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Dead hard drive?

Sheldon Livingston
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Had a hard drive that I cleaned with 835 virus infections on it.  Cleaned with AVG.
The computer would boot up and then immeadiately log off.
I fix that I wanted to  try was to copy the userinit.exe file to wsaupdater.exe.
Couldn't do it.  In fact anything that I did with userinit.exe yielded an I/O error.  Couldn't move it or anything.
I started running SpinRite on it and within 2% of checking the hard drive it started clicking.
The hard drive now sounds like something is loose inside (an obviously will not boot).
How should I proceed?
Watch Question

Yeah, that clicking sound is the hard drive in the process of failing.  In the early stages, when that clicking sound is not too frequent, (like every 3 seconds until it completely stops), you should try to copy off what information you can from the drive.  If it isn't booting right now, if the computer has a second drive that will boot, setup the failing drive as a secondary drive, and copy what you can from it.  Depending on the frequency of the clicks it may already be too late; but in my experience dealing with drives that are in the process of failing, and not completely dead yet, reading information as a secondary drive is more likely than getting it to boot up.  No guarantees you'll get anything off of that drive, but if its clicking and not booting, its still your best shot.
Sheldon LivingstonConsultant


Tried reading the drive already via a USB adapter.  Just clicks away...

If you don't have a second hard drive you can boot from, then you can try booting from a LiveCD, and seeing if you can access the hard drive that way.  If you can, then you can use the LiveCD environment to copy files to USB flash drives, or burn the data to CDs.
Tried reading the drive already via a USB adapter.  Just clicks away...

If you mean you've tried to access it in an external hard drive enclosure via USB?,  and it just clicks away, then I think its pretty much over.  That clicking sound is the mechanical assembly of the drive not being able to function properly.  If the sound is continuous, and you aren't able to read anything from the drive, its dead.  

There are several places you can take it if the data on it is real important, but it will be expensive.  Staples actually now offers data recovery services via some agreement with Seagate.  The price is kind of variable on which technician you speak to in the store.  Some stores will charge you the diagnostic + the service, even if you come in and tell them what the problem is.  But, like I said, there are lots of places that offer data recovery, its just rather pricey.

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Sheldon LivingstonConsultant


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