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Is my hard drive dead?

Old 12-29-06, 09:27 AM
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Is my hard drive dead?

The skinny:

Last week on Thursday, I was cleaning my home office and moved my desktop tower from the floor to on top of the worktable. When I brought it up, I opened it, cleaned out as much dust as I could, and slid it into place. It's possible I jarred the machine a little bit, but I couldn't say with any certainty. Since then, the DVD drive has been acting a little funny, needing extra coaxing to read DVDs, if it wants to at all.

I cleaned out a bunch of spyware, did a disk cleanup and disk defragmentation on both the C: drive (master) and F: drive (slave), and installed MS Office Pro on the C: drive. Everything worked really well. Then on Friday night, I rebooted the system and I got this fun little blue screen message:

Checking file system on F:
The type of the file system is FAT32.
The volume is dirty.
Volume Serial Number is 0000-0F01
Windows is verifying files and folders...

Windows replaced bad clusters in file /video capture...etc.
After some online research, I let the scan run overnight, and it replaced three bad clusters, all video capture, all for the same video project. After the scan, I tried to access my F: drive (slave) but couldn't. The icon was still there, but a window popped up to say the drive wasn't formatted. Would I like to format now? No! I didn't want to lose my data. So I did a little online research on this, and ran a demo program on file recovery. The demo goes through to see what data can be recovered, and then I can buy the program ($69) to actually get the data.

However, now it says "F:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect."

And now, I'm stumped. Ideas?

Yes, I should have backed up my data. Yes, I am making a new plan to do so. Yes, I have learned a lesson. And YES, I would like to recover my data. Help, tips, and hugs are appreciated.
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Old 12-29-06, 10:49 AM
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I've used PC Inspector in the past with some success with recovering data. Its free, so it is worth a shot.

http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm

good luck
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Old 12-29-06, 11:16 AM
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Get Ultimate Boot CD. It has a lot of good, free tools. Run the HD diagnostic for whatever brand HD you have. There is also a tool "Salvation HDD Scan and Repair" under the HD Tools. It will scan the drive for bad clusters and attempt to salvage data/repair the disk. Your mfg specific HDD utitily have a similar tool.

If everything checks out, in XP-> Control Panel->Admin Tools-> Computer Management->Disk Management try assigning the volume a new drive letter. It's possible there is some conflict with the F: drive letter.

If you still can't access it, or it is not showing up as formated in Disk Manager, it's possible the partition table was corrupted. Run TestDisk from the Ultimate Boot CD, under Filesystem Tools. If your partition table was lost TestDisk may be able to find it and restore it, it will do 3 progressively more thorough scans to find old partition tables. If you have the drive formated as one big partition it should be easy to identify.
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Old 12-30-06, 04:10 PM
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As you are using a fat32 filesystem, Have you tried from DOS? maybe its a windows corruption.
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Old 01-01-07, 08:06 PM
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Try using live linux CD. I would go with PCLinuxOS. I'm using it now in fact. After using partition magic to resize some partitions, it manage ro screw up two of my partitons. Windows kept asking me to format. So I popped in the pclinuxos and saw that I could access the drives ok and read stuff off of it. I believe I watched a tv show I recorded and porn. Lucky for me everything was still there so I moved all the data to a new drive and reformated.

Now windows is still screwed but I can access the drives now. I was going to reinstall today but didn't. Don't really see the need to do so.
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Old 01-02-07, 08:06 AM
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BartPE is also a good bootup OS disc to use for repair/troubleshooting.
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