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Windows 7: Repairing HD's (Battle Tested)

05 Mar 2010   #1

Win7 Ultimate 64-Bit
 
 
Repairing HD's (Battle Tested)

Machine Blue Screening? Cant boot to Safe Mode? Checkdisk hanging on stage 1 or not completing in 30 seconds to 1 minute? I Can HELP!

The drive is not lost. I had to post on this because I work for a shop, its a common enough problem that I see and it seems not a lot of real techs really know how to fix this. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be conceited.

Most write the drive off as bad and replace it. DONT. The problem is that some of the sectors on the drive have become corrupted. If the drive is not making odd noises (like when they are bad) then the drive is fully recoverable.

You only need 1 software tool to fix this problem. HDDRegerator.
I have used this to repair drives so many hundreds of times for this exact same problem that its really ridiculous.

after you get the full version, either burn the boot cd or make the usb bootflash. boot the machine with the bad drive attached, select the bad drive when the menu comes up and choose scan & repair. Let the software run. I have seen it take anywhere from 30 minutes to scan a drive to 4 days on a really bad drive. This software will repair the drive regardless of file system format so that means even Mac and *nix users can benefit without the loss of data.

Once the drive is repaired (which it will unless the drive makes crazy noises) remove the cd/flash drive and reboot. Now, enjoy your repair.

I had to post this becuase I JUST finished doing it for one of my customers and I dont really hear of many knowing this either. I've taught this trick to many of my techs and quite a few of my savvy customers that come in to chit chat so I wanted to share with all of you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Mar 2010   #2

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

thanks for the heads up..
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05 Mar 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
 
 

Thanks for the info. Back in the old days Norton Disk Doctor was my tool of choice, and I was wondering just the other day if there is an equivalent tool used today...

My external hard drive was showing symptoms of a potential bad sector, it sounded like it was continually trying to read a track then backing off the heads and trying again, so I unplugged it just to make sure it didn't wear itself out, but I didn't know how to attempt a repair.

Since it has backups that I don't care about, and that is about it, would a format accomplish the same purpose, or do the bad sectors need to be flagged using other software? I know there were a few different ways in the early days (low level versus high level format etc) but I forget the details.

I always prefer blocking sectors over using them if they are marginal. If I had my choice, I would have a sector marked as bad as soon as it returned the first indication of a potential issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Mar 2010   #4

Windows 2000 5.0 Build 2195
 
 

Shouldn't chkdsk /r be good enough?
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06 Mar 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

So if the drive is making a non-stop clicking noise and not showing up in the BIOS then this will fix it? Cool! Thanks!
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06 Mar 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Thanks. I have a drive that went bad. I will install it and give this a go. There are some things I want to try to recover.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2010   #7

Win7 Ultimate 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JonM33 View Post
So if the drive is making a non-stop clicking noise and not showing up in the BIOS then this will fix it? Cool! Thanks!
No, if the drive is making odd noises this will not fix it. Most of the time with the bad noises its the cylinders or the read heads gone bad.
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06 Mar 2010   #8

Win7 Ultimate 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by arkhi View Post
Shouldn't chkdsk /r be good enough?
No here is the problem. The sectors are corrupted to the point that chkdsk will not complete or takes an incredibly long time to pass phase 1. phase 1 should only take about 30-45 seconds then off to stage 2. In this case chkdsk might not even complete phase 1. If phase 1 takes longer than a minute stop, reboot and Run hddregerator then after thats complete run chkdsk but most times I dont even need to run chkdsk after hddregen.

just reformatting the drive will not fix the issue as something gets hosed like the mbr and the drive will not function correctly until the sectors are repaired. When this happens for some reason the drive will be marked active os but will not actually write the boot sector. almost like you never ran the os install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2010   #9

Win7 Ultimate 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JonM33 View Post
So if the drive is making a non-stop clicking noise and not showing up in the BIOS then this will fix it? Cool! Thanks!
not showing up in the bios can be fixed by swapping the hd controller board from the bottom of the drive. They are not soldered on so a matching board or one from a model below or above yours will allow you to switch the controller. that will fix it not showing in the bios unless the drive is toast.

If you hear spin-outs, ticking, clicking, high speed spin-ups constantly then the drive is really no good unless you want to change the platters out into another matching drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2010   #10

Win7 Ultimate 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
Thanks for the info. Back in the old days Norton Disk Doctor was my tool of choice, and I was wondering just the other day if there is an equivalent tool used today...

My external hard drive was showing symptoms of a potential bad sector, it sounded like it was continually trying to read a track then backing off the heads and trying again, so I unplugged it just to make sure it didn't wear itself out, but I didn't know how to attempt a repair.

Since it has backups that I don't care about, and that is about it, would a format accomplish the same purpose, or do the bad sectors need to be flagged using other software? I know there were a few different ways in the early days (low level versus high level format etc) but I forget the details.

I always prefer blocking sectors over using them if they are marginal. If I had my choice, I would have a sector marked as bad as soon as it returned the first indication of a potential issue.
technically you can use this tool to feel out where the bad spots are on the drive. if you had say... a 250g drive and the first 20 gigs were sketchy and say... the middle of the drive.. use hddregen to see WHERE on the drive its bad and attempt a repair.
If the repair is unsuccessful then take note of how far in the spots are (7.8gigs, 12.3gigs etc..) and then use a tool like Acronis Disc Director and re-arrange your partitions to skip the bad spots (shifting data from bad partitions using the "Split Drive" Tool). i have taken a drive, skipped the first 20 gigs of it and left that partition raw so windows doesnt show me its there. I start the new partition AFTER the last bad spot at the beginning then end the partition just before the spot in the middle of the drive, skip over that (new, raw partition the size of the bad spot) and then start the next partition at the end of that one (formatted however you want). Ive been pretty successful recovering large portions of drives that have been damaged like this.
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 Repairing HD's (Battle Tested)




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