Help me fix a hard drive that fails at 86%
December 24, 2009 8:54 PM   Subscribe

How can I recover anything off this hard drive that fails low level scans at 86%?

I'm fixing a friend's computer. He has a SATA 160gb Maxtor drive. First, the XP registry went and would BSOD on boot and recovery. After chkdsk failed a couple times and I could not fix or restore the registry, I installed Win7 on a new SATA drive. Once installed, it started to recognize the other drive and I managed to copy a couple folders over.

Then Win7 stopped recognizing the drive. Rebooted, and the BIOS sees the drive but Win7 does not. I can boot into PE and run drive diagnostics.

SeaTools just stops at 86%.
MHDD scans fine until 86.3% at which point it shows about 49 UNC (Uncorrectable Errors) and 27 AMNF (address mark not found)

Clearly something is failing at that point on the platter. At this point I'm stuck. What tool is best to be able to copy the 86% of the drive over to the new one and start file recovery if possible?
posted by patrad to Technology (5 answers total)
Have you tried freezing it?
posted by TheAnswer at 9:19 PM on December 24, 2009

I'd boot Ubuntu and then dd everything to a fresh harddrive.
posted by Netzapper at 9:42 PM on December 24, 2009

Freezing often works on drives that have no physical problems with the reading head. I just (over the last couple of days) used the trick to recover all the data from a 500 GB IDE drive that no longer worked at room temperature.

I suggest picking up an external drive enclosure, so that you don't have to spend a lot of time switching the drive in an out, as you probably won't recover all the data in one go.

Place the drive (and enclosure) in a ziplock bag, seal it, and stick it in a freezer (preferably a deep freezer) for at least an hour. Overnight is better, but an hour will do for a while. Remove it from the freezer and the bag and hook it up. Grab what data you can, until the drive becomes unreadable. Repeat the process.

I was able to transfer data for about 40 minutes after putting mine in the freezer for a couple of hours. Took a couple of days to get it all. I was using an external enclosure with a USB 2.0 connection, so my data transfer rate was slow, but I preferred that to constantly installing it in the system case and removing it.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:19 PM on December 24, 2009

I've used and have been very satisfied.
posted by bleeb at 7:15 PM on December 25, 2009

I tried the freezer thing a couple times and scans continued to fail at 86%. As mentioned, SeaTools, MHDD and I also tried Prosoft Media Tools.

I booted into Unbuntu from a live CD to try "dd" to a new drive and as it would have it, Ubuntu recognized the drive, where win7 and XP did not even acknowledge it's existence. I was able to copy almost everything to a new folder on the win7 drive. It clearly failed on a large file which must have been where the bad sectors are.
posted by patrad at 8:59 AM on December 29, 2009

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