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250g Seagate 7200.12

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Hi all,

I am working on my girlfriend's system which crashed. She called me up when she first started to have problems and then called Dell after I told her not too... She told me they determined it to be a bad HDD after running some of the dell diagnostics. I brought her a new drive and was in the middle of booting the XP disk with the old drive removed and known good drive installed when it blue screened on me, in the middle of loading the XP installer....

This has lead me to believe the problem resides elsewhere but has affected the drive. I took the drive back to my system and started to work on it and have since discovered the following:

File system has been switched from NTFS to RAWle

Multiple bad sectors (about 25 from what I saw)

Corrupted MBR

I tried using ZAR but as the MBR is shot it must discover the partitions, but after 30 minutes of running it had not even actually started the scan. Because the format got switched to RAW I can not run a chkdsk. The drive has 2 partitions; the (healthy) OEM partition that Dell uses to replace the CD's they used to normally send, and the system partition which is the one in question.

When I try to access the drive from Windows (been working on it via Win7Ulti, XP Pro, and XP PE) it gives me the expected error of "Drive is not formated and must be formated before use". If I try to use cmd prompt to get into it I get an error "data error cyclic redundancy check".

She of course has no back-up of her files on this disk and I know if I take a wrong turn the whole thing is shot with no chance of recovery.

Here is the sad part... I work for Western Digital as a technician to the Firmware engineers, and am too embarrassed to bring in my girlfriend's Seagate drive (which she got before we got together) to see if any of my co-workers can give some insight.

I'm looking for suggestions as to starting points as I am in a massive cache-22... I can't chkdsk because the drive is RAW, I can't convert from RAW back to NTFS because the MBR is bad, and I can't use the standard recovery software because it won't see the partition at all.

Any insight would be great, and if I can fix this problem without the drag of bringing my competitor's drive into work I would appreciate it...

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Let's clear things.

One thing is a hardware problem, ANOTHER one is a filesystem/partitioning one.

DysfunktinaL's one is seemingly a filesystem/partitioning one.

@DysfunktinaL you are in a condition similar to the ones discussed in these two threads:



Please take your time reviewing them to see what will likely be the needed steps and tools used.

Then start posting the needed files (MBR+PBR of each partition) and give some details, OS originally used, etc.

Since you are at WD, I guess you have NO problems in getting a new hard disk, a 320 Gb will suffice to dd image (or forensically sound imaging) the problematic drive BEFORE fiddling with it ANY more.

This app is suggested (for Windows based PC's):



Edited by jaclaz
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I'm at work right now, but as soon as I can get someone at home to power up the dock the drive is on I will start to make the image.

I've got plenty of free space on my drives for the image, and as you suspected a stack of drives on my desk I can use. Just to be clear I don't give care about the drive itself, just the data for my girl, so repairing the disk is not a priority and in fact the disk will be destroyed and thrown away after I am done with it.

As mentioned the setup before was a Dell system with XP pre-installed, first partition was the OEM Dell image, the remaining space was NTFS Windows XP32. I'll get you the exact sizes later on.

I'll start going through your other threads to prep for what is to come.

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Looking at the following...

Yep, so it is ALSO a failing drive. :(

The general idea of that app is to image in segments, stopping when you hit a "non accessible" set of sectors, skipping some, try getting to them backwards....

In other words, trying to get the most data WITHOUT insisting on "bad sectors", as they tend to "spread" (if coming from a mechanical problem :ph34r: ).

If *ALL* sectors behave like that, it is likely that there is some other (still hardware) problem, nothing you can fix "at home", unfortunately.


Edited by jaclaz
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