reinstall then you will need to use a tools such as easy recovery.  it works really well if there are not too many bad sectors at teh boot sector and last time I recovered around 19.80GB of 20GB that a friend lost on Family info. needles to say he was VERY gratefull. anyway good luck and let me know if I can help with some more info.
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joolsCommented:
Are you able to assign a drive letter manually from the command line?
If it displays errors post them back here...

This may help; http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=300415

Eksteen:
Are you sure you have this the right way round? Basic disks seem to be portable with other systems?
I don't see how partition information can be stored in a registry before the system boots up, surely the system won't know where the OS is?

Dynamic disks seem to be a MS creation, I found this on the MS website.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/maintain/operate/10w2kadb.mspx

I could be totally wrong on this, I don't think I've ever used Dynamic drives before or have but not realised it ! :-)
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EksteenCommented:
File system information etc is stored in Registry concenring File tables etc and some other disk info. if you want details let me know and I'll go get the books out. Boot sector in NT/2000/XP/2003 refer the startup to the boot partition as opposed to the system partition where the boot sector is on.  WWith windows NT, XP, 2000 you thus get the option to be able to do multiboot from various partitions and or folders on the same physical drive. as such NTFS and security info needs to be stored within that specific OS Registry.  This means that pre 2000 OSses will not be compatible as they did not support this security etc info to be stored on the drive.

I have it 100% correct. used to teach course 2272, and MCDST for windows XP.  also refer to

this is for windows 2000 server but it is also true for Windows XP
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/advanced/help/default.asp?url=/windows2000/en/advanced/help/sag_DISKconcepts_04A.htm

How to use Disk Management to configure basic disks in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=309000

and one last one
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/175761/

Basic disks are legacy and if you rememeber correctly NT4 did not have the option of importing a disk from another machine.

you cannot read a dynamic disk under windows 98 or NT as it does not support this.  DYnamic disks also needs to ne NTFS5 or later.  

When you install a computer the first drive is automaticlaly created as a bacis disk.  not sure if this will stay the same under Vista. still busy looking at Vista and some changes on this. but this is for legacy purposes so you could still format a drive as FAT32 for instance.  
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norganCommented:
oh sorry mate, yeah that was for fat systems only. for data recovery on ntfs i use get data back for ntfs from runtime software. if all else fails i'd just run a recovery and get the files oyu need and then blow it away and start again.
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EksteenCommented:
No worries norgan. every day we learn somehting new. life would be boring without it :-)

so my suggestion for this guy is get the HDD back in the origional spot (ie boot and try running a windows XP Pro upgrade on it from cd. It may replace the OS and all programs if he is not sure of what he's doing but afterwards he has a working/acessible drive again unless the drive is physically screwed.  in the first instance he can then either copy off the info to an external drive or copy it to a second drive etc. so no worries. in the latter instance he will need to run somehting like easy recovery.  He did not mention which version of Windows he's running or what service pack but logic dictes as follows. since the folder is windows\system32 it will be windows XP (windows 2000 still used the winnt folder unless otherwise specified) since it is system32  we can safely assume that it is not windows 9x or me.  this means that if it was factiry preinstalled it will probably be an NTFS 5 partition. the latest Easy recovery helped me last week ( took 34 hrs) but recovered 99% of a 20GB drive as lond as the drive still spins up and the heads are moving... for lack of too much details
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joolsCommented:
Eksteen: It's definately Win XP Home, he says so near the top somewhere. He also mentions using a XP Pro CD to help him sort out his XP Home, you may be able to assist there before he tries it out.

You obviously know your stuff about dynamic disks so I'll bow to your knowledge and touch forelock.

The original problem was that he could not assign a drive letter to the original drive but could assign one to the new installed drive. I thought you couldn't reassign the drive letter for boot volumes which makes me think (wild stab in the dark) that the system is confused about which volume is the boot volume.

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EksteenCommented:
Not 100% true

Norton may have chnaged the boot record or somehting in that line.

as such he was not able to boot. this meant the boot record was either corrupt or some boot files may have been altered or missing.

next he tried to add the drive as a secondary drive with a porimary drive that had an OS. this obviously does not give him access as standard it would ahve been a basic disk with all the associated problems of not having all the ACL info. As such he could not authenticate with the NTFS on the basic disk and thus not access the info.

if he swaps it back again and put the origional drive back where it was he can do and installation of windows XP pro ( or home ) my prefference would be pro preferably with SP2 ( slipstreamed ie on the installation cd as part of the installation)  this way all files newer than the old installation will be replaced and the installation repaired/reinstalled. since his data would not be in the windows folder he should be able to get access to his data again which he can copy off.  If he has the oriigional windows XP home cd ( not just a respawn/reimage/recovery) he can run the installation from there and once he gets to the partitions select a repair whcih should the corrupted files back/repair them. this is maybe better to try first.  then start up in safe mode. and copy off all data. then do a clean reinstall to get the machone back to good aas new.

again unless the drive is physically stuffed. but that does not seem to be the case.
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
WOW! Thanks for all your concern and input. Before I go ahead with these recommendations, does anyone know what that code, 68(44h) which was in the file system column of Maxblast, is? I wonder if this is a clue to anything.

I think you have all the facts: Problem occurred after Norton, Windows XP Home Edition came installed on machine, drive has 7 gb room out of 40 gb total.

After I tried the suggestion to get the XP pro disk to get into the repair console and fun fixmmbr and fixboot, I tried rebooting the drive. It starts and when it gets to the light blue screen says it can't find the autochk program, won't perform the autocheck and then shuts down to try to reboot.

Additionally, I tried to get into the repair console again. When I get to the chance to repair the windows installation, it asks for the administrator's password. I tried any possible password I've ever used and nothing worked. Interestingly, when I first got to that point and did the fixmbr etc. it did not ask for the password.

I haven't yet looked at the article that nobus suggested.

Eksteen and jools: Have you looked at that article? Is there anything there that would alter your general approach?

Finally, jools seems to be modifying Eksteen's suggestion in the most recent posting. Since I'm in the dark, I'd like to know that both of you concur as to the best way to proceed.

I definitely will need specific guidance here especially since Eksteen mentions that if I don't know what I'm doing (which I don't) I might replace the OS and all programs.

After you have considered the above, and make your recommendation, I'll be ready to move forward.

Thanks again!
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EksteenCommented:
OK simply put. do you need to retain your apps installations on the machine?

If not upgrade to windows XP pro. easiest option. this way it will replace the windows folder with the OS files but the rest of the drive should stay intect ( ie data)  just DONT format the drive if it asks to. kep current file system

email me at eksteen@hotmail.com with an email address and I can get screnshots to you for all the steps
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joolsCommented:
ggrayman: I'd hang fire for a while, Eksteen seems to have more experience with this but I think he may have missed some postings.

Eksteen:
You should *not* post personal email addresses, it is against the EE AUP and I really don't think that you should suggest an upgrade to XP Pro if ggrayman only has a license for XP Home, that would cause more problems than it would solve.

If you read the thread from the top you will see that ggrayman does not have the proper XP Home install CD but has been able to get hold of a XP Pro CD to assist fixing the problem. I am unsure if using a XP Pro CD to fix a XP Home problem will work and wondered if you may know if this would cause problems.

I guess we stil need to remember that you primarily want to get the data off the old drive either by fixing the old drive so that it is bootable or by copying to the working new drive.

I think I may be confusing matters here so I'll step back a while and keep an eye on some posts, if Eksteen makes a suggestion if you are unclear then just ask, I'll pick up the thread later but wont be available tomorrow.

For what it's worth Eksteen does (IMHO) seem to know his stuff. If you are unsure about what is being suggested just ask specific questions.

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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I don't need the installed apps, but there's a lot of data on there that I need, family photos, pst file for Outlook.

I do not intend to keep the installed copy of XP Pro. I just want to get the drive working so I can then intall it as a slave and get the data.
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nobusCommented:
then look at my link for how to repair your system
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
nobus:

The OS came with the computer. My first read of the article seems to say that this fix won't work for me. Is this correct?
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joolsCommented:
ggrayman: Obviously before you do any of this please make sure you check nobus' link first as it does appear to cover exactly what you need.

nobus: Apologies mate, didn't mean to ignore you before :-)

J
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EksteenCommented:
rebuke on email taken.  on my profile I use a work email and did not want to share this.

XP pro or home either the procedure is the same.

if you do not have the OS under wich it was installed converting from basic to dynamic could cause problems
ggrayman use your windows XP HOME cd then and do the steps as described in the lnk below.  this should repair your installation on the origional disk ( make sure it is first primary) and then start up in safe mode if needs be so you can get to the data.  once you ahve done this let me know how you got on and we can see if there is still a problem.  Would be better if you had a HOME CD with SP2 already part of it ( not sure if you have) as I'm sure you may have run windows updates in the meantime and your origional HOME cd may only have SP1 on it. but it should still help you getting the machine started up.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/tips/doug92.mspx

Next time once you ahve windows installed run winnt32  /cmdcons this will install the recovery console locally. also make a systemstate backup which will allow you to recover next time: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314058

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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
Eksteen:

Did you see nobus' article?

Also, my XP Home Edition cd is the emachines restore disk. That wouldn't get me to the console. That's why I borrowed my friend's which was an XP Pro. Should I try to find a real XP Home CD?
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EksteenCommented:
I cannot advise you to use illegal or unlawfully appropriated software.  The information I have given you sofar should be able to help you get there with whichever versin of windows you have available that you can start from cd and get you into the screens as in the link on my last posting.

The article nobus posted refers to amongst other converting basic to dynamic but I would be carefull with this.  it goes out from some premises that is not completely valid in this instance.

Run the setup from cd as in the link above and I'm sure you will get most of the way there. if you ahve tried it and you run into more problems just fire away. but lets take this step by step.
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knoxzooCommented:
For repairing the disk, you can use either Home or Pro.  For repairing the OS, you'd need the same version as what's on the drive.

What I originally suggested should have worked fine for getting you back to a point of being able to get the info off the drive, which was your original concern.  You've obviously got the drive working enough to get most of the way through the boot cycle, so it's functional.  Put it back to slave, with the new drive as master, boot the system and get your stuff off the old drive.  When you've done that, and you're satisfied you have it all, go into Computer Management, Disk Manager and remove the old partition, put in a new one, format it, call it storage or backup and call it a day.

A lot of the other info that came your way was great info, but strayed further and further from your stated point as time went along.
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nobusCommented:
>>    converting basic to dynamic    <<  ? ? ? ?
it only tells you how to repair the bad files, and reinstall your system from a restore point, without access tot the system itself. I've done it myself and it works well !
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I tried to install the XP upgrade. When I was prompted to pick a partition on which to install, I chose the original partition. I then received a message that Windows cannot recognize this partition and offered that I could delete the partition and create a new one.

Then I figured I would try to change the system files like nobus suggests. Now, however the console won't give access to the drive without the administrator's password. I know all the passwords and they don't work. The last time I got into the drive to run the fixboot command, it didn't ask for the password. Could this be another corruption?

I put the new drive back in the primary position and the old drive secondary as I ahd before and everything is the same. The old drive shows up without a drive letter as before.

Can anyone think of another way into the operating system around the password? Is data recovery still an option for me?
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knoxzooCommented:
The password on eMachines is blank.  Just hit Enter when it asks for one.

This would be sooooooooooooo much easier if I could just get my hands on that drive.  :-)

If you haven't figured it out by this evening, shoot me an e-mail (john at sherwoodcs.com) and I'll walk you through a couple other ideas.  Don't really have the time to do it here at work.
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I did hit enter and it didn't work.
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nobusCommented:
>>   I tried to install the XP upgrade  <<   what upgrade?
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EksteenCommented:
knoxzoo

Small comment:  If the drive is Basic and NTFS 5 chances of him just getting off the files ( as he tried) is not really that good as the basic disks cannot be easily imported via disk manager. if it was an FAT16/32 etc no problem.

The only option I see open at this point is useing easyrecovery as the drive is readable.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
3 principles here -- 1.  let windows manage its registry, norton cant get its own software right, let alone manage how windows should do it.  So blow the program away forever.
2.  You should have had a backup of your hard disk to restore to the new setup, always have a backup, and
3.  If you cannot restore the config directory, where all the registry settings are, you are starting from scratch.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
nobus --

this is one where you should have suggested knoppix, like you have been for very long time.  The questioner seems to think that knoppix is amazing, and because leew suggested it in the other question, the questioner wants him to post a comment here and award all the points of this question to the same answer.  It seems expert exchange principles would be to split this question points among all valid input, not give all to a tardy suggestion from another thread by leew.  What do you think, you were suggesting knoppix long before others.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
scrathcyboy, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?  I and other experts are still awaiting comments from you in several questions explaining your previous assertions.  And now this?

Just because someone has made a suggestion before does not make them the owner of that idea on this site.  I've been using knoppix LONG before I started participating in ernest on this site.  And if nobus had posted the idea in this question, then so be it.  But he didn't - I did.  live with it.  

I have seen nobus post and have no problem with him - I consider him professional and knowledgeable.

Please do not accept this comment as any part of the answer - I will unnaccept it so you can choose someone else here who may have provided considerably more useful information in this thread.
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nobusCommented:
scratchyboy, i must agree with leew here : in this Q i made no reference to knoppix.
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joolsCommented:
Chaps,
Can we have a recap and forward some detailed suggestions to ggrayman, there may have been some information lost/missed. It appears (to me anyway) that there are a number of suggestions and it may be confusing matters a little.

scrathcyboy: If you have a problem with a member of EE you should go via the Community Support forum, this is not the place.

ggrayman: Stick with it, I'm sure it'll be sorted out soon.

I think I'll take a back seat on this now and see if I can pick up a few tips myself.

Jools
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EksteenCommented:
Oh where are the days where the ionternet was free and we all shared ideas because we wanted to. Boys buy a memebership or share your knowledge. but really. Don't get all uptight about points award. we are all here to inpart or receive knowledge.

Scratchboy if you can answer my latest question I posted and tackle all the problems inherent to it you can have the points. there are 500 up for grabs.  if I could assign more I would have.

I wish too that I could get my hands on that drive as with all the tolls on my machine I can also solve a lot of his problems. but lets try and make it easier o the man not more difficuilt.  I would suggest Hirens boot disk/CD and then running easy recovery will take a while but you should be able to recover most of your info
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nobusCommented:
Eksteen, do not suggest  Hirens boot disk/CD  as it is illegal !
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EksteenCommented:
ok

Didn't know..... I ahve all the software on there legally anyway so no worries for me... but Easy recovery is still a good option. from my experience anyway
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
I'm sorry to have caused such a furor.

I've been a member of EE for many years - back when they had a mission statement posted that was very idealistic concerning sharing information. In the past couple of years I asked one of the administrator's about that and he knew nothing of it. There must have been some restructuring along the line that I didn't notice since I only log on when I have a problem.

This hard drive problem is by far the worst issue I have ever had with a computer and I was desperate for a solution. All of you who participated in the discussion gave me hope that all wasn't lost.

In this thread, nobody explained the funny code for the type of formatting that MaxBlast returned and the best solution was one which was very uncertain. I therefore posted again, focusing on the Norton cause of the problem and if you'll look at that thread, very quickly we were on a whole new line of thinking. Perhaps it was my presentation of the problem or just luck that the people tending shop at that time saw it differently.
This Knoppix idea seems to be working - I'm in the middle of the data transfer right now. My interest was the data - not to restore the health of the installation on the drive.

I am appreciative to all of you for sticking with me.

leew definitely got me on the right track and I think it's clear he deserves the points on the other thread.

If I have to pick one person on this thread from whom I felt the most help it would be Eksteen, but the rest of you were fantastic.

I'm sure you'll all agree that the main thing is that you all got me through this crisis. Our family pictures for the past 3 years were on the disk. I couldn't even tell my wife what was going on. You have to take some satisfaction in that.

I happen to have quite a bit of points (I'm from the days when points accrued automatically) and I am so appreciative that I'll throw some more into the pot for your good will and help.

I have never had such a complicated issue that elicited so many experts' involvement. Indeed, what is the policy for determining awarding of points when there is such a cooperative effort?

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nobusCommented:
split points ?
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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
Never had to do that before. OK, I'll do my best to evaluate the relative contributions. I guess that's what's expected if they have the provision for splitting points. I'll get to it in a bit.

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joolsCommented:
ggrayman:
Glad you got/getting your data back, I nearly lost some pictures before and know what you're going thru. I now backup my system on a regular basis because you just never know when something like this will happen.

All the best and kind regards

Jools


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ggraymanAuthor Commented:
See http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_21853202.html for the actual solution to my problem.

These fellows were very supportive during this data crisis, so I've awarded points.
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