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[tech ques] recovering data from a failed hard drive

sparklesparkle Registered User regular
So I have a 500 gig WD hard drive that just recently failed. It still spins, and its still recognized by the BIOS, but when I try to boot up the computer with it normally, it causes Windows to take forever to boot. And if it does boot, windows doesn't recognize it. So through much hardship, I finally got a USB DOS boot drive working and I can see the hard drive with Fdisk. So the question is, how do I transfer the data on it to my recently purchased 2 TB drive? Is there a DOS program that can help me transfer the files or repair the discs, even though DOS can't see the whole disc because they are both too large for DOS?


  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Photo-rec is the only decent free file recovery app I know of. If it is a matter of MBR or partition table repair there are other utilities.

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    I've used a program called spinrite with great success, but it is not free unless you are a filthy pirate, however it is a fabulous tool.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    spinrite is pretty great too. be aware, anything worthwhile will take a fuckoff long time to run, like days.

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Yeah bit by bit reconstruction and repair takes forever.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Use pendrive(sp?) to load an ubuntu install onto a flash drive. Boot your PC to ubuntu using this drive and, if you're lucky, it'll detect and mount your ailing hard disk. Grab everything you can and put it on an external of some kind. Then you can relax a bit and focus on A) nuking from orbit or B) rebuilding.

    Straygatsby on
  • LuianeLuiane Registered User regular
    A note that should be made, I think (although you probably already know this) is that once a hard drive has failed, no matter if you get it running again, it is best to assume it is dead and get yourself a new one.

    Steam id: Varys
    LoL EU West nickname: Irridan
  • thatassemblyguythatassemblyguy Janitor of Technical Debt .Registered User regular
    I wouldn't suggest spinrite. It's not for recovering data from a failed drive because it writes all of the data back to the same drive but in a different sector that may or may not be good. On top of that, it uses too many strokes to read a bad sector that it encounters which will likely propagate any mechanical defects of the drive.

    Definitely try mounting the drive under a live-boot of linux, as Straygatsby said, and use dd to attempt to copy the contents of the old disk to the new one.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Honestly it sounds like a MBR or Partition error. If it still spins up and reads mostly it should be pretty easy to get your stuff. Ubuntu would be your friend as stated above.

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