Recovering a dead harddrive... almost


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Thread: Recovering a dead harddrive... almost

  1. #1
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    Recovering a dead harddrive... almost

    I have a harddrive that is almost completely shot. I want to make a Raw bit-by-bit copy of it to another drive. I tried using this:
    dd if=/dev/hdb of=img

    But, about 2Gigs into the copy, the harddrive made a "click - spin-up" sound, as though it was reseting itself. It appears that can no longer access the drive after it 'resets' itself. I have to reboot the system to be able to access the drive again.

    Please give me any suggestions on LiveCD's or tools I might use to get the data?

    EDIT:
    It's a WesternDigital if that matters.

  2. #2
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    try dd_rescue, there is a wrapper script to help with it too

    once you have an image which will most likely be full of partial and corrupted files if the drive is really that bad, you can use tools like testdisk and photorec to recover as many whole files as possible

  3. #3
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    Another useful trick would be to add conv=noerror to your dd command. This will help dd to skip read/seek errors (hopefully) and with any luck you'll just have NULL spots in files that failed the read.
    "There's a big difference between "copy" and "use". It's exatcly the same
    issue whether it's music or code. You can't re-distribute other peoples
    music (becuase it's _their_ copyright), but they shouldn't put limits on
    how you personally _use_ it (because it's _your_ life)."

    --Linus Torvalds

  4. #4
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    also do this. if the drive is bad it sometimes helps to freeze it for a few hours in the freezer. put it in a sealed bag. then plug it in after its chill . this will usually let you have enought time to extract the data i have done it before when my drive had bad sectors on it and it worked fine
    "Software is like sex: it's better when its free."
    -LINUS TORVALDS

  5. #5
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    that trick only works on head crashes though, if there is something wrong in the controller or motor that wont do much

  6. #6
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    My uncle runs a PC repair center and I asked him about it. He said get the exe tools from the Western Digital website:
    http://support.wdc.com

    And recover the data with a Microsoft system.

    That means I would actually have to install a Microsoft OS...

    I'm not so eager to do that because my beliefs have always been, especially when it comes to low-level stuff, anything MS can do - Linux can do better. I'm sort of in doubt now, but I don't know if these tools can really help me or not.

    Anyone have experience with Manufacturer specific harddrive tools?

  7. #7
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    Not sure for Western Digital but in Maxtor they provide both images for a bootable floppy and a bootable CD. The latter run a lot faster.

    I wouldn't have thought a hard drive manufacturer would be silly enough to demand its disk to be connected to a working PC for diagnostic/repair. Come to think of it there have been many reports that you can use any hard disk manufacturer's software for such a purpose. I certainly have used Maxtor software on all my disks but not for repair purpose. Don't think the software could fix the disk. It just reports the problem and works as a diagnostic tool.

    I have tried the freezer approach and had it worked on one disk but not another. The clicking noise sounds a head crash to me though and so the less frequent use of it may be better for the recovery.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
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  8. #8
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    Also, if anyone has info on getting data off the drive, even if the BIOS doesn't recognize it, that would be appreciated.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice, Saikee. Just before you posted I removed the drive from my system completely until I decide which route I will choose.

  10. #10
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    Hi, Sepero.

    The Ultimate Boot CD has a large number of diagnostic tools, including many hard disk vendor tools.

    Good luck ... cheers, hotcold

    http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/index.html
    [ "Sure, I can help you with that." -- USBank voice recognition system. ]
    ( Mn, 2.6.11-x1, AMD-64 3000+, ASUS A8V Deluxe, 1 GB, SATA + IDE, Matrox G400 AGP )

  11. #11
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    I second the Ultimate Boot CD, it's a great disk but you will have to to know Linux AND DOS to be able to use it to it's full potential...it really is a wonderful disk (helped me track down a problem with a bad MB when all the symptoms said it was bad memory )

  12. #12
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    yeah Ultimate boot cd is my fav tool to use
    that trick only works on head crashes though, if there is something wrong in the controller or motor that wont do much
    well it worked on my bad hardrive whcih was a motor problem the drive spun and clicked . it wasnt a bad head crash .
    "Software is like sex: it's better when its free."
    -LINUS TORVALDS

  13. #13
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    that really doesnt make much sense if you have a clue as to what the freezer trick is actually doing, but more power to you

  14. #14
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    Ok, decided on what to do: use the tools from Western Digital. I found out they offer a LiveCD of their recovery tools.
    1. I downloaded the CD.
    2. I burned the CD.
    3. I booted the CD.
    4. I read the instructions on the CD. (Which is almost NONE)
    5. The recovery tools said that if I want to copy from a NTFS partition, I must copy to an NTFS partition. And if I want to copy from a FAT partition, I must copy to a FAT partition. There were no other options for partition copying.
    6. I need a bit-by-bit copy... I placed the freshly burned CD in the garbage.

  15. #15
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    I think the freezer trick is to cool the unit down to work at a lower temperature. The components inside have to obey the law of physics and must all shrink slightly. It may be just enough to "tighten" a worn out motor bearing to get it back to the correct tolerance or something like that.

    I am not an expert on this at all but it is just a matter to placing a hdd in a temperature significantly lower than the normal operaing condition. The user is supposed to get the information out as quickly as possible before the unit is warmed up to the normal working temperature again.
    Linux user started Jun 2004 - No. 361921
    Using a Linux live CD to clone XP
    To install Linux and keep Windows MBR untouched
    Adding extra Linux & Doing it in a lazy way
    A Grub menu booting 100+ systems & A "Howto" to install and boot 145 systems
    Just cloning tips Just booting tips A collection of booting tips

    Judge asked Linux "You are being charged murdering Windoze by stabbing its heart with a weapon, what was it?" Replied Linux "A Live CD"

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