Does a hard drive crash ever have a silver lining? Mine did.

Anton Chigurh

Ultimate Badass
Joined
Feb 22, 2015
Messages
1,398
It's everyone's worst fear - total loss of a hard drive. Black screen of death.

Some background - I am on a computer I built in 2006. Yeah, Windoze XP.... But, love the damn thing. It's been a solid and 100 percent reliable, tough SOB. I've refused to "upgrade" and still do. I bitterly cling to my WinXP.

And of course like everyone else, my entire digital life is on it. And not just my leisure life - I do professional digital audio production. I have a in-home recording studio and I can do anything from session demos to full blown produced albums, radio spots, live remote recordings, create 100 percent computer generated music, everything. I use Samplitude.

Anyhow there I was Tuesday morning, firing up the system again like the thousands of times before - I turn it on as part of the drowsy morning routine, hit the switch then hit the beer fridge for a ice cold Dr. Pepper to take with me to the home theater to watch news and get woke up... Then usually later I go into the studio to start my digital day.

Well, Tuesday I walked in there and my screens were black, with only one little message on them:

Please choose a valid boot device.

There was nothing to do but shut it off and restart it, manually. Which, I did. And with the same result.

So the third time I restarted it, I hit F8 to see if it would let me choose the other hard drive to boot to, and yes it did. But shockingly - it didn't even know of the existence of the primary drive. It now thinks there is only one drive.

So, I shut it down again and opened the box up and checked all the connections. Everything was fine.

I put it all back together and fired it up again, hitting F8 so I could get it to boot to my other drive, and all was success - except this drive was not one I ever used much. All the important stuff was on the drive the computer now doesn't think, exists. I even tried to find it in the system, nothing. Like it's not even there.

In the BIOS it did show the existence of that drive, but now had it labelled as a unidentified removable storage device and had it listed as disabled with no option to enable. The sucker is just, dead.

SO.... I took this computer to my workbench and fired it up with the covers off, to see what's going on. The "dead" hard drive wasn't even spinning up, it was just humming and generating ALOT of heat - it had become essentially, a hot plate.

Hoping against hope, I called a friend who owns a computer repair store and who's been into computers since he was eight, and gave him my list of laments. He said it didn't sound promising, but he said he could do data recovery for me even if it meant sending this dead drive away, for the procedure.

So, I took this puppy in to his shop where we discussed how I would still wind up with Windows XP. No problem there. BUT...

I saw on his counter something I'd been reading about but had forgotten - Solid State Hard Drives. No discs, no motors, no moving parts at all. 150GB for 50 bucks. Can I use this with XP, I asked.

You bet, was the answer. And XP loves these. I use them and XP on all my shop computers here, fastest computers on the planet, he said.

So, here I am with my old/new computer already home and installed, with the SSHD kicking it, and data recovery in progress for my old hard drive - he stuck it in his deep freeze and froze it and was able to get it running for the time needed to recover all the data.

Ok, early review of the SSHD - wonderful. I have never seen a computer boot up this fast. But then after the bootup, it also operates greasy fast. Everything happens NOW with it... Everything runs blazingly fast, every program without exception. Even processor intensive ones like video editing and audio production, run faster now.

So, two days in and so far I am very happy and with my data coming home soon, I call it a WIN and a scary, sad and bad bad story with a silver lining. And if you've really read all this and come this far, my hat is off to you.

Anyone else have a similar horror story to share?
 

Hentai

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 27, 2014
Messages
166
One of my coworkers had a HDD that died. It worked when frozen but died once again as it warmed up. There was no way it could run to recover all the data on the drive and still remain cold and his freezer stops working if the door didn't form a complete seal. His solution? He wrapped the HDD in a plastic bag and taped it with the cord sticking out. Then he put the bag/HDD in a small bucket of water and froze it solid overnight. He encased the HDD in ice and that kept the drive cold enough to keep working till all the data could be recovered. The HDD died permanently immediately after.
 

lordi

Adherent
Joined
Oct 9, 2011
Messages
321
My personal experience

When HDD almost failed, most of them give us warning, like failed SMART test, weird sound, bad sector detected and slow response
When I notice one of them, then backup is the first thing I do, I have bought 5 external hdd to backup :p

SSD, still expensive for me, so right now only internal HDD with lot externall hdd for backup :whistle:
 

Buriwuh

Neophyte
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
9
One of three partitions is missing on my disk. How can I restore it?
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,741
One of three partitions is missing on my disk. How can I restore it?
It depends on the operating system and how the partition was lost.

As a general rule the first step to prevent further data loss is to stop performing all operations on the drive.

The next step is determined by the operating system and the value of lost data. Windows for example contains command line tools for partition recovery. Regardless of the operating system there are commercial tools that will make the process easier although these should be used with extreme caution because it's just as easy to destroy the entire drive.

If the lost data is of any real value to you I'd recommend taking the drive to a professional.
 

Buriwuh

Neophyte
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
9
It depends on the operating system and how the partition was lost.

As a general rule the first step to prevent further data loss is to stop performing all operations on the drive.

The next step is determined by the operating system and the value of lost data. Windows for example contains command line tools for partition recovery. Regardless of the operating system there are commercial tools that will make the process easier although these should be used with extreme caution because it's just as easy to destroy the entire drive.

If the lost data is of any real value to you I'd recommend taking the drive to a professional.
I have already copied all the necessary data from other partitions of the disk. My PC is running Windows 10. A preliminary analysis of the disk showed damage to one of the partitions. My friends recommend using Rekuva or Partition Recovery for data recovery. I understand that I will have to connect the drive to another PC and scan with this software.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,699
You’ll need to use software that is fully functional else you cant recover all the files. Install software on a pc that you can use attach the corrupt harddrive to it and scan the drive. The software should guide you in restoring the hdd. If you have the option restore the files on another drive this will go slow but it the best way. You will need to watch what is going on with recovery but it should work if not and you have important files on drive contact a data recovery business it will cost more but they can do much more. Also note not to use the drive anymore because it cant be trusted.
 
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