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Hard Drive recovery problems/questions

By kp616 ยท 9 replies
May 27, 2009
  1. Hi everyone,

    I am new to the this message board and am looking for solutions or advice in recovering data from a crashed laptop's hard drive. Here is where I'm at currently:

    My laptop will no longer boot (as it has done before) and last time I encountered this problem, I went to BestBuy and bought the RocketFish hard drive enclosure kit. I was able to remove the HD from my laptop and use the enclosure kit to successfully recover all files and put them on a different computer. Then I put the HD back into the crashed laptop and reformatted the drive, problem solved.

    This time around, I am going through the same process but when I try to access the drive I am unable to do so. I have the RocketFish enclosure with the crashed laptop's HD in the enclosure and connected to another laptop to extract the files I wish to recover before I reformat the HD. I try to access the files by going to "My Computer" and then clicking on "Local Disk (E:)". I then try to click on "My Documents" and get the following message: E:\My Documents is not accessible. Incorrect function".

    Anyone encounter the same trouble or issue? Any advice on how to access these files I need to recover? Also, is there anyway I can use the Windows recovery disks to fix or reformat this drive without erasing all the files? Thank you for your help!
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 991   +38

    Hello KP... A few questions for you...
    1. "Will no longer boot" - What does this mean exactly?
    2. You recovered files, reformatted and reused the old drive before...
    Did you use chkdsk, or other drive utilities to check for and repair errors?
    What was the nature of the previous failure? (Malware? Hardware Failure? Something else?)
    3. It sounds like "Explorer/File Manager" can see your "E drive", but cannot navigate to the "My Documents" folder/subdirectory of the "E drive"?

    My initial guess is that you have bad sectors that are preventing "Windows File Manager / Explorer" from finding the directory.
    If this is the case, one of the gurus may have an answer for you,
    (Whether one of the Tales from the Toolroom articles by Albert Lionhart, or something else?)

    At this point, my best answer for you is to stop using the drive at all, until you have a defined strategy for recovery.
    Further use is likely to cause further damage and make the recovery more difficult, if it is not already beyond reach.
  3. kp616

    kp616 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply.

    1) When I mentioned that the system will no longer boot, the computer will turn on but during windows start up (about 10 seconds after I hit the power on button on the computer) the screen goes blank (all black) and remains that way.

    2) I have not used chkdsk or any other drive utilities to check for and repair errors...but I was told that by running chkdsk, there is a good chance in erasing all my data during that process. Is that true? I am not familiar with how to run chkdsk.

    3) Yes that is precisely the problem... When I navigate to "My Computer" I can see and access the external hard drive, E: But I'm not able to access any of my documents and receive that failure message previously listed, "E:\My Documents is not accessible. Incorrect function".

    Since my original post, I tried to perform a repair installation using the Windows installation disk. I used michaelstevenstech.com site to help me through the process. Just as mentioned in the help guide on that site, the repair ("R") was not an option during Windows setup. I exited the setup and the computer automatically tried to reboot (which of course didn't work). The screen remained blank like every attempt before and then the following message appeared on the screen:

    "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\AppPatch\drvmain.sdb"

    Any advice? Thanks!
  4. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    There are a number of Boot CD solutions that will allow you to retrieve files from the drive if it is still possible. You will need an external USB flash drive or hard drive to save your files. Make sure you enable USB Legacy in your BIOS so that your USB drive is recognized outside of windows. There are many but here is one Paragon Rescue Kit Express and it is free
  5. kp616

    kp616 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    gguerra, thanks for the reply.

    I have several questions:

    I have been trying to access the files from the bad hard drive by removing it from the crashed laptop and using the Rocketfish HD enclosure kit and connecting it to my other working laptop. I put the bad HD that I'm trying to retrieve files from back into the crashed laptop. That is when I used the Windows installation cd to try and do a repair installation...so currently the bad HD is in its original crashed laptop.

    I was able to hit the F2 key during start up to access the BIOS but am not sure where the USB Legacy is located to enable it. Can you direct me to it? The bad laptop is a Dell Inspirion 1150 and has BIOS Version: A07 (not sure if that helps at all).

    Also, I'm not exactly sure how to use the Paragon Rescue kit in this situation. I have just downloaded it on my working laptop. Are you telling me to use the program on the crashed laptop while the bad HD is in there? If so, how can I do that? Or place the bad HD back in the Rocketfish enclosure and plug it back into my working laptop, and use the Paragon program that way? Sorry for my lack of experience, thanks for your patience.
  6. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    You need to create a bootable CD using the file you downloaded. You may need to go to a web site (which you will see) to obtain a serial number for the software (its free). Once you burn the CD you will then boot off of CD. Yes you need to leave the HD in the laptop, the legacy thing is so that the Rescue Kit will recognize the USB backup device. There may be other ways to do this such as backing up to CD/DVD instead of USB device. The legacy thing may already be enabled in the BIOS. Since there are many BIOS versions and manufacturers I cannot tell you exactly where that setting is. Look for something under USB settings or devices. If your laptop CD/DVD drive is also a burner you can backup to CD/DVD.
  7. kp616

    kp616 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    gguerra, thanks for the help.

    I followed your advice and was able to create a bootable CD with the Paragon Rescue program. I inserted that into the laptop that I'm trying to fix and booted from CD. I tried to boot Paragon Normally and it did not work because I did not have enough "video memory"??? (I believe that is what it said). I then tried booting Paragon in safe mode and it worked. I was able to access the file transfer wizard and view some of the documents on the hard drive, but I still cannot access the "My Documents" or "My Pictures" folders. When trying to do so I get the Error message from the Paragon program saying "Hard disk 0: I/O fault!".

    Know what this message means or have any advice, thanks!
  8. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    You never actually mentioned what version of windows you were using. Assuming you are on XP What folder are you looking under to find "My Documents" under C: Drive. It usually is under
    Documents and Settings, (user name), My Documents
    (user name) would be the same name you use to login to windows. If you dont know the name it will probably be Administrator. If you cannot access these files/folder then try another folder. It could be your hard drive developed bad sectors in that area and truly cannot access it OR it could be the drive itself having problems, I do not know it's hard to say. If it is a case of bad sectors then a chkdsk /r would recover whatever sectors it could and could give you access to at least some of your data. (Not guaranteed in any case) and do it as a last resort. You run chkdsk by booting Windows XP CD, going to recovery console and doing it there. As for not enough video memory, sometimes you can change that from the BIOS and assign your video card more memory (will decrease RAM size but increase video memory). Its just a matter of trying different things. There are ways to run some diagnostics on the drive as well, but that is another story.
  9. kp616

    kp616 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry I didn't mention before, but yes I am using Windows XP. I also am trying to access "My Documents" through "Documents and Settings", but it displays the "access denied" error message. I went ahead and ran diagnostic tests and received the error code "1000 - 0146". I looked up that error code and everything I found on it was not good! I called Dell support and the person I spoke with said that the error code "1000 - 0146" means that there is a bad sector on the hard drive and the success rate of retrieving data from the HD is less than 1%, unless I send the drive to a data recovery service. Any experience with this error code or has anyone had a similiar problem? Thanks.
  10. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    Where did you get an "access denied" error?
    One bad sector is not much considering there are thousands of sectors on hard drives. Just the fact that you can access the drive is promising and means that not all is lost. The access denied error does not make sense since that usually has to do with rights and permissions. In any case there may be other ways to retrieve data from the drive.. This is the way I would handle it. I would try to connect the hard drive as a secondary/slave drive and copy the data. If that is not possible there are other ways.. The CHKDSK /R command I mentioned is designed to fix errors on the disk, it locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. You can do that from the recovery console. I've had situations where I had a drive that would not boot (BSOD), I did the CHKDSK /R and got it to boot. This has happened more than once. I dont think you would lose anything by trying it. and who knows you may even be able to boot from it, its worth a try.
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