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Windows 7 drive not detecting

Posted on 2012-03-28
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Hey guys,

I've just come across a (file) server running Windows 7 Pro (32-bit) which isn't detecting the drive on boot-up. When I fire up Acronis True Image Home 2012 on another PC and view the drive, I can see it, with it's content, but it will only let me clone the first, small partition (the 'system reserved' space). Of course, this drive and the data on it is VERY important, but I don't know where to go from here if a drive clone won't work.

Any and all help welcome - I may have to pull an all-nighter as this drive is system-critical for the business in question - they can't opperate without it!
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Question by:Servant-Leggie
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by:burrcm
ID: 37775908
<<I can see it, with it's content>> If this is true, can you not from another PC simply copy the files and folders to another drive before replacing the problematic unit? Another test, plug a removable drive into the problematic PC and boot to your Win7 disk. Select repair and command prompt. Can you now see the content? Copy it to the removable drive.

Chris B
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by:IanTh
ID: 37776565
was it setup as a raid drive on the server ?
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Author Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 37779311
No, IanTh, just a straight SATA drive.

burrcm, the drive fails to read the hotter it gets (the longer it's been connected, so I've left it overnight and will try again in a moment. I will try pulling of files/ folders, but it will be a nightmare compared with pulling everything across as a clone, and I was hoping to avoid said nightmare. I tried to boot from the Windows disk, but it couldn't see the HDD. When it did show up (in disk management on another PC), only the small preceeding partition was showing and with a drive allocation - the main portion of the drive was showing as unallocated and without a drive letter. This is a false reading, however, if I can plug it into Acronis (again, on a second machine) and can see the data, even if only for a few moments.
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by:noxcho
ID: 37780606
Does Windows Disk Management see it as red?
From what you wrote (the temperature of the drive effects its readability) I can say that your drive is on its way to HDD trasher. Get data off it ASAP.
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Author Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 37794265
noxcho, Windows Disk Management sees the drive alright (when it is seen at all), but shows the initial System Reserved partion with a drive letter allocation and the remaining (main) partition on the drive without one. Sometimes, the drive will be connected and Windows will suggest that I format the drive. From this and all the other syptoms, I am in no doubt that the drive is dieing, but was hoping to be able to coax one last favour (drive clone) from it. I can get some data off, so looks like that's what I'm going to have to settle for.
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by:noxcho
ID: 37794819
So in Windows Disk Management the system partition does not have the type of file system shown, right?
First of all you need to narrow the problem to its bottle neck. Check the HDD surface with its vendor made tool. If it passed then problem is in file system.
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burrcm earned 500 total points
ID: 37795289
Last resort scenario - Place the drive in a zip lock bag and put in a freezer for a couple of hours. If it reads cool, you will get 10 minutes or so out of it. When it stops do it again. Note that if it gets too cold it will likely not read for a few minutes, just wait a little and try again. If you are really keen, extend the power and data cables out of the side of the pc place the plugged in drive in the zip lock bag and place it in a container filled with ice, ensuring that the cables do not get wet. I have done this successfully a few times, but failed just as often. In ice though you might even get a clone.

Good luck

Chris B
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Author Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 37835931
burrcm, cool, that sounds far too cool NOT to give it a try!!

For now, all critical information was extracted from the drive, so we've just cut our losses and completed a fresh install on a new, replacement HDD. I will be continueing to try to get information off there, just in case, but it's by no means critical.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 37935426
While this data recovery was largely abandoned, some information was retrieved from this method.
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