Hey guys (and gals)!
Wonderful job you're doing. I've been using Ultimate Boot CD and the Forum for a few days trying to access and save at least some important data from my touchsmart tm2's SATA HDD.
History: Windows 7 suddenly stopped loading, the Recovery Environment also wouldn't load, the BIOS's HDD tests wouldn't proceed beyond 0%.
I tried both the bootable CD and the bootable USB (created with ubcd2usb) versions with little success. (Note that I had to move the HDD to an ordinary laptop in order to avoid hardware issues.)
- PartedMagic stalls during startup (this limits the number of available tools)... my guess is that it tries to write to the HDD, which fails because of bad sectors; I encountered no problems when I switched to a healthy HDD.
- Loading PartedMagic *without HDD* works, but the hot plugged HDD won't be recognized.
- FreeDOS works fine only as long as no USB drivers are loaded/used... no hope of accessing a USB mass storage device for backup.
- SPFDisk's partition checking tool runs and informs me about the several bad sectors. It's so slow compared to a healthy HDD that I just gave up after a few GB (out of 500) and several hours of grinding, hence I don't know the true extent of the damage.
- Partition Saving is the only tool (so far) that allowed me a glimpse at the filesystem. I was able to 'open' (in the editor) several files from My Documents (doc, pdf, jpg, etc.), except a few that lay on bad sectors. I thought, "if I can see it, then I can copy it". Only problem: I can only copy files to the same failed HDD, which is useless! Even though a unit for my USB HDD was visible on the 'target' screen), any attempt to access the device gave several lines of LBACACHE: int. STAK nest!? otherss=<some number>. It also recognizes the UBCD unit, so I thought, "if I run it from a USB drive, then I can copy the files to the drive itself, next to the 'boot', 'ubcd',... folders". No luck: this attempt leads to a crash of Partition Saving/FreeDOS.
My next attempt will be to connect the failed HDD to a working machine, using it's own HDD as 'target' for file copy in Partition Saving. If I had one with 2 SATA ports life would be great. Instead, I'll have to resort to a USB enclosure for the failed HDD. Am I bound to get the same error again?
Upshot: I'm gonna be able to use some higher-level tools from the operating system on the healthy HDD, or load a Linux livecd seamlessly. But will the USB-rigged failed HDD be accessible from Windows or Linux?
Can I remove (not *fix*) the bad sectors without risking losing the files on the healthy sectors?
Is there a tool for fixing bad sectors (instead of removing them) that will work in my configuration?
Thanks for any help, even partial =)
PS: In the past I've succeeded in recovering *all* data from an HDD that wouldn't load windows by accessing it with livecd Linux distros with partition tools, but there were no bad sectors there... moreover I was able to run chkdsk from the Windows Recovery Environment, then restore everything to factory settings by setting the hidden restore partition to active and booting from there.
EDIT: I noticed I have two ATA channels available. Does this mean I can use a SATA splitter cable instead of a USB encloure?