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Windows 7: catastrophic hard drive problem

20 Apr 2014   #11
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post

-First off... how do I post a screenshot without having to use some photo hosting program? When I hit the image icon, it asks me for a URL ... I just want to upload it to the post directly.



Don't use a URL. Upload into the post.

I use "prtscrn" key near backspace key. That takes a shot of what's currently on screen and puts it in RAM. Then open your favorite photo editor. I use Photoshop, but any will do. Paste that stuff from RAM into a new file. Resize, crop, and save as jpg to your hard drive. To get it into this thread, start a reply and look for "go advanced" at the bottom of the screen. Then look for "manage attachments". You'll see an area on the left where you can browse to locate that jpg, then click upload to put it into the post.



-Luckily I do have a full backup of my system from about 2 weeks ago. ( I don't do incrementals) Not screwing anything up that will prevent Acronis recovery from recognizing my computer properly being able to restore that drive is the number 1 priority.

"backup of my system". Meaning what partitions? C partition only? I assume F is not backed up?



So bottom line it is critical if I have to replace this HD when I replace it... windows has to be able to name this the f:drive

You can assign any letter you want other than A, B, and C to any partition other than the one containing Windows. So this shouldn't be a problem. Just manually assign F to it through Windows Disk Management.

-My motherboard has like 6 Sata ports... but I don't know if you can just mix and match them. Can you plug any drive into any sata port? Just trying to rule out a bad port. But again, I don't want to do anything that will prevent Acronis from being able to recover my data from the backup.



You've got me confused: I did not think you had F backed up. Did you deliberately include the F partition when you last made an image with Acronis?

If you made an image file, on what drive did you store it? C? F? other?

I would not assume Acronis will work properly even if you did include F.

Those 6 ports probably equate to "Disk 0" through "Disk 5" when viewed in Windows Disk Management. Most likely, your current primary hard drive with the C partition is connected to a port that causes it to be shown as Disk 0. Take a look. It might be shown as Disk 1. Generally, yes, you can mix and match ASSUMING you have a SATA drive and a SATA cable, but it's preferable to keep the C drive as Disk 0. BUT BUT ports can fail. So, I'd temporarily connect the F drive to some other port on your motherboard as a test to see if maybe the currently used port has gone bad. If F is still not recognized, then test another port, then another.

Not all ports will operate at the same speed, but that's the least of your problems now. You need to confirm if ANY of your ports on your motherboard can see that F drive.

I don't do any port-swapping, so there is some chance you might have to change a BIOS setting to get some ports to work or work properly.

I'd certainly buy another SATA cable for $5 or less to rule out the 1 in 500 chance that you have a bad cable.

Last resort: go to your friend's PC.





My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Apr 2014   #12
harleynut97

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

yea, let me clarify.. regarding the drive set up... I've attached 2 screenshots

I also have an 3tb external harddrive... this drive is shown as G on the drive management screen. When I do my full backups using Acronis, I do the following...

Quote:
Did you deliberately include the F partition when you last made an image with Acronis?
I check the c partition, the d partition (the factory restore), if there is a system checkbox I check that as well, and then I check my F:drive. I select full backup, name the file and it is saved onto the external hardrive (G). I have created all of the special bootup discs they say you should do, and I have 2 full backups stored on my external drive.

I beg of you not send any bad mojo regarding my backups not being able to be restored I've lost a lot between now and the last backup (four weeks worth of work), but if i've lost the ability to recover my last backup... oh goodness I'm in a ungodly amount of trouble.

I always mess up when refering to partitions...but in terms of physical drives I have...

1) 1 tb internal Hitatchi ( I believe the c: and d partitions are on this physical drive
2) 2 tb internal Seagate (this is the drive that has vanashed and that holds all my data.
3) 3 tb external Western Digital mybook

The other attachment is my motherboard schematic. I think your right ... the c drive would be sata1 (that shows on bios as sata 0 if I remember right. and the missing drive is plugged into sata2 which shows up as sata 1 on the bios.


Attached Thumbnails
catastrophic hard drive problem-drivemanagement_screen.jpg  
Attached Images
catastrophic hard drive problem-motherboarddiagram.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #13
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post
When I do my full backups using Acronis, I do the following...

I check the c partition, the d partition (the factory restore) and then check my F:drive. I select full backup, name the file and it is saved onto the external hardrive (G). I have created all of the special bootup discs they say you should do, and I have 2 full backups stored on my external drive.


You check C, D, and F. But not System?

Are all 3 of those contained in a single image file? Or are they imaged separately?

Is it your opinion that you could restore just D if you wanted to? Or just F? Or just C?

I'd bet that System partition contains files critical to your boot process. And that C would not boot without it. And that you'd be in for a rude surprise if you attempted to restore to a new drive when System had not been imaged. I don't use Acronis and it may be that it magically and automatically includes System partition when C is imaged, but I've never heard of such a thing.

I'd be happy to be proved wrong about that for your sake.

If I were you, I'd immediately make new images of C, D, and System.

Notice that the System partition is marked as "system" and "active" in Disk Management.

I urge you to back up your personal data files (your work, your pictures, video, recipes, whatever) with a garden variety "file by file" backup program and to NOT rely on something as dubious as imaging for that purpose. Imaging is a complication. It usually works. It sometimes doesn't. Why would you deliberately insert a complication between you and your backups when you don't have to?????

It's one thing to have imaging fail and therefore have to reinstall Windows. No big deal, just annoying and takes some time. So, OK, use imaging to back up your Windows installation proper and hope it works and therefore saves you some time.

Your personal files, on the other hand, could well be irreplaceable.



I beg of you not send any bad mojo regarding my backups not being able to be restored I've lost a lot between now and the last backup (four weeks worth of work), but if i've lost the ability to recover my last backup... oh goodness I'm in a ungodly amount of trouble.

Well, Harleynut, if you had a new Super Glide and it wouldn't start, would you wish you had an auxiliary kickstarter to "restore"? And if you did have a kickstarter, would you test it or just assume it would work?

The only Harley I ever had was among the last of the kickstarters---1968 XLCH. I've still got a few "Sportster Leg" symptoms.



The other attachment is my motherboard schematic. I think your right ... the c drive would be sata1 (that shows on bios as sata 0 if I remember right. and the missing drive is plugged into sata2 which shows up as sata 1 on the bios.

I'd guess all of those SATA ports would be worth a test of your F drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Apr 2014   #14
harleynut97

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

Perhaps I misspoke, When doing my backups.... I always check the system box as well as the others I noted above.

When working with Acronis in the past, they were able to show me how to go into my backup and recover even a single file, so I'm hoping and praying I'll be able to do that again.

I thought doing an image backup was the best way to go, apparently not. I work with so many files each and every day that it would be very difficult to stop everytime and manually backup that file to an external drive. so usually every 2 weeks I do a full backup. I always knew I had for sure the potential to lose data that I had created between the backups. I would welcome your thoughts and recomendations as to a "garden variety" file to file backup program. Cloud options are out of the question for me... many of the files I create become very large video file animation and often can be more gigabyte a piece for the raw AVI files... and I'm talking hundreds of them.

If anyone else is familiar with acronis, maybe they could also add their thoughts. I really don't know how exactly they save the image. But I do believe you can access each drive that was backed up separately through the recovery process, but when I look at the actual image on my external drive it's one big file.

Because all my programs/ windows 7 ect is on the C drive I can open everything, I'm not having any boot issues. It's not a case where I can't even access the operating system...it just this one big ole internal harddrive has died most likely, and unfortunately that is where all my data files are.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #15
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post
I work with so many files each and every day that it would be very difficult to stop everytime and manually backup that file to an external drive.

You wouldn't do that. You wouldn't stop everytime. You wouldn't manually backup that file. You'd set up a job or routine whereby certain files would be backed up to your chosen location whenever you press a button. You'd probably run the job on demand at shutdown or when you step away for lunch.

You include or exclude based on directory, file extension, or individual file. You control the destination. You control when the job runs.

The files land at the destination in their ordinary state with the same file name they had on the source drive, just as if you dragged them there with a mouse. No imaging barrier in your way.

If you have files 1 through 1000 on the source drive and back all of them up, you have 1 through 1000 on the destination drive. If you then delete file 994 from the source and then do a new backup, you can set the application to either delete or retain file 994 on the destination. 999 of the files would be ignored as they had been backed up on the previous run.

The first backup will of course be time-consuming--hours. Subsequent backups will simply take a census of what's on the source drive, compare that census to the destination drive census, and then copy any files on the source drive that are new or modified since the last backup--making the destination drive match the source drive.

It takes my system about 60 seconds to conduct the censuses. I have 89,000 files in 16,000 directories, occupying 600 GB. The copying and deleting portion takes maybe 3 more seconds on average. I run it once a day. If you have dozens of gigabytes of files created or modified each day, then your backup time will be longer. I don't change or create many files day to day.

I backup to an INTERNAL drive that does not have to negotiate the USB port to an external drive and so operates at a much faster speed.

If you do create or change a lot of files daily, you're getting yourself in a jam if you don't backup for weeks at a time--which is apparently what you are doing with Acronis.





I would welcome your thoughts and recomendations as to a "garden variety" file to file backup program.

I use FreeFileSync. There are a half dozen or more similar programs out there that work pretty much the same way. Some may have better interfaces than others. Most are free. Some cost a few bucks.

I also backup all data files to an entirely separate hard drive every month or so through an external dock, using just the mouse to drag and drop.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #16
harleynut97

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

Well, I'll certainly look at the file to file options, once I get this problem resolved, obviously I need a better backup system...

But based on me telling you that I did back up the system files, along with the c(windows) drive and F drive, do you think I have at least a good shot and recovering my backed up data?

I'm going to cut off for today..have 2 or 3 very stiff rum and cokes and try and forget this day ever happened. Tomorrow, I'll go out and buy a SATA cable, which like you said, is doubtful that is the problem, and try connecting the drive to different SATA ports within my own computer.

Thanks for all your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #17
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post
I have opened up the box, unplugged / replugged both the power and data cables that go into the back of the hard drive. Restarted computer, still no harddrive.
Try different ports and cables. If that doesn't work, and Windows isn't detecting the drive, you at least need to determine if it's spinning up. Since you have multiple hard drives, you need to disconnect all but the bad one. Then you can listen for it to spin up and use Parted Magic or similar to get another view of the situation. If that doesn't help, then I guess you'd need to remove it and maybe try it in an external enclosure or dock. If it still doesn't spin up or otherwise doesn't work, you're looking at an RMA, and if you use WDE, you can rest easy that you're unable to erase the drive.

I don't think this applies these days, but since it's a Seagate that's malfunctioning, I can't resist mentioning my recent experience resurrecting a 48 MB ST157N that had been in my attic for 20 years. I bought a SCSI card ($8 on eBay) and plugged it into a spare PC, but the drive wouldn't spin up. I remembered the stiction issue, so I tried freezing and toasting it, but it didn't help; it then occurred to me that's what the attic had been doing all those years, and I :facepalmed: Having nothing to lose, I took the top off and tried giving it a spin like an old prop plane as I applied power, and the thing spun right up. I put the top back on and recovered most of the data on that drive. A similar vintage 170 MB Conner IDE drive stored in the same conditions roared and squealed back to life right away; those "Made in Italy" drives were always the best. It would not be possible to exaggerate the noise level of these things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #18
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post

But based on me telling you that I did back up the system files, along with the c(windows) drive and F drive, do you think I have at least a good shot and recovering my backed up data?
Yes--to the extent you made the necessary and correct choices in Acronis--about which I know little.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2014   #19
harleynut97

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

I wanted to give an update, I really appreciate everyones help and suggestions.

1) Yesterday I mentioned that nothing was being seen about the drive when the computer was booting up prior to starting windows (refering to that stuff that flashes by real quick before windows starts) When I said that I was restarting... not doing a full shut down and restart. When doing that ... I did see missing drive show up on the screen . This is the ONLY place you see any reference to it. Even now if I actually go into the BIOS the drive does NOT show up. But for whatever strange reason it does show up for a split second prior to windows opening.

2) I have tried a new sata cable and also plugged that new cable into a new port..... No success.

3) talked to customer support at Seagate, went thru basic troubleshooting with them, they have RMA'd this drive it is still under warrantee. They could not give me a reason why it flashes upon clean startup, but doesnt show in the actual bios.

4) I did a little test yesterday and I am able to access my backup, actually choose folders/files and copy them to my working drive. This was actually able to be done via windows explorer. Simple drag and drop. So one question that was asked was the backup done by disk... and the answer is yes... while the backup file is 1 giant file...I can open it, select any disc that was backed up and explore / transfer from that. That is huge good news because it means I didnt loose everything. But I still lost a lot.

5) I read the post about trying to revive an old drive manually.. crawfish mentioned opening the drive up and manually spinning the drive.... I'm really tempted to try that. I spoke with seagate warantee, and they said I did have the right to try and recover my data.

I want to give it at least a last old college try.... so if I turn the computer off, remove the internal from its housing and lay it next to the computer.... remove the 6 or so screws from the metal plate.... what am I going to see?

-If I then power on the computer and try and manually get it to spin... At what point would I try to do that... would it be the minute I hit the power button ... if your still following this crawfish... tell me exactly the method you used.

-I'd be open to trying anyones ideas as a last ditch attempt to get this to fire up one final time and let me try and save a few crucial files on the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2014   #20
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harleynut97 View Post
5) I read the post about trying to revive an old drive manually.. crawfish mentioned opening the drive up and manually spinning the drive.... I'm really tempted to try that. I spoke with seagate warantee, and they said I did have the right to try and recover my data.

I want to give it at least a last old college try.... so if I turn the computer off, remove the internal from its housing and lay it next to the computer.... remove the 6 or so screws from the metal plate.... what am I going to see?

-If I then power on the computer and try and manually get it to spin... At what point would I try to do that... would it be the minute I hit the power button ... if your still following this crawfish... tell me exactly the method you used.

-I'd be open to trying anyones ideas as a last ditch attempt to get this to fire up one final time and let me try and save a few crucial files on the drive.
I wasn't suggesting you try this, but here's what I did, and keep in mind, it was a 25 y/o, 47 MB drive I didn't care about. I had backed up the important stuff and transferred to other media long ago but wanted to play around with a disk image of my old working environment in an emulator running in a VM that is still far faster than the original machine. (These advances in technology are insane.) There may be superior methods; I didn't even do a google search prior to trying this. There must be videos of this sort of thing you could watch, and I'd highly recommend doing so since you're asking what you would see after removing the cover. Think of me as a determined idiot with a screwdriver, with heavy emphasis on "idiot", who is just describing the stupid thing he did on a rainy, nostalgic afternoon.

Number One Thing: Be careful. These things spin very fast and could hurt you. I don't even want to think about what could happen to a person's scalp if somehow long hair got caught in them. There could be an electrical shock hazard as well.

Before trying this, I would try the other things I mentioned in my last post.

After removing the cover, the spindle, platters, and head mechanism were completely exposed. I tried as best I could to keep dust off them, but I failed at that and blew a piece of dust off with a lens dust blower, which probably deposited some dust I couldn't see. I was able to fit my thumb and a couple of fingertips on the spindle, and pressing down with some force, I determined I could turn it, and this was with no power being supplied to the drive. To my horror, the head assembly move a tiny bit. Oops, I turned it the wrong way. The proper way for this drive was clockwise. (ETA: Actually, trying it right now on the unpowered drive, the platters spin more freely counter-clockwise, but turning it that way causes the heads to move, which is bad. So I don't really know what the "right way" is and don't remember from when I did this with power applied.) Unfortunately, it didn't help, so I tried doing this right after turning the machine on. This time, it spun right up, the head assembly jumped to life, and after gently dropping the cover back on, I recovered most of my data using ddrescue-gui in Parted Magic. After powering it down, it stuck again, and I had to perform the same procedure to get it to spin up, doubling the chances for contamination and damage.

If it does work, assume it's a one-time thing, and be prepared to recover what you can. Don't assume you'll be able to use the disk normally, and consider the disk to be ruined by the "procedure". If it's a more modern drive, you may be able to easily get the magnet out, and they make amusingly strong refrigerator magnets and are actually useful for finding screws in studs, finding small metal parts lost in carpet, etc. No such luck with this ancient Seagate of mine, though; it doesn't have any magnet AFAICT, certainly nothing accessible.
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