BIOS doesn't recognize HDD

Seagate / Barracuda st3750330as3
April 26, 2010 at 16:37:53
Specs: Windows XP Pro SP 3
First, I came home to my computer endlessly loading Windows (it had been left on). Reboot, after several tries, Windows refuses to load. Try Safe Mode, and it doesn't even get that far, instead throwing up maybe a screen's worth of lines that read:

I try to use Windows Setup disk's Recovery Console to run chkdsk, that hangs at 75%, and I eventually turn it off. Looking in the partition management section (where you choose where to install Windows), I see C:\ listed as follows:

C:\ Partition 1 [Unknown] 25000 MB (24999 MB free)

The other two partitions are both labeled correctly, with [NTFS] labels, and the correct amount of memory being used.

Despairing my C:\ partition, I attempt to reformat it (NTFS, not-quick version), which takes about two hours and ends up failing. I then try to delete the partition, and Windows Setup says it cannot delete the partition, and takes me back to the previous screen - where it now says it cannot detect any disk.

This is where I now stand. I have literally hundreds of hours of irreplaceable work on the drive, which at the same time I cannot afford to save with data recovery services as they cost a small fortune and it was all hobby-related work; I simply cannot justify the expense, as much as I want to.

As things stand now, the drive spins up, but the BIOS doesn't see it at all, nor does the Windows Setup disk. A different drive I have is recognized (but that disk has problems of its own), so it's not the connections...

Is there anything I can do?

I recently tested the drive using Seagate's tools; there was no problem found. It's under warranty, but that doesn't cover my data. I have no idea if either of those facts is relevant, but there it is.

EDIT: Retested with SeaTools, using a bootable disk. Received a notice that "SMART TRIPPED", do I want to continue the test - presumably not. As far as I'm aware, SMART is supposed to warn you when the drive is failing/failed. Further use could damage it? Would have been nice to know BEFORE I tried to reinstall Windows, sigh.

Is there any hope for at-home data recovery?

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April 27, 2010 at 13:23:38
Remove disk and put in known good system. Try to recover it there. Not sure if it is the drive just yet but a complete system wouldn't hurt.

Boot to a live cd/usb and try tools to recover in either system.

Yes, smart is supposed to warn you but you may not have had it installed or bios error.

We see the value of a backup plan.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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April 27, 2010 at 14:20:57
Hmm, OK, I sort of followed that - in that I've heard of a liveCD before, but I don't really know how it works nor am I familiar with what tools I would use. Any suggestions/links worth reading?

As for back-up, yeah, well, that doesn't help me now. Honestly, most of this stuff was backed up - or I should say, the drive that failed was the back-up. I had a completely separate drive (a Western Digital, don't know the model number off the top of my head and I'm not home to check) fail a couple of weeks ago, and most of what I've lost here is actually the back-up of what I didn't lose then. Actually, this computer has gone through three harddrives in less than four years, which makes me suspect that the computer might be doing something wrong that is leading to harddrive failure, because my understanding is that harddrives are supposed to last longer than this.

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April 27, 2010 at 14:27:36
Try using testdisk to restore the partition. Read the tutorial completely before using the program. Get testdisk at the link below.

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April 27, 2010 at 19:09:41
OK, I edited my post to make it a bit more clear maybe.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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