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Hard drive failure

Posted on 2007-07-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hello Everyone,

Its me Your resident problem child. I'm back again with yet another computer that failed.   I got a call from my brother saying that he couldn't get on the internet. Me thinking this was a simple problem decided to check into it.  When I arrived, I found he could not only get on the internet but his computer wouldn't boot up at all.  Every time we tried to turn it on We could never get it to load win xp home or anything.  All it wanted to do is keep restarting.  No matter what I tried.  No safe mode nothing.  

So... I finally got an " error " message to appear .  It said that boot sector was damaged.  

He called it quits and bought a new computer. Me?  I'm not ready to give up on it yet.  

I tried to restore it today to get his business info off of it.  I got yet another error message  It was / is as follows :

" Primary Master Hard Disk S.M.A.R. T status Bad
Immediate back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure May be Iminent.

Press f2 continue   f1 for startup   f10 for system recovery.

What I was trying to do is format it so that I could use a program to recover his business files and then go from there.  My question is since I got this screen,  Is it pointless to try to format it ?   And unless I buy a new hard drive for it ,  it will never work again?  

I assumed he had a boot virus but it kinda sounds like the hard drive is just completely damaged beyond repair.



BTW,  Its a compact presario with win xp home pre-installed on it.
Question by:Smcf4
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 19562837
slave his hdd sherry its probably the only chance you'll get.
if it has bad sectors i would not boot it too often just incase.
Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.

or run a hd diagnostic
choose your hd make
best wishes

Expert Comment

ID: 19562876
OK, one by one
1. Backup/recover the data by connecting the disk as a slave to another of your computer. IF you dont know how to connect, look at this: http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1778
then you may need some recovery tools , checkout http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/System_Utilities/Partition_Tools/Q_22522789.html

2. Be sure that you do not run any program from the recovered files so if it was a virus, your other computer is not effected. Now you can try all kind of ways to format the harddrive until it gives up or you give up. I wont suggest trusting a drive with valuable data even if a part of it can be recovered with some good format utility. (seagate have some format tools for harddrives but i dont recommend since its better to get a new one, quite cheap nowadays).

3. in the end you can replace the disk and the computer will be good as new, you have the XP home and driver cd's of the pc with you, right?
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 19562994
The disk is obviously failing. Follow the advice above to copy the data off, then replace it.

SMART is built into disks and tries to warn a user before a disk breaks down completely. If you get such an error it is important to get the data from it asap, then replace it, is usually after such a smart error shows the first time it won't be long until it completely breaks down.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 19563891
>>  What I was trying to do is format it so that I could use a program to recover his business files and then go from there.  >>       Do NOT format it !  -- as said, your best chance to recover the data is by slaving this disk to a working pc, and copy off the files needed
>>  My question is since I got this screen,  Is it pointless to try to format it ?    << at this point it is a bad move, you can try to format it AFTER the data is recovered

 >>  And unless I buy a new hard drive for it ,  it will never work again?    <<  probably. To be sure, run a manufactures diag on it to know it's status; you find them all on the ubcd :  http://www.majorgeeks.com/Ultimate_Boot_CD_Full_d4981.html      

or here the direct links :
http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm                  Drive Fitness Test
http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/support/hard-drives/software_utilities.html#diagnostic Fujitsu
http://www.samsung.com/Products/HardDiskDrive/utilities/shdiag.htm            Samsung
http://support.wdc.com/download/#diagutils                        Western Digital
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT                  IBM & Hitachi             


US&name=Downloads&vgnextoid=51e092db8a13d010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD  Seagate & Maxtor


Author Comment

ID: 19569118
He has an Hp Compact,  Any working PC I have is an HP Pavilion, When you say slave it to another computer,  I was under the impression unless you have another computer exactly like that one you will never be able to do this.

I do NOT have the recovery discs themselves.  Windows xp home edition came pre-installed on the computer.  We never received a disc with win xp home itself.  I have tried to use barts utility before but got very confused on what to do.  It never seemed to work for me.  I guess I get lost in translation.

Marete-  I appreciate your help but will this " hard drive adapter " shown in the first article you supplied work on a desktop?  If not how do I find out what I need? I have a laptop myself but its the newest of my computers and I'm scared to put the retrieved info on his computer on my laptop just in case this was a virus or trojan that made this computer fail.

Since I don't have the original windows xp cd ( it came embedded in the operating system, hope I said that right )  we do not have an original windows xp cd.  Another words we have to order the recovery discs and they are about 8 - 12 discs but none of them are of just windows xp itself. So I don't think Barts PE will work. If I understand it right,  you have to have your original windows xp cd and I do not.  Since I never got one in the first place.

Thank you for the hd diagnostic, Merete, but none of those kind are the kind we have.  So, Unless I am looking in the wrong place, I can't use it.

Arkoak-  Is there a way to turn off auto run on my cd drives? I think that is what you are talking about when you say make sure none of the programs run.  I have Zone Alarm Internet Security on all of my computers BUT I'm not exactly sure how to make any of them to where they won't run the software from a slave drive.  

"you have the XP home and driver cd's of the pc with you, right?"  No, I do not, I always make sure I get a set of the recovery discs from the manufacturer but he didn't want to do it. So, no, we do not have them.

Nobus- I do not know how to tell which manufacturer his came from in order to run your tests.

Will keep you updated

Until then thanks for all the help so far

LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 19569476
You can order a replacement set of CD's from HP, just give them the PC model and serial number.

With slaving the disk into another PC i is meant that you put it into another PC as a 2nd disk. You don't boot from that extra disk, but rather from the one that is originally in that PC. You just copy the data from the bad disk to the other PC.

As I mentioned earlier, SMART errors show a disk going bad, if it isn't bad already. Such a disk must be replaced asap. Sometimes the SMART notifications are turned off in the PC's BIOS, which would keep those messages from showing. If that was the case no one would notice in time that the disk was going bad. That could have happened here.

Author Comment

ID: 19570309
When I put it into my other drive to me it sounds like you are saying its almost like an external drive.  So I would go to the C:\ Drive and then find the new drive and open it copy the business documents and business photos he needs ( he takes pictures of jobs before he does them and then after he needs this for his documentation.  

There is also 1 program a friend sent him to help him set up his invoices we are mainly looking for this program .  If I pull them off the drive place them on my desktop and check them with an antivirus  and they come up clean would it be safe to put it on the new computer?

Author Comment

ID: 19570413
I just checked the manufacts site and it only tells me its a 40 GB Ultra DMA
 5400 RPM......... How do I find out exactly what model it is so that I can run the diagnostic test on it ?
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 19572231
Check it's model number and then check it up on the manufacturer's site...
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 19572498
normally, you need only to know what manufacturer it is (read it from the disk itself) the disk tests run on all models
LVL 44

Assisted Solution

scrathcyboy earned 664 total points
ID: 19579630
You do not format the drive to try to recover data.  You use a NON_DESTRUCTIVE program like GETDATABACK -- www.runtime.org -- which makes NO CHANGES to your disk (do not use checkdisk or smart drive, they will corrupt the FAT on a bad disk).

Then when you recover all the data, you THROW the old drive AWAY -- it is useless.  So you have the data on a newer drive, and now you can restore it to anywhere you want.

Author Comment

ID: 19586796
Update :

We placed the " bad " drive into a working system or computer,  It showed up as 2 different drives.. H drive  ( contained the recovery on it )  G : drive is what I am assuming is all his files and programs BUT when I tried to " explore" it to pull the files I got this error message  G:\ is not accessable  Error performing Inpage Operation.  

I am not exactly sure what to do next to get the information I need from the bad drive..  

FYI  :  I do have the recovery disks now.   I thought if I put disk one in the computer it would bring me to the desktop so that I could get the info I needed.  Is this true?

Author Comment

ID: 19586809
Basically we just put the bad drive into the good computer.  What I need to know is .. Do I copy that " G "  drive to the desktop of my good drive and then use a program I have System Mechanic Pro that I have used before to recover deleted files and such on other computers.  Will this work for this problem?  

What am I doing wrong?  
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 19586964
copy out the drive yes as much as you can  of your personal files, for emails and such if  you used outlook express use  search for the .dbx it will find them all,
 copy out of the diectory to this desktop. of my documents the later import them.
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{D8015A96-5477-4BCE-BB35-52EDDEAE555A}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

I dont know about this program System Mechanic Pro .
getdataback I do know works well as suggsted by scrathcyboy:>>.  You use a NON_DESTRUCTIVE program like GETDATABACK -- www.runtime.org -- which makes NO CHANGES to your disk (do not use checkdisk or smart drive, they will corrupt the FAT on a bad disk).

Author Comment

ID: 19587033
Merete:  You'll have to forgive me for being stupid but I guess I am still not understanding what you want me to do .  

When I look at My Computer  it shows G:\ which as I said I assume is his documents and things BUT when I try to open this drive or examine this drive I get an error message. The only way for me to actually get it copied would be in the my computer folder itself  the unopened  G drive.. to right click and copy it .  It doesn't actually show that any files are there or any folders the only folders I happen to see were on the H:\ drive.  And it said recovery ( i know this is NOT what I want )  

I checked out the program you suggested but it costs to use the actual program so unfortunately that is out of the question for me.  I downloaded a program called pci file recovery I am hoping this will recover it without needing any futher assistance but then it is probably wishful thinking on my part.

after I copy that g drive onto my desktop I will use the program I downloaded unless you know of another good free one ( hopefully)  that I might use instead.

Will keep you posted and will keep checking in case you suggest something else.  
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 19587146
Right I see, so you can't actually open G:\  drive?
No you can'y copy the G drive as is you will have to open it first.
Gosh I do wonder how long you must sit and wait for our response must be frustrating.
did you move the jumper on the hdd to slave?
Any errors such as acces denied?
You may have to take ownership of the drive.
How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP
Is the drive a fat or ntfs?
Methods for Recovering Encrypted Data Files

Also it has been suggested to use knoppix cd.  This free you just have to create it yourself.
good luck
 remember have a break and dont rush it if this is your only chance to save off the drive contents.
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 664 total points
ID: 19587165
Use getdataback to scan the drive while it is in the other PC. It'll show you all the data that is recoverable, then register it to be able to copy the data off. When done, throw the drive away, as you can't repair drives with smart errors.


Author Comment

ID: 19589702
Merete- if by jumper you mean the bad drive ( sorry don't know the tech terms for all of this ) then yes we slaved it.. what I mean by slave is we connected it to my good hardrive in a slot that was empty and connected it.  If there is anything else involved in slaving a drive then no I did not do it because I do not know how to do it . Yes, it is frustrating not knowing where to turn and waiting for a solution but they say patience is a virtue?  lol.. anyway, this is a good lesson for me because I am not a patient person.  I like to get things done as quickly as I can so I can move on to something else.  But I am also a perfectionist I will wait as long as it takes if means I can make sure its done right the first time.

When I try to open the G drive this is the error message  

G:\ is not accessable  Error performing Inpage Operation.  

I'm pretty sure its an NTFS drive as far I know only usb drives and such are fat drives...

I do not think his files are encrypted simply because I set up his system the whole thing.  He bought it and I did the work.  So I know its not encrypted.  It only contains windows xp home edition and I doubt thats encrypted.

I would try knoppix cd but I always get lost on how to make it .   AS I said before I know a bit more than a beginner but not much  more.

will keep you updted

LVL 70

Accepted Solution

Merete earned 672 total points
ID: 19590572
hi back from work thanks for your patience, if your hard drive is detected okay then teh selector is probably right.
By jumper, or cable select for slave is  on the rear of the  hdd is a small pin. illistration only.
how to install a second hard drive movie guide

to check your hard disc
 go to control panel administrative tools>computer management>look down the list to >>storage>under storage db click on disc management, on the right you will now see all your drives including the roms and hard discs.
it will show if its fat or ntfs and healthy for this slaved drive G:\
for illistration purposes please look at this illistration of the disc management windowsxp

Error Performing Inpage Operation
This could be a sign of a hard drive that is about to fail.
As previously mentioned it is a risk to run any diagnostics but it has worked  for some.
From here you can right click the drive properties tools chkdsk.
1. Start > Run > type in cmd then click OK to get a command prompt.
2. Type in chkdsk G: /r    note the gap

Please also consider getdataback.


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