Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

Disk drive may be failing or my disk won't boot

Many times before a hard drive goes completely bad there are tell tale signs. If you can recognize them, there is a good chance that the data on the drive can be saved. The window of time in which action will be useful is quite small. Other than trying to fix the problem do not use the failing computer disk as you can just make the problem worse.
What are the signs to look out for? While there are few surefire signs of impending disk failure there are some warning signals that give us the hint. Watch out for: disappearing files, very long wait while accessing files, files/folders whose contents appear to be strangely scrambled, reoccurring error messages while moving/copying/deleting/creating files, and strange but frequent crashes of your OS. If your computer will not boot saying that it cannot find the boot disk or other messages similar, the boot sector may be corrupt.
Another telltale sign is any loud, low, irregular, clicking, or grinding sound which is emitted from the drive. This is the worst problem as your data and the disk are almost gone.
What to do? Download on a friends computer and create a bootable CD from one of these manufactures: Seatools from Seagate, the Data Lifeguard tools from Western Digital or Drive Fitness Tool from Hitachi.

  • You must use a CD burning program (such as Nero Burning Rom or EZ-CD Creator) to burn a CD from the .ISO image.

Using the CD, boot the problem system. Make sure the BIOS is set to boot from the CD drive first, not the hard disk. Follow the manufactures instructions to test your disk. Do not let the program write all zeros to the disk or format the disk as you will loose all your data.
With luck, the program will repair any corrupt indexes.
Remove the CD and attempt to do a normal boot. If you can then boot into your desktop, immediately backup any data as the fix may be short lived.
If you don't have a CD drive, then you'll need to try using a bootable USB which is another topic.

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How do I recover the files on a broken hard drive?

Depending on why the drive failed, it may not be possible unless you want to spend some serious money and send the drive into a company that specializes in data recovery.

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The drive feels hot and there is no led light

Enitrely possible that this HDD has been fried or has just simply stopped reading even if the motor spins the discs the heads may not be working and the return magnet for the arm may be working on the disc causing friction.

One tip is to but the drive in the Freezer in a zip lock bag over night and try again in the morning if this doesn't work then nothing will.

"While this method won't magically fix whatever is wrong with your computer, it can get your hard drive working long enough for you to recover important data before it gives up the ghost for good. This generally works best when the drive is making a tell-tale clicking sound caused by overheated metal parts that have expanded. Freezing the hard drive cools and shrinks the metal so the drive will mount properly and run long enough (hopefully) for you to copy your files to another source."

If you have data on this drive then it will cost £100's of pounds to get the data off.

Sorry for the bad news but this has happen to me in the past there is no substitute for backing up to optical media all those files that you can't afford to loose.


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Well you should have gone in and marked the sectors that you think are bad, by formatting it odds are you wiped the data off it, you can try a low level recover but I dont think your going to find much. Sorry format means format.

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Hey Glennlamp,

If it is just starting to fail, you can certainly salvage as much as you can before complete failure. Is it still recognized by the computer, copy as much data off as possible. If it is not recognized (already failed) you may have a bad enclosure. If the enclosure is bad, perhaps you can take it apart and hook up the drive as a slave in your computer. This will truly tell you if the drive is going bad or it was the enclosure. If the drive truly is bad, your only recourse is to send it in to get the data recovered by a data recovery company (plan on spending at least $300-$1000).

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could u tell how to recovery my hard disk

Hey , data recovery is not difficult for normal data loss problem, but if the hard drive is damaged, then the first thing you need to pay attention to is fixing the hard drive.
But you need to notice that after fixing the hard drive, all the files are gone and it seems like it is a new hard drive. At this moment, don't put any new files into the drive 'cause if this happens, you will meet data overwritten situation and if this happens, the chance of data recovery will be reduced.
You can check more details in this post:

Mac Hard Drive File Recovery Recover Files from Formatted Mac Hard Drive

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