Vista Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically

I saw a few answers in the solutions part of this website but I have a different situation. Straight to the point is I need to back up the data on the hard drive if it is readable because I don't know what the problem is. Question is if I upgrade to Windows 7 would I be risking anything?
Thanks,
bbbb2
bbbb2Asked:
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TribusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well with all upgrade and such keeping your data organized is great.  As long as you have good backups the re-installation process is much easier.  You can also keep on hand a good basic PC image of a clean install and I could go on for a really long time about best practices and such for data security...but I digress.

The only thing you really need if you have all your data is your software licenses (Ex: Microsoft Office, Windows, Anyi-Virus, etc.).

Now on to getting your data back, and lets start easy.  The best thing that I do these days is use a USB hard drive adapter cable that has all the connections for SATA, 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE connectors.  they cost about $25.00 - $35.00.  Attach that to another PC and access the drive like an external USB drive.

If that is not an option, then you can install the hard drive into another "test" machine as an extra/secondary drive and then access it after getting it set up and taking ownership of the files if necessary.

Some articles about taking ownership and permissions:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc780020%28WS.10%29.aspx
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308421

There are some software solutions out there that can help you to.

MSDART: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee460910.aspx

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (Lots of tools and recovery options): http://www.ubcd4win.com

Hope this helps!

-Tribus
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dn0rmCommented:
an upgrade to windows 7 should not impact the data on your drive whatsoever - with that said there is always a small risk when upgrading operating systems that something could happen during the install - a power outage during the installation etc that could corrupt the hard drive...

it's advisable to back up at least your most important files before upgrading your operating system.  the risk of losing the data is minimal but better safe than sorry should anything unforeseen occur.

let us know if there is anything else you need help with, thanks!
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sjklein42Commented:
My 2 cents.

Since you're attempting a System Repair I can only assume there is a serious problem with your Vista system.  Does it even boot anymore?  Do you know what went wrong?

I would say "yes" you could make things much worse trying to upgrade to W7 in this state, especially if the Vista system is corrupt.

My approach is to first do a full standalone backup onto an external HD before making any move as drastic as an OS upgrade.  I use Acronis backup which comes with a bootable CD, but there are other products to do a standalone, full system backup.

Only after you have a good safety net (backup) should you attempt the W7 upgrade.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
@Tribus, I have one of those usb to sate, IDE and another connector that looks like a floppy drive IDE connector. This laptop hard drive is a Dell Inspiron 1721 and the connector id not usb. It looks like a IDE but it does not match the connection I have. So much for the easy way out. I am trying to think of what I am going to hook the heard drive to just to see if it is any good and to get the data off.
Thanks,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
The hard drive is a...Hard Drive, 250GB, Serial Ata 9.5, 5.4K, SA125.
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
How do I hook that hard drive up to a desktop PC to see if I can read it?
Thanks,
bbbb2
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TribusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Usually that other connector is the laptop 2.5" IDE connector.

I looked up your model number you listed and this is the results of that: http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlineSales/Online/SecondaryInventorySearch.aspx?rn=1107&SC=&c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh

It says that the Dell 1720 has an SATA HDD.  I know that on the adapter I use you have to plug in a small SATA cable to a connector on the device and you also have to power the HDD separately with the SATA power adapter, which all came with the device.

But if you have a SATA drive then all you need is a device like we have been talking about with an SATA connector or buy a External 2.5" or 3.5" (based on what you physically have) external hard drive enclosure that has USB or the newer eSATA connector if your laptop supports that...probably not.

-Tribus
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TribusCommented:
Otherwise you can just open the PC and hook up the drive in question directly as a second drive.  Then remove it later after your don retrieving the data.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Its not a sata drive. Here is the service tag number...G78K8F1

BBBB2
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TribusCommented:
Yeah i looked that up...and it actually is SATA.


From: http://support.dell.com/support/DPP/Index.aspx?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dhs&ServiceTag=G78K8F1

1      MU118      Hard Drive, 250GB, Serial Ata 9.5, 5.4K, SA125

Serial ATA is SATA.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
lol, I am not crazy, I promise but it is not the sata drive I am use to looking at. It looks like a small ide which slides down onto the laptop which has a small looking ide head that the hard drive connects to.
bbbb2
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TribusCommented:
Got to looking up parts for you this time and I found this.  This may help you, apparently it's maybe a proprietary adapter of some sort....?

http://www.parts-people.com/index.php?action=item&id=5330
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Server not found
     
     
        Firefox can't find the server at www.parts-people.com.
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TribusCommented:
Link works fine for me, I clicked it several times...
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bbbb2Author Commented:
ok I got the link up and that is what the hard drive connector looks like. Why aare they calling that a sata?
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
The harddrive is a Samsund and it says its a sata drive but why the connector like that?
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
excuse the typos
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TribusCommented:
I have no idea, but thats any name brand for ya.  Tons of proprietary hardware/software.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Sp, I am going to need an adaptor to be able to connect this hard drive to another PC?
bbbb2
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TribusCommented:
It appears that you could remove the adapter and after that it's a normal SATA drive.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Tribus you are right. Took the adaptor off and there is the regular sata connectors.
Thanks,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Now I can used my usb hard drive adapter cable that has all the connections for SATA, 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE connectors.
Thanks alot,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I will check back in later to report on the outcome of if I am able to read the drive.
Bye for now
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I can not get it to recognize the laptop drive. I have tried all different ways. I used that usb hard drive adapter cable that has all the connections for SATA, 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE connectors, I went straight from the mobo and power supply cable and still it does not recognize the laptop sata hard drive.
Am I doing something wrong?
bbbb2
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dn0rmCommented:
perhaps the drive letter needs to be assigned t something not currently in use...

at what level is the drive not recognized...

can you assign a drive letter in computer management?

thanks!
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TribusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Right-click on Computer and select properties--->Manage.
On the left sidebar select Disk Management.

Do you see the added drive in the main Disk Management screen at all?
(Be very careful when clicking around here as you can destroy your partitions and other nasty things)

If you do not see the drive, then it may be a controller failure.  If it's making any abnormal clicking noises then it's a mechanical issue.  If you have a controller failure there are recovery options, however they are quite expensive.  It really depends on how important the data is.

If you are getting clicking noises then it's a mechanical issue and the data might be recoverable with some software solutions.

What was the original issue with the drive was it not booting like the OS was corrupt or was it not seeing the drive at all.

Do you see the drive in your system BIOS/Setup in POST?
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bbbb2Author Commented:
It was not booting and Vista could not repair the problem was the original problem and No I can't see the added disk in Disk Management, I dont hear any noises from the hard drive making me think the hard drive is bad. I have looked a device manager and everything looks good in there.
Thanks
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
When I press del to enter setup/BIOS when I first turn on the PC I can see it there but when I go to my computer there is the C: drive,{hard drive)  D: drive for the DVD/CDRW drive and there is and then there is then there is another drive called removable disk E, but changes to removable disk F: when the usb hard drive adapter cable that has all the connections for SATA, 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE connectors is removed. But that might have something to do with me unhooking the dvd paower cable to use the usb hard drive adapter cable that has all the connections for SATA, 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE connectors. I will let you know after I send you this and shut down and reconnect the cables.
Thanks for the reply,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
No change after the reboot. My computer shows c:drive, d:drive for my DVD and e:drive for some removable drive. I have no luck on the laptop hard drive though. The customer was really wanting ti get the data off his hard drive. The crazy thing is he has a external hard drive but didn't know how to use it. What can you do? Do you think the hard drive is bad since it isn't show me anything?
Thanks
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Why does it show my HP printer as one of my storage devices in my BIOS/setup?  Because if I could change that from the devices in my boot order, I could take the printer off the choice of devices to boot from and be able to put something else like that other hard drive there instead. Anyway back to the issue at hand. Bad hard drive? If not sure , which is where I am right now but I don't know how to check a hard drive that the PC does not see. Can someone tell me how I cab do that?
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TribusCommented:
Hmmmmm....

That odd drive is the HP printer.  They have slots on then for removable camera media/memory.  No need to worry about that at all probably.

Seeing the drive in BIOS is positive, but not in Windows tells me that you may have a chance here.

Try this program to see if you can get it to see the drive: http://www.hdtune.com/

Here is an oddball article I ran across, it may apply here too: http://www.scottbuehler.com/computer-tips/windows-7-sata-hard-drive-not-showing/233
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nobusCommented:
i would :
-check if the disk is seen in the bios
-then run  DFT on it, to know if it is bad or not (find it on ubcd ) : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
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bbbb2Author Commented:
it is seen on the mobo. What is DFT
Thanks
Bobby
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bbbb2Author Commented:
it is seen on the mobo. What is DFT
Thanks
Bobby
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I meant it is seen in the BIOS Nobus
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Do I boot with UBCD or run DFT from Windows 7?
Thanks
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I just went to Device manager and Disk Drives and Y see the Disk in question. I then went to properties and the to volume and then I clicked populate. It populated the drive but there is nothing there. I took a screenshot and here it is
populated-screenshot.jpg
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Would this explain why I am not able to see any of the data on this drive even though I can see it in BIOS or do I run this DFT program is that going to make the disk able to see data that is on it?
Thanks,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
If I initialize this disk will that inable me to see the data or does this mean the data is lost and try to initialize it anyway so I can maybe use it?
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
here is another screenshot of the question I just asked.
thanks
bbbb2
Disk-Initialize.jpg
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TribusCommented:
Once you initialize the drive using Disk Management, Windows will assign a drive letter at random (you can change the drive letter if you want).  After that, the files on the disk should be accessible.  Only If you format the drive or delete/change partition information will all data on it will be lost.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
here is another look at it
Disk-Initialize2.jpg
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TribusCommented:
Yes, that's it.
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Tribus do you want to initialze it?
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bbbb2Author Commented:
nevermind I didnt see the answer above
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bbbb2Author Commented:
another brick wall. Here is the error message and pic
bbbb2
disk-initilation-error.jpg
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I tried everything the error message said and still get the error message.
bbbb2
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TribusCommented:
Starting to sound like a hardware controller failure at this point...
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TribusCommented:
You can try using "Diskpart" utility to initialize the volume as described in this article:

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vistaperformance/thread/42b1ebc3-edaf-4c3f-93cd-beda4bab2671

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bbbb2Author Commented:
ok, let me go read :(
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
From what I read most of the time the Diskpart program didn't solve there problem. It seems like a lot of stuff to do and then it not work.
bbbb2
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TribusCommented:
It is just an option and not hard to try...
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Ok if the option does not work do believe like I di that the hard drive is dead? Or do you think that if I format the drive that it might work. I have already called the customer and told him that his hard drive is dead. So anything from here is a plus.
bbbb2
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TribusCommented:
Yeah that sounds pretty solid to say.

There are ways to recover drives that are ridiculous, but if it's not that important, try to format and see if the drive works.  If it is a hardware failure the format will not work either.  It will encounter an error more than likely also.

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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
DFT =  drive Fitness test on the ubcd, and yes, you boot from it, then select disk diagnostics
that will tell you the drive is ok or not.
if you want the data  - you can test if you can access it if you boot from a live Knoppix cd :
ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.4.4CD-2011-01-30-EN.iso 

if you cannot access the data then, i suggest to use recovery soft, here some links  :
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm      pc Inspector -FREE -
      http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard            FREE  -  Recuva
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                              Stellar
http://www.runtime.org/                              GetDataBack
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bbbb2Author Commented:
@Nobus, I can set the drive in BIOS when I hook it to another PC and I when I go to Computer-manage I see the drive but I can't initialize the drive. Look at the screenshots above. I don't know where to go from here. I ordered a new hard drive just to see if I can install a operation System on the drive. After reading what I have done with this laptops hard can you tell me what you think is the problem?
Ask me any questions you might have after reading what I have done so for.
Thanks
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Nobus, I can't get the drive to initialize which in turn I can not see anything on the drive has of not. I hope I am not buying a new hard drive  when I don't need to.
Thanks,
bbbb2
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bbbb2Author Commented:
Retying because the typos might be confusing,

Nobus, I can't get the drive to initialize, which in turn I can not see anything on the drive. I hope I am not buying a new hard drive when I don't need to.
Thanks,
bbbb2
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nobusCommented:
did you run the diag as i suggested ?
you must realise the disk is not accessible for a reason, thats why i suspect disk problems
first - would backup the data - then you can initialise it - even if data is lost
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bbbb2Author Commented:
I ended up replacing the hard drive and installing Windows y and it is running great. Thanks to everyone for there input,
bbbb2
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