Recovering bad sectors on hdd

March 31, 2009 at 13:24:11
Specs: Windows XP, 2.4GHz Quad-Core
I have a 20GB Western Digital WD200 hdd that is in pretty bad shape. I have it connected via usb to my win xp computer, and have been running drive recovery programs, but all of them show that all of the sectors on the drive are dead.

I don't know if this is an ntfs or fat drive, because the person who owns the drive does not know, and the os does not show what the format is because it is unreadable.

Got a couple of quotes from some companies, and they are saying $500 to $1000 for recovery.

Is there any cheaper way, either via software or other to recover the data? There is only one file that is necessary to get off of the drive, if even possible.

Thanks


See More: Recovering bad sectors on hdd

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#1
March 31, 2009 at 14:35:21
It sounds like it's toast. I don't know any file that's worth $500 to $1K.

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#2
March 31, 2009 at 14:35:44
"Is there any cheaper way, either via software or other to recover the data?"

How important is the data?

How much effort are you willing to expend?

If you haven't had much success with software so far, it's unlikely you'll get anywhere with other software - your best bet is to try fixing what is wrong with the drive and go from there. You could try SPINRITE, some people have gotten good results with that, but it's VERY slow, and it's NOT free.

A hard drive usually fails because the circuit board (logic board) on it has failed. In that case there is often nothing physically wrong with the drive or the disk(s) inside it, and much of the data can be recovered by replacing the circuit board.

Much less likely, something mechanical inside the drive has failed. In that case the disk(s) inside the drive may be physically damaged, and it may not be possible for anyone to get any data off of it, including the experts.

Most data recovery experts will you charge you nothing or only a small fee if they can't recover any data, but usually they can.

What the data recovery experts usually do is either install another logic board on the drive that is compatible with the drive, or remove the disk(s) inside the drive and install it(them) in another drive the disk and the way the data is configured on the disk(s) is compatible with.

Since the average person has no way of determining which logic board is compatible, or which drives the the disk(s) can be transferred to that are compatible with way the data is configured on the disk(s), the cheapest thing to try is to obtain or buy a working used drive, e.g. off the web, that is exactly the same model, try swapping logic boards, and if that doesn't work, try swapping the disks inside the drives, which may require oddball screw drivers with tips most people don't have (e.g. torx or star, possibly needing a hole in the center because the screw has a pin in the center) and being very careful.




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#3
March 31, 2009 at 14:40:13
Thats what I thought. The quote from the company said that
the $500 option is to replace the circuit board, which is
something that I am tech savvy enough to do. The only thing
is time.

These are tax returns, so maybe that gives you a better idea
of how important these files are.

Got any sources where I might pick up an old circuit board?

Thanks


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Related Solutions

#4
March 31, 2009 at 14:52:45
I thought I might also mention that this is the WD200BB model, I haven't found any reputable stores that sell them online yet.

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#5
March 31, 2009 at 14:57:39
"Got any sources where I might pick up an old circuit board?"

It used to be that when hard drives were a lot more expensive than they are now you could buy them new or working used from the drive manufacturer, but they haven't done that for a long time. Your best bet is to try finding a working drive that is exactly the same model - on the web, or there may be local places that have used parts, or sometimes if a business has more than one of the same model of computer they all have the same hard drive model in them (copy the drive data contents to another hard drive and give them the drive in exchange) , or if it's in a brand name system, buy a working brand name computer of the same model once you confirm it has the same drive .

By the way, most drive manufacturers have a data recovery service - check out their web site for more info.


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#6
March 31, 2009 at 15:05:09
Thanks. I just found a working one on Ebay, though I may call around to local
computer shops to see if they have one laying around.

Thanks again, never thought of replacing the logic board myself. I have done this
before, however, with old drives.


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#7
April 2, 2009 at 17:23:57
Don't know if anyone is going to see this again, but just had other quick question about this same hard drive.

Is there any chance that it could be something other than the logic board gone bad? I found an identical hard drive so that I could replace the logic board, but could it be something else?

The reason that I am asking this question is because I took another WD hdd, and plugged it in to my external enclosure, and it did not come up in My Computer on xp either. Though it does come up in the device manager.

The drive I am having troubles with is an older (2001) wd hard drive, and so is this one that I took and plugged in to see if it came up in My Computer. The one I am having troubles with also comes up in the device manager, with no driver errors etc.

If you get a chance, could you post another thought or two?

Thanks


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#8
April 2, 2009 at 17:33:10
how many tax returns is it. how about re-doing the returns
http://search.irs.gov/web/query.htm...

this will give you until 10/15/2009, this is an extension to file, not to pay. If they think, they are going to owe, they should send a payment with the 4868.

larry


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#9
April 2, 2009 at 17:40:23
Yeah, we know about the extension thing. Thats what the owner of the hard drive (my
friend) is going to do if we can't get the returns back.

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#10
April 2, 2009 at 18:08:55
Just tying to use a board from the same make/model will likely not work.
{You cannot swap pcboards from the same model or even manufacturing date. You must look for the pc board model number and match it..I have had same brand hdd and same manufacturing year but different numbers on the pc board because the company upgrades the firmware or they are made at a different plant.} from http://www.electro-tech-online.com/...

Look at site: http://www.hdd-parts.com/


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#11
April 2, 2009 at 18:29:34
Why are you using an external enclosure. They are designed for modern drives. You are dealing with older stuff here.

Connect directly to an IDE controller.

If the drive was formatted with a drive overlay in order to allow a larger size than the BIOS could accept then it will show as garbage. Use fdisk to examine the format. If it shows as non DOS it may have had an overlay applied. You could contact Western Digital to find out if any of their old overlay programs are still available. What it takes is a floppy disk with the boot utility installed to it. You booted to the floppy and ran Windows from there. On track wrote most of those overlay programs. The drive manufacturers bundled them with the drives.

If you question the owner they may recall having done that.


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#12
April 2, 2009 at 21:30:38
Great. Now I think that I have to start over again. I am glad that I reposted though,
otherwise, I would not have had a backup plan for the drive.

Thanks for the feedback, I am going to try some different stuff before I get the identical drive I
ordered.

The most important thing that you guys probably need to know right now, is that in Ubuntu,
the drive shows up as a SCSI drive. Which reminds me of something...Ever since I plugged
the drive in xp, it started asking me for some scsi driver, though when I go through driver
installation, it says cannot install hardware.

Could that be the problem? I have an exact device name for the scsi driver that it is trying to
install, when I am back in xp I will post it here.

Maybe that is why it is doing it? The SCSI thing?

Thanks.


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#13
April 2, 2009 at 21:56:58
Just thought I might mention that although the drive shows up
as a SCSI drive in linux, it says Cannot Mount Drive.

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#14
April 3, 2009 at 05:10:22
Windows mistakenly labels SATA drives as SCSI sometimes.

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#15
April 3, 2009 at 06:05:21
i can back up what TopFarmer said. I have on occasions bought a box of say 5 second hand hard drives that all state the same make and model number of the label but when you turn them over they have different shape and size circuit boards on them which would not fit eachother

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#16
April 3, 2009 at 08:56:40
OtheHill: This is an IDE drive, not a sata drive. But it comes
up in Linux as a SCSI drive, which it cannot mount. And, as I
have stated, windows does not even show it in the device
manager, but tries to install a scsi driver.

Thanks


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#17
April 3, 2009 at 09:06:18
I guess what I am saying is that I am with you guys on the pcb board I was
going to replace on the drive, but, what next?

With all of the info I have given you guys, does it still sound like it would be the
pcb board? Or is it something else? Because if you can be sure that it is the
pcb board, then I will go ahead and order one from hdd-parts.com. Otherwise, it
would just be another waste of money to buy the $50 pcb board just to stick it
in and still not be able to read the drive.

Thanks for your support.


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#18
April 3, 2009 at 09:10:53
I don't even think that the recovery software (which could see
the drive) was able to determine the format of the drive. Does
that lead us back to the replacement of the pcb board?

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#19
April 3, 2009 at 10:02:13
To recap, the drive shows in Disk Management or My Computer? When you run recovery software you can see the drive. That doesn't sound like the board to me. Usually when the board goes you can't see the drive at all.

I suggest you first use fdisk on it to see how it identifies the partition/s. Then try connecting the drive directly to an IDE controller.

Do you know what OS was running on the drive, if any?

Have you tried running data lifeguard on the drive?


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#20
April 3, 2009 at 10:17:31
No, the drive does not show up in disk management (and I have it plugged
into an IDE port on my computer). The only thing that xp pro does when I
plug the drive in is try to install the IDE/scsi raid driver again and again.

Should I use the fdisk in linux?

Windows xp was running on the drive before anything happened to it.

The drive does not show up in data lifeguard, just tried it.

Thanks guys.


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#21
April 3, 2009 at 10:24:36
I don't think fdisk will run in Linux. Run fdisk from a boot floppy if you can't get WinXP to settle down when that drive is connected. Did you run Data Lifeguard on the drive.

http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc...


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#22
April 3, 2009 at 10:47:53
Booting up fdisk now, and will get the reading in a minute.

Ok, the drive does NOT come up in fdisk, what now?

Thanks


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#23
April 3, 2009 at 10:53:44
Does this bring us right back to the pcb board? Or perhaps
not, because the drive shows up as a scsi drive in linux.

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#24
April 3, 2009 at 11:00:04
I am confused now. Does the drive show in the POST screens at startup?

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#25
April 3, 2009 at 11:03:41
Sorry, yes, the drive does show up in the BIOS. But it ONLY shows up in the BIOS (besides linux).

Thanks


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#26
April 3, 2009 at 11:13:45
Did you have an option #5 in fdisk? Did you select to use large disks? #5 switches you to show other hard drives that may be installed. Fdisk only views one drive at a time.

I should have been more specific in my last question.

Is the drive identified by the correct model number and the FULL capacity in the POST screens? If so, then I doubt the problem is the circuit board.

I provided a link above to download Western digital Data Lifeguard. That can check the drive for fitness and give a report.


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#27
April 3, 2009 at 11:56:47
I was actually using a program similar to fdisk, Gparted is what I was
using and the drive did not show up under where all the drives are listed.
Gparted shows all drives under the same place.

Sorry, I thought you meant BIOS. Yes, the drive name does show up in
post.

So if that probably means that the problem does not lay with the drives
controller board, what would be the problem?


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#28
April 3, 2009 at 12:00:36
I am pulling out another computer to plug the drive into to see
if that makes a difference.

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#29
April 3, 2009 at 12:15:35
I suggest you actually try Fdisk. How about Data Lifguard?

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#30
April 3, 2009 at 12:17:50
Ok, I'll try fdisk.

Data lifeguard did not find the disk.

I just got the drive in the other computer, booted from the linux
live cd, but it still says SCSI drive, and then when I try to open
it, it says 'Unable to mount location. Can't mount file'

Thanks, I'll get back with the fdisk results.


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#31
April 3, 2009 at 12:49:17
Ok, I tried something else before I tried fdisk. I booted from a
cd with data lifeguard, and low and behold, the drive shows
up! But, I cannot do anything with it. When data lifeguard
starts, it says:

The following drive is not set up for use in your system. Drive
model: BIOS drive (82 hex) 20 GBYTES. Would you like to
prepare this drive for use in your system?

I am not going to click Yes until I know it is not going to
format the disk or something. Any thoughts on that? By the way, data lifeguard does not show any partitions on the drive, which, I am guessing, it because I have not "Set Up" the drive yet.

Thanks


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#32
April 3, 2009 at 13:00:06
Just ran the dlg data lifeguard diagnostics from wd, and it says: Please contact technical support
and report the following error...

DLGDIAG 5.04f - Data lifeguard diagnostics
SMART ERROR
ERROR/STATUS CODE: 0159

I am googling the error code to see if I can find anything, but no luck so far. I am going to boot up
fdisk in a minute.

Thanks


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#33
April 3, 2009 at 13:15:31
The only thing about fdisk is that I don't have a floppy drive in
this computer....and that is the only way that fdisk can create
a boot disk.

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#34
April 3, 2009 at 13:49:58
I found out where fdisk keeps its ISO file, so I burned it to a
CD and was able to boot from it. Now I just have to get the
drive into the computer, and see what I can do.

What was fdisk supposed to do for the disk?

Thanks


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#35
April 3, 2009 at 13:57:31
Ok, fdisk says that it cannot find the partition table and mbr
for the disk, and tells me to download Partition Table Doctor.

Have you had any experience with this Partition Table Doctor?
Does it work?

Thanks


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#36
April 3, 2009 at 13:57:50
If the partition was formatted using some unknown format it will still show as an unknown format. Seeing how fdisk lists the partition may help to determine how it was originally formatted.

I can't imagine that all the sectors on that drive can be bad. I guess it is possible. Maybe it was exposed to a strong magnetic field or something.

For what it is worth, The Ultimate Boot CD ver 4.1.1 has free fdisk on it, along with many other usefule apps. Get it below.

http://www.mrbass.org/ubcd/


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#37
April 3, 2009 at 14:00:41
It is kind of hard to tell if you saw my post saying what fdisk
said because you posted 20 seconds after my last post.

That probably explains why the drive won't open in linux or show up in windows, because the partition table is missing.

Did you read it yet?

Thanks


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#38
April 3, 2009 at 14:12:00
We crossed paths there. I have no experience with that app.

Looks like it cost $50. I suggest you check into testdisk as it may be able fix for free. Be sure to read all the tutorials.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Test...

I have used Knoppix Live CD to vview files on hard drives that had corrupted file allocation tables.

I still think there may be a drive overlay on there. You might want to email Western Digital to inquire about that possibility.

Sure would help to at least know the vintage of the computer that the drive came out of.


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#39
April 3, 2009 at 15:45:39
"Ok, fdisk says that it cannot find the partition table and mbr for the disk, and tells me to download Partition Table Doctor"
What fdisk are you using , I can not think MS's fdisk would say to use a third party program.

You posted that you have a live Linux cd, which one ? Do you know how to use linux ?

Do you have any hdd hex editor program where you can read any selected sector ?


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#40
April 3, 2009 at 16:30:38
Here's some info on the 0159 error.

http://www.google.com/search?source...

WinSimple Software


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#41
April 3, 2009 at 16:34:08
The fdisk that I am using is the 'Super Fdisk", I believe that this one is third party.
The fdisk I am using show my 500GB hdd, and my 320gb hard drive, but tells me
that the partition table for the drive I am trying to fix is missing.

I am using Linux Mint (a variant of Ubuntu). Yeah, I know how to use Linux, at least
enough for what I am doing.

"Do you have any hdd hex editor program where you can read any selected sector ?"

You mean like WinHex?


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#42
April 3, 2009 at 16:37:09
Thanks for the link Ray, I did not try searching under that
term. Apparently, 0159 according to WD means that the hard
drive needs to be replaced. But under what terms?

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#43
April 3, 2009 at 18:40:37
"You mean like WinHex?" that would be one, if you have it, see if it sees the bad hdd and can read the MBR and display the raw data.

can try linux command 'dd' to see if it will read the MBR raw data and then 'xxd' if installed to display results of dd.

My opion is there is something very wrong with the hdd being seen as a SCSI drive, may be a bad pin on the connector (?). I would think if the OS sees the hdd as SCSI and the bios says IDE then the OS very likely could never talk to it. The OS would issue commands for a SCSI but its not there.


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#44
April 3, 2009 at 18:58:41
I will try to do what you said with WinHex.

I will also try the linux commands, I have not tried those yet.

It would have to be the female connector on the drive itself if it were bad, I plugged the
drive into the ide interface on another computer and it showed up as a SCSI drive in
linux as well.

If I could be sure of what it was, I would do it (like the pcb board on the drive, or the
$50 Partition Table Doctor).

Any other ideas? Where might I get the version of fdisk that othehill is referring to?

Thanks


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#45
April 3, 2009 at 20:01:33
I gave you a link some time back for The Ultimate Boot CD. On that CD is a version that looks like the original version of fdisk.

Here it is again.

http://www.mrbass.org/ubcd/

Also, try Knoppix and possibly testdisk. Link to testdisk below.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Test...


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#46
April 3, 2009 at 20:39:40
I have the ubcd, and was using some of the utils from it earlier
to try to diagnose the drive. I did not see fdisk on there...what
category is it under.

I'll try knoppix and testdisk, thanks for the links.

Thanks, I will be posting results soon.


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#47
April 3, 2009 at 20:59:12
The fdisk in linux loads, then says "Invalid drive
destination...Operation Terminated", then shows the terminal.
Is that error relative to the drive that is having problems?

Thanks


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#48
April 3, 2009 at 21:17:26
The only thing that TestDisk finds is a "P Unknown" partition, (not formated)
does that that there is hope?

Thanks


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#49
April 3, 2009 at 22:11:47
In this post I am including some info that I did not include in my other posts, which also
includes information that you guys have requested as well.

"Sure would help to at least know the vintage of the computer that the drive came out of."

This is a Win 98 computer which the owner upgraded to win xp, and it had been working for
awhile before this happened.

The WinHex program is not bootable, therefor I cannot analyze any of the files on the drive.

I am going to be sending an email to WD tonight concerning the overlay thing, though would
that be something that would be a problem if the xp os had been working for some time?

Knoppix is almost done burning to a cd on my main computer. I have some instructions
from TestDisks website for attempting to restore partitions and data from a drive such as this
directly from the Knoppix live cd.

Thanks


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#50
April 4, 2009 at 04:37:53
Keep us posted.

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#51
April 4, 2009 at 09:40:56
I think that most of us can agree that I have done pretty much everything that can be done for this drive. Here's a list of what I have done so far to it:
------
Fdisk
WD Utils
TestDisk
Various other ubcd tools
Linux terminal commands
dd_rescue
Tried drive in 3 computers, ide interface with two of them
Two other unmentioned recovery programs
Raw hex editor (in knoppix)
------

If any of you have any other ideas concerning the drive, please let me know. If for some weird and bizarre reason the pcb board on the 'identical' drive I ordered is the same as the pcb board I have here on this drive, then I will let you know if that works, but I believe that it is probably not the problem.

And just for the record, if anyone looks back at this, Linux Mint (as well as other versions) calls all ide drives scsi drives.

Thanks for your support!


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#52
April 4, 2009 at 11:07:16
Did you try just viewing the drive in Knoppix? Let it configure the drive any way it want to.

What happened when you tried testdisk?

One thing you didn't try was to configure the drive as the ONLY drive and then boot to a WinXP CD. Try running the recovery console. fixmbr, chkdsk, maybe others. If nothing shows when booting to the CD you may not be able to apply any commands. Worth a try though.

You did say the drive had WinXP on it last.


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#53
April 4, 2009 at 11:10:48
Yes, I did try to view the files on the disk in knoppix. I even
tried to mount it several different ways.

Thanks


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#54
April 4, 2009 at 11:16:09
I edited my #52.

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#55
April 4, 2009 at 11:22:55
That is something I have not tried....Good idea. I will try this
in a bit and let you know if I was able to get anywhere with it.

Sorry I didn't get the os that was on the drive originally, I was
just trying to think of all the hardware type details I could give
you.

Thanks


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#56
April 4, 2009 at 11:58:14
One last thing. Hope you point out to the owner of the drive how making backups would have avoided all this.

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#57
April 4, 2009 at 13:02:02
Oh yes, that is something that I always stress with things like
this.

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#58
April 5, 2009 at 09:40:11
In my experiences with IDE hard drives that have failed, about a dozen or more, there has never been one that had data on it that was worth the effort of trying to replace the pc board, or removing the disk(s) inside the drive and installing it(them) in another drive, so I have not tried that myself.

I was not aware that exactly the same model can have a pc board that won't even fit. I have only participated in RMAing one drive for a friend, a Maxtor 80gb, and the refurbished replacement drive was absolutely identical to the drive that failed. We chose the option of having them send a replacement drive to my friend first, then sending back the failed drive within a specified short time period, so I was able to compare the drives.

I don't know for sure, of course, but I would think even if the pc board is different, a drive of the same capacity made about the same time would have the data organized on the disk(s) the same way (interleave, the width and spacing of the tracks, how physical secors relate to logical sectors, etc.), so I would think, if nothing else, removing the disk(s) and installing them in the replacement drive should work.

Of the failed drives I have dealt with........

Only one failed because it would no longer spin.

Only one made an oddball noise while failing, other than thrashing - the above mentioned Maxtor 80gb drive - like a high pitched buzzer - occaisionally at first, then more often within a short time (a couple of days) , and then the drive wouldn't work at all.

Some of them made thrashing noises a short time after having been started up - the drive moving the arms/heads randomly - after they had been on long enough for things to warm up.

I found most of them had one or more IC chips on their pc board that got a lot hotter than they should have - if I placed my fingertip on them while the drive was running they were hot enough I could not keep my fingertip on them without feeling I would be burning my finger, wheras on a drive that works fine they never get that hot.

I had some success with some of them when I removed the drive from where it was mounted and positioned it so I could blow a lot of air directly at it's pc board with a household fan. The drive would work okay for a longer time after having been started up after having cooled to room temp until the chip(s) on the pc board got too hot . But - after a short time, that no longer was of any help.
.......

Obviously when the pc board on the drive malfunctions the data on the disk(s) inside the drive is likely to get messed up.
I would think that if the pc board is replaced with a compatible one, or if the disk(s) is(are) transferred to another drive that is compatible with the way the data on the disk(s) is(are) organized, one should be able to repair at least some of the damage done to the data, and be able to recover at least some of it intact.

However, whether the specific data you wanted to retrieve can be recovered is rather random.

"No, the drive does not show up in disk management..."

"...the drive does show up in the BIOS. But it ONLY shows up in the BIOS (besides linux)."

"Gparted is what I was using and the drive did not show up under where all the drives are listed..."

"Ok, fdisk says that it cannot find the partition table and mbr
for the disk..."

"....tells me that the partition table for the drive I am trying to fix is missing."

http://support.wdc.com/techinfo/gen...

"159 SMART Error SMART Error S elf M onitoring, A nalysis, and R eporting T echnology (SMART) Error returned during SMART Status/Self Test Command. S Elf M onitoring, A nalysis, and R eporting T ECHNOLOGY (SMART) Error returned during SMART Status / Self Test Command. The drive is defective. The drive is defective. Replace. Replace."

You can't get user data off the drive until at least the partition table(s) have been repaired, if not both the mbr and the partition table(s). FAT32 partitioning has two partition tables, NTFS has one (the MFT; Master File Table).

It is probably a huge waste of time to try to repair the partition table(s) before replacing the pc board on the drive or transferring the disk(s) in the drive to another drive.

......

I think it's extremely unlikely this 20gb drive has a software drive overlay on it. That would only have been needed if the mboard it was installed on was relatively old, say, older than the mid 90's, and it's bios wouldn't recognize a drive larger than 8gb because of bugs in the bios code.
......

" Ever since I plugged the drive in xp, it started asking me for some scsi driver, though when I go through driver installation, it says cannot install hardware.'

Did the mboard you have it hooked up to have a SATA controller as well?
If yes, had you installed the drivers for it previously? They're not built into XP.
If not, whatever is wrong with the pc board may be causing the board to be wrongly detected as a SCSI controller, and/or the IDE drive to be wrongly detected as a SCSI drive.

2000 and XP have a lot of built in support for detecting and automatically installing the drivers for SCSI controllers, but some you have to install the drivers for.
Windows has had built in support for SCSI controllers for a long time, and for controllers it doesn't have drivers for the SCSI drivers can be installed and then use that built in support.
When 2000 and XP were first released, there was no such thing as SATA drive controllers. The drivers for SATA drive controllers are written to use the existing SCSI support already built into Windows, so when SATA controller drivers have been installed, when you look in Device Manager you see at least one entry for a SCSI controller, and you may not find anything at all about SATA in Device Manager unless the label for the controller specified in it's *.inf file to be shown in Device Manager has the text SATA in it.


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#59
April 5, 2009 at 11:19:50
Tubesandwires writes:
"FAT32 partitioning has two partition tables"
The volumes (partitions) do not have partition tables. FAT32 does have two Volume Boot Records same as NTFS, a primary and backup. Fat32 has 2 file allocation tables, primary and backup, where NTFS uses Master File Table (I think it also has a backup).

partition table(s)-The Master Partition Table /MPT (4 entries permitted) is part of the Master Boot Record/MBR. There is also an Extended Partition table (only permitted 2 entries) preceding each extended volume but normally does not contain any boot code. GRUB can be installed onto the first extended partition table , the one listed in the MPT. There are no backup partition tables.

I do remember reading 2 yrs or so ago at www.tomshardware.com a article where he was comparing 2 hdd with same make/model and look the same, one had 3 heads and the other 4 heads. In this case the boards had to be different.


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#60
April 5, 2009 at 14:39:25
"Fat32 has 2 file allocation tables, primary and backup, ....."

OK, I got that wrong

"....where NTFS uses Master File Table (I think it also has a backup)."

It doesn't have a backup.



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#61
April 5, 2009 at 14:56:33
This give me a lot more to chew on...though I am running out of time. I may try a thing or two more, but other than that, I think this drive is toast

I just got the "identical" drive yesterday. I took both of the pc boards and placed them next to each other and compared them. Oddly enough, they both looked identical. So I put the new one in the drive I am trying to fix, and the exact same things happened as with the other board.
"Did the mboard you have it hooked up to have a SATA controller as well?
If yes, had you installed the drivers for it previously?"
Yes, my mobo has a SATA controller built into the board, I built the computer myself about 6 month ago, and I did install all of the drivers on the Gigabyte driver CD.

Thanks


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#62
April 5, 2009 at 16:42:59
After you have replaced the pc board, the drive won't necessarily work properly until you have repaired at least some of the data damage on the disk(s). If there's nothing wrong with the mechanical and electrical parts inside the drive, you should now be able to do that with software programs.
If not you may need to transfer the disk(s) to the other drive along with it's known to be working PC board, and then you should be able to repair at least some of the damaged data on the drive.

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#63
April 5, 2009 at 16:56:57
"If there's nothing wrong with the mechanical and electrical
parts inside the drive, you should now be able to do that with
software programs."

Do what with software? And what software would I use? (I
don't want to spend any more money on this).

The owner cannot spend $1000 for recovering the files, so
they would like me to attempt to transplant the disks to the
new identical drive even though I have never done it before.
But I have taken apart countless drives just for practice. But I
have torx tips and know how to remove the magnet to swing
the actuator head to the side to get the disks out.

I will attempt to do this without getting particles on the disks.

Any tips for doing this?

Thanks


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#64
April 5, 2009 at 17:09:59
Did you ever contact Western Digital by email about this drive. One of their versions of their disk tools should work on that drive.

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#65
April 5, 2009 at 18:36:18
I tried their tools that I could boot from, as the drive would not
show up in xp.

Thanks


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#66
April 5, 2009 at 19:36:57
Have you verified the ID jumpers on the hdd, sometimes the sticker on the drive is misleading. It has 1)Master Only 2) Master with slave 3)Slave 4)Cable select.
http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc...


Take a look at YouTube, I can not due to slow internet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIPZ...


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#67
April 5, 2009 at 19:45:43
If you had asked whether replacing the pc board or transferring the disks would have enabled you to access the drive normally right away I would have said probably not, since your partition table is obviously damaged .

There's probably nothing physically wrong with the disk(s).

If there's nothing wrong with the mechanical and electrical
parts inside the dead drive, here's no guarantee transferring the disks will help, and you will pribably STILL have to repair at least some of the data on the drive.

At the very least you have to repair the partition table and probably the mbr.

As I have said I haven't attempted to do what you are doing.
Do you already have anything that can attempt to repair a partition table or mbr?

You could use the undocumented fdisk /mbr command to attempt to re-write the mbr, but that may not work until you have repaired the partition table. However, DO NOT use that command if the drive has a drive overlay installed, or if the owner was using a multiboot program (seebelow).

Was the drive partitioned using FAT32 partitioning?

If so, if you have Norton System Works, or can borrow that from someone, you could attempt repairing those with Norton Diskedit. It won't load properly in XP's cmd mode.You boot with a 98, 98SE, or ME Startup floppy disk, or a Win 98, 98SE, or ME? CD, which loads the same thing as a virtual floppy, load the CD drive support, then run Diskedit from the CD
E.g. I have NSW 2003.
Diskedit is in the folder \NU on the CD. There is a little Help in the program itself, more in the printed manual and in the main pdf manual for NSW.

The Diskedit program is very capable but it doesn't do anything automatically - you have to know what you're doing.
.......

You can download this and try it immediately but it's NOT free. It will fix as much as it can of the drive's data automatically, if it can be fixed - all it requires is the computer's bios can see the drive. I see he has updated it since I bought it and it's much faster than the version I have. If it doesn't help or doesn't help enough for this drive, you can use it for as many drives as you like in the future.

Spinrite $89 USD
http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

The drive must be working properly otherwise.
You could try it with the replaced pc board on the problem drive first - it may give you an idea of what it can do for the drive before it actually does anything - but it may be a better idea to transfer the disk(s) inside the drive to the known working drive to be more sure.

CAVEAT - do NOT use this with a drive that has a drive overlay installed!! As I said previously, it is extremely unlikely your problem drive has such a drive overlay installed, unless it was installed on a mid 90's or earlier mboard.
HINT:
If it had a drive overlay installed, there would have been a line prompt that appeared EVERY TIME the computer booted along with a short delay of maybe 5 seconds - "press xxx key to boot from bootable media" or similar - if the owner did NOT see that, it probably doesn't have a drive overlay installed. That line is necessary because you can't boot the computer from bootable media with the media in the drive when you have a drive overlay installed because doing so can cause you to lose access to the drive overlay, or worse, lose the data on the drive overlay.

Simlarly, if the owner was using a program to multiboot with, where he could choose an operating system every time he booted, Spinrite can be used safely with such a drive but DON'T ALTER the master boot record that was installed by the program when Spinrite says it's not a standard mbr.


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#68
April 5, 2009 at 20:31:06
Hi Tubes. I just wanted to thank you upfront for all of your help, you are obviously committed to helping my situation.

"Do you already have anything that can attempt to repair a partition table or mbr?"

Not something that I purchased, I have the demo version of Partition Table Doctor, but I am not so sure of how well it works.

"Was the drive partitioned using FAT32 partitioning?"

Not being the owner of the drive, I cannot be sure of the format that it was partitioned with. Will Spinrite work with either NTFS or FAT(32)?

I don't have access to Norton System Works, I don't usually use Norton products, but according to what you are saying, it must work pretty well. Is it something you boot from?

"You can download this and try it immediately but it's NOT free. It will fix as much as it can of the drive's data automatically, if it can be fixed - all it requires is the computer's bios can see the drive."

Man, I have to tell you, I have half a mind to buy this, even though I don't have many drives that do this to me. I just really wish that there was a way for me to test the program first...Otherwise, if I could be giving a 70% chance of the program working, then I might just do it, but I still wish there was a trial.

If I did buy it, and it did not work, then I might be a bit disappointing...not in you, for telling me about it, but just spending that kind of money on this and then not getting it working, with no way to return it. Are there any other programs that do something similar to this one?

I don't believe that the drive has overlay on it...I just called the owner and left a message to see if he saw anything like that when the computer was working.

The only thing is time. I have tomorrow, and part of the next day to do this, and I am running out of time.

Thanks


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#69
April 5, 2009 at 20:44:10
Take a look at this (from spinrites website):

"We stand behind SpinRite one hundred percent, and we offer a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. If for ANY REASON you are unhappy with your ownership of SpinRite, we will immediately refund your purchase price. No questions asked. Given the special nature of the product, we feel that this represents the best all around solution for everyone. You can experience the full benefit of the product for yourself without any limitations on its use and function, while also being completely free to request a refund of your money if the product fails to meet your own expectations or hopes."

If for some reason it did not recover the data, could I just 'return' it?

Thanks


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#70
April 5, 2009 at 21:32:48
You could return it if you like but in my opinion that would be dishonest.

As I said....

"If it doesn't help or doesn't help enough for this drive, you can use it for as many drives as you like in the future."

It's not like when you can only use a program only once or only a few times - you're likely to use it in the future for other drives anyway once you have it.

Some swear by Spinrite and for them it has gotten a messed up drive working when nothing else would do the job.

It can't prevent a drive that is already failing from failing, but it can often get it working again good enough temporarily for you to be able to get data off the drive.

In my case I downloaded it to fix a problem with my brother's drive and it turned out the drive was too far gone. I have used it with other drives since with good results. It only has to get one drive so data can be recovered from it for it to more than pay for itself.


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#71
April 5, 2009 at 21:38:18
I went ahead and bought the program. I can't guaranty that I will keep it though...I am burning the iso now, I will post back shortly with results.

Thanks


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#72
April 5, 2009 at 22:32:03
Well, I got the Spinrite image on a disk, and booted from it, but when I tried to recover, scan, rebuild or any of those options, it gave me an error and said that Spinrite MUST not continue, and gave me the only option to restart the computer.


I am going to try to run the software on another computer tomorrow, but in the meantime, I might benefit from a few tips for the program/BIOS settings Tubes!

Thanks

EDIT: I thought I might mention that the program was able to run a benchmark test, and "reading" noises came from the hard drive for the first time. It did not complete the test without poping up and error every 10 seconds or so. But I could see it counting sectors etc.


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#73
April 6, 2009 at 07:03:47
Depending on what Spinrite is finding, if you haven't already done so you may need to transfer the disk(s) to the known working drive.

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#74
April 6, 2009 at 08:27:39
Any tips or links you can give me before I transfer them? I don't have a clean room obviously.

Thanks


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#75
April 6, 2009 at 08:31:51
I personally don't hold out much hope for that procedure. If somehow you get anything to work I suggest you work as fast as possible in recovering what you need to. The drive probably won't work for very long.

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#76
April 6, 2009 at 09:06:44
You could look online for tips??

You need to be very careful you don't damage the surface of the disks and not leave finger prints on them e.g. use lint free cloth golves. The trickest part may be loosening and tightening the screws at the center of the disk(s) without harming the disk(s). Some fasteners, maybe the ones in the center, may have left handed thread. For the purpose of recovering data you don't need to be overly concerned about whether there is a tiny amount of dust in the enclosure when you close it - it's designed to trap a small amount. Start up the drive to fling out any dust before you install the cover again, and you'll probably be fine. In fact you can probably get away with not installing the cover - the guy who wrote the Upgrading and Repairing PC series of books - Scott? Mueller - has used drives without covers installed to demonstate what a hard drive looks like while running when he gives his frequent lectures and has not had any problems with those.

Scott? Mueller's books is where I read using Spinrite on a drive with a software overlay can result in disaster.


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#77
April 6, 2009 at 09:17:13
Is drive overlay a problem with modern drives? Is it ok for me to use Spinrite on
my computers hard drives to check them?

I am getting my homemade "clean room" in as much of a clean state as I can, I
will transplant the disks latter.

I'll keep you updated.

Thanks


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#78
April 6, 2009 at 11:30:51
"Is drive overlay a problem with modern drives?"

It isn't amatter of how old the drive is, per say, it's a matter of whether the drive needed to have one installed because of the mboard's bios limitations .
See the last part of response 67.

Reasons a drive overlay might have been installed:

You or someone installed a drive larger than the bios version can handle, and needed to use a drive overlay to support recognizing the full size of the drive because....

Bios versions before about mid 95 may have a bug that limits the bios to recognizing no more than a 8gb drive, or smaller.
Bios versions before about mid 99 may have a bug that limits the bios to recognizing no larger than a 32gb drive.
Bioses versions newer than that released before about mid 2000 may have a bug that prevents drives larger than 64gb from being recognized properly.
Some bios version bugs cause the computer to freeze while booting if the drive is larger than the bios version can handle; some just cannot see the full size of anything larger than that except as the max size.
All bioses released before about early 2001 cannot recognize the full size of a drive larger than 137gb manufacturer's size = 128gb in the bios or Windows, because the main chipset cannot support that. All drives larger than that are seen as 128gb in the bios and in Windows.
Bios versions newer than about early 2001 can support recognizing any size of drive because the main chipset supports that (48 bit LBA).

Drive overlays are not ideal for everyone - you must be alert as to how you use bootable media - if you insert bootable media before booting, you can lose access to the overlay, or, worse, lose the data already on the overlay.

Since PCI drive controller cards are relatively cheap now, and all the recent ones recognize any size of hard drive, it's a much better choice to use one of those rather than a drive overlay.

"Is it ok for me to use Spinrite on my computers hard drives to check them?"

Sure, as long as long as it doesn't have a drive overlay, and if you're dual or multi-booting, as long as you don't alter the custom MBR when Spinrite finds it's not a standard one and wants to know if you want to make it a standard one (the latter can easily be fixed).


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#79
April 6, 2009 at 11:46:08
I do dual boot several OSs. Does that mean that I should not let spinrite edit the mbr?

I'm looking online to find the easiest way to check for overlay. I ran spinrite for a few minutes on my main drive, without any problems booting back up, so I am guessing that I do not have overlay on my main HDD's.

I need to pick some things up before I swap the disks, so I will let you know how the procedure goes.

Thanks


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#80
April 6, 2009 at 13:22:10
You would probably know if you had an overlay.

I mentioned overlays early on in this thread because you stated the original OS was Win98. Back in those days the drive capacities grew faster than anticipated. There still may be an overlay on that drive. I don't know the ramifications of that as far as any recovery programs. I do feel that it is unlikely that 100% of the sectors on that drive would be bad.

I am assuming the owner was using it up to some point.


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#81
April 6, 2009 at 14:42:17
I am not even sure that I should transplant the disks yet. I still think its possible that it could be something like the partition table. Do you guys still think that that is a possibility?

Yes, the computer was working for some time.

Thanks


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#82
April 6, 2009 at 14:58:17
"I do dual boot several OSs. Does that mean that I should not let spinrite edit the mbr?"

Yes. If you did let it, it's probably easily fixable but a minor annoyance to have to do that.


According to those lines in response 58 I quoted you do have partition table problems.


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#83
April 6, 2009 at 15:03:25
I can't state why you can't see any files with the various apps you have tried. If there were an overlay, or the disk was completely encrypted that MIGHT explain it.

That is why I suggested way back that you contact Western digital. I believe they monitor a forum that may give you some incite as to what is really going on. Maybe I am full of it and all the sectors are bad. If that is the case then I don't think recovery by any means is possible. But then again, Maybe I am full of it. I can't recall helping with a situation quite like you have. The drive doesn't seem to have any physical or electrical damage.

Did the owner mistreat it by chance? Like drop it?

Go to the WD FAQ and enter search terms like the ones below. Try different questions.

"how can I tell if I have a drive overlay"

"How to remove a drive overlay"

http://support.wdc.com/product/kb.asp


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#84
April 6, 2009 at 15:35:46
I went to the western digital website and found the page that the drive was on, and noticed that the geometry of the drive was different that that of what was listed in TestDisk. So I went back into testdisk and put in the exact geometry from Western Digitals website. But the only thing that it did was show the drive as 8gb, and it did not find the 'lost' partitions.

So either western digital has the geometry records wrong, or the drive is giving testdisk the wrong geometry?

Thanks


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#85
April 6, 2009 at 16:07:32
I believe that is how an overlay works. It needs to trick the BIOS into thinking the drive falls within the parameters. Sounds more and more like there is an overlay installed.

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#86
April 6, 2009 at 16:11:21
Wait a second, in that case, is that possibly why Spinrite said CANNOT CONTINUE? Because in the new version he added that feature, so that if an overlayed drive was trying to be scanned, that the program would stop the user?

So saying that there is an overlay installed, what should I do? Obviously I cannot access the drive to get rid of it, is there a special application that I should use?

Thanks


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#87
April 6, 2009 at 16:12:52
"If the drive was formatted with a drive overlay in order to allow a larger size than the BIOS could accept then it will show as garbage. Use fdisk to examine the format. If it shows as non DOS it may have had an overlay applied. You could contact Western Digital to find out if any of their old overlay programs are still available. What it takes is a floppy disk with the boot utility installed to it. You booted to the floppy and ran Windows from there. On track wrote most of those overlay programs. The drive manufacturers bundled them with the drives."

I will do just this.

Thanks, I'll let you know if I get anything from western digital.


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#88
April 6, 2009 at 16:16:17
Dang, I might need 98, or 95 in order to use the overlay program. I used to have a 95 os disk, but I don't have it anymore.

Edit:

Does this also mean that if it does have an overlay, that the drive would show up in a 98 computer?

Thanks


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#89
April 6, 2009 at 17:34:13
The only question is, how was the owner of the drive able to run xp alright if the drive has overlay on it?

Thanks


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#90
April 6, 2009 at 18:09:38
I have a question...

Do you have the model of the computer this drive was in? If you have the model, I may be able to determine if an overlay was needed.

In 2004 I bought a 40GB IDE drive for my Pentium 1 system that I was running Windows 98 on. The drive software installed an overlay, and I was able to access the full 40GB. However, when I eventually upgraded to Windows 2000, the Windows 2000 setup automatically got rid of the overlay.

WinSimple Software


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#91
April 6, 2009 at 18:33:11
If you can read and post the raw data from the MBR we might be able to tell if there is an overlay.
run from Linux "dd if=/dev/sdx of=mbr count=1 bs=512 " Note:x in sdx is device name a=1st hdd b=2nd hdd
next run 'xxd mbr' post output. hope xxd is install on your linux, xxd is a hex display program.

If possible install it in original comp and try booting.
If the hdd has a overlay it must be the boot hdd or use correct boot floppy, and it will display a message saying it has a DDO and give a choice to boot to hdd or floppy (I think).


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#92
April 6, 2009 at 21:35:51
"Do you have the model of the computer this drive was in? If you have the model, I may be able to determine if an overlay was needed."

I just talked to the owner, that is what this post is about. I am getting the original computer tomorrow, so I will post the specs tomorrow.

Here's some new info that I did not know:

The original os of the computer was win 2000, then upgraded to xp later. Does that still mean that there is a possibility of overlay?

If not, then what are the other possibilities?

The owner just told me that the original error on the computer that prompted him to bring it to me was something to the effect of "Please insert boot disk...". We don't know the whole error, but when I get the computer tomorrow we will find out.

I am going to try those linux commands right now, I will post back what they say.

OTheHill: No, the owner did not mistreat the drive.

Thanks


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#93
April 6, 2009 at 22:31:33
"Does that still mean that there is a possibility of overlay?"

I can't say for sure, but in my case when I upgraded from Windows 98 to 2000, the 2000 setup did away with the overlay. When I later did a clean install of 2000, I formatted the hard drive (which would destroy the overlay), but the disk was still recognized by Windows 2000 as having a 40GB drive capacity after installation was complete. That leads me to believe that Windows 2000 on up does not need an overlay.

WinSimple Software


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#94
April 6, 2009 at 22:40:13
Here are some ways to tell if an overlay is installed, however I doubt anyone of them will work considering you can't get any files from the drive...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/186...

WinSimple Software


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#95
April 7, 2009 at 07:32:38
Read what I wrote in response 67 starting at HINT.

If the owner doesn't remember that prompt always appearing while booting the drive probably DOES NOT have an overlay!!!


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#96
April 7, 2009 at 08:50:50
Ok, so assuming that it does not have overlay, how would you guys explain the difference in geometry in testdisk, and the error in Spinrite?

And what should I do now?

Thanks


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#97
April 7, 2009 at 10:22:22
From what I found at the Microsoft site Win2000 & WinXP didn't need to use a drive overlay.

I really don't understand that because the BIOS is still the controlling factor.

Hopefully having the original computer may help.

One other possibility would be if Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0 was installed. I have no working experience with either but I think they used a different file format.

Seems like the owner may be a little confused about what OSes were installed on the computer.

Did you ask what happened with the original computer that caused the owner to remove the drive to start with?


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#98
April 7, 2009 at 10:57:45
In response 84 you wrote:

"...and noticed that the geometry of the drive was different that that of what was listed in TestDisk. So I went back into testdisk and put in the exact geometry from Western Digitals website. But the only thing that it did was show the drive as 8gb, and it did not find the 'lost' partitions.
So either western digital has the geometry records wrong, or the drive is giving testdisk the wrong geometry?"

Spinrite has been around A LOT LONGER than testdisk, and it probably does and determines things automatically that testdisk doesn't.
According to this
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Test...
testdisk doesn't appear to be anywhere near as capable of fixing problems with a drive that has a severe data corruption problem like your problem drive has. There's a big difference between fixing a lost partition problem and trying to recover data from a drive that has a severe data corruption problem.

With testdisk, as with Norton's Diskedit, you have to choose to do things yourself, although it appears testdisk does determine some things Diskedit can't, and success or failure depends on whether or not what you do is the right thing.

How do you know you entered the right things?
Did you copy down what they were set to before?

Did you ask the owner whether he had more than one partition on the drive?
If he did, maybe one was 8gb.
E.g. I have three partitions on the 13.66gb drive I have my 98SE on.

Was the owner actually using the full capacity of the drive?
Drives of 32gb or less often have pins on which you can install a jumper to limit the size the mboard bios detects to ~8gb. It's not likely that was done, but if there's a jumper on the appropriate pins, that's the case with this drive.
.....

I think you've reached a stalemate.
If you haven't already done so, you could try transferring the disk(s) but the situation may not change.
If Spinrite can't fix it, it's probable only a data recovery expert that could fix it, if that's even possible.


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#99
April 7, 2009 at 15:56:43
This may be a stalemate if more is not revealed by having the original computer...

That, and transferring the disks are my last resort.

I am out of town right now, but I will be back in town tomorrow. I will have the computer then and will be able to do some testing.

Do you have any ideas about how this could have happened? From what I have told you, the os that was running on the computer, and the state of the drive, do we not have any more ideas of what the problem was?

Thanks for your help, I will post back soon.


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#100
April 8, 2009 at 07:51:26
You don't necessarily need the original computer. If you're still wondering whether it has a drive overlay, chances are very good it probably doesn't. Knowing which brand name system model it is, or mboard model it has, or even just how old it is, would be enough to make a good guess about that, assuming the drive was not originally set up on an older system that he last had it on.

As far as whether the owner saw the prompt you always see while booting a drive with an overlay on it, or how many partitions it has on it, all you have to do is ask the owner.

What happened is obviosuly the drive was failing, probably because the original pc board failed. You may not be able to get any farther than you have already gotten.


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#101
April 8, 2009 at 08:10:39
The original computer can be helpful because you can determine if the BIOS can recognize the drive in the POST screens.

Tubesandwires may well be correct in stating you may not get any further. I am sure you already know that.


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#102
April 8, 2009 at 08:20:48
Have a look at the article linked below. Pay attention to all the links inside the article. Very informative article I have referred to in the past.

Because the drive reported about 8GB when you entered parameters for the drive I am thinking the BIOS on the original drive had a limit of 8.4GB. How the computer BIOS handled the larger drive will be interesting to see.

I think you can assume the owner would not be entering any parameters so what you see is probably what he got.

Keep us posted on the results.

You may be able to run the same utilities on the drive while installed in the original computer with more success due to the method the BIOS used to configure the drive will be the same as it originally configured it.

If nothing else this is educational.

http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_...


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#103
April 8, 2009 at 10:11:25
OTheHill: You said to take a look at the link, what link might that be?

Thanks for the encouragement, I have learned a thing or two on this journey, ones that I know I will use in the future.

Still out of town, but coming back later today, so I will get back to you guys on what I see with the original computer.

Thanks!


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#104
April 8, 2009 at 11:03:58
Sorry about that, I pasted it in the response above and also here.

http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_...


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#105
April 8, 2009 at 18:36:37
Just got back home and noticed that in the package of CDs the owner left with the computer is the original 98 CDs, so that means that he did get the os mixed up.

I will post back shortly.

Edit: The sticker on the front of the computer says win 2000, however. Maybe he sent the wrong CDs.

Thanks


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#106
April 8, 2009 at 19:16:34
Looks like this one may be a gonner. I tried to boot Spinrite with the original computer, but got the same cannot continue error.

Tried knoppix, but did not even see the drive.

Drive shows up in bios.

When I use the recovery console on the win xp boot cd, it says the path or file specified is not valid when I type dir for the c drive.

When the computer boots it says non system disk or disk error, replace and strike any key when ready.

Dang, is this as far as it goes?

Thanks


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#107
April 8, 2009 at 19:53:00
Yeah IMO I'm afraid you've tried everything.

WinSimple Software


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#108
April 8, 2009 at 20:15:46
If the drive shows in the BIOS what size does it show up as?

Have you tried any recovery softwware on it?

The programs were posted originally by one of our regulars named aegis1.

PC Inspector (freeware)
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/pcinsp...
Zero assumption Recovery
http://www.z-a-recovery.com
The demo is limited
It will only recover 'up to' four folders per run
But you can make multiple runs
IMO the best, but not free
GetDataBack
http://www.runtime.org/


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#109
April 8, 2009 at 21:40:05
Thanks OtheHill. I am trying the zero assumption recovery, and it is finding most of what it calls "Nothing Interesting", and a few "Bad Sectors".

I think that I tried GetDataBack, but I still do not know what the format of the drive is, (I am thinking ntfs) and I think that they have multiple versions.

I am going to try a few more things before I totally give up, but I contacted the owner already and told them that it is pretty much hopeless at this point.

Thanks


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#110
April 9, 2009 at 03:35:46
If the OS was Win98 it would have been FAT32.

You didn't say how the BIOS identified the drive when using Auto.


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