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Hard Disk failure

By Ven0m ยท 13 replies
Jul 19, 2002
  1. Hi,
    i just made two partitions on my hard drive, i have windows 98 and windows xp in both of them. I also have a secondary hard drive with a bunch of my stuff. I just installed the both partitions like 2 weeks ago. Yesterday as i left it downloading photoshop all night, i guess it messed up or something. I restared only to see "secondary disk fail" in the screen where it detects your drives. I disconnected the drive and connected it again. I restarted again and didnt see the message so i started in windows 98, and it wouldnt find it either. In windows XP i look for it in the hardware section of the properties of my computer, and it found it under hard disks. But it wont access it. Now i cant get all the stuff on my secondary drive. Does anyone know how this could of happend? Why? How it could be fixed? I really need the stuff thats in there.

    Thank you
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    When your computer crashed, did it show the "blue screen of death"? If so, that may be a substantial indication that your disk does not work. It does not mean it is messed up for certain, though.

    It is possible that your computer may have hung/crashed and corrupted the file system on your drive. This could explain why neither OS detects the drive.

    Since you are using Windows XP, there is one of two different file systems probably being used - NTFS or FAT32. Before the crash, if you could view the drive/partition and its contents in Windows 98, then it was formatted in FAT32 (this is imporant to remember). If you could not view the drive in Windows 98 but see it in Windows XP, then it was probably NTFS.

    The first thing I would do is make sure your drives are connection properly (in case you were playing around trying to figure out what went wrong).

    Then boot into Windows XP and check out the drive manager snap-in. You can find this in your Administration Control Panel in Start/Control Panel/Adminstrative Tools/Computer Management/Disk Management.

    You will see a list of drives currently connected to your computer. Do you see the drive you can no longer access? If so, then it is probably a screwed up file system which scandisk (Windows 98) or chkdsk (Windows XP) may be able to fix. If you don't see it, that means the drive does is not readable at all... And if that is the case, it is probably dead.

    If you can see it in the Drive Manager, run chkdsk on it in Windows XP (or scandisk in Windows 98).

    If you cannot see the drive in Drive Manager, then the drive is turned off or not properly connected. Now, this could be for a number of reasons...

    The first thing I'd do is check the BIOS and see if it detects the drive. Many BIOSes show a list of drives at startup. If you are fortunate enough to usually see your drives listed out when you boot your computer, then check to make sure that the unreadable drive is still in that list. If you are unforutnate enough to NOT have a drive list at startup, then go into your BIOS (The key you need to press varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.. (Usually F1, F2, Del, F8 or F11). Somewhere in there, you should have some sort of IDE drive auto-detection. See if you can find it in there.

    Next, I'd plug it up using a different power connector inside the computer. Your power connector may be fried. Also, I would change cables and IDE channels. I've seen bad cables and IDe channels cause this a number of times.

    Also, you may want to try connecting the unreadable drive as the primary disk and leave all other CD-ROMs/Hard disks unplugged. Then, using a Windows 98 startup/recovery floppy disk, boot into DOS. Can you see it? If so, there might be a chance. It may have changed its mind about where it likes to be ;) I've seen computer components "change their mind" too often.. It's like they have preferences sometimes. :eek:

    Lastly, I'd run a virus scanner on your drive. It could be a virus (although highly unlikely). There's some nasty stuff capable of doing exactly what has happened to you, so it is a possiblity.

    If none of this fixes it or lets you recognize it (at least), then there really isn't much else I can think of that will work. You might want to try some drive recovery utilities and see if you can get your data back. Otherwise, you'll probably have to repartition and format the drive in order for it to be readable again.
  3. Ven0m

    Ven0m TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok Ill try running Checkdisk on Windows XP.
    Neither of the Os's find the drive, but on XP i look under Device Manager and it is still there. I connected it correctly and the power supply is right too. It also finds it in bios, but it just cant access it i guess. Hopefully Checkdisk works.

    How Do i run Chkdsk on a drive it cant find?

    Edit: My windows 98 partition is FAT32 and my winxp is NTFS, and my secondary drive is FAT16. :( Is that BAD?
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    FAT16 is fine for drives under 2gb. Anything larger, I'd use FAT32 (if you want Windows 98 compatability). Personally, I use NTFS on all of my drives because it has many advantages.

    Your drive (or its file system rather) must be in really bad coindition.. Unreadable even. You might be able to run chkdsk using the Drive Manager in the previous post. I've never used it on a drive that isn't recognized as a valid partition though.

    When in drive manager, scroll down to where the hard disk is displayed and right click.. Select "properties" and then a box will pop up. Choose "Tools" and then tell it to scan the drive for errors.


    You may or may not be able to do this, I've never had to repair a partition that appears completely gone before. Other than this, you might be out of luck. Your only choices are disk recovery software or a data recovery specialist (if whatever on that disk is that important to you). There should be plenty of software out there that will recover a bad partition - Although I can't give you any suggestions. Perhaps someone else will fill in this gap for you or even have some better suggestions.
  5. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    Recovery software won't help if it can't find the drive. Lost and Found however, runs runs from a set of floppy disks and must be run in raw DOS mode, so it might be able to find the drive.

    Another thing you might want to check is the power to the drive, try switching the power connector if you have a free one, if not, you can check it with a meter. Better yet just open the case, boot up and listen for a sound from that drive. If it doesn't make any sounds, you either had a head crash, bad power connection or connector, or the drive may be dead.
  6. Ven0m

    Ven0m TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The Drive is getting power, the drive is spinning, the drive is being found in CMOS and in msdos. But it still cant be found in both OS. The drive that i have is only like 1.5 GIG. Its just to keep junk. But i have very precious stuff in there (CS updates ETC ETC MUSIC) so formating it and doing it again is gonna suck. Do you guys think if the drive manager fix DOESNT fix it, i can go into MS dos and copy all that stuff into another DRIVE, and then do the file system and partion over again?
  7. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    YES If you have access to the drive from DOS, you can copy the data to another drive.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    I find it hard to believe that DOS can read it, but Windows XP and 98 cannot. Are you actually able to copy files in DOS from that drive, or does it just show the drive without any contents?
  9. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    Are you sure it is showing that drive and not another drive?

    Your drive letters will change when one is removed, like this:


    if you Remove the HDD2

  10. Ven0m

    Ven0m TS Rookie Topic Starter

    oh damnit. This stupid thing just gets freakier.

    Ok..here is what is going on now.

    I put that drive as my primary master, and i got my boot disk and booted into dos

    I started fdisk, and instead of it giving me a FAT16 it now says "non-dos"

    WTF? Could i get that back to FAT16 and get my files back? Or am i screwed?
  11. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    Look for the program I mentioned, Lost and Found, I'm not sure if it is still being produced but I'm sure you can find a copy.
    It is run from three floppy disks. Just put the disks back like they were and boot into dos, load Lost and found, it will lead you through the rest of the recovery procedure.
  12. Ven0m

    Ven0m TS Rookie Topic Starter

    oo0o...thank you. Illl start a search right now. Ill see if it works in bringing back my files.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    Like I said, the reason it is doing this is because your partition is unrecognizable. Your file system is corrupted and your computer can no longer read the data that's still on the disk. I'm pretty sure most (if not all) of your data is still on that disk, it is just in an unreadable format.

    Try looking for some partition recovery utilities.
  14. mijan

    mijan TS Rookie

    If it all fails and you have important stuff on your drive then try these people they are good at recovering data from any drive, www.computer-recovery.com
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