Build a PC Recover data from dead HD and dump on to external hard drive

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Ok, a few weeks ago, I got enraged with my laptop ( Fuj-Siem Amilo Pro) and thumped it with my hand (right near the lower center - presumably where the hard drive is?) and well, it froze up -after reboot and I got some BSOD(blue screen of death) message.. Anyways, I ran the recovery console, recovered about 70% of my files with chkdsk /r (after 21 hours!) and though it did not complete, it still rebooted and I was able to boot windows and use my computer.. so, after two days of successful startups, I was trying to repair and re-install the files that were not recovered, (like MS office stuff, Itunes, etc) when it froze - and I waited for 25 minutes before I had no choice but to turn off at the mains.. I turned the power back on when I got a "disk read error press alt ctrl etc" and have sincxe tried everything you can do in recovery console to sort it; fixmbr, fixboot, chkdsk ( said it was fine) chkdsk /r/p - every command relative to the situation when running the recovery console before, the DOS recognized my windows installation ( C: 1Windows) now it just says C:> or something like that.

I went to buy an external hard rive USB ( Maxtor 120GB) and want to know how I can get the files on this USB drive. I need to get that DATA back - and the Recovery console is not going to repair again - (stays a 6% for 24 hours) and I just want to get this stuff off somehow onto the HDD.


Posts: 97   +0
try getting your hands on a 'live cd' like Ubuntu or something.

you have to boot your system from the disc, usually by pressing an 'f' key as soon as you press the power button (on my tosh its f12). then select boot from cd, instead of from the hard drive.

you will probably need to have your external drive attached before you start in order for the 'live OS' to recognise it.

then you should be able to view and perhaps even copy your files to the external hdd. you should even be able to format the original hard drive from here too, then you can re-install windows.

lastly try an anger management course. this really was a bit of a rookie error, wasn't it?


Posts: 6,429   +186
Here's some thoughts on other approaches you may find helpful

1. If need be you can always buy an external drive enclosure, remove the internal drive and insert into the enclosure. This (i think) should at least make the volume accessible on a working computer (if you had access to a friend;s) so you could copy or edit or try recovering the data on it.

2. Acronis Disk Director. 15day free trial as well. Download to a friends computer and create the rescue media and burn to CD. Now boot from the Acronis Disk Director CD and see if you can't recover or fix files/files system with the Acronis tool.

3. Acronis True Image. again 15day free trial. Again download to a friend's computer and burn a True Image rescue CD. I think you should be able to boot from CD and the do a sector-by-sector backup of the disk to another external disk. You can then work on recovering the data from external backup.
Thanks guys for the tips - and yes, anger management lessons are forthcoming... (*deep sigh*)

Apologies for being quite computer dumb here, but I have a few stupid questions.

1. I have my girlfriends Mac (which i am on now) sitting next to this corpse of a computer. Would I be able to do anything with the innards of this Mac to help? ( I assume not - but you never know..) or anything i can do with the MAC to help ( besides pour over forum after forum with 1000 different suggestions to fix this?)

2. I have a CD that came with the Maxtor HD that is a rescue type cd that has knoppix on it? Would this help? at all?

3. I have hooked up the USB drive - and booted up the OEM windows CD/recovery thing and wanted to see if it read the ext. HD for possbile installation (which it does) however, it is located on the the D drive? And it seems to be part of the same partition as the old dead one ( which is listed as C partition 1 (unknown) because if i want to install windows it says that all the data will be owerwritten.( says: " drive c is unformatted, damaged, or formatted with a file system that is incompatible with windows xp etc.) How do I seperate the two partitions on one drive so i can install windows on the good USB drive without erasing the data on the dead one? ( do i take out the old HD - and then put it back in when I have installed windows again?) note: in the RC, when i typed in the dir command - it said : an error occurred during the directory enumeration)

Could I do a fresh install on this USB hd so I can copy and burn programs out there to help me recover the stuff on the old drive? I could go to friends a burn the program someone mentioned - but as far as using there inner machines to fix mine: They are more computer dumb than me - but have the sense not to let me mess up theirs.

I will probably have to take it in to PC world to have them fix it, though I dont want to shell out more money than I have to. I hope there is a easier way that I can do it myself to avoid this.


Posts: 97   +0
i think we're on the right track but its still a bit confusing.:confused:

1) MAC. Yes, if you have access to another computer, whatever flavour it is, you should be able to use that to do 'something' with the sick drive.

2) I kinda get the feeling you're talking about installing windows on the maxtor and running it from there. well, that will only work if your bios on the sick machine will allow booting from USB (still an option, albeit a bit cumbersome).

3) i would really suggest doing what 'LookinAround' suggested. buy an external drive enclosure, remove the internal drive and insert into the enclosure, thus making it an external, USB accessible, hard drive. but in reality you can just buy a cable without the fancy enclosure.

but the basic principle here is to take the hard-drive out of the sick machine, and make accessible from another machine. then you can muck about with partitions, format it, whatever.
Ok, update....

I took out the sick hard drive and am taking outside steps to try and recover the data.. meanwhile, I installed windows on the maxtor external USB, (because I would like to have a working system in the meantime.) everything went fine with the installation.. my bios is configured to boot USB device/storage, the windows xp screen comes on and looks like its going to load windows, and then I get a BSOD error STOP 0x000007B. It says to check for viruses and disconnect any new hardware. I have done several things from the RC like FIXBOOT, FIXMBR, CHKDSK, the usual stuff.. it just wont load windows up.. I am fed up with using this old crappy mac and just want my XP back. I dont think I have a boot problem or virus because my computer will boot the knoppix live cd, and windows etc, but, maybe I do? I did something in the RC "enable service_boot_start" it did say "it appears the system registry does not appear to have controlset key. the system registry may be damaged." then its says to try "last known configuration" etc. and then below that it says "the registry entry for the service_boot_start was found. the service is missing the start value key.(?) the system registry may be damaged??

can anyone shed any light on getting this sorted? I appreciate the advice so far, I paid 40quid for this maxtor and want to use it as a temporary drive for now

. My bios setttings for boot are : USB storage disk, CD/ROM.

Do i have to do anything else in the BIOS? its primary is none and is set to auto and is a phoenix bios..

Please Help!


Posts: 97   +0
i think you'd save yourself a bit of time and a few grey hairs by forgetting about trying to run xp from an external source via usb. but i just wonder if you formatted it to NTFS before you installed windows on it?

personally, i would just try working on the problem with the sick HDD and getting it going again.

this is how i would go:

1) delete windows off the maxtor.

2) put the sick drive back in the laptop

3) plug in your maxtor

4) boot some live cd like ubuntu or whatever

5) see if you can view the files on the sick HDD

6) if you can, copy what you need to the maxtor

7) use tools on live cd to format sick disk, deleting everything and formatting to ntfs

8) reinstall windows ... done

if it wont format the disk in-situ you'll have to connect it as an external drive as previously discussed, by getting a cable or an enclosure.. cheap as.

i would be just buying a new hard drive anyway. install it in your laptop, install windows, and then if you can recover anything from your old one with a cable or an enclosure then good work.

if you cant get anything back, you'll have a nice shiny new HDD in your laptop which works.

and how cheap are they these days..
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