Hard Drive / Diagnosing a Problem

This is a Dell Inspiron laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium 64.
It won't boot and gets stuck at the Microsoft splash screen with blue sky, clouds, a plant with a few leaves and a white bird.
I know we have all see this but I don't know that the screen has a name.  Maybe we should have a contest to pick one!!  :-)

The user has valuable data on the HD and would likely want the computer to work as well.
What's puzzling is that the HD isn't "seen" as one might expect.

I can see it if I boot to Knoppix and have extracted the data in that mode.
If I boot to a Windows-based something then stranger things happen.
In the laptop, the disk isn't seen at all with some programs.

Using UBCD4Win, the disk is seen in Windows Explorer but not its contents.  (well, it has 3 partitions and the OS partition is lettered as a drive but the contents not visible.
If I run CHKDSK in this same boot environment (on another computer), it identifies the file system type and the name of the volume and runs.

My plan was to run a disk test program but so far none have worked to my satisfaction.
Then image the HD if possible.
[Then, run CHKDSK (with some risk).... or maybe not at this point.]
Run HDDRegenerator and re-image it.
Then put the image on a new HD and run CHKDSK again.

What's puzzling me is why I can see the HD either completely or partially or not at all with the various setups.
LVL 27
Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  My plan was to run a disk test program but so far none have worked to my satisfaction.

Like using the UBCD https://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ ?  If so what has been the problem?  Also check the BIOS and see that if it is set to UEFI or something else.

>>  What's puzzling me is why I can see the HD either completely or partially or not at all with the various setups.

Is it encrypted?  Check with owner.

>>  I can see it if I boot to Knoppix and have extracted the data in that mode.

Have you attempted this?  Unsure with your statement.
rindiCommented:
Since you can see everything within knoppix, just copy all the data off.

Then run the disk manufacturer's diagnostic on it and act when it shows errors. Other diags aren't of much use. Only the manufacturer's is really of any use.

If the diagnostic comes up without errors, just use it to zero fill or clear the disk, then restore the OS from backups or factory restore media.
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
I did extract the critical data using Knoppix.  
That's fine unto itself.
I would like to preserve the installation and not reinstall Windows.  I can do it.  I just don't *want* to because of the unknown work necessary to recover fully after that's done.

How does one run the "manufacturer's diagnostic" when it says there is no disk?
What does that mean when other setups see it just fine?

It's this latter part that I'm trying to understand with this question.  Why does one setup work and the other fail completely or partially?
rindiCommented:
Have you run the diagnostic from the UBCD? Is the disk connected to an IDE or SATA port on the PC? It usually won't work if you use USB, as the diags usually don't work with USB or similar ports. Often you also need to set the ports to IDE mode.

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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
It's a SATA connection.
I finally ran a CHKDSK which got stuck on the 5th, empty space, phase.
Now it will boot.
The Toshiba disk test says it's faulty.
So, I suspect a lot had to do with it being faulty.
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