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Hard drive is damaged - need a method to fully back it up before it fails!

Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Recently, I had my laptop dropped. The screen was badly damaged with multiple cracks, etc. It is totally ruined, basically.

It appears that the hard drive was also damaged; this is where the story really begins.

My laptop is a HP Pavilion DV5234US unit and I am running XP Professional on it. I purchased it about six months ago at CompUSA and bought a 2 year Technology Assurance Plan with it. The problem with that is that the HD is still under the manufacturer's warranty so I will have to send the laptop out twice; once to CompUSA to fix the screen and once to HP to fix / replace the drive. Not the end of the world.

The problem is that I am having extreme difficulties backing up the hard drive because of the fact that it is damaged.

The first thing I tried is to use Acronis True Image Home 10 to image the drive to a networked drive (there is only one drive on the laptop, obviously). It gets about two-thirds of the way through and then it gives me an "unable to read sector XX,XXX" or whatever. As anyone who uses this program knows, even if you say "Ignore", the image creation will fail.

I do not know who the manufacturer of the HP's hard drive is but I did run the Hard Drive utility in the BIOS which said it would take 70 minutes to run. It ran for under a minute and said "#1 - 07 Failed". Gee thanks for all the information!

I have run CHKDSK several times. Sometimes with no switches, sometimes with /f /c, sometimes with /f. I have had various results. The plain one usually runs. The first time I ran /r /c it appeared to freeze during step 4 of 5. The last time, not sure which switch, it got to step 5 of 5 and appeared to be hung or at least really slowed down. If it was indeed just slow, it would have taken multiple days to finish and I just do not have the time for that.

I ran XCOPY and it got about 3/4 of the way through and then it said "insufficient memory" and stopped. I will probably pick it up where it left off and see what happens so I at least have some sort of backup.

So, what do I do now? I have seen Spinrite recommended. I have seen HDDREG recommended. I have seen zero fill suggested. I do have Partition Magic but not installed. I see that Powerquest Drive Image has been merged into the newest Ghost version. I have Ghost 2002 but could never get it to recognize the network card and I tried everything with that. I take it that most likely if True Image cannot do the job, then Ghost probably cannot either. Am I wrong in assuming this?

The interesting thing is that I have not seen any major lack of performance on the laptop itself. There have been a few minor programs that have failed but nothing major (except Firefox, which I reinstalled and then had it fail again). Just about all of the major programs I use are still functioning perfectly. I do not expect this to last for long, though.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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