Thanks for the excellent forums with tons of useful information and knowledgable assistants - you are appreciated.
Here's my situation:
My desktop PC is:
XP Media Center Ed. SP2
160GB Seagate HDD (NEW)
250GB Western Digital HDD (failed former master)
Last week, the Western Digital Hard Drive failed on me. This was the only drive in the system at the time. The PC stays on for weeks/months at a time and one morning I attempted to wake it up but got no response. Did a hard shut down and upon reboot I got the error:
The following file is missing or corrupt:
I did some research on this and it looked like a relatively easy fix (please understand that I learn all of this as needed on the fly and am by no means an expert!). I got an MS DOS boot disk and thought I was going to fix this thing in a few minutes.
Upon starting up the PC again, I got another error which I believe was now:
S.M.A.R.T command failed
I can't recall exactly, but I think this was the 2nd error I got. Again, another shut down and restart which has ultimately lead me to a situation that I am perceiving as the system not recognizing this drive at all. I also attempted to repair using the recovery disks, but it told me:
No C: drive found
It wanted to do a complete reformat but I didn't want to due to the amount of data I wanted to attempt to recover (about 30Gigs - ouch!)
After more research on recovering data and 'fixing' dead HDD's, I decided to go out and grab another HDD (the Seagate) that would allow me a platform to work from with both drives in the same machine.
I installed the new drive by itself first, used the recovery disks to set up the PC to it's original state, got some Virus protection on there and completed all the XP updates.
Once I got these in order, I plugged the Western Digital drive back in, rebooted and hoped for the best. The system didn't like the idea of having that drive back in the loop and took a while to figure out what was going on but finally booted into XP without any issues.
I check My Computer and the drive isn't recognized.
I reboot and go into the BIOS where it IS recognized (I saw this as a good sign)
I do more research on the forums to see what other folks have run into and then check Disk Management where the drive is NOT recognized.
Again, more research which leads me to Testdisk software ( www.cgsecurity.org ) that sounded like it may help. I download and run but this program also does NOT recognize the Western Digital drive.
I'm now thinking that my next (best?) option is to purchase Spinrite ( www.spinrite.com ) and give that a whirl. Does anybody have any experience with this? Any idea as to whether or not this will even be able to access and attempt to repair this drive?
My concerns are that XP is not recognizing it at all. Not sure if it's a boot sector/MBR thing or what. Could it be a matter of fixing a corrupted boot record and I'm back in business? I see the fact that the BIOS acknowledges the drive as a good thing and am hoping that this will give me a chance to at least recover some data.
The drive itself doesn't and hasn't made any funny noises - no scratching, squealing, crunching, etc. Sounds normal and no different than it did on day one. We had some big storms in the area a few weeks ago with power surges/spikes, but this machine is hooked up to a UPS. Before the system went down for good (like 2-3 days before) the power failed and I attempted to shut down before it was gone altogether, but when I went to turn on the monitor to see what I was doing to shut down, it drained the UPS and the system just shut down. When power was restored (36hrs later!!!!) I booted up the system without any issues at all. It stayed on for the 2 or 3 days until I attempted to wake it up as mentioned above and began the slew of errors/failures.
Any ideas on this one that may allow me to recover data? That's obviously the goal. If the drive is 100% shot, then I've got my PC back w/the new drive sans 30gigs of data. What a valuable lesson in backing up!
Any help, assistance, guidance, etc is appreciated as always.
Thank you for your time and attention - if you need any further details from me, please let me know and I'll be glad to oblige.