Sadly, the hard drive (a Seagate Barracuda 7200.8, with 200GB) on my eMachines T6420 is showing no content. We run XP Media Center Edition 2005. I have figured out six things:
1) My wife left our PC on after normal use. A couple of hours later, my son wandered by and saw a "full screen of DOS" error messaging which he intepreted as a system crash. He left it alone and went to bed.
2) In the morning, son looked again and the long error messaging was gone. It was replaced by a black screen with the DOS message, "Press F11 to start recovery A disk read error occurred." He innocently hit F11; when prompted, the System Restore disk was inserted, eMachines Restore (Angel) started, and the screen showed drivers and such being loaded. The process then stopped with the dialogue, "Restore will erase all data and files from the user partition, and copy the factory files to the user partition. All data will be lost....OK?" at which point we both said "Whoa!" and turned off the PC.
3) Since then, when attempting to boot from the hard drive, the boot drive spins, there are two almost inaudible beeps, and the same message appears: "Press F11 to start recovery A disk read error occurred. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart."
4) If I boot to a DOS command prompt, I get a dumbed-down version of DOS that knows virtually no commands except "DIR", and when I issue that, the response is
Volume in drive C is RECOVERY
Volume Serial Number i 423B-2BDF
Directory of C:
SYSTEM~1 <DIR> 10-29-05 9:50p
0 file(s) 0 bytes
1 dir(s) 1,559,855,104 bytes free
5) To check out the hard drive, I made a bootable CD of SeaTools for DOS and ran it. I ran both short and long tests including DST diagnostics, and all tests show "PASSED." The test log file indicates no bad sectors, no repairs. Here is the gist of the log:
Device is ST3200826A S/N 3ND2D8AW Max native address: 390721967
SMART is supported and ENABLED
SMART has NOT been triggered
DST is supported
Logging feature set is supported
POH 21379 Current temp 45
6) That's all in know, but I have these questions if anyone can please help answer them:
A - Is the hard drive indeed empty (meaning, all of my files/data are gone)? (SeaTools does not show how much content, if any, is on the drive and does not have a directory feature. Only tests and an array of erasure tools!)
B - If so, is any of the former files/data recoverable, through something like Disk Doctor software (since the disk physically checks out ok)?
C - If the data is not recoverable through software, is is possible that sending the disk off to a recovery lab and paying a few hundred bucks would recover it? (Not sure which service to use...GeekSquad charges $260 and sends the disk to a recovery lab.)
Note, I do not have another desktop PC in the house, but plenty of laptops. Due to stupidity, the "empty" hard drive had not been backed up in months. My wife really would like her Outlook .pst file and various other files back, if possible.
Thanks for any answers to these questions, and any other tips!
Edited by gregger, 07 July 2010 - 09:34 AM.