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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Tech Help » HELP with recoving data

Default HELP with recoving data

May 13th, 2009, 22:43
I have a failed windows XP installation and somewhat damaged drive on a friends laptop trying to help.

I managed to boot it up with a disb. from CD and mount the C: drive and found the files which my friend wants to backup. However the CD disb. has no USB support, and I can not burn them to CD.

Anyone have any idea how I can easily boot something from USB or CD which is free and allows me to copy files to an USB device/burn to CD
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May 13th, 2009, 23:51
What's a "disb."?

Maybe one of the small Linux distributions is an idea. Knoppix has a live demo which boots from CD I think. If it finds the USB ports you can copy the files.

If his notebook is okay and he has enough free disk space you could also install a real Linux. It should only grab one of the partitions or create a new one out of the free disk space.

Or if he has a 2nd partition you can install another windows on the 2nd partition.
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May 14th, 2009, 01:00
What's a "disb."?
I think it's a distribution.

Anyway I think Ubuntu is the word for you,last time I checked the live CD has USB support.
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May 14th, 2009, 09:12
Any modern linux live-cd thingie.


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May 14th, 2009, 09:17
Knoppix used to be the go-to distro for this sort of thing: [ http://www.knoppix.net/ ].

Nowadays all the major ones have live CD's. If you're new to Linux, I'm going to repeat my tired old advice of "if you have to ask, go with Ubuntu." Here are instructions on your specific problem: [ http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo…dows-computer/ ].

Edit: Do *NOT* follow Gorath's usually excellent advice on this one — if a disk is borked, never, EVER write *anything* to it. Additionally, if the disk is physically broken — e.g. it makes grinding, clicking, or whining sounds that it wouldn't normally — don't even power it up; in such a case, your only option is a professional disk recovery service, which costs a quite a lot.
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May 14th, 2009, 11:21
Yes, I know, that's why I did not want to copy it from or install anything on the HD, or try to recover the XP, appearently something heavy fell on the laptop so the HD is probably not so healthy…. I do use some linux, but I am not so updated in which one could run on USB or on live CD, thanks a lot for your help.

O yeah it was a typo I meant dist.

I will try later tonight!

O BTW, can any of these live linux distros mount a somewhat damaged NTFS filesystem drive? I used hard drive manager 6 on the distro I installed to mount it most other programs I tried failed to reach the data on it. I found some info about it in the link you sent PJ, but I am confused, he creates a directory????? is this directory created in ram memory or some such? if I am running from live CD it could not be created anywhere else?

Thanks again!
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May 14th, 2009, 11:39
I haven't had to try this myself but yes, I'm pretty sure it's created on a "virtual" disk in RAM. A Linux system won't function properly if it doesn't have anywhere to write, so live CD's do this kind of magic — essentially they create a RAM disk on boot and then mount it to the points in the directory tree that need to be written.

If the disk is physically damaged, though, please be aware that just spinning it up is likely to make things worse; IOW, if the data on it is genuinely critical, don't do anything and ship it to DriveSavers or somebody like them.
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May 14th, 2009, 11:45
I already managed to reach the data on the other dist. Unfortunately that dist. could not save to USB which made me a bit annoyed. The data is not so critical as to ship to to driveSavers, but my friend would be very happy if I could recover it. Going to try the ubuntu dist. as according to your link PJ. Let you know results later!
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May 14th, 2009, 13:55
You could just unscrew the laptop bottom, take the hd and use adaptor to plug it to pc. If the hd is not physically damaged you can still access it.

I know one person that recoved data from physically damaged 3,5" drive even by buying an identical one (it was old and cheap), opening both and switching the disks. Eventually the hd was lost (dust etc got in) but it worked easily long enough to recoved all data.

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Last edited by zakhal; May 14th, 2009 at 14:16.
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May 14th, 2009, 14:05
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I know one person that recoved data from broken 3,5" drive by buying an identical one (it was old and cheap), opening both and switching the disks. Eventually the hd was lost (dust etc got in) but it worked easily long enough to recoved all data.
That's how professional data recovery companies do it — and it's an insanely high-risk operation if you don't have a cleanroom to work in. At the scales these things operate, microscopic dust motes behave like boulders. I would never try this at home except maybe as an experiment, if I can afford to lose the data.
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May 14th, 2009, 16:25
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
That's how professional data recovery companies do it — and it's an insanely high-risk operation if you don't have a cleanroom to work in. At the scales these things operate, microscopic dust motes behave like boulders. I would never try this at home except maybe as an experiment, if I can afford to lose the data.
Yeah its kind of last resort if you really want the data but arent willing to pay the big bucks for getting it back. Last I heard pro data recovery was like 2000 euros.

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May 14th, 2009, 19:18
Sounds about right to me. There's a lot of manual labor and some extremely expensive equipment involved.
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May 14th, 2009, 19:41
If it is not physically dfamaged there are a number of Windows options. For simple tasks you can use the Boot CD for Windows if you aren't comfortable enough with Linux.

It has quite a number of applications for recovery, including reinstalling a bootable Windows on top of what is there and restoring Internet access. Being Winodws and CD based however, it can be grindingly slow so fair warning.

However, when I needed some serious recovery done on lost partitions I found findpart

http://www.partitionsupport.com/utilities.htm

You really learn this stuff the hard way. These may not help your situation now but they could be very good tools for the future.

(there is a media file recovery tool that comes with the UBCD4WIN as well that picked up files that even findpart couldn't - the name slips my mind at the moment but its pretty popular. I believe its an alternate dos boot from the disc's normal windows boot).

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May 14th, 2009, 22:21
OMG Ubuntu live CD runs faster than windows installed on HD, that was impressive! I have already managed to recover most of the data!

I am considering installing Ubuntu on my main computer now also, it must be the newest version which became so darned fast! It was not last time I tried even if it was installed on HD that time.
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May 14th, 2009, 22:25
It's getting there. I've tried Ubuntu on the desktop for a few years now, and always given up on it; I put the latest version (Jaunty Jackalope Netbook Remix) on my netbook, though, and am on the whole very pleased with it. Good to hear it worked out.
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May 14th, 2009, 22:41
I found some parts are damaged, is there a disk repair tool such as "scan disk", to try to recover these parts included in the ubuntu distro ?
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May 14th, 2009, 22:52
Sure: gddrescue. Install it with

sudo apt-get install gddrescue

Instructions for use here: [ https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery ].
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May 18th, 2009, 16:34
I recovered almost all data, and in attempt to save the HD I tried to format it, it worked well, however when I try to install windows, it appears to fail, I am thinking the damaged sectors of the HD makes it fail ( it appears however as other sectors work fine ) I am thinking whatever I could drop the broken sectors and try to install windows on what is left after that. Anyone know if it is possible ??? and what tool do I need to do that.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; May 18th, 2009 at 16:58.
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May 18th, 2009, 17:40
You might be able to do that, but I wouldn't bother. The disk is clearly damaged — you've at least suffered a head crash, probably worse. It's unlikely that it'll last very long without failing again, even if you manage to get it apparently working.

A normal "long" format will map out bad sectors for you anyway; if that won't do it, it mapping out more of them by hand is unlikely to work either.
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May 18th, 2009, 20:32
Success! I think I could cram a year or two out of it hopefully, after that she probably want a new computer rather than a new hard-drive. I think the damaged sectors are a bit tricky on this one, it appear like the computer cannot figure out there are damaged sectors and read right into them, and after a long long pause it gets out of it. I think I managed to get rid of that now, as the computer is working very well, tried to copy a couple of 10 GB's and it works like a charm.

However I am warning her that the HD is unstable and she better backup important things, and it might die on her soon.
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