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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Accessing (Almost) Dead HDD

    A friend's computer has an (almost) dead hard disk drive. (I could not get my PC to start up with it hooked up as a 2nd drive.) It is ~ 2003 vintage Dell.

    I thought a boot CD with appropriate (Linux?) software might allow me to access the drive to attempt to recover his personal files, if possible. What should I look for software-wise to attempt this?

    Thanks.
    Ray
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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Another option might be to convert it to a USB external hard drive. Here are some products sold by Newegg.

    Basically, you mount the drive into the enclosure, and the enclosure does the conversion from SATA to USB. You can now plug the drive into your computer as an external USB drive while it is up and running.

  3. #3
    jwoods
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    I recently created a Linux Live USB using Ubuntu Desktop and Rufus to burn the ISO...

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    https://rufus.akeo.ie/

    Works great.

    BTW, I was born and raised in Columbus.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-11-12 at 14:57.

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwoods View Post
    I recently create a Linux Live USB using Ubuntu Desktop and Rufus...

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    https://rufus.akeo.ie/

    Works great.
    I have a similar, but slightly older system. Mine cannot boot from USB--it's that old! That is why I have to go the burned CD route.
    Ray
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    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    Another option might be to convert it to a USB external hard drive. Here are some products sold by Newegg.

    Basically, you mount the drive into the enclosure, and the enclosure does the conversion from SATA to USB. You can now plug the drive into your computer as an external USB drive while it is up and running.
    The drive may be in such bad shape that it may not run. Besides, my friend was resigned to the fact that the personal stuff may be gone for good. He doesn't have the time to fuss with it. I'm offering to help in case I might luck out and be able to access it.
    Ray
    OS: 2 computers w/ Win7 Home Premium 64-bit & 2 computer w/ Windows 10 AU Pro (1607)
    Antivirus: Kaspersky; Anti-malware: SpywareBlaster, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware

  6. #6
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildcatRay View Post
    I have a similar, but slightly older system. Mine cannot boot from USB--it's that old! That is why I have to go the burned CD route.
    In that case, use something like ImgBurn to create a bootable CD.

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    My Linux Mint disk reads all my Windows drives easily. It will only fit on a DVD though.

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    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyl View Post
    My Linux Mint disk reads all my Windows drives easily. It will only fit on a DVD though.
    What I am asking for is software that will fit on a boot CD as the computer has only CD drives, not DVD.
    Ray
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildcatRay View Post
    What I am asking for is software that will fit on a boot CD as the computer has only CD drives, not DVD.
    It must be a quite old computer with a CD/Compact Disc only drive, usually marked on the face of the tray as to what it can handle. The next iteration of Optical drives [ODD] were DVD-ROM only or DVD-ROM with CD-RW capability, again, marked on the tray. Multi-Format are now the most common and an ODD [either PATA or SATA connection] can be had from a number of sources that handle all formats [Multi-Format] for a reasonable cost, got one a week ago with software for $19.99USD. I also need from time to time a USB ODD to connect to a Netbook or maybe tablet that doesn't have an ODD, also quite useful to diagnose if the installed ODD has a problem.

    For Linux a LiveCD version can be found, try www.distrowatch.com. A version of Puppy Linux called Quirky is shown at 294MB.
    Last edited by Berton; 2015-11-12 at 16:01.

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    You can use one of the free backup programs to create a boot CD that will backup the disk, if possible, to an external disk. Macrium Reflect, EaseUS ToDo etc.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by WildcatRay View Post
    .... I could not get my PC to start up with it hooked up as a 2nd drive....

    I thought a boot CD with appropriate (Linux?) software might allow me to access the drive ....
    1. If the HDD prevents your PC from starting that is a hardware issue--a short--and your PSU or CPU/chipset is detecting it and shutting down.

    2. Attempting to boot up another OS won't let your PC start up.

    Now if you don't mean "start" you mean the OS can't see the drive, or the BIOS can't see the drive or a recovery app can't see the drive then that is something else.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-11-14 at 22:02.

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    You can boot up System Rescue CD (SRCD) and load ddrescue (not dd_rescue (labelled dd-rescue in SRCD) which will work too, bt trys recovery via a different method).

    ddrescue has changed with more options since the second to last time I used it and my directions are old---I should have updated them. I will figure out the command line and and post tomorrow. I'm tired now...too much football.

    Mandatory: You will need a HDD bigger than the one you are copying.

    This only works if the BIOS can see the drive and the booted Linux OS on SRCD can see the drive.

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    Lounger d1hartman's Avatar
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    I've had luck using a USB to IDE/SATA cable and putting the sick drive in the freezer. You'll need some way to boot your machine, like a live Linux or recovery CD, Google "Ultimate Boot CD" and also another drive to copy all your files to. You can get a 1TB USB drive for about $60. They come in real handy.

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildcatRay View Post
    A friend's computer has an (almost) dead hard disk drive. (I could not get my PC to start up with it hooked up as a 2nd drive.) It is ~ 2003 vintage Dell.

    I thought a boot CD with appropriate (Linux?) software might allow me to access the drive to attempt to recover his personal files, if possible. What should I look for software-wise to attempt this?

    Thanks.
    Is the HDD a SATA or an older ATA/IDE type? The later would have a 2 1/2 wide ribbon cable and you may need to set one drive as master and the other as slave if on the same cable or both as master if on a different cable.

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    Just to restate, I had tried placing the bad drive in my own newer Win7 desktop computer as the 2nd drive. (It "replaced" another 2nd drive on that system.) That computer hung at the Starting Windows screen. The computer started up nicely when I put the original 2nd drive back in.

    What I was seeking was along the lines of System Rescue CD as I was placing the bad drive back in its original system, but rather than trying to boot it up which my friend had said was a "roll the dice" situation, at best, I wanted to hear from others who had used something like System Rescue CD more recently than I had.

    As it turned out, when I searched on "linux windows rescue", the top articles are from 2010 and 2013, not exactly new. I was curious if anyone had more recent knowledge to pass on to me.

    I also have an older Dell system, slightly older than my friend's. I actually showed him how the "clam-shell" case opens. He hadn't figured it out. The most interesting difference between our older systems is that his must have been among the first with the newer hdd connection cables as my older system still had the wide ribbon cable.

    When I get time, I will try something like the System Rescue CD. All my friend wants is if we can get his personal files off of the bad drive, not that they are anything critical.
    Ray
    OS: 2 computers w/ Win7 Home Premium 64-bit & 2 computer w/ Windows 10 AU Pro (1607)
    Antivirus: Kaspersky; Anti-malware: SpywareBlaster, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware

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