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Data Recovery
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X-BoT



Joined: 21 May 2001
Posts: 5686
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:07 am    Post subject: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Well, a few days ago I was thinking to myself that my PC has been acting really nice and not given me any trouble for such a long time.. I guess my PC read my mind and decided it was about time it did. So the hard disk decided to start dying. First sign was extreme slowness. And I mean extreme. Windows was acting slow so I rebooted it and went off to have dinner. 30 minutes later I return to find Windows XP still at it's boot up screen, with intense hard disk activity. I wait for another 30 minutes but it still won't boot. By this time I know something is very wrong. So I pop in Maxtor's PowerMax utility and run a quick test. Instead of telling me what it found it advised me to run a full test. On running a full test it said the drive is failing and I should send it to them.

Since then I've tried 3 different recovery applications (on another PC). 2 windows based and 1 DOS based. Both the Windows based ones examine the drive for a while and then throw an error, and the drive disappears from My Computer and even from Device Manager. Scanning for new hardware in device manager brings it back online. The DOS recovery application I tries is called SpinRite and it runs, but very slowly. It estimates 4000 hours. Completely unacceptable.

The drive has 5 partitions, and only the C parition seems badly damaged. I recovered everything from the other partitions except 2 files which give CRC errors. When I attempt to copy or open files in the C parition the OS slows to a crawl and eventually I get an error. I then tried using the command line utility in Windows to copy the files from the C parition and this works for some files. Some cannot be copied because of CRC errors. Some give CRC errors 3-4 times but work some of the time. Very strange. One of the biggest problems is I have set my user folder as private, so when I try to enter it with the drive installed in another pc, I get an "Access denied" message. I've also tried the windows xp cd and entered the admin password. It still won't let me access anything.

All of my documents are in there and I really, really don't want to lose them. Any ideas how I can access those files? Booting into the drive is out of the question. Tried it, doesn't work.
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Discomb



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 4262
Location: Beijing, China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:36 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Well, it's a data error, not a mechanical one for sure. I'd suggest making a complete copy of the damaged partition on another HD and then experimenting. By copy I mean not reading the files, but just copying every bit exactly as is. I do however don't know the optimal way of doing this.
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X-BoT



Joined: 21 May 2001
Posts: 5686
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:40 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

2 problems with that:
1. I don't have another HD of that size
2. It seems that the hard disk copies some files fine some of the time and not others, which makes me think it's not getting the same data even though it reads twice from the same spot, which would make an exact copy pretty impossible.

I've also tried chkdsk /f which gives about 200,000 errors (not kidding) and terminates after stage 1/3...

I'm still recovering using the copy and xcopy commands and retrying 3-5 times for each file that fails... Slow and painful process. Some files are completely unrecoverable and accessing some files cause the hard disk to stop functioning..

I'm not sure this is purely a software error.
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Discomb



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
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Location: Beijing, China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:02 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Have you tried the same HD in another computer?
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salem



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 1778
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

You could try to boot with a Knoppix disc, and access those files that say denied access.
You can also get a copy of a utility boot cd called Hiren's Boot CD (do you remember it Aerym? :p ), you can boot it, access ntfs files from the HD, and copy it somewhere; also you can use Norton Ghost (included in Hiren's) to make a logical copy of the files on the drive.
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Discomb



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
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Location: Beijing, China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Hiren is FTW!
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Dirtbag



Joined: 25 Sep 2006
Posts: 1894
Location: The Netherworld

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:25 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Quote:
2 problems with that:
1. I don't have another HD of that size
2. It seems that the hard disk copies some files fine some of the time and not others, which makes me think it's not getting the same data even though it reads twice from the same spot, which would make an exact copy pretty impossible.


doesn't matter, you'll need it anyways you will need a replacement drive no matter if or if you can't read data.

I tend to read out smart data from my hd's occasionally to check it's health status.

and no, I don't think I can help you on this matter Smile


db
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X-BoT



Joined: 21 May 2001
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Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

An update on the whole situation

I've managed to gain access to the "protected" folders using the Windows 2000 CD's recovery console. But there is still a major problem. The recovery console does not have any decent support for copying files!! The copy command on the cd does not support wild cards or copying directories... Which means I have to copy one file at a time.. When I have 10s of thousands of files, that can take an insanely long time. I tried obtaining xcopy.exe from the windows install but it turns out the recovery console will not let you run anything, just a predefined list of commands that can be listed using the help command. Great... Any thoughts on how to copy my data faster?

I'm currently in the process of installing Windows 2000 on a spare old 2GB hard drive. I'm hoping that will also let me access the protected folders but I really don't know if it will.

Knoppix sounds like an idea, but it might not work for the same reason Ubuntu LiveCD didn't work. I guess I'll try Knoppix if Win2k doesn't do the trick.
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salem



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 1778
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Quote:
Hiren is FTW!

Quoted for emphasis :p
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Vuen



Joined: 31 Aug 1999
Posts: 4968
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Quote:
Knoppix sounds like an idea, but it might not work for the same reason Ubuntu LiveCD didn't work. I guess I'll try Knoppix if Win2k doesn't do the trick.


Why didn't Ubuntu work?

I've heard of an alternative to the Windows XP recovery console, but I can't seem to find it now.

Here's a thought, can you use batch files in the recovery console? Because if so, you could just make a batch file that fetches all the files and does a copy on each one.
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Spockmeat



Joined: 22 Oct 2000
Posts: 8163
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Windows console is a P.O.S. you can't use it for anything worthwhile except maybe for fixing the boot.ini or MBR, and those are a maybe at best.

Definitly use Knoppix, and why wouldn't Ubuntu work for ya?
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salem



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 1778
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Quote:
I've heard of an alternative to the Windows XP recovery console, but I can't seem to find it now.

MiniPE or ERD Commander are much more like... a windows itself from a cd Wink
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Vuen



Joined: 31 Aug 1999
Posts: 4968
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Ah yeah, there are unofficial Windows livecds also, like this:

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

Might want to try it.


[edit] Actually just look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LiveCDs

Many of these can be put on bootable USB keys instead of cds, and some can even be fit on diskettes. There are also several Windows-based solutions here. Have fun.
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X-BoT



Joined: 21 May 2001
Posts: 5686
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:06 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

When I popped in the Ubuntu LiveCD and booted it got stuck at "Starting Enterprise Volume Manager". Lots of hard disk activity. I waited 20 minutes and gave up on it.

Another update:

I've managed to find a way to access my files! All it took was changing the folder permissions on another Windows machine. I know it's bad to write data into the hard disk write now, but I guess it was my only choice. I've also run spinrite over the night again and this time it says it'll take 800 hours instead of the 4000 it estimated earlier.

I guess I'll be able to recover most of my files without spinrite's help. If spinrite does it's thing I might be able to get it all.
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X-BoT



Joined: 21 May 2001
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Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:45 am    Post subject: Re: Data Recovery Reply with quote

Another update for anyone who cares:

I've managed to recover almost all my stuff. Though it took days of painstakinly slow and manual work. Tomorrow I'm going to go get a new hard drive. Maxtor let me down, twice. I'm not making the same mistake again. Seagate let me down 1 of 3 times, but they don't make ATA133 drives so theirs are slower (no, I don't have SATA.. never expected my ATA drive to die). I have no personal experience with Western Digital, but of 3 friends who have ever owned one, 2 had crashes. 2 of 3 is bad... That leaves me with Hitachi and Samsung. I've heard great things about Samsung and have had limited first hand experience with it and it seemed a great drive. My brother tells me to stay away from Hitachi.. he had one and it developed bad sectors.. this on a modern laptop... not a good sign.

Sad thing is, Samsung drives are rare here. I managed to locate shops that sell 40GB and 80GB ATA133 drives and a 200GB SATA-II drive. I guess I'll settle for 2x80GB drives..
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