Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/where?

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Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/where?

#1 Post by lustylook » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:48 am

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.)

Some 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.

Some results:
- 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?

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Re: Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/whe

#2 Post by StopSpazzing » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:42 pm

I would try knoppix as it's what I use as a last resort on failing/failed HDD. Boot the live CD, find the drive location, and then run in terminal: sudo ntfsfix "HDD location"

Should fix it to a point where you would be able to fully mount the drive and actually pull data from it to a second drive. If it fails, and wont let you mount it, then your'e drive is toast.
~Just StopSpazzing~

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Re: Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/whe

#3 Post by lustylook » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:01 am

Got my external enclosure, PartedMagic booted without problems as expected.

ntfsfix on the incriminated partition terminated with an error message (something about $LogFile). Odd, because other partitions on the drive (also riddled with bad sectors) mounted, eventually.

TestDisk finally gave in and listed the files, letting me copy them to the Desktop first (very slow) - albeit with some missing data - then save them somewhere safe.

One issue: devices kept dismounting for no reason (even the healthy HDD partitions), which caused the copying process to be interrupted (resulting in a deceivingly reassuring 'copy done' message). The PartedMagic file manager also crashed easily.

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Re: Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/whe

#4 Post by Tobiasgar » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:35 pm

My hard disk recently developed errors down to bad sectors on the drive, and now windows will not boot. I tried cloning the drive to a new 500 gb hard drive just purchased, but because of the errors, this was not possible. I then discovered spinrite, which began to repair the bad sectors and was successful at all it attempted. However, this hard disk has very little free space, it is 160gb and I believe once partioned, there is only around 1gb free. This meant spinrite estimated a finish time of around 200 hours which steadily increased over the course of the first 5 hours. Essentially, what I need is a program like SpinRite that would be abe to recover data from bad sectors, and then copy it to a new hard drive. Anyone know of anything that can do this or a method to carry this out? Thanks in advance :)
Last edited by Tobiasgar on Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Recovering data from HDD with bad sectors - copy how/whe

#5 Post by ady » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:58 am


You need much more knowledge to use successfully use data recovery tools when your HDD has too many bad sectors (no offense intended).

UBCD includes several tools, both for cloning and for data recovery. UBCD also includes PartedMagic, which also has such type of tools.

You might want to try UBCD -> PartedMagic -> try making a backup of the files you *really* need (into a usb drive for example, or any OTHER drive different from the one having problems).

Once you have a backup of the important files, you can try recovery methods, cloning with several of the included tools in PartedMagic or UBCD, or whatever you want to try.

Generally speaking, read and understand about the procedures and the consequences of each tool BEFORE starting it.

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