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View Full Version : Hard Drive Bad Sectors, With a Twist



Lucas
06-08-2011, 05:37 PM
Hi, I have come to these forums because I am lost for ideas.

I currently have a Western Digital (WD) Elements External Hard Drive 500GB, It is just under 8 months old, still under warranty.

A few weeks ago it stopped working, I did all the trouble shooting that an average computer user can do.
I used WD's hard drive trouble shooting program off their website, which told be it had too many bad sectors to be troubleshot.

I called WD to find out what can be done in this situation. I was told I would be given a replacement. But that leaves the issue of; How do I get all my data off it? WD told me a computer repair shop must do this, Which i assume will cost big $$$. I told them that all repairs must be paid for by THEM under the Consumer Guarantees Act. They are having trouble understanding this, as their 'Support' Centre is based in the USA.

The point of me posting here is to ask somebody 'in the know' about how I can recover my data off a HDD with a few bad sectors.


All responses are greatly appreciated,
Thanks

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 05:54 PM
What if you remove it and put it in the case? Where in NZ are you? Someone maybe able to help you out. if you're in Auckland, I maybe able to help you out (but you'll have to come here)

Lucas
06-08-2011, 05:57 PM
The Hard drive is already in a case, which is then connected via USB cable.
yes i am in Auckland. Thanks

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 06:02 PM
I mean inside the computer case. You near Mt Eden

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:04 PM
I understand, WD have said if I open the Hard drives case, I will void the warranty. What would installing it in the Desktop achieve?
I'm in the Bays

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 06:12 PM
You may have more chance of getting whatever off it. Connections on external cases can be faulty / stuffed. Can you see whats on it now then? Even if its got bad sectors?

Well I could have a look with teamviewer (www.teamviewer.com), if you want. This is for remote access. (it'll save someone coming to you, or you going to someone else)

You'll see what I'm doing. But after you install it, you'll have to post the ID and password, it gives you in here. Since you cant use PM / private messages till you post 10 posts. Or if you use Skype I can add you thru that instead

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:17 PM
When I plug it in, a chime is heard to tell me it has recognized. But the files are not accessible at all from 'My Computer'.

You could have a look but im not sure anything more can be done?

Thanks

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 06:18 PM
What version of windows is on it? You may have to take ownership of it, if you use Vista or Windows 7. Does it say access denied when you try and get into it?

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:21 PM
I am using Windows 7 32bit on one PC and 64bit on another.
I get no error messages or anything. as i said, it is reccognised, but doesnt show up under my computer.

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 06:28 PM
Ah ok and how much data is on it then? It has been formatted, and there is something on it right?

I've got a program, that may or may not be able to see whats on it and get whatever off it. I can check with teamviewer now if you want, then I'll install this program. If this program can see whats on it / get the data off it, have you got enough space to put it somewhere else?

Link for teamviewer (http://www.teamviewer.com)

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:32 PM
It has approx 200gb of data on it. Mostly videos
I dont have enough space to put the whole amount somewhere else, but there are a number of files that I want to salvage that are essential, that I do have enough space for.

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:33 PM
Installing Teamviewer now...

Lucas
06-08-2011, 06:38 PM
ID: 831 452 513
Pass: 9624

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 06:39 PM
coming in now

Billy T
06-08-2011, 06:45 PM
I called WD to find out what can be done in this situation. I was told I would be given a replacement. But that leaves the issue of; How do I get all my data off it? WD told me a computer repair shop must do this, Which i assume will cost big $$$. I told them that all repairs must be paid for by THEM under the Consumer Guarantees Act. They are having trouble understanding this, as their 'Support' Centre is based in the USA.

The Consumer Guarantees Act is only applicable to the New Zealand supplier of the goods, not WD themselves. However, the CGA does not cover incidental losses or costs such as data recovery. I guess it is presumed that the user will have taken appropriate action to protect their data against hardware failures, but in any event, the cost of getting your data off the disk will almost certainly land on you. Speedy is your best bet!

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

wainuitech
06-08-2011, 06:45 PM
You can normally easily get the data off, by using a linux live CD, something like Ubuntu, Puppy linux or knoppix.

With the Drive attached to a PC, simply boot from the CD, Linux 9/10 will see the drive, allow you to copy /Paste the data to another drive.I'm doing that right now for a customer who's drive has failed on their Vista PC with bad sectors.

It depends also what has failed, if its simply bad/failed sectors then thats no problem, if its the circuit board in the drive then yes, opening the case will blow your warranty.

:illogical
How do I get all my data off it? WD told me a computer repair shop must do this, Which i assume will cost big $$$.I told them that all repairs must be paid for by THEM under the Consumer Guarantees Act. Obviously meaning the data.
Please post the exact location on the CGA site,that it says that. ??

What section - I have subscription so it can easily be confirmed.

WD have to replace the HDD under warranty, ( which they have said they will) doing backups or recovering data is not up to them, its up to the owner to do backups.

If you only have data on one drive, then thats asking for trouble, the warranty ONLY covers the hardware - NOT the data.

gcarmich
06-08-2011, 07:09 PM
WD in the US are not going to be interested in the CGA, you need to go back to the retailer where you purchased it, however if less that 12 months it will be replaced under warranty.

Can someone point me to the part of the CGA that says that the retailer is responsible for recovering the data from a failed hard drive.

Oh, Backup backup backup. If you want to keep your important information always have it in at least two places.

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 07:15 PM
This came up (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprohardware/thread/2b069948-82e9-49ef-bbb7-e44ec7bfebdb/) . Didnt want to select MBR, (it gives you an option of MBR or GPT) in case it formatted the hdd

So, just waiting to see what happens after a reboot

Lucas
06-08-2011, 07:36 PM
I have rebooted, and its the same situation as before :(

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 07:38 PM
mm give me another password lucas. Have you got a desktop to try it on?

Lucas
06-08-2011, 07:51 PM
Can we possibly do this tomorrow?
ill be back on around the same time.
Thanks

wainuitech
06-08-2011, 07:51 PM
Going by the original post comment:
I used WD's hard drive trouble shooting program off their website, which told be it had too many bad sectors to be troubleshot Doing anything on the PC with the drive connected will more than likely will only cause data lose.


The Linux live CD I'm using ( knoppix) easily finds the data on the drive here, bad sectors and all,and have already transfered it to another drive. (beer o'clock time now) :drool

In simple non technical terms ( for any one thats interested) bad sectors are simply dead spots on the drive. if for example, the drive sectors and all its data were numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and sector 2 was dead, nothing could be seen past sector 2 (as in this case the USB Drive - cant be seen correctly) BUT using another program, like Linux Bootable CD will allow you to recover , copy/paste to another drive, it bypasses the dead sectors.

The problem arises when (using the above numbers) sectors 2, 5, 7 are dead, bits of the data will be lost that are in those sectors, so it everything may not be recoverable.

Keep in mind the numbers in the example are only that, hard Drives, depending on their size will have far more.
A 250Gb drive has approximately 488,281,250 sectors

Side Note: knoppix 6.7 talks back to you when using it. Great - smart arse OS :D

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2011, 07:56 PM
No probs Lucas. You could try a Linux cd Lucas. You'll have to download a distro then burn the ISO first. Then boot from it (maybe better if its a live cd)

B.M.
06-08-2011, 08:27 PM
Ok, this is really “Left Field”, but I had a similar problem which turned out to be the “Power Supply”. :eek:

Whilst it was a USB connected external drive it had its own 230/12v supply which must have dropped out of limits and caused the same problem you seem to have.

A volt meter showed the Power Supply was producing 12v OK, but under load I guess the voltage or current available was insufficient. :confused:

I jerry rigged it to the computer power supply and I’ve never had a problem since. :)

As I say, “Left Field”, outside the square and a long shot. ;)

wainuitech
06-08-2011, 08:57 PM
For reference -- if you want the knoppix Option , go here to the site (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-mirrors/index-en.html) I used th Second one down, HTTP ( first Attachment shows) next page, click "Accept" - Scroll down till you get to version 6.7----EN.ISO 697 M (attachment 2), save it, then as Speedy mentioned burn it with ISO burning software, boot from the CD with the USB HDD attached.

On booting, First screen, press <Enter> when it shows boot- (bottom left hand corner) Using the Arrow keys, select 12 , Graphical Programs <Enter> Full x Session <enter>

Once booted, bottom left corner, second Icon - File manager. On the left will be all your drives, the main HDD will more than likely be sda1 the USB drive will be showing as well (as long as its not completely toasted) open the drive by double clicking it, Select the folders/files by right clicking them, you may get a warning message, click OK and carry on, copy/paste the files you want to the Main PC.

The problem will arise if there are bad sectors in a file being copied, it may throw up an error message - if so it wont be recoverable.

Once finished, click the start Icon in the task bar ( looks like a arrow- kind of), restart or shut down.

Edited:
Originally I tried Ubuntu live CD, but that spat the dummy and didn't want to boot correctly.

Paul.Cov
06-08-2011, 09:59 PM
The link Speedy posted, pointing to a Windows page is suggesting that it's the USB interface that may be at fault, so there's now greater hope that the drive may be ok.

Still the quandry remains to either:

Return the drive under warranty and lose all data

or

Remove the drive from its case and reattach by another means, potentially voiding the warranty.

Personally, I'd go with the second option.

wainuitech
07-08-2011, 12:01 AM
Be more likely the Drive has bad sectors

Reasons:

The WD tester advised its got failed sectors, the tester tests the HDD Platters, if it were the USB interface then the drive usually wouldn't even detect.

The link Speedy posted is the USB interface on the PC's, post #9 it was mentioned "I am using Windows 7 32bit on one PC and 64bit on another." That to any degree would indicate the drive was tested on two different PC's- same result.

Voiding a warranty with out trying all other options is crazy - so far not all options have been tried.
If the warranty was voided, by the drive being removed and it is faulty then no progress was made, only $$ lost.

Some people give up to easy - thats the difference between "wanna-bes" and people who do these sort of things every day. ;)

The laptop I recovered the data from, two others who "Know all about computers (including one so called tech) " had tried and condemned the data to lost ---- Guess who recovered everything this time. :p

pctek
07-08-2011, 09:21 AM
I called WD to find out what can be done in this situation. I was told I would be given a replacement.
How do I get all my data off it? WD told me a computer repair shop must do this, Which i assume will cost big $$$. I told them that all repairs must be paid for by THEM under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

Actually WD only have to replace the drive.

Data is your responsibility.

As for the CGA you do that through the retailer, not the manufacturer.

And repairs, yes, the replacement is your repair. But the data isn't.

icow
07-08-2011, 11:01 AM
If it was business data related he might be able to claim damages? e.g cost of generating or creating the data again,idk, but WD are in the US so i doubt they'd care.

gcarmich
07-08-2011, 11:07 AM
If its business data then the CGA doesn't apply.

mikebartnz
07-08-2011, 12:42 PM
You can normally easily get the data off, by using a linux live CD, something like Ubuntu, Puppy linux or knoppix.

With the Drive attached to a PC, simply boot from the CD, Linux 9/10 will see the drive, allow you to copy /Paste the data to another drive.I'm doing that right now for a customer who's drive has failed on their Vista PC with bad sectors.
+1 for that. Linux live CD's can be a god send.

Agent_24
07-08-2011, 01:27 PM
I would:

1) Take the drive out of the enclosure and connect directly to PC
2) Check SMART and verify the bad sectors. If there are many, make an image of the drive with gnu dd rescue
3) Copy your data off And\Or scan the resulting image with a data recovery tool such as Testdisk (free) or GetDataBack (paid)

Those USB interfaces are a joke especially if you are trying to recover data.

Which is more important? Your data or the warranty?


(Note: Some external enclosures use hardware encryption between the drive and the USB interface, in which case connecting directly to a PC won't work)

wainuitech
07-08-2011, 01:35 PM
Seems to be a weekend for this ,Must be something in the water. :D

Got another customer who called this morning, they plugged their 500GB USB Drive into some device, and it promptly corrupted the drive, :badpc:

Windows shows the drive as being there, buy cant access it - Knoppix is recovering as I write -- Only 300GB approx of videos to go :sleep

I'm running out of back up drives with enough capacity at this rate :lol:

mikebartnz
07-08-2011, 04:57 PM
Seems to be a weekend for this ,Must be something in the water. :D

Got another customer who called this morning, they plugged their 500GB USB Drive into some device, and it promptly corrupted the drive, :badpc:

Windows shows the drive as being there, buy cant access it - Knoppix is recovering as I write -- Only 300GB approx of videos to go :sleep

I'm running out of back up drives with enough capacity at this rate :lol:
When ever I plug my Ext HD into my netbook and use Win7Starter which isn't often it always complains like mad but Linux just gets on with the job.

BBCmicro
07-08-2011, 08:29 PM
Originally Posted by wainuitech
You can normally easily get the data off by using a linux live CD
>>>>
I just checked to see if the Tools in Microsoft's new virus-sweeping boot disc ("Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper") allow you to see your files - The answer's no

Agent_24
07-08-2011, 08:31 PM
Typically bootable virus scanners do not work as recovery disks, if they do it's a bonus.

Lucas
07-08-2011, 10:20 PM
For reference -- if you want the knoppix Option , go here to the site (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-mirrors/index-en.html) I used th Second one down, HTTP ( first Attachment shows) next page, click "Accept" - Scroll down till you get to version 6.7----EN.ISO 697 M (attachment 2), save it, then as Speedy mentioned burn it with ISO burning software, boot from the CD with the USB HDD attached.

On booting, First screen, press <Enter> when it shows boot- (bottom left hand corner) Using the Arrow keys, select 12 , Graphical Programs <Enter> Full x Session <enter>

Once booted, bottom left corner, second Icon - File manager. On the left will be all your drives, the main HDD will more than likely be sda1 the USB drive will be showing as well (as long as its not completely toasted) open the drive by double clicking it, Select the folders/files by right clicking them, you may get a warning message, click OK and carry on, copy/paste the files you want to the Main PC.

The problem will arise if there are bad sectors in a file being copied, it may throw up an error message - if so it wont be recoverable.

Once finished, click the start Icon in the task bar ( looks like a arrow- kind of), restart or shut down.

Edited:
Originally I tried Ubuntu live CD, but that spat the dummy and didn't want to boot correctly.

You deserve a medal!
Thank you for this guide, I'll deffinately be trying this method. Ill post the results once i have finished.

Tplw9
07-08-2011, 10:29 PM
If you install partedmagic using universal USB installer onto a memory stick then boot into it it has some good hdd recovery tools:-)

:pf1mobmini:

wainuitech
07-08-2011, 10:56 PM
Originally Posted by wainuitech
You can normally easily get the data off by using a linux live CD
>>>>
I just checked to see if the Tools in Microsoft's new virus-sweeping boot disc ("Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper") allow you to see your files - The answer's no Just downloaded that, but if its the same one thats in the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset ( which it looks like it is from screen shots), then its not a new product, just being made available to the public by the looks.

Its not linux based, Being MS, I assume it will be bootable via Windws PE.

Lucas:

While it cant be guaranteed Knoppix will work, its only going to take a bit of time and a download to try.
If it does work then you will be able to recover data, if not then nothing will be lost per the warranty.
Sometimes drives are to far gone to recover anything -- part of life I spose you could say.

As I mentioned previously, to many people give up to easy and while some here say open the case, it will void the warranty instantly.

That would be OK if it were their drive and they wanted to lose a warranty, but advising others is a little irresponsible to suggest it. That is of course unless the people suggesting you void the warranty were willing to get you a new drive if their suggestions failed. ( yeah right, as if that would happen) ;)

Lucas
07-08-2011, 11:12 PM
Just downloaded that, but if its the same one thats in the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset ( which it looks like it is from screen shots), then its not a new product, just being made available to the public by the looks.

Its not linux based, Being MS, I assume it will be bootable via Windws PE.

Lucas:

While it cant be guaranteed Knoppix will work, its only going to take a bit of time and a download to try.
If it does work then you will be able to recover data, if not then nothing will be lost per the warranty.
Sometimes drives are to far gone to recover anything -- part of life I spose you could say.

As I mentioned previously, to many people give up to easy and while some here say open the case, it will void the warranty instantly.

That would be OK if it were their drive and they wanted to lose a warranty, but advising others is a little irresponsible to suggest it. That is of course unless the people suggesting you void the warranty were willing to get you a new drive if their suggestions failed. ( yeah right, as if that would happen) ;)

I have tried using your method with Knoppix. The drive doesn't show up :(
Me being an idiot, I forgot to mention that the drive has BitLocker on it, This, i have just realized is probably the problem. S#$T

Lucas
07-08-2011, 11:22 PM
I have just gotten permission from WD to open the case, without voiding the warranty. The supervisor sympathizes with me, he had a similar issue. What can i do now that I have permission to open it? But it probably wont do much seeing as I have BitLocker on my drive...

Speedy Gonzales
07-08-2011, 11:55 PM
Do you know what the 48 digit recovery key is?? Do you have access to Vista? There is a tool but its for Vista and XP. But doesnt work in Windows 7 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/928201)

And here (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/928202)

Did you put the key on something like a USB flash drive?? There is a command called Repair-bde on the windows 7 DVD. Its also in the system32 folder. See step 7 in the first link

wainuitech
08-08-2011, 10:26 AM
Oh Crap -- yes having a drive encrypted makes a huge difference, not even a live Linux will bypass that.

You still should be able to see the drive though, just not get into into it without the Encryption key.

dugimodo
08-08-2011, 10:59 AM
If you go into disk management does it show up there? right click my computer, select manage, go to disk management.

Drives that windows sees as unformatted etc show up here. Also I don't know if this is applicable to portable drives but I've had windows unassign drive letters before and had to go in and manually assign a drive letter to get it back.

If you can get the drive to show up on my computer the obvious thing to try would be a full scandisk check.

If as it seems from previous posts there's a problem with the enclosures usb controller you may have to remove it as suggested.

Speedy Gonzales
08-08-2011, 11:19 AM
It says what I posted in post #18, if you go to disk management. I didnt select anything, in case it formatted it

Lucas
08-08-2011, 07:20 PM
Do you know what the 48 digit recovery key is?? Do you have access to Vista? There is a tool but its for Vista and XP. But doesnt work in Windows 7 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/928201)

And here (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/928202)

Did you put the key on something like a USB flash drive?? There is a command called Repair-bde on the windows 7 DVD. Its also in the system32 folder. See step 7 in the first link

I printed out the 48 digit code, so that isnt a problem, but unfortunately, no access to vista, but ill try on W7

Agent_24
08-08-2011, 08:05 PM
Is it Bitlocker or is the encryption provided by the drive itself?

If the USB chipset on the controller board ends with E it probably means it uses encryption also.

Lucas
08-08-2011, 08:18 PM
The drive was unencrypted when purchased, I then used the service/program in windows called BitLocker to encrypted the drive