Welcome to the updated Slickdeals redesign beta. Learn more and give us feedback. Or, return to the classic view.

Search in
Forum Thread

Is my HDD dead?

Initial Z 92 August 28, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Hi guys. I have been having major troubles with a new computer I built recently. I think I fixed most of them at the moment, but somewhere along the lines... I think my HDD might have died. It is a 2TB Seagate "green" drive I have been using for storage for several years now.

Let me list my current parts:
i5-2500k
Z77 mobo
GTX 560 Ti
Corsair CX600 PSU
2x4 GB DDR3
120 GB Agility 3 SSD (OS)
2 TB Seagate HDD (Storage)
Windows 7 64-bit

So I had this drive for years without any problems. The new computer I built had been freezing on me daily. I flashed the motherboard to the latest BIOS and have not had the freezing since. It only took me a month or more to realize the BIOS would have fixed it.

Anyway let me describe what happened to my HDD. One time after a freeze, Windows had to run chkdsk on startup to fix my HDD. Another time after a freeze, Windows failed to boot. I ended up moving the HDD onto my old computer where Windows was able to run chkdsk and fix the drive again. I put the HDD back into my new computer then shortly after, I got a BSOD saying there was a hardware problem/malfunction. Windows failed to boot again until I removed the HDD. I put the HDD into my old computer, hoping chkdsk would fix it again. Nope, Windows would not boot on my old computer this time. I got an external HDD and put my 'broken' HDD into the enclosure and plugged it into my computer after loading Windows. After the drivers were installed, I was notified that my HDD (both partitions) were not formatted and asked if I wanted to format... I entered 'no.'

I then tried manually running chkdsk on the HDD. I went to start menu and typed "chkdsk :L /F" (drive letter was :L, /F is supposed to be for automatically fix errors). Chkdsk ran for a minute or two, but it didn't seem to do anything as I could still not access the drive afterwards. I tried a different method of running chkdsk, by opening an elevated command prompt and typing the same thing "chkdsk :L /F". It gave me an error saying "the type of this system is RAW" and wasn't able to run.

I then tried a recovery program called ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery). While trying to scan my HDD (still via external/usb) for errors or whatnot, the program was constantly "not responding." I read somewhere that even though it was "not responding" it was actually running, albeit very slowly.. and it seemed to be the case. Anyhow, I left it to run for a few hours while I stepped out, and when I returned I got a BSOD...

I am kind of stuck now as to what to do. The drive is still under warranty, but my data is still on the drive. I don't think there is anything super important on it, but there may be some stuff on it I don't necessarily want other people to see if I send it back under warranty.. I'm here to look for advice on how to possibly repair it or at least extract/wipe data from it.

41 Comments

1 2 3

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

Helen Reddy, standing by
1,485 Reputation
#31
From whichever point on the disk on it looks bad, really bad. Can we tell if these IO errors are physical? Physical errors will cause the reformat to lock up most likely.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#32
Quote from menace33 View Post :
From whichever point on the disk on it looks bad, really bad. Can we tell if these IO errors are physical? Physical errors will cause the reformat to lock up most likely.
Yeah..
In fact, the offer to format may appear in the menu, but that doesn't mean that it can do it.
Considering how badly messed up this drive is, I somehow doubt that it could be successfully formatted, then used for an extended period of time, before it cracks up again.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
L5: Journeyman
92 Reputation
Original Poster
#33
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
You can definitely get better results by plugging the HD straight into the mobo, rather than through a USB port.
Any hard drive that is giving me a hard time, gets plugged in that way.
There is no reason left to not format it, IMO.
The caveat is to know if the HD can be trusted after that.
When used for an OS, a bad HD is bound to show that it is problematic, withing a day or two, depending on how bad it is.
You can test the drive in various fashions, and get good results after having freshly formatted it, but that doesn't mean that it won't soon fail.
In short, until it's been tested for a week, successfully running an OS with no glitches, it isn't to be trusted as a data drive.
When I have a drive like that, I often use it just for temporary stuff, like I want to move 100 gigs from 1 computer to another, or bring a movie collection to a friend's house, stuff like that, but never using it as an exclusive storage device. Do you know what I mean?
If it can survive a week of running an OS, then and only then, could you start to trust it.
Yeah, the problem was that Windows won't boot with the HDD plugged in. So I had to use USB or hot plug, which was what I tried just a few minutes ago... and the result is that Windows does not detect the drive? It did say Windows was able to install the drivers for the HDD, but it does not appear on my computer anywhere.

Anyway, I definitely understand there are huge problems with the HDD so it will definitely be sent back to Seagate under warranty. I will try a format to see if it is able to allow me to at least access the HDD with these data recovery programs. I've been able to recover a little bit of data previously many years ago from a hard drive that was formatted.. so I'm hoping for the same here.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#34
Before you attempt to format, try to make a backup image of the hard drive. See: http://www.runtime.org/gdbimage.htm for an example. There are ways of doing similar things with other tools you may already have. I think GetDataBack's imaging option will work in the demo or on their live linux cd [runtime.org] before you register / buy the product. You want to be pretty particular about how you try to create a backup image of the drive, do some homework.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#35
Quote from RockySosua :
You can definitely get better results by plugging the HD straight into the mobo, rather than through a USB port.
Any hard drive that is giving me a hard time, gets plugged in that way.
Quote from Initial Z View Post :
Yeah, the problem was that Windows won't boot with the HDD plugged in. So I had to use USB or hot plug, which was what I tried just a few minutes ago... and the result is that Windows does not detect the drive? It did say Windows was able to install the drivers for the HDD, but it does not appear on my computer anywhere.
Windows not booting when a new HD is plugged in could mean the BIOS had reset the boot order, and it's necessary to go into the BIOS setup to put the original HD at the head of the line.

It seems your computer detects the external HD's USB-SATA interface but not the HD connected to that interface, which could indicate a bad drive inside the external enclosure.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#36
have you try stand by the computer, connect HDD, wake up computer.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
L5: Journeyman
92 Reputation
Original Poster
#37
Quote from jkee View Post :
Before you attempt to format, try to make a backup image of the hard drive. See: http://www.runtime.org/gdbimage.htm for an example. There are ways of doing similar things with other tools you may already have. I think GetDataBack's imaging option will work in the demo or on their live linux cd [runtime.org] before you register / buy the product. You want to be pretty particular about how you try to create a backup image of the drive, do some homework.
Thanks, if you had to choose one program to create a backup image, which would you choose? What would be an alternative?

Quote :
have you try stand by the computer, connect HDD, wake up computer.
Nope, but this sounds like a decent idea I'll have to try.

Probably going to wait till next weekend before I play with this again.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

#38
Quote from Initial Z View Post :
Thanks, if you had to choose one program to create a backup image, which would you choose? What would be an alternative?
I'd probably use ddrescue [gnu.org] in linux (known as gddrescue in some distros) if I were looking for a free tool. Note ddrescue is not the same as dd_rescue or dd_rhelp the newer ddrescue supersedes these tools in most cases. These tools can take a VERY long time to run and are usually working even if there appears to be minimal activity.

I'd try to see if you can resolve the error message you got in spinrite. 2TB is not a specific enough description of the size. You should see a much more specific (byte/block level) description of the size. It's possible this disparity is the result of all the bad sectors. Try running TestDisk to rebuild the partition table. http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Again, all of these tools will function a little better if the problem disk is attached directly to the sata connectors on the motherboard. I would personally avoid doing much of this in windows, I would tend to boot off a linux live disc.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#39
wonderful! your descriptions also brilliant. in my opinion i believe that your HDD will work again.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#40
As an update, to this thread I can no longer recommend spinrite as of version 6.0 the "current" version released in 2004! It just doesn't handle larger drives right nor newer computer bios properly. I'm sorry you wasted you time with it OP. It had been a long time since I last used it and just suffered some data loss of my own and spinrite was useless. I'm seriously lamenting the limited depth of my back up scheme.

IMHO, ddrescue (gnu version not dd_rescue) on a linux live disc (like www.sysresccd.org) is THE best bet for emergency data recovery off a failing hard drive.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
L5: Journeyman
92 Reputation
Original Poster
#41
Ok guys, I'm back again. I haven't touched my hard drive for weeks now, but I have a new idea that I don't know if it would work or not.

The Master Boot Record (MBR). Does this have anything to do with my hard drive? Here is what I still think, that my data is still all there, I just can't access it for whatever reason. I was hoping that it's a MBR issue that can be fixed.. but I'm still trying to figure that out.

So I still don't understand fully what the MBR is, but in my mind, it's something that allows Windows to recognize your hard drive, and interact with it. The question is, does a drive that does not have Windows installed on it have an MBR? I would think all drives have this?

I tried using this guide to repair MBRs: http://www.ehow.com/how_4836283_r...ndows.html
But I think it's assuming that the drive contains Windows 7. Just as a reminder, my faulty drive was a storage drive. I tried doing this repair on my old computer with only the faulty drive installed. So basically, I had no idea what I was doing, or if it would work, but I did it anyway, and nothing happened. So I want to ask you guys here for some advice.

- First, do all drives have an MBR?
- Can I fix the damaged MBR on my hard drive? Do I do something like the guide I linked?
- Do you guys think the MBR is the issue here? Or is my hard drive just dead?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#42
The MBR is the Master Boot Record.
All it does is tell Windows to start up.
That is to say that the bios comes first, then it hands it over to the MBR that tells the OS to start up.
In other words, it has absolutely nothing to do with being able to access data on your drive.
For instance, an external hard drive, has no MBR, but all the data is available.
Yes, you can fix the MBR, and no, it won't do anything for you.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Page 3 of 3
1 2 3
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Slickdeals Price Tracker
Saving money just got easier.
Start Tracking Today
Copyright 1999 - 2015. Slickdeals, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright / DMCA Notice  •  Privacy Policy  •  Terms of Service  •  Acceptable Use Policy (Rules)