My Hard Drive Recovery Process.

Why Use CJ Tech Support? Forums 6. Computer and Network Tech Support My Hard Drive Recovery Process.

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    Article for January 11th, 2015
    My Hard Drive Recovery Process.

    I was scheduled to upgrade a PC on the weekend because it was running out of space. I had a replacement drive ready and was just waiting until Saturday morning to pick up the pc and get the job done without interrupting the client. It didn’t make it to the weekend. I got the call saying that the site had a blackout and I needed to visit to get some systems back online. While I was there I picked up the pc that had run out of space and nothing was working.

    When I put the PC on my work bench, all I could get out of it was “Windows 8 preparing automatic repair”, That’s interesting, I have been lucky enough not to come across this before.

    I was just going to add another hard drive to the pc and separate the data so that the client would be back up and running with minimal cost and fuss. I had a feeling that this was not going to be good.

    I rebooted the pc a few times and tried starting from the windows 8 pro DVD. I ran a start-up repair and restore point, but nothing was being recognised. There were no restore points. Very strange.

    I took the hard drive out of the pc and loaded it into my Ubuntu box. I ran “disks” and found that the partition information on the drive was corrupt. The partition type was recognised as hpfs/ntfs but the volume label was identified as unformatted.

    I checked the drive using wxHexEditor. I was able to see that the drive contained information and the MBR was viewable and ended with 0055AA. There was a large area on the disk after the MBR full of 00, then the ntfs volume full of data. For some reason the drive had corrupted the partition information and was not recognisable.

    I tried partition wizard, a linux live cd to recover the partition, but I chickened out when the questions all related to “new”, create a “new MBR” create a new partition label. I didn’t want to risk the data, I would have continued if it had identified the damaged partition and had wording of repair instead of new. But that wasn’t the case.

    I spent three hours creating an image of the drive. I figured that if the drive did get any further damage, by having an image I could at least recreate the drive back to this point.

    I was getting tired and desperate at this stage and found an article on the net about NTFSFIX. I installed ntfs-3g and ran NTFSFIX on the physical drive. It actually found errors on the drive and said that it had successfully completed. I was getting excited when I checked the drive under “disks” and found that the drive label was again identified as NTFS. It wasn’t completely fixed though, because I wasn’t able to mount the drive in Ubuntu, but I figured that I was a little bit closer.

    I added the drive back to the pc and booted from the Windows 8 pro dvd. I selected repair pc and this time it found problems and went through a disk repair process. I left it for about an hour and cam back devastated to find “ Windows 8 preparing automatic repair” on the screen.

    I removed the drive and loaded a new drive into the pc, loaded windows 8 and added the corrupt drive to the system. It appeared as f:drive and was visible with all the data.

    So in conclusion The drive is still corrupt and not bootable. But I was able to copy all the lost information from the drive and the client pc is back online with all the data. So in the end a good result and I have learned more about how Windows 8 can corrupt a hard drive and leave you with nothing. Thank you Ubuntu, you have saved me yet again.

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