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Bizarre Hard Drive Problem


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#1
vmo1

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Hi-I have a Dell computer that is a little less than three years old. It came with a Western Digital 40 gb hard drive and I've had no problems. When I tried to turn on my computer the other day, it gave me an error that said Hard Disk Drive: S.M.A.R.T. command failed, press space to continue. It says it cannot boot because the following file is missing or corrupt:
system32/drivers/pci.sys
I ran check disk repair and it gets to a certain point then says it cant repair the problem. I called dell, who after a bunch of tests said that my hard drive is fried. The weird part is, there is a 31 m. partition on it that is non dos and I can't figure out where it came from, etc. I took it in to the help desk at my college who said that they think dell put the partition on there (why would they do that?) and that they can't figure out what is wrong with my hard drive. It spins but they can't get it to boot up in any computer, mac or pc so they can't save any of my information or figure out if it is corrupt, or a virus or it broke. I'm not ready to try formating it yet, I still don't understand how it could have just broken inside the case one day. I have a lot of data I really want off so I'll try anything to get it working first. I'm in college and can't really afford to put a new hard drive in it, or lose all my data. I hope someone here can help because I'm completely out of ideas as far as what happened and how to fix it. Thanks
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#2
Supergeek.dcse

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could be diag partion like compaq use buy new hard drive set it up then unplug cdrom plug in your hard drive log on as administrator which should give you right to actses all my docs and copy and paste your stuff to new hard drive or any thing else you want to save THEN COPY ITTO CD U WONT LOSE IT THEN IF YOU VALUE IT SAVE IT
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#3
Samm

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The two most likely explainations are either the drive has developed some bad sectors or the boot sector/partition tables are corrupt.

Bad sectors are unusuable/damaged patches on the drive itself. If the system attempts to read or write data to a bad sector, it can cause a variety of problems. If data exists in a sector that later becomes bad, that data will be corrupted.

Often, bad sectors don't mean the end of the drive. They can be 'marked' bad so that the system doesn't attempt to use them again. Although this will 'fix' the drive, bad sectors can also be a sign of the drives impending failure.

If the MBR or partition tables are damaged, then this will often prevent the drive from being bootable and/or stop its partitions & contents being recognised correctly by the system. This is not physical damage & can normally be repaired although it's hit & miss as to whether the data can be recovered from it.

Which file system are you using - FAT32 or NTFS?
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#4
vmo1

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I'm using NTFS. Another weird thing though, last night I tried to first extract the pci.sys but it said access denied. I'm the onlly user and the administrator so I wasn't sure why this would be. I found directions on how to do a repair install, but when I tried to follow them, there was no repair option on any of my partitions. It gave me a menu that said to chose a partition and either delete or install xp on it and when I clicked install it said that it would be a clean install, and would overwrite everything.
I also was going to try doing a fixboot but was afraid since I got a warning saying if I was having hard drive problems it could make it worse. My helpdesk person said that they tried copying the data to another hard drive but it wouldnt work...
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#5
Samm

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Can you just confirm for me, are you able to access the drive at all? eg if you boot from a different drive can you then access the data on the faulty drive.
Also, how many partitions are on the drive - was the entire drive allocated to a single primary partition of 40GB or was it split up (Not counting the 31MB system partition).

Be aware also, that the more different things you try to do to the drive in order to recover it, make your chances of successfully recovering your data less likely.
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