Drive is corrupted and unreadable

By CNBCLIES ยท 14 replies
May 21, 2009
  1. I've been working on my daughters computer which is an emachine with windows xp loaded. It was running slow so I cleaned a bunch of infections, viruses, etc. It was running fine when I finshed and the next day when she went to start it, it wouldn't start. I had started it at least 5 times after cleaning it up so I was a little surprised when it wouldn't start.

    There was a message that said there was a power disrutpion or the reset/power button was puched while the computer was booting but my daughter said she didn't do that, bottom line is the hard drive is on wobbly legs.

    I tried to do a sytem restore but it only gives me 1 option which is the destructive option. Even with a disc, I only get the destructive option and of course she has files that she would like. I've been on the hardware thred for a few days and have now got her computer booted up by using a lnux boot disc.

    I can see all her files which I've copied most of them so if everything fails, I can format and restore. My question is, certainly I should be able to restore her computer by now having access to the hard drive or am I mistaken? I see a back up file that was created 5/13/09, about 1 week ago. My memory is failing but I must've done that somewhere along the line.

    Within that back-up file If I go to the start menu I see a system restore folder. Can I go to that folder and run that system restore?

    I obviuosly would like to do this as simple as possible, I know lololololol.....

    I really would like to avoid having to reload all the prgrams that she had loaded over the past couple of years.

    At least I can get into the hard drive now, I have a Nexxtech enclosre that installed her hard drive into and I tried getting into it with my computer trying a bunch of stuff form the MSFT website but had no luck. I put her computer back together and the linux disc worked just fine and got me into her drive.

    I probably wasn't very clear but any help would be appreciated, at least a starting point before I throw in the towel and reformat the drive............

    Thanks in advance!!
  2. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 319

    Did you try F8 at boot time?? Did you try safe mode? Did you try last known good configuration?

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Treid all that, if anyof those would've worked I wouldn't have had to get a Linux disc to get into the hard drive. It starts to boot in safe maode and displays a few driver scrolling across the monitor and then it stopped.

    Like I said, I can get into the hard drive and see all the files using the Linux disc, certainly there has to be a way to reload the OS without using the destructive option!

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I've been reading a lot and see where running chkdsk might help, I tried that with my computer and the other hard drive mounted into an USB enclosure, couldn't get into the drive. Now, since I can get in with the Linux cd, there has to be a way I can run chkdsk on that drive.

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I've been looking in some of the files/folders of the drive that won't boot my daughters machine and I see a sysprep.bat file that looks like it's in french and after about 6-8 lines of writing, it ends in no reboot.

    Could this be the problem or 1 of the problems and does MSFT use french when set these machines up?
  6. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 319

    Instead of the Linux Cd boot the XP CD into the recovery console and run chkdsk /r
    You could also try a repair install if it will let you.. I assume you are running XP
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) Don't run chkdsk until you've first at least attempted recovery using partition/data recovery tools
    => Gparted Live CD (i gave you the link to it and how build in other thread)
    =====> Try Gparted and TestDisk tools on that CD
    ==> Many have also reported good results using EASUS Partition Doctor (free version)

    2) The best $50 invesment you'll make wrt your computers is getting Acronis True Image Home (if you buy it online, first thing to do is created a Recovery CD so you can boot up the tool even when Windows fails)
    => You can ghost image the internal hard drive when ever needed or (in your case now) ghost the external. Created a disk-by-disk sector copy. This allows you to recovery the disk image "as-is" so whatever happens and should you even reformat it and then suddenly think "Yikes" i missed something on there you can still recover the image including both allocated and unallocated and bad filesystem data sectors so you can re-run another new recovery program on it to try extract any data you think you missed
    => You can also simply use it for full or incremental file/forlder restores when needed

    3) After ghosting the drive image, ghen you can go ahead and use chkdsk or whatever the else you please and know you can still always get the image back

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I have 1 disc that came with the computer, system recovery for windows xp. I'll try it again but the last couple of times it only gave me 1 option and that was a destructive option. If I remember correctly, I tried this about a week ago and it did the non-destructive recovery and the computer was working fine, for a day.

    I see a back-up file that was created on 5/13/09, to end this dilema, if I have no choice, copy that back-up file, do the destructive recovery option and then copy that back-up file back into the drive and then restore from it?

    It's a pretty large file, 16.2 GB, there is another back-up file 6/16/06 and that file is 6.9 GB.

    For now, I'll try the recovery disc again!

    How do I run chkdsk, when I install the disc it just starts running, how do I get to where there is some kind of cmd prompt for me to enter the chkdsk.

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I just tried the recovery disc again and it says the system will look in the recovery console to see which recovery options are available if any, if none, it will go to a full restore, which is what it did.

    That back-up file from 5/13/09 had to be made when I tried a quick restore about a week ago. I guess I'll find a way to copy it and then just do a full restore.

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I'm going to take the bad drive and put it in my Nexxtech box so I can access it from my computer. Then I'll run the linux cd on my computer so I can get into the drive and maybe I can run chkdsk or if not, I cna at least copy the back-up file to my computer and copy back to the bad drive after I do the full restore, that should work, right?
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,967   +2,524

    This is Why I call Myself Captaincranky....

    Please reread the initial post, It explains that this computer has restore discs a no discreet copy of Windows. So. there is no "repair console". It seems like there should br, but the OP says , "no there isn't".
    It seems like I just keep posting this concept, but here goes. Malware will reinstall itself. So unless you know more about this than I think you do, it doesn't really matter that it started a few times, this could be a build up of residual damage.
    So, by your own statements, the hard drive is on the way out. So, maybe using the restore discs on a new HDD might be a really good idea. And guess what, LookingAround has suggested inve in a disc imaging program. Very sound advice, but for thev next time. Guess what, restore discs are a disc image, it's just that they're Emachines idea of a disc image. Whoops.

    The one thing that really burns me about all the whining that goes on about losing files, most of the time, it's the OP's fault. Did you ever back up files, "NO", Is your security software up to date, "what's security software"? Do you have P2P software installed, "doesn't everybody"? Wow, "you've got spyware". Jeez, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that.

    As you pointed out this has gone on for a week in a hardware thread. Partly due to a lapse on your part in downloading, burning, and running a Linux disc.

    Let me rephrase that. No, you think that we should be able to tell you how to repair the Windows installation. If you go to the first 3 three threads, in Virus and Malware Rmoval ", step 1 will tell you the best thing to do is restore in many situations..

    Now, if the linux ploy had been expidited,, and there hadn't been time lapses in the thread, this machine could have been restored, and the software reinstalled.days ago. And as far as children go, they never seem to want to bother fixing thier conmputer. I've dealt with my son (40) about this nonsense in this way, "I'd be only too glad to repair your computer, and by repair I'm mean, I'll be only too happy to fix your computer, hand me the Windows disc! Then you you can reinstall all your software. By the way, I told you to buy a second HDD for your computer months ago, did you ever do that? Guess not. Then the girlfriend starts running her mouth about. "whose account are you using"? Mine, I said. Then I explained that we could delete my account altogether, but then we wouldn't have an excuse to have a couple hundred dollars worth of my software installed, and I had no intention whatsoever of reinstalling. It seems I'm still allowed to have my account. It seens the situation got doubly toxic when I had to start dealing with a woman.

    Tip for the day; In any program folder there must be an .exe file, and there is usually an "autorun file". If you feel jucky, just double click either or both of them. "Exey" surprise, or what's behind door number three.

    The reality of this situation is this is now a challenge to yourself, that is proxied here. The alternate reality is this could have been solved a few days ago, the software reinstalled, and the situation commited to memory.

    I have a philosophy that people are most motivated when they are pissed off. How'd I do?

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I simply don't have the time to try several different things so I've done what I know how to do. I managed to copy all of the files from the bad hard drive. I tried a couple of things but to no avail.

    I then did the reformat and reinstall, however, while it was downloading the windows files, several files would not download, one being javascript I believe. Maybe 4-5 files would not download and it still wasn;t connected ot the internet so I couldn't send the error report or debug the file.

    Fortunately the computer is working and my daughter can get online again, I can copy her files over at a later date.

    Any suggestions on how I can get windows installed like it should be?

  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,967   +2,524

    Are we talking in terms of Windows update not working correctly? I do know that there are a hundred plus updates that can be downloaded. Can you specify which ones don't work. Did you allow M$ to install the "WGA update", they won' allow some downloads without it. As to Java, my restore discs have an early version of it on them. Just download all the updates you can, then try the failed ones later. I never had to install Java to update Windows, but you do have to allow the "Net.Framework" to install some updates depend on that. I only run SP3 on my newest machine, since that was a "clean install on a completely blank, brand new HDD. Superstition maybe. I really don't remember needing Java, but you can download an installer @ Sun Microsystems. Read the updates they're trying to give you carefully, I really don't think you want IE8, at least not yet.

    The only possible "good" that I can read out of that is, more free spyware, and still no backup.

    As a matter of trivia, Emachines restore discs can be used, regardless of which machine created them, but only so long as they are the same model. They do carry different packages of trial software and whatnot.

    The unfortunate thing about Windows update is, when you click "Express" install you get every piece of garbage that M$ has aimed at you. So, I use a "line item" strategy and read what the update is about before I tick it for download. I think I remember the Java nonsense has something to do with Windows Media Player looking for information on the web. In any event, I don't need it., since I don't use Windows Media Player. If you want to have WMP searching the web every time you play a song, then it's a must have.If everyone would just read what the little check boxes were doing for you, to you, with you, or against you, we would have a whole lot more "happy camp-uter operators". So, my best advice it to choose "custom install" and download 20 or so updates at a crack,, while creating a new restore point every once in a while. If somebody else thinks that's overly cautious, or outright silly, so be it. If you update the SP2 install correctly, then if you decide on SP3, from that point it's only a 66MB download, not 300 and some. SP3 mostly deals with enterprise type addition of features, not necessarily needed by the average home user. The are are also security updates that are available thet were issued ater than SP3 but may be applied without SP3 being installed. And while you're at it, always download the "Windows Malicious Software Removal Too, it's released monthly. I personlally don't use automatic update, I have Windows tell me what is available, then make an informed decision, whether I need it or not.

    CNBCLIES TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Not sure what you meant by your complete post but as far as the above, still no backup, if you read my earlier posts, I copied/backed up her entire HD prior to the reformat and restore. Thanks to the linux disc I was able to accomplish that.

    My comment about being on this board for a week was exactly that, a comment!

    I asked several questions and many times it seems I received some instructions that had nothing to do with my question, a simple yes or no would've been fine and I would've gone on to the next thing to try. I have another life which takes up a lot of my time, I wasn't very smart in that I left my daughters computer upstairs and everytime I asked a question or looked for a solution I would have to run back downstairs or vice versus.

    If you feel like I was complaining you were mistaken, in fact I'm grateful to yourself like I commented earlier in that you're willing to share your knowledge and time, I thank you for that.

    What I learned is that I could've went and bought another computer for next to nothing. My time is worth a lot more than the time I spent getting her machine back up and running. One reason I did it is because I like to challenge myself every now and then. I have no desire to be a tech and do this type of work for living, in fact I'm retired and have been for about 10 years. I missed at least 3 rounds of golf and if anything would make me angry, it's missing those rounds where I would rather be.

    It's somewhat hard to communicate in writing like this some times, I'm sure you noticed where someone more than once asked me if I tried F8, boot up into the safe mode and I'm thinking they probably read the last post but not the entire thread, why would someone ask that if the computer doesn't even start!!!

    It's all good, it's going and I'm giving MSFT the kabosh after this, I'm now an UBUNTU fan, MSFT can take all their malware, worms, sputniks, whatever and stick tham where the sun don't shine. I bought a new HD to use with my Nexxtech box for back up purposes only.

    Have a good night and adios...................
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,967   +2,524

    Please read and consider my final post about utilizing Windows update. All I could derive from your post about utilizing Windows Update was panic. Sort of,"this isn't going right and I'm in a big hurry".

    Sometimes when we ask questions we may not ask the right questions, for better or worse, I make the attempt to answer that question that I believe needs to be asked.

    This situation has persisted longed than I believe was necessary, through no fault of mine. I responded to your posts in an expedient manner, and fulfilled your original expectations, which were to retrieve the files from your daughter's computer. Then the expectations were escalated,

    Other than that, I read a bit of family intrigue into your situation. I gave my son the computer that he's using now, with instruction, cautions, and software. If he gets it loaded with spyware, that's his problem not mine. But, I believe the dynamic between us us quite a bit different than most.

    So, the only time this machine has been restored as a result of infection was when I caught a bizarre piece of "prankware" that denied access to my burners.

    I posted it to see if anyone knew anything about this, I received 2 replies, one of which was from a member who hates Emachines. I was told that the motherboard was going bad. So, I had all my passive files stored on the second HDD. So I do take my own advice. I didn't lose any files. I abandoned the thread since it seems that more attention will be paid to some numbskull with a machine full of malware, gotten from downloading cracked games and programs. I guess it's the challenge combined with my attitude that precipitated this.

    So, in went the restore discs, and you know what, it wasn't the end of the world.
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