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Disk Read Error - can't load windows, etc


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#1
Nekoyasha

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Before I go clinically insane, I'd better write out my problems here to see if you wonderful geniuses can help me out here. Before I get started, I want to point out that I have a lot of important files & photos on my computer that if at all possible, I would like to try & save. I have websites to maintain & magazine articles to write, so am desperate here.
I am using my fathers laptop at the moment (and hate typing on it).

I have Windows XP Media Edition, mid 2005 computer. HP.

A few days ago I had noticed when I did some searches on yahoo, that when I clicked the results, I kept getting redirected to ad sites. I did Spy Sweeper scan overnight, and nothing was found. The next day the redirects were still happening. So this time I did a MalwareBytes scan & it found a trojan. So went ahead and deleted & rebooted. The redirecting seemed to have stopped, until later that day or the next I noticed it was doing it again. At that time I then did Temp File Cleaner by old timer tools (I believe I have that right). It removed a lot of crap for me.
Seemed good. Then I noticed that some of the time, it would redirect me again - I would hit the back button, and re-click the link, and then sometimes it would go to where it was supposed to. I did another MB scan, nothing found. I did another temp clean, which only took seconds. Then I believe that night I did a Spy Sweeper scan, nothing found.

I think it was the next night, I shut the computer down & wanted to do a restart. Turned it on, and it brought up the normal Windows blue screen, and instead of going to the XP logo/loading page, I got a black screen with a blinking white line in the top left corner. Manual shutdown, restart. Same thing. Did manual shutdown again & restart - went through fine. Was on for a while then shut down for the night.

Now it gets worse. Turned it on in the morning, and it started the black screen thing again. Then it would start telling me "A disk read error occurred" press ctrl alt del to restart.
I would try that, wouldn't get any where. I then cleaned out my tower & set back up.
Still problems. I have been able to push esc to pull up boot menu. This is when I noticed a problem.
Under Boot Menu, I was missing my hard drive.
It lists my CD-Rom group. Other times, it would list my Maxtor hard drive. Of course when it is not there, it will not load to login. At other times it would show it there & sometimes I can get it to fully boot. I have only been able to successfully logon about twice now since this started.
The last time I was successfully on, windows loading took longer than usual (the XP screen with the blue loading bar beneath it). When I was logged on, I was trying to moving photos onto my external drive. I successfully moved 10 GB of a folder, and when I proceeded to do a 9 GB one, it froze about 1/5 or so of the way through. I could move my cursor, and the 'moving files' animation was still moving, but the actual move of files was not going up in percent, and I could not click on anything. Task bar would not come up (I have it auto hide), and ctrl alt del did nothing. I let it sit for probably close to an hour, and nothing. I manually shut down.

Since then, I made it to my logon screen once, and after clicking to log on, it froze in the same way - could move my mouse/cursor, nothing else. Never made it to my desktop, just froze on the login screen.

I can also pull up my system setup by pressing F1. Just like in boot menu, if the hard drive is not being recognized, it does not show up in the main menu - when it did it would be there, and once it listed it with scrambled letters (did this once in boot menu too - listed hard drive, but strange assortment of letters/symbols).

I took snapshots with my digital camera if someone wants to see.

I cannot seem to boot in safe mode either, I try pressing F8 and no luck. I am at wits end. I would take it to Best Buy, but do not have the funds to spend that kind of money right now.

At one point when trying to boot, I also got the message:

Master Boot Record error
press a key

-pressed

then:

disk boot failure
insert system disk & press enter

Problem is, I cannot locate my disks right now - I looked last night, and will try looking more today. Computer was bought at Best Buy, so yes, all programs are legal copies, etc.

Oh, and several times when trying to boot - it will do that "A disk read error occurred press ctrl alt del to restart" over and over again - it will restart, and go to the blue screen then back to that, or just a plain black screen with the blinking white line - it doesn't say to do ctrl alt del, but I do that & it restarts.

Well, I think I've covered most of it, sorry for being so long, but just want to try and give all the details.
I would hope I can save my photos & files....
Thanks for your time & help. I wish I could remember the name of the trojan MB found, but unfortunately, can't get on to even look at what it was!
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#2
SpywareDr

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Sounds like a dead, or close to dead hard drive. If you *-must-* have what's stored on it, Ontrack.com. Note that it can get expensive though.
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#3
rshaffer61

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Is this the same system located in this topic HERE?
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#4
Nekoyasha

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Dear God I hope it's not a dead hard drive, if so I will shoot myself. Ugh.
It just doesn't seem possible, but anything is.

Yes, that is the same system. Looking back I must apologize for never following up at the end. I think that is when my grandmother became ill or other stuff went on.

Edit:

I decided to insert a photo I snapped with my camera yesterday of my system setup screen - here you can see the scrambled odd name in place for my hard drive name:

Posted Image

Edited by Nekoyasha, 12 February 2010 - 07:55 PM.

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#5
Nekoyasha

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Hi, just wondering if anyone has seen the photo I added of my system setup screen and what your thoughts are?
Thank-you.
Attempted starting it last night & today with no success to reaching logon. I'm fearing the worst. :)
I even took the side panel off & unplugged the hard drive & checked the connections, all was good.
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#6
rshaffer61

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According to the picture you provided no hard drive is being seen.
The weird text is something I haven't seen before.
I want to see if it is possible to get to any of the data at this point by using a Linux live cd. Please do the following and let us know what the results are.

Get Puppy Linux from my signature below...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso download it and burn it to cd
..
if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files get Burncdcc from my signature...it is a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....

put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all your data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...

==========================
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..


after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...about half the width of the screen...then drag the window to the right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to
the narrowest you can..about half the width of the screen...drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmouting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
system..

Thanks to happyrock
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#7
BlackOxide

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Just quickly adding something into this. I have had those weird characters appear in the past on a PC I was working on. It was on a DVD Drive not on a Hard Drive, but it ended up being an IDE cable that was duff. Replaced the IDE cable and it worked fine. It's obviously quite rare, never had those strange characters appear again.

What I would quickly try is reseating the (I'm guessing IDE) cable on both ends (to the Motherboard and Hard Drive), then switch it back on and see if it boots. It might not be a cable problem at all, but I'm only mentioning it, as that was the problem I experienced when I had them strange characters. If you get no joy from reseating the cable, carry on with rshaffer61's instructions to try and get some data backed up :)
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#8
rshaffer61

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I agree BlackOxide and that should be checked in case of a damaged cable also. Not knowing if your system has IDE or SATA cables I am including pictures of both. IDE is a ribbon and SATA is a Cable.

[attachment=39101:sata_ide_lg.jpg]
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#9
123Runner

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Also as a FYI....
There are only a few ways you can pull data from a hard drive.

1. Slave the drive to another computer such as a desktop. If a laptop drive you can use a conversion cable.
2. Put the drive in a USB enclosure and use another computer system.
3. Use a live linux CD that runs in memory.

The caveat to all this is that if the drive is mechanically dead or going, the procedures wont work.


If the drive is mechanically dead, then a data recovery service could be used.
There would be no insurance they could recover anything.
The cost would be most likely prohibitive.

123runner
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#10
Nekoyasha

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Thanks everyone for all the ideas/help!! Really appreciate it. Just wanted to give a quick update - I tried reseating the hard drive cables & to the motherboard as well (SATA cable).
No go, unfortunately.
I'm going to try the above with the puppy linux & I will get back to you to see if I make any progress.
Thanks again!
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#11
Nekoyasha

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Quick question - can I just put the puppy linux onto my USB stick, or will it only work from using a CD since my hard drive does not show up?
Thanks!
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#12
rshaffer61

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If your bios supports booting to a usb drive.
Why would it not work on a cd?
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#13
Nekoyasha

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Well, I tried booting with a CD and also with my USB. I get a black screen (no blinking white cursor) after usual blue HP screen. So, sound like the drive is dead?
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#14
rshaffer61

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Did you change the boot sequence in the bios so the cdrom was the first boot device?
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#15
Nekoyasha

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Yup, and I even set it for my hard drive sequence (USB device) to be first boot when I had the USB plugged in.

Edited by Nekoyasha, 16 February 2010 - 07:02 PM.

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