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Recovering Dell Inspiron 9300 Laptop Drive

Posted on 2010-01-10
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My Dell Laptop has a bad hard drive (BSOD, failed chkdsk command with multiple bad sectors).  Based on great help I received on recovering an external drive--
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/Q_25031922.htm
-- I have booted on a linux (knoppix) disk to read the drive name and execute a dd_rescue command to make an image first.  
It's definintely encountering some problems -- successfully transferring some data but getting a lot of hits for input/output errors and the "errxfer" qty is now bigger than the "succxfer" qty.  I'll report the final qantities when it is finshed.  What should be my next step?  I don't want to use the drive, but it had a lot of software loaded so if it were possible to get those installs on my new hard drive it would be fantastic.

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Question by:mrjlal
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37 Comments
 
LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 26280899
Really no reliable way to move apps from one drive to another install of Windows....... If they require installation, the registration into teh registry needs to be completed, as well as DLL registration etc.....
Sometimes you can move a Program Files\App folder to another system, and if the DLL's are present, then it might work if it doesnt require any additional reg entries....
Easiest thing to do is to slave the Drive into another machine, and move the data that way.
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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 26280903
can even look at using XCOPY from a command line, to copy the contents of the drive, and use the /C switch, to continue on errors....
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 26281052
There is PCMover http://www.laplink.com/pcmover/ which some experts here recommend.

However if your drive has data problems in the areas that PCMover needs to access then you will have problems.
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

by:
kadadi_v earned 256 total points
ID: 26281344
If this Laptop Drive is Detected in BIOS then you can try restore your DATA. So You Try with Ultimate Boot CD to try to repair the Bad Sectors

http://www.ubcd4win.com/

And another option is GET Data Back for NTFS Application to recover your Data.

http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-products.htm


Regards,
vijay
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 248 total points
ID: 26281406
try repairing your disk drive first - it may just work fine after you've ran HDD regenerator : http://www.dposoft.net/
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:russell124
ID: 26281571
It's a bad sign if you are getting more failed data transfers than good data transfers, that likely means your HD is toast.  I wouldn't get your hopes up too much here.  

You should try to run a checkdisk from cd to see if you can repair anything.  The knoppix CD isn't going to be able to handle the chkdisk of a NTFS partition as well as the windows tools, so if you have a windows install cd (am I correct in assuming this is windows xp?), boot into the recovery console and run a checkdisk, or you can try the Ultimate Boot CD as Kadadi_v recommended.  

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314058  -for XP
http://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=6565     -for Vista

Hopefully that will be able to repair the bad sectors on your NTFS drive.  If you are able to successfully run the check disk, then try and run dd_rescue from knoppix again.
If dd_rescue is able to run without errors, then you should be able to dd the .img file back onto a new HD.  But if dd_rescue is showing sector errors, you will be rolling the dice if you restore the image, because you will be restoring bad sectors, and those could be anything.  An mp3 file, blank disk space, part of an .exe, or a critical windows component all could be corrupted.

Now if you have data that you need to get off of the drive, you can still run dd_rescue to pull the image, and then see what you can recover from the .img file, hoping that any important data hasn't been corrupted.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:John Tsioumpris
ID: 26282240
Get the personal files u really need and forget about recovering apps.Even the slightest damage to a tiny dll will be enough to make ur apps fail.The time u will consume to repair it would be 10X the time to reinstall.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Chris Head
ID: 26284123
Have you tried plugging the dirve into a different machine (via a usb adaptor)? If so, you might be able to image the drive, and boot up the os via a vertual machine.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26286076
OK, thanks for all the suggestions.  dd_rescue ran all night an isn't finished -- I stopped it because had 18G of "errxfer" and 159M of "succxfer".  By the way the hard drive isn't making any unusual noises, for what it's worth.  I purchased an IDE/USB adapter so it's now a USB drive plugged into another computer.  
I read up on the Ultimate Boot Disk.  I guess I have to have the Windows CD to make this -- what I have is Dell's disk which says: Operating System / Already installed on Your Computer / Reinstallation CD / Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition / Service Pack 2.  I'm not sure if this will for creating the Ultimate Boot Disk.
I downloaded the trial version of Get Data Back -- that rates high on the "easiness" scale!  It's reading the drive now.  It experienced and i/o error and I clicked "ignore all".  It indicates that it has 8 hours to go.  
Nobus, the HDD application looks interesting, but if it actually repairs bad sectors, will the data be there?  I've been operating from the advice to make an image first before trying to repair....
Russell, yes it is XP, and when I originally got the first BSOD, I ran the Dell CD which gave me the option to run a chkdsk (/r /p -- maybe? -- with the repair option).  And after awhile it failed -- I wish I could remember the exact message but it was about a month ago.
 
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26287070
Well, GetDataBack froze up.  Their own FAQ's suggest getting an image first.  So, what is the best way to get an image of this apparently failing drive?  
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LVL 49

Assisted Solution

by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 248 total points
ID: 26287459
I wouldn't try to get an image.

Try Unstoppable Copier http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=29

Again if the data is on a bad sector you are going to lose data.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26289536
Well, the Unstoppable Copier...stopped.  :-)  Actually it never started.  When I specified f:\ as the source, it could not read it.  It seems to be getting worse and worse.  
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 26289620
Then forget about trying to get everything which is what you are trying to do.

Applications are not important.  They can be reinstalled.

Data can't.

Try Windows Explorer and point it at your data directories and get the information off.  Try Unstoppable Copier at those folders if Windows Explorer locks.

Assuming your data is very important to you you can try the freezer trick.  Put drive in a sealed bag and place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Get bag out of freezer and open to attach to USB adaptor.  Reseal bag around drive (to stop condensation) and try accessing your data again.

This is usually a one shot method.  If it works you get your data (perhaps).  If it doesn't you may lose your data.  There may not be a second chance after you use this technique.  Your call.

nobus has suggested HDD Generator http://www.dposoft.net/  He claims success with it in a number of cases.  Again your call.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26289881
dbrunton,
Yeah, I've given up on recovering the software on this system.  I'm a little confused by your suggestion about Windows Explorer -- Windows isn't even recognizing the drive at all (it's attached to my computer via USB adapter).  I've been looking at more technical (?) solutions like testdisk because they actually recognize the drive.  I attached a screen shot of what testdisk has to say.  
I'll try the freezer trick but I wait to hear clarification of the above.  Thanks!

testdisk-screen-shot.JPG
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26289904
Oh, I just read up about HDD -- apparently there is a trial version which will tell me if it can recover my data -- I'll run that.
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 26290038
Sorry, I presumed you could see the disk through Explorer.

TestDisk is usually used to recover partition structures.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26290875
i'll post this fine software again :  try repairing your disk drive first - it may just work fine after you've ran HDD regenerator : http://www.dposoft.net/
it repaired already 3 UNBOOTABLE, BAD diagnosed disks for me
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26290878
and running the trial does not cost you anything; if it stops, look if it has repaired 1 sector, and if so, buy it to run the full version
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26290952
Attached is a screen shot after it's been running for several hours.  What do you make of it?  It has found 11 bad sectors but hasn't repaired any, but maybe it does the repair after it finds all the bad sectors (hope not -- that will take forever).  
HDD-Screen-Shot.JPG
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26292082
if it cannot recover the bad sectors, it points to physical problems - eg.  bad disk surface which no software can repair.
and no - it directly repairs it when it finds a bad sector
btw - did the 1st sector get recovered ?
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26294600
When I woke up this morning and checked, the window had closed!  I can't find a log or anything to indicate why it closed.  This is looking grim.  I'm starting it up again.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26294699
To answer your question about repairing - HDD had found 11 bad sectors and had repaired zero.  It seems that when it find a bad sector, some green text that says "Renegerating..." appears on the screen.  Maybe that's why the trial version was continuing to detect additional sectors -- it wasn't able to repair any so it continues to find one that it CAN repair before it stops?
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26295235
seems possible, but i never had that case.
but remember :  if it cannot recover the bad sectors, it points to physical problems , as i said above -  i doubt it would help.
on a "fairly" good drive, it takes some 2-4 hours to complete
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26297712
Uh, make that "regenerating" -- you've noticed my previous typos.  :-)
I guess I'm ready to try the freezer method as a last resort before I hang this one up!
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26297766
What do I try after the freezer method?  I assume time is of the essence once I've removed it from the freezer:
1) Directly accessing the data from Windows Explorer
2) Xcopy
3) dd_rescue (or I read about dd_rhelp which sounds like a good possibility because it skips entire blocks when it finds an error and comes back to them after copying the good ones)
4) disk repair via HDD
5) Other?
 
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26297870
Argh - or maybe "ddrescue" (not "dd_rescue") instead of dd_rhelp.  http://www.kalysto.org/utilities/dd_rhelp/index.en.html
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 26298184
Let us try Unstoppable Copier one more time.

Look at the graphic below.

In your original use of Unstoppable Copier you used F: as your Source which Unstoppable Copier seemed to indicate as your bad drive.

Try the following as the source

"F:\Documents and Settings\" or try browsing to find the My Documents folder which should be under "F:\Documents and Settings\<username>" where <username> is the user you want to pull back.




UnstoppableCopier.jpg
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:russell124
russell124 earned 248 total points
ID: 26298380
I've tried the freezer method once myself.  After cooling it down in the freezer, I rigged up a small cooler with some ice packs, and put the HD in a ziploc, just opening it enough for the IDE cable to snake in.  I also placed a couple of paper towels in the ziploc to soak up any potential condensation.   That should help keep the drive cooler for longer.  In my case, the freezing didn't help, but it is worth a shot at any rate.

Once in there, really the issue is how your HD will behave, not so much as to what you use to try and recover.  Personally, I am familiar with dd_rescue, but ddrescue looks like it might be a good thing to try.

And yeah, the dd_rescue/ddrescue thing is frustrating.  Damn programmers with their twisted senses of humor.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26299237
OK - I'll try Unstoppable Copier again when I get home.  I've actually had problems getting anything that uses the logical drives as a target to recognize the drive at all.  I don't know if that's coincidence or if that says something about the nature of Windows to detect a drive.  For instance, this drive sometimes will show up in Windows Explorer (but not always) and if I try to read it (click on it) it reports an error.  But I'll try every combination I can think of to target the folders with data.  
Thanks for the idea to keep cooling the drive while I'm testing.  That will take some pressure off while I try to figure out what the HD will do.  Some of these things are very fast (Unstoppable Copier, for instance) so I might try things based on how quickly I can judge their success.
 
 
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26301346
well - if the problem is a scratched surface (like it looks) freezing won't help.
i never had to try that though
if you need the data, contact these guys : http://www.gillware.com/
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26385451
I haven't abandoned this question -- I've just been out of town.  I am trying the freezer trick tonight before I give up.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 26390820
Well I froze the drive.  No tools even recognize the drive, which is even worse than before.  HDD, Unstoppable copier, Getdataback, and looking at with Linux (fdisk, testdisk) -- none of them see the drive.  I guess I'm ready to call it quits on this drive.  If no other suggestions I'll award my points to those whose suggestions I tried -- I have a lot of tools now, at least!
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 34513724
I had to abandon my efforts due to work priorities that sucked away all my time from March 2010 onwards.  I'm crawling out from my cave now, and apologize for abandoning this question.  I appreciated the efforts of many experts, especially russell124, nobus, and dbrunton.  Though this question is closed I still would like to give the three of them 50 pts each.  Can that be done?
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34513757
The points have already been allocated and split by the moderator.

We all got 62 points each so there isn't any need to open the question up again.

But thanks for dropping back.
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Author Comment

by:mrjlal
ID: 34519717
Ok cool!  Moderator please close the question.  Thanks again all.
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