Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Hard drive failure: can anything be saved?

    I have had a HP Envy Desktop Computer for about 2 years and it's been working well. Recently I walked into the room and noticed a clicking noise coming from the computer and a message on the screen saying the boot record was unavailable (or something similar). The noise was coming from the hard drive. By pressing the ESC key during start-up, I was able to run some tests on it but I can't seem to boot it into SAFE Mode. Is it worth taking out the Hard Drive and putting it into an H/Drive Caddy connected to another computer in an attempt to access & retrieve some of the data files on it or is my goose cooked (along with the Hard Drive)? I'm not worried about the loss of the drive but it did have some family movies on it that I would really like to save, if possible. I would appreciate the opinions of Forum Members before I go to the trouble.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,604
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 847 Times in 809 Posts
    A created boot disk made from the Paragon Recue Kit could save you from having to remove the HDD as it has a File Transfer Wizard - not sure if it would be able to do anything with MBR though if the files have been damaged, but the priority would be to save as much as you can.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Austin metro area TX USA
    Posts
    1,720
    Thanks
    95
    Thanked 124 Times in 121 Posts
    There are several excellent data, file, folder recovery programs, some free, some fee.
    Get something real quick -- you only have at my best guess 1-2 days spin time; at worst 2-3 hours spin-time. Please get the best you can, make a bootable USB or DVD with the program on it, run it, save what you can of your data and pictures and movies.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to RolandJS For This Useful Post:

    KIWIpeteW (2015-06-10)

  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    926
    Thanks
    554
    Thanked 137 Times in 128 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by techo638 View Post
    ....noticed a clicking noise coming from the computer and a message on the screen saying the boot record was unavailable (or something similar). The noise was coming from the hard drive. By pressing the ESC key during start-up, I was able to run some tests on it but I can't seem to boot it into SAFE Mode. Is it worth taking out the Hard Drive and putting it into an H/Drive Caddy connected to another computer in an attempt to access & retrieve some of the data files on it or is my goose cooked (along with the Hard Drive)? ....
    Heck yes it is worth trying on another PC. BUT a clicking HDD is mechanical and unlikely salvageable---but not totally hopeless.

    One thing that is quite true: You have a limited opportunity for recovery. The limit may be zero or ten years. Every time you power the bad drive up you are taking the chance it is the last time. Every minute you run the drive may be the last minute. Make every second and attempt count by being prepared ahead of time for recovery. If you get file access MOVE fast.

    You did not say what the (BIOS?) tests of the HDD reported.

    Set up your recovery apps and test them on the other PC before plugging your bad HDD in. Have a recovery target area sufficient to copy either specific files over or copy an image of the HDD. If you choose to do an image do it uncompressed---speed is of the essence if it works. It helps if you can use a different known working data cable too.

    Personally if it sees the files, Windows Explorer will allow copying to another drive since you know what files you want. Grab them. Work fast. Do not shutdown or reboot for any reason if it is working. Transfer whatever you can. If it was a large amount I would have said try to do a drive image instead. Take good notes of any error messages or files that cannot be recovered messages.

    If an app offers to "fix" the drive for you DO NOT. The drive is suspect and it cannot be fixed by an app. But data can be corrupted by a fix. DO NOT accept any offers to format the drive. Same reason. Some recovery/repair apps are rather evil. A recovery app should recover and not write anything to a bad drive.

    If the apps (or the PC) do not recognize the HDD then they cannot recover anything. BTW does the BIOS report the correct size of the drive? There is one last free thing you can try:

    Plug in just the power cable with the data cable disconnected. Does the drive spin up? If no, it is DOA. If yes, then while the drive is spinning plug in the data cable and then see if you can access the drive. If yes, do not turn off, immediately start to copy the drive.

    How much is it worth to you? This is a really good service for those drives that have bit the dust and you want to get your data off without paying a black land farm to do it...of course if it isn't the PCB board....

    Basically you send them your drive info and the PCB board. They transfer the firmware to a working board and send it back to you for a $50.

    PCB Solutions: "If the BIOS can see the drive at all, then the PCB board does not need to be replaced."

    BTW, if perchance you can see drive contents but cannot recover everything on the drive there is a forensic app (ddrescue) you can use to recover the surface sectors and then try and recover the missing files from it. But it (nor anything else) won't work if it cannot see the drive. I can post directions.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-06-05 at 19:17.

  6. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Thank you everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Fascist Nation View Post
    Heck yes it is worth trying on another PC. BUT a clicking HDD is mechanical and unlikely salvageable---but not totally hopeless.

    One thing that is quite true: You have a limited opportunity for recovery. The limit may be zero or ten years. Every time you power the bad drive up you are taking the chance it is the last time. Every minute you run the drive may be the last minute. Make every second and attempt count by being prepared ahead of time for recovery. If you get file access MOVE fast.

    You did not say what the (BIOS?) tests of the HDD reported.

    Set up your recovery apps and test them on the other PC before plugging your bad HDD in. Have a recovery target area sufficient to copy either specific files over or copy an image of the HDD. If you choose to do an image do it uncompressed---speed is of the essence if it works. It helps if you can use a different known working data cable too.

    Personally if it sees the files, Windows Explorer will allow copying to another drive since you know what files you want. Grab them. Work fast. Do not shutdown or reboot for any reason if it is working. Transfer whatever you can. If it was a large amount I would have said try to do a drive image instead. Take good notes of any error messages or files that cannot be recovered messages.

    Recovery apps mentioned by others are deleted files apps NOT for a broken HDD situation. There are software apps that purport to recover broken drives, but they will not work on mechanically damaged drives only on damaged records. (TestDisk would be my tool in that case).

    If an app offers to "fix" the drive for you DO NOT. The drive is suspect and it cannot be fixed by an app. But data can be corrupted by a fix. DO NOT accept any offers to format the drive. Same reason. Some recovery/repair apps are rather evil.

    If the apps (or the PC) do not recognize the HDD then they cannot recover anything. BTW does the BIOS report the correct size of the drive? There is one last free thing you can try:

    Plug in just the power cable with the data cable disconnected. Does the drive spin up? If no, it is DOA. If yes, then while the drive is spinning plug in the data cable and then see if you can access the drive. If yes, do not turn off, immediately start to copy the drive.

    How much is it worth to you? This is a really good service for those drives that have bit the dust and you want to get your data off without paying a black land farm to do it...of course if it isn't the PCB board....

    Basically you send them your drive info and the PCB board. They transfer the firmware to a working board and send it back to you for a $50.

    PCB Solutions: "If the BIOS can see the drive at all, then the PCB board does not need to be replaced."

    BTW, if perchance you can see drive contents but cannot recover everything on the drive there is a forensic app (ddrescue) you can use to recover the surface sectors and then try and recover the missing files from it. But it (nor anything else) won't work if it cannot see the drive. I can post directions.

    Thank you everyone for all your great suggestions. I'll try some and see how I go. Will post back in about a week (got a bust few days coming up before I get back to my PC) and let you all know what progress I've made & (hopefully) what was successful. Here's hoping.
    Thanks once again.

  7. #6
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,162
    Thanks
    47
    Thanked 976 Times in 906 Posts
    Sometimes the disk is "stuck" and hitting it gently with the handle of a screwdriver will allow it to spin up long enough to make an image.
    I would obtain a USB hard disk and backup recovery CD (Macrium Reflect free), connect the USB HDD, insert the CD and press F12 to get to the boot menu.
    If the HDD is clicking, hit it until it stops, then select boot from CD and image.

    cheers, Paul

  8. #7
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,604
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 847 Times in 809 Posts
    Is it likely to do anything ever again if you keep hitting it until it stops, Paul

  9. #8
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,162
    Thanks
    47
    Thanked 976 Times in 906 Posts
    Given that it doesn't do anything now, what's to lose!?

    cheers, Paul

  10. #9
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    926
    Thanks
    554
    Thanked 137 Times in 128 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    .... I would obtain a USB hard disk and backup recovery CD (Macrium Reflect free), connect the USB HDD, insert the CD and press F12 to get to the boot menu.
    If the HDD is clicking, hit it until it stops, then select boot from CD and image.

    cheers, Paul
    I completely disagree with the much slower USB external HDD recommendation in a recovery situation. You are much better operating off of a known working SATA controller.

    If the OP didn't have another PC I would agree on the Macrium Reflect (MR) boot disk. And the USB drive to bypass the SATA controller. MR is what I would use to try and grab the whole enchilada because it is fast. But the OP has specific files they would like to recover. For that--if recognized--better grabbing and copying them with Windows Explorer instead. Though MR (non-free) can grab specific folders/files as well.

    If I were successful in pulling the OP's files I would then do an image backup and if successful image a new drive for the non-functioning PC. [While I would not do so then, eventually if the new drive proved stable and intact I would see if I could boot the drive back up and zero it out (wipe) before taking it apart and grabbing the magnet before recycling the waste.]

    But since they have access to a second computer you avoid possible corruption caused by power/power cable issue, data cable issue and SATA controller issue. You also have the ability to boot up and load MR in a faster environment than an ODD provides.

    As for wrapping on the side with the handle of a screwdriver moving parts certainly are subject to seizing. Especially in a high humidity/salt environment where corrosion can enter the picture. I would agree that smacking on the side with a screw driver hoping to free a stuck motor/armature/platter spindle is worth a LAST shot because you have nothing to lose if you are not sending to a recovery facility, but such impact shock is unlikely to work these days. On the plus side it is much less likely to cause platter surface damage ("head crash") as well due to design improvements. But still could cause such skipping damage and its irreparable data loss. And actually the constant clicking noise noted by the OP may be doing that every time they power up and likely signals the drive is unrecoverable except by a data recovery facility.

    If it is dead and the drive is NOT recognized by the BIOS then I would contemplate the value of chancing a board swap for $50 (unless the OP had an identical HDD on hand (including same firmware version) to temporarily swap for free).
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-06-09 at 12:32. Reason: added "MR" for Macrium Reflect

  11. #10
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Austin metro area TX USA
    Posts
    1,720
    Thanks
    95
    Thanked 124 Times in 121 Posts
    "Captain, is this is a good time for a four-letter word?"
    -- Spock to Kirk, Journey Home [save 2 whales, save 1 Earth]
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  12. #11
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    2,149
    Thanks
    31
    Thanked 302 Times in 263 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    Is it likely to do anything ever again if you keep hitting it until it stops, Paul
    Paul T means tap the HDD "gently" until it stops clicking. He does not mean "belt the hell out of it".

    I have had the same happen a few times w/ clicking HDDs when a few gentle taps on the side of the HDD allowed me to access the filesystem long enough to recover the customer's files.

    Another "trick" that I have had work is to wrap the HDD in a layer of paper hand-towel (to absorb moisture) then seal the HDD in a freezer bag and place it in the bottom of the fridge overnight to lower the HDDs temperature to just above freezing point. Have everything ready to connect the HDD and attempt access as soon as possible after unwrapping it from the fridge. That has allowed me to recover data from customers' HDDs several times.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Durham UK
    Posts
    6,604
    Thanks
    147
    Thanked 847 Times in 809 Posts
    It was a tongue in cheek comment as Paul took it to be

    I've also heard of the freezer bag trick which has proven successful for some.

  14. #13
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    40
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Hard drive failure: can anything be saved?

    [QUOTE=techo638;1004486]I have had a HP Envy Desktop Computer for about 2 years and it's been working well.

    I am enjoying (?) a similar problem on my Asus laptop. It flat will NOT power up; no lights, no beeps, nothing. I have ordered an external case for the 2.5" SATA drive. The plan is to mount the drive in this case and see if I can access it from my wife's laptop. If so, then I can delete all my personal data from the drive and then put it back in the Asus, then I'll sell it AS-IS for parts or Repair. A new HD MIGHT fix it, but the K55n seems to have this problem fairly frequently, so I am looking at an HP laptop. I found a good exgternal USB 3.0 case from China for about $6 with free shipping. Check eBay. Accessing it as an auxilliary drive doesn't depend so much on the MBR, I hope. By the way, there ARE ways to restore the MBR; check Google. You might then have to run ChkDsk to be sure. When it's already down, you can't get much worse. As noted, tho, when the heads are banging the stops, time is of the essence. I used to run a REALLY good utility, SpinRite, from Gibson Research, ($89) that WILL FIX this (I have done it before) and any other disc-related problem. It runs in MS-DOS, but it comes with a free DOS-lookalike so you can run it. I HIGHLY recommend it, especially for all technicians.

    Bob
    Last edited by IAMPCBOB; 2015-06-11 at 09:39. Reason: typos

  15. #14
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I have used Spinrite which cost $89 from GRC.com, Steve Gibson's webpage, and it has helped me on several occasions.You must create a CD disk and boot from it to run this program. Alternatively, you might creat an Ubuntu boot disc and try to copy files to a new HDD.
    Bill

  16. #15
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    warren, ohio
    Posts
    66
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 13 Times in 6 Posts
    I also recommend spinrite from GRC.com. It doesn't always work, but it save me a few times. You will need a working computer to make a boot CD.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •