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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Dead hard drive / data recovery

    Obviously I'm new here. I've read back many pages and I'm in awe of you guys already.

    Anyway, my Dell laptop HD died. After about 4 hours of phone calls and a week and a half later, I received a new one from them.

    The laptop would start up and then get stuck at the "Starting Windows" screen. The repair thing wouldn't go very far. I ran some diagnostics and found many sectors dead. So yeah, it was a HD problem, and with the new HD it's working just fine.

    I've pulled stuff off of dying HDs before without much problem. I hooked up the old one to the laptop, the computer recognized it as a HD and said it was ready to use, but it couldn't find any info on the HD and suggested I initialize it.

    I downloaded and ran SpinRite. I tried using a flash drive but SpinRite didn't make it bootable. I burned the ISO onto a CD-ROM and couldn't use that to bootup either. SpinRite claims it installs FreeDOS but I couldn't find it on either the flash or the CD.

    Any suggestions?

    And anyone have any idea why SpinRite only works on bootup when it's perfectly logical to want to use it to access an external drive?

    Oh, it's an Inspiron N5010 (less than a year old) running Windows 7.

    TIA

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    I'm trying to think of solutions...

    I wondered if simply uploading the .iso file to the flash or CD wasn't enough, so I tried to mount them through ISO Recorder. That application couldn't perform the operation.

    I also tried DLing FreeDOS and putting it on the drives. No luck there, either.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Listless, Welcome to the Lounge.

    Unfortunately I can't provide an answer for the data recovery but if I may offer a suggestion: Imaging! When I Image I include both C Drive (OS and apps) and D Drive (Data). I also back up data separately since this gets backed up more often. I reimage whenever I make a change to the OS or apps. In my case my data is not really large. If in your case you have just one partition, whenever you reimage it will also back up your data, but data backup needs to be done more often than just images. Also keep the images and backups on a separate drive (I use an Ext USB HD for this purpose)

    I'm sorry I have no experience with data recovery to help in that area.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    And anyone have any idea why SpinRite only works on bootup when it's perfectly logical to want to use it to access an external drive?
    I've also been frustrated by SpinRite's refusal to work on USB drives. However, I think I understand why it only works on internal drives it simply performs too many read/write cycles for the bandwidth of a USB drive to handle. It runs for HOURS on internal drives, sometimes days, just think how long it would run on a USB drive!

    The solution is to mount the drive as a 2nd drive in a desktop and run the SpinRite from a CD booted in that machine. Since it is a 2.5" drive you'll need cable adapters to attach it to the desktop but they are cheap and easily obtained.

    Good Luck with your recovery.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  5. #5
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    Hello Listless,

    you need to burn the ISO to CD or DVD using an ISO burning tool. Simply writing the files in the ISO will not make the media usable. Why? Because the ISO is a disk image rather than a collection of executable files.

    You could try any number of ISO burning tools, one of my favourites is Ashampoo Burning Studio Free. If you use that tool, select the Burn Disk Image from the main menu and follow the instructions to burn the ISO.

    Once you have burned the ISO onto CD or DVD, you can then boot the machine with the bad drive in it from the optical drive and use SpinRite to access any data that's left on the drive.

    HTH.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    In Windows 7 there is no need to use 3rd party software to burn a disc image.

    Simply right click the ISO file and select Burn disc image.

  7. #7
    Lounge VIP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Browni View Post
    In Windows 7 there is no need to use 3rd party software to burn a disc image.

    Simply right click the ISO file and select Burn disc image.
    My bad, didn't see the bit about it running Win7.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Wow. Lots of good advice offered.

    I DLed a few programs to burn the image to the CD last night before I read replies today about Win7 having the software already available. So I tried to burn CDs (install the images) a few times (making sure it wasn't a bad CD) and I kept getting errors booting from the CDs (couldn't read from a certain address).

    I'm going to try to burn FreeDOS to a CD and then maybe I can navigate to my flash drive and try to run SpinRite. I have a feeling, though, that when I run SR it's just going to give me the same installation choices again.

    Wish me luck. <smirk>

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Same thing happened that happens when I try to boot with my flash drive: the screen stays blank except for a blinking cursor and sits like that indefinitely (over 15 minutes).

    Anyone have an idea why I can't get FreeDOS running on my system? Is the laptop too fast or something?

    Should I cross-post this question to another forum?

  10. #10
    Platinum Lounger
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    Maybe your CD burner/player is not well? Can you boot from a Windows CD?
    Try the boot CD on another computer?

    I suspect Spinrite doesn't like USB disks is because it can't override the controller to access the disk directly, but it should tell you this. Have you asked Steve Gibson?

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Spinrite will not work in AHCI mode, one has to set to IDE in BIOS first.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
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