Need to save my HDD, cannot be formatted

By kangkong
May 23, 2005
  1. Hi there, please bear with me, as it is going to be a long story!

    Ok this is a 40GB Maxtor hdd, and some time ago after my motherboard ram becomes faulty, i stupidly moved this HDD, which is originally holding a win2k OS, to a WIN95 system, because I want to check if the data are still intact. At first, the hdd was accessible, but soon after, it become "corrupted" and "inaccessible".

    Now, Ive managed to set up the new system, and I have since gotten myself a new HDD. As i tried to plant my old maxtor 40gb as a secondary drive, it seems that the system cannot read it, but it is being detected still as a physical drive. I tried to format on WIN XP, but it was no use. Nextly, I used Scandsk, Norton Disk Doctor and several Disk Recovery tools, to all which reports I/O error.

    Upon some recommendation, I decided to use HDD regenerator, which reports tonnes of bad sectors and it den proceeds to recover it. At first, it seems like the process will work, but midway , the process grows very slow, it seems like the whole process will take 1 year.. I could not wait that long on a desktop can I?

    Nextly, I tried to boot in using Windows98SE bootdisk to do FDISK. Upon recreating the primary DOS partition, the process of " verifying drive integrity" itself took more den 30 minutes. Finally, after completion, I realised my 40gb has been detected as a 5000mb drive under the partition. Ive already indicated I wish to use the maximum size available for a primary dos partition, so I do not really understand.

    Needless to say, when I proceed to format it, it aborted at 5% into it.

    Im really sticking my head out and had no other solutions to this problem. I really need to retrieve some data in it but I could not afford to send it to some data recovery centre. any help is greatly appreciated!
  2. kangkong

    kangkong TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I would like to add i see this

    "Trying to recover allocation unit 122,391" while formatting
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Well, this problem is what it says unfortunately. Bad sectors = Bad drive media. This means the drive has suffered either electronic or physical damage and cannot be fully recovered short of handing it to data recovery professionals who may charge $1000 or more for their service.

    If you have the time, HDD Regenerator is worth running. Yes, it may take several hours or even a couple of days depending on the size of the drive, speed of your system and the seriousness of the problem, but it is pretty much your last option.

    If the drive isn't totally trashed, you may be able to recover part of your data (or perhaps all of your personal data) using data recovery programs. They may not work properly depending on how damaged your drive is, and some are very cumbersome to use, but hey.. worth a shot.

    If the file system is completely unreadable, I'd try Active @ Partition Recovery which you can find in this post:

    May not give you 100% of your data back, it it might give you a chance.
  4. kangkong

    kangkong TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks rick, tat was great information.

    I have since tried setting my hdd to master, and then using format c:/u

    it worked, but somehow dos detects my 40gb hdd as only 5Gb. I do not understand why though, i will try sort it out later. Meanwhile,im gona try the software u recommended, will come back to update :)
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    5GB might be all that's left which is usable of the drive. heh. :knock:
  6. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    try low level format again
    use a boot from floppy utility and put wipe it or zap it
    on the disc
    run this utility to write zeros or 1 's to drive
    when you interrupted the regen you may have only got back 5gb
    then again that may be all thats left,I have recovered almost all the space from drives of same condition,using zap it
    low level formating can take hours depends on size of drive and speed
    40gb should av. out to 3- 4 hrs
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