Using Ubuntu LiveCD to recover files on old Dell

Hey yall,

A friend asked me to fix an old Dell Inspiron 1520 with Windows XP SP2.  It does not boot into Win anymore so I am trying to use a Ubuntu 9.04 liveCD to try and grab some of the documents before doing a complete re-install.

I found an article stating the best way to do this is force the mounting of the HDD.  So I created the /media/disk directory and then tried "mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/disk -o force"

This is the error message:

Failed to open inode $MFTMirr:No such file or directory
Failed to open $MFTMirr:No such file or directory
Failed to mount '/dev/sda2': No such file or directory

What can I try next? Thanks guys.
tuckeroilAsked:
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Fabio MarzoccaFreelancerCommented:
Are you sure about the HD descriptor (/dev/sda1)? The error message refers to /dev/sda2..

In ubuntu Live, if you selecte Places->Computer, do you see the icon of the windows HD? What error message do you have if you double-click on it?
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tuckeroilAuthor Commented:
I am pretty sure about the /dev/sda2.  I used "fdisk -l" and sda1 returned as the Dell Utility and sda2 is the only partition with HPFS/NTFS plus it is the partition that boots.

When I click on the icon that says "314 GB Media" the error states: Cannot Mount Volume.  And under the details gives the same message as above:

Failed to open inode $MFTMirr:No such file or directory
Failed to open $MFTMirr:No such file or directory
Failed to mount '/dev/sda2': No such file or directory
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Fabio MarzoccaFreelancerCommented:
That's a bad message.

From Ubuntu Live, check if you have ntfsprogs installed, otherwise:

sudo apt-get install ntfsprogs,

then in a terminal type:

sudo ntfsfix /dev/sda2

Then try again to mount with the force option.
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tuckeroilAuthor Commented:
Tried to run the ntfsfix /dev/sda2 and of course it failed.  Basically it says failed to open $MFTMirr.  Then "volume is corrupt.  You should run chkdsk".  

What should I try next?
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Fabio MarzoccaFreelancerCommented:
if you can, run chdsdik /r from windows... I don't have anymore suggestions. The disk is really bad damaged.
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tuckeroilAuthor Commented:
Hmmm so should I even bother trying to re-install windows on this HDD?  Do you think the drive is physically damaged (ie need to drop a new one in the laptop)?

But thanks for your quick responses and help
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Fabio MarzoccaFreelancerCommented:
I can't say that. Maybe the drive is only logical-damaged...
You can try reformatting it and then run chkdsk to check sectors
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tuckeroilAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help.  Regrettably the file system was for to gone for any recovery.
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