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Old 09-11-2006, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

A friendís PC died last year and she was told her HD died. It was replaced. She was under the impression that she lost all her data. So for the hell of it I suggested she bring it over and I'd make it a slave drive and see if I could access anything.

Windows recognized it as a Wester Digital 20gig drive but even though it was a slave, it would not allow me to boot to my C drive. That also happened when I tried to clone my C drive and was unsuccessful (I think my BIOS is set correctlyÖ first to the A drive, then CD Drives then C) Since I knew my new drive was not defective I was not deterred. I made my friend's HD into the master drive. It would not boot... no OS detected. I Tried to do an XP chkdsk_/r recovery without success. I was tempted to install XP but didn't want to overwrite any data that might be saved.

I ran a Maxtor HD test utility called PowerMax and these were the results on my friend's drive:

Power Consumption: Passed
Interface Cable Connection: Passed
Master/Slave jumpers: Passed
BIOS Extension support: Passed
Partition Info: Failed

Soft Reset Test: Passed
Drive Recal test: Passed
Drive Identity test: Passed
Drive R/W Buffer test: Passed
Check Smart Test: Not Supported

There were some more involved write tests and formatting options but I feared I'd overwrite any data that might be saved.

Since I could not get into XP with this drive attached, I could not get into XP drive management.

So is this HD fried? Or are certain sectors of the OS corrupted? Anyone have any insights from the above info? Is there a way to get my PC to boot with this drive attached? Iíve heard itís not a good idea to plug a drive in when the PC is already on. Any suggestions for other tests/approaches? What do data recovery services

Thanks!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 01:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

well here is how i would have handled it, first of all before putting it in your computer, make sure that you set the jumper in the back of the hhd to slave.

after hooking it up to the second slot on the I.D.E cable, make sure all connections are snug. then boot up to your bios and change the boot order to boot from the hhd / then cd-rom / then A: drive

then after windows loads, it will detect the hhd and load the appropriate driver's for it. you might not be able to access it yet til you re-boot the system. now re-boot and now you should be able to explore the hhd.

Edit: in most cases, you won't be able to boot someone elses hhd in your computer, although it works sometimes. it's better to put it as a slave drive.
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Old 09-11-2006, 02:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

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Originally Posted by ~mr mixx~
well here is how i would have handled it, first of all before putting it in your computer, make sure that you set the jumper in the back of the hhd to slave.
Thanks for responding. I removed the jumper from my friend's drive since I am using the ATA cable select mode. It seems to work OK with my new drive when it's used for storage... but it didn't work when I tried to clone my C drive. The MaxBlast utility said it copied it 100% but I could not boot to it as the master drive and it interfered with boot up as a slave drive. So maybe the cable select mode is not working and I should resort to jumpers.

Quote:
after hooking it up to the second slot on the I.D.E cable, make sure all connections are snug. then boot up to your bios and change the boot order to boot from the hhd / then cd-rom / then A: drive
Good idea.

Quote:
then after windows loads, it will detect the hhd and load the appropriate driver's for it. you might not be able to access it yet til you re-boot the system. now re-boot and now you should be able to explore the hhd.

Edit: in most cases, you won't be able to boot someone elses hhd in your computer, although it works sometimes. it's better to put it as a slave drive.
I'll give it a try. Now I regret letting my friend take the HD back home with here. LOL
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

You won't be able to boot from the drive - however, it should be detected.

It sounds as though there is a partition error. Try booting into DOS using an MS-DOS startup disc and see if you can access the data from there.

Otherwise, there is lots of recovery software on the market. I recieved O&O Recovery software on a magazine CD, and it looks pretty good - but surfing the net may well discover something that can discover your drive.

One thing to check - download Everest Home and see if that can see the hard drive.
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Old 09-11-2006, 05:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

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Originally Posted by prosser13
It sounds as though there is a partition error. Try booting into DOS using an MS-DOS startup disc and see if you can access the data from there.
Thanks for responding. This is getting into new areas. Can this be done using the XP recovery consolel? Perhaps not. I did try to use what few DOS commands I knew and got no info on the disk.

So will the MS-DOS disk be different? How do I find files... with the path? X:\Documents and Settings ? If there are files... how are they saved? Should I make my C drive into a slave drive and transfer the files there?

Quote:
Otherwise, there is lots of recovery software on the market. I recieved O&O Recovery software on a magazine CD, and it looks pretty good - but surfing the net may well discover something that can discover your drive.

One thing to check - download Everest Home and see if that can see the hard drive.
I downloaded a program from Stellar Phoenix but I tried to use it in Windows where it kept crashing. Maybe it makes a boot disk. I'll check out some those options you mentioned.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

you did say that all you wanted to do was a clone of your hhd, and perhaps save it to another hhd. if this is the case, i would use a program called Norton Ghost. it's not a free program, but it does do an exceptional job at making a mirror image of a hhd.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieGak
Thanks for responding. This is getting into new areas. Can this be done using the XP recovery consolel? Perhaps not. I did try to use what few DOS commands I knew and got no info on the disk.

So will the MS-DOS disk be different? How do I find files... with the path? X:\Documents and Settings ? If there are files... how are they saved? Should I make my C drive into a slave drive and transfer the files there?



I downloaded a program from Stellar Phoenix but I tried to use it in Windows where it kept crashing. Maybe it makes a boot disk. I'll check out some those options you mentioned.
You mentioned that the drive has Windows on it - that Windows install might come up in the Recovery console if your lucky. If it does, you could then use the copy command to get the important data

Let me know how the data recovery program works
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~mr mixx~
you did say that all you wanted to do was a clone of your hhd, and perhaps save it to another hhd. if this is the case, i would use a program called Norton Ghost. it's not a free program, but it does do an exceptional job at making a mirror image of a hhd.
I'm aware of Ghost and I tried to use the trial version... but it said the trial was over before I even used it. Norton's support never returned my letter. I hope to start a separate thread on what interfers with cloning.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prosser13
You mentioned that the drive has Windows on it - that Windows install might come up in the Recovery console if your lucky. If it does, you could then use the copy command to get the important data

Let me know how the data recovery program works
When I ran the XP recovery console using the damaged drive as a master, I could not do any chkdsk \r repair. I forget what, if any error, I got. Since I assumned I was in DOS I tried some commands like DIR but got no response.

So assuming using jumpers doesn't work and I can't get the damaged drive to act like a slave, how can any of the recovery software work? Is my only real option the MS-DOS boot disk? If so what next?
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Old 09-13-2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is There Any Way To Tell If A Hard Drive Is REALLY Dead?

You can't "copy" and paste a software from one HD to a different HD unless its EXTACTLY IDENTICAL to it. Maybe it doesn't like XP, i've had a HD do that before. Other then that if you can explore the drive itself whats the problem? Just drag and drop off it into a good drive.
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