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Intialize Hard Drive

Posted on 2013-06-02
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Last Modified: 2013-06-29
I have a PC that had a boot disk error.  After trying WIN 7 Home disk to repair which would not work we took the disk out and attached it to a WIN 7 machine, and after booting it came up in Computer Management as 'Not Initialized'.  Can we initialize it on the WIN 7 machine and then put it back in the original machine to try to do a WIN 7 start-up repair or will initializing it partition and format the disk?  We cannot afford to loose the data on the disk.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:rmj6969
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13 Comments
 
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39215058
If you initialize it you have to recreate the partitions and you'll have an empty disk.  If you have an XP system, try putting the drive in the XP system.  I've seen issue where Win7 doesn't recognize the transplanted disk properly.  It's ALSO POSSIBLE the drive won't work and a data recovery service will be required.  Maintaining backups is typically MUCH cheaper, but if you don't have backups it may be your only option.

You can also try data recovery software - things like GetDataBack and other products... but that assumes your time isn't worth much either because these things can take a while to run and there is no guarantee that you'll be successful.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39215441
i have used HDDRegenerator - and it helps in many cases recovering disk drives; providing there is no physical problem (electronics bad or scratched surface)
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      

it does NOT change the info on the drive, and you can try the trial version, to see if it finds and repairs the first sector

AFTER running it, backup first the Data, - then run a disk diag on the drive- to know it's status
you can also run a chkdsk then

 - to be sure about the basics :
Download the UBCD, make the cd, and boot from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download
since the downloaded file is an ISO file, you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section - long diag !
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                              ultimate boot cd
http://ubcd.mirror.fusa.be/ubcd521.iso                        direct link UBCD


and of course - if your data is worth it - send it to a datarecovery service :
http://www.lowcostrecovery.com/index.html                        data recovery Company
http://www.gillware.com/                                 "           "                   "
http://www.drivesavers.com/services/estimates.html                     "           "                   "
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 250 total points
ID: 39215509
Initializing the drive will write the disk ID new in MBR. This will make the drive be seen as empty. So you will need to do undelete partitions first to get the partitions back to the drive and only after that do repair. Otherwise your repair will find nothing.
But I suspect that Initialize will not work in your case as the drive itself seems to be bad. Test it for errors using its vendor made test tools.
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Author Comment

by:rmj6969
ID: 39216224
But what if the HD is not even recognized?  No boot device.
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LVL 92

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 39216309
if the disk is not identified in the bios - no software can help
then you have a bad disk; see my recommendations above


but if you simply can't boot - the above will work - best read the HDDREGENERATOR features
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39216394
If Windows Disk Management shows the disk and says - initialize then it is identified by BIOS for sure.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39216682
ok - waiting for his results then
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Author Comment

by:rmj6969
ID: 39228601
The client sent the disk into the manufacture.  The HD was indeed damaged.  No other work was done by our office.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39228626
then my post was correct, i believe :  Posted on 2013-06-03    ID: 39216309
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39228742
Me too then:
ut I suspect that Initialize will not work in your case as the drive itself seems to be bad. Test it for errors using its vendor made test tools.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39268071
Why didn't I get any point here? My suggestion about bad drive and testing tools were given in 39215509
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