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Thread: HDD Crash SOS

  1. #1
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    Default HDD Crash SOS

    Okay, it had to happen. My computer crashed on me.

    XP is now not working properly and I'm getting error messages that explorer.exe is dead. So I'm looking mainly now at salvaging data off the disk.

    I know I've got numerous bad clusters on the drive. What's the best way for me to copy data out while stepping around the bad clusters (not sectors, although I had some of them as well at the same time, it had previously been all clear)?

    What happens if I do accidentally try to copy a file with a bad cluster in it? Will it cause more havoc/more bad clusters to develop?

    Thanks for any help. Just say if you need a more thorough description of the crash.

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    Just try to copy whatever you can. If there is a bad cluster in it you will get an error while copying. This happens to me before.

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    Thanks. I'll give that a stab once I can sort out another computer with Windows going. Another question, once I format that drive, is it safe to use again?

    Also, I don't suppose this might potentially be some kind of a virus? I shut down the computer as normal on two occasions but on both occasions on startup it runs scandisk saying it didn't shut down properly, and the second time it wouldn't boot properly and hasn't since, telling me that explorer.exe is knackered, amongst other things. Anyone recognise that as anything malicious, or have I just got an honest-to-goodness, hdd crash?

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    u mean the computer has been running fine even when there are bad clusters?

    if the bad clusters are logical (ie not physcial damage) it will not cause more bad clusters to develop. backup your data to another hard disk is the first thing u need to do, i will suggest u to plug your hard disk to another system and backup from another machine. This is because your windows already dying and it may interrupt the backup process.

    Start backup your most imporatnt files first, but only 1 or 2 folders at a time and look out if the copying suddenly slow down or stopped. this means the computer is having difficulty trying to copy that particular file. Try to listen to the HDD for ticking or scratching sound. if the the copying still very slow or stopped, halt it and note down which file is missing or having difficulty and skip to other files first.

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    I think your HDD didn't crash, just developed a taste for bad sectors and thus causing your corrupted explorere.exe.

    If it did crash, you won't even be able to access it no matter how.

    Like what jbma suggested, try copying it out, if it hits the bad sectors, you'll get an error on it that's all. Bad sectors do spread so try to avoid use the HDD anymore and copy out what you can.

    Hope you had a back up.

    Alternatively, you can opt for the professional recovery services instead.

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    how old is the hd? which brand isit? how come can anyhow crash?

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    if this problem arise, u may have to copy a few files at a time, and remember to double check to make sure u have backup every single files.

    if u still have important files that are damaged due to bad cluster, I can send u a tool that can fix bad sector due to logical damage. this tool also can attempt to fix bad sector due to physical damage by analysing and reconstructing the bad sector and move it to reserved sector in the hard disk. This is a long and tedious process which will last for days (depends how many bad sectors u have). After which u should have no problem backup the rest of the files already.

    if the hard disk really got physical bad sector, time to buy a new one or send back for service if still got warranty. If only got logical errors, u can reformat and use my tools to scan it again. It will analysis every single sector to make sure all the sectors are healthy. Otherwise it will map the unhealthy sector to reserved sectors and u can use the drive again.

    but i will suggest u use this hard disk to store unimportant stuff next time, this is because logical damage is due to misalignment of the head
    Last edited by Wai; 31st January 2005 at 12:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    u mean the computer has been running fine even when there are bad clusters?
    Nope. The computer was fine. Two nights ago I turned it off as normal, switched it on in the morning, blue scandisk screen came on and found maybe two dozen bad clusters. I think okay, maybe it's a one-off freak, don't think much of it. It also for the first time found some bad sectors.

    I noted down *some* of the files affected and tried to access them. Some were fine, one or two weren't, I deleted those. Tried to burn a dvd later that session, but obviously some of the files were bad and the dvd was wrecked. Didn't think too much of it, thought I'd sort it out the next day. Switched computer off as normal.

    This morning I switch the computer on and the dreaded blue screen turns up again. More bad clusters found, unfortunately I don't know if they are the same errors or new ones. I let it run its course and leave for work.

    I get back and all I get is the blue personal settings screen, the mouse pointer, and nothing to click on. Restarting the computer gets as far as the safe mode options screen. I select start normally, it goes to the XP logo with the swishing blue bars, and then nothing, keep swishing.

    Restart in safe mode, and eventually it gets to the point where it tells me there's an error in explorer.exe. Safe mode screen stays black, no prompt, no nothing. Just safe mode in all four corners and a mouse pointer.

    Restart in normal mode, eventually it loads wallpaper, mouse pointer, tells me explorer, exe is screwed. And stops there.

    > i will suggest u to plug your hard disk to another system and backup from another machine. This is because your windows already dying and it may interrupt the backup process.

    Yup, I'm working on that. Ironically I was planning to get a new system in a couple of days anyway. So now I'll get that in and hope to rescue as much as possible from there. Is a disk utilities application going to be of any use here? Any one to recommend?

    Thanks Wai, Espn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazekang
    how old is the hd? which brand isit? how come can anyhow crash?
    From my years in IT it really doesn't matter what brand or how old it is. If it wants to crash it crash. I've got some HD which is more than 10 years old and they are still running. While newer ones have crashed on me before.

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    Forgot to mention, I did both a normal scandisk and a thorough scandisk between the two mornings reboots. Neither had anything to report.

    The HD is 2 years old now.

  11. #11

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    a) if its a logical error and not a physical one, a scandisk would have fixed it and you won't discover more. thus its probably symptomatic of a physical error if you discover more and more bad sectors. (more so if the drive is more than 3 years old)

    b) hook up the drive as a slave drive and copy the data into your new pc.

    c) once you format the disk and can find no more bad sectors, you can use that disk as your photoshop scratch pad I guess.

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    Jed if you have another system install your current HD as a slave and then copy whatever data you can to another HD. Starting Windows on this one is not a good idea as some Windows data may be unreadable.

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    One more thing, when you have copied all your data do a low level format on this HD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    Forgot to mention, I did both a normal scandisk and a thorough scandisk between the two mornings reboots. Neither had anything to report.

    The HD is 2 years old now.
    the way that windows scandisk mark the bad sector is the worse. dun be suprised that it will just mark every sector in your hard disk as "bad"

    just stop booting from that hard disk (to prevent further damage), plug to another system. backup to another hard disk, and use my tools to repair and reconstruct the bad clusters (btw, u need to boot to DOS to use this tool and it may take days)

    that's why i never use scandisk and i actually went to registry to disable it

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    Thanks all. Keep the suggestions and advice coming. Bearing in mind it's 4am I've got to get some shuteye, that's assuming I'm not too stressed out to sleep!

    BTW, I also have an ext hdd that I can use. Would you recommend when I get the new system to mount the crashed disk there and transfer that way, or mount it internally as a slave and use that instead, or is there no real difference which way I do it?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbma
    One more thing, when you have copied all your data do a low level format on this HD.
    i wont recommend low level format because it is even more tedious, i tried low level format on a 8GB hard disk and after i looked at the progress...i give up and throw the disk away.

    that's what the tools that I recommend is for

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    backup to another hard disk, and use my tools to repair and reconstruct the bad clusters (btw, u need to boot to DOS to use this tool and it may take days)
    You've lost me there. "My Tools"?

  18. #18
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    Personally I would prefer to mount it internally. Much faster transfer speed and stable too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    BTW, I also have an ext hdd that I can use. Would you recommend when I get the new system to mount the crashed disk there and transfer that way, or mount it internally as a slave and use that instead, or is there no real difference which way I do it?
    can...but u still need to mount it internally if u want to recover the bad sectors because u need to boot to dos, and i dont think the ext hdd can work in dos

  20. #20

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    erm, if I'm not wrong, low level format on modern day harddisks never work..

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