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Hard disk failure - boot sector appears corrupted - good disk recovery applications?

I have a few laptops (one for each member of the family) and a couple of them have had disk failures.  The failures are not the same, in their reporting nature, but I think it is a similar thing causing it and that I can fix it if I have a decent low level disk recovery utility.  Can you recommend one?  

I have a working laptop, so I can download it.  For completeness, the laptops are all HP Compaq and Dell.  Despite the fact that HP pops up some useless performance scan dialog box every week, they don't seem to be very good at actually helping when I have a real problem!!  

The laptops are running Vista, Windows 7 and XP.  I don't have a great need to do backups and so on, as that was all done before the failure.  In fact I would be quite happy to take the disks back to the metal and rebuild them, if I can get a nice little helper.  

One of the laptops pops up a dialog box for a product called 'EasyScan'.  However you want to try googling 'Easyscan' and see if you can find it - go ahead!  Why don't companies put their bloooming names on the box that asks me to send them $50?  It looks like it would do the job, but then again it might just send me a ring tone and change my search engine to be About.me.  Who needs THAT kind of help?  :-)  

Happy New Year.  Thanks for your help.  

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Nathan Riley
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petermagee

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Thank you, that looks like a good product, although their appalling English gives me a little concern - it sounds like it was written by the same person who writes all those junk emails!  

The objective however is less to recover the data on the disk, and more to make the disk work again - will this help me do that?  I wasn't very clear before, but I would like to recover the disk so it is working again.  

I'll give it a go, thanks.  
Haha, yeah I understand your concern with the english. The program itself is great.  I have never had a problem with it.  Yes it can recover the files and repair the hard drive as long as it is repairable.  Obviously if there is a hardware issue with the hard drive it won't fix it.
I have had one that had a hardware issue with it before and still got the files recovered with this program.  I know it sounds crazy but I put the harddrive in the freezer for 3 hours then plugged in and recovered the files I needed.  After it heated up though it quit working again.
Don't any of the disks have OS recovery either on CD/DVD or as a loadable partition ( usually via F11/ F12 )

I would try those first, sin e they can do a wipe and reinstall.

Otherwise, just wipe using any drive wipe ( plenty on the free UBCD cd )


UBCD Free vendor and other diagnostics and utilities
www.ultimatebootcd.com

I hope this helps !