Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

HD C: wipeout / read errors


  • Please log in to reply

#1
Hardluck Hank

Hardluck Hank

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
I have a HP Pavillion a362n with a Pentium 4 @3.0G.
My primary HD is 160Meg with 4 partitions.

About a week ago, my primary HD apparently crashed (I was also using a secondary one). Using a boot disk I ran chkdsk on C: and it gave up at about 35%, reporting that there were unrecoverable read errors. I also was not able to run a dir command on the C: drive. However I was able to get a dir on the other three partitions. As I had some data on C: that I hoped to recover, I chose to buy a new HD and reinstall windows with the hope that I may later be able to recover some of the data from the C: drive. I came to the conclusion that read problems were affecting the ntfs area of the C: drive.

I then installed a new WD 300M HD, partitioned it into 4 partitions, and installed Windows XP HE on the C: drive. I then hooked up the bad HD as a secondary one. Using some type of dianostic tool (I can't remember what), it revealed bad sectors on the old drive that were in groups of 4 sectors, but there were dozens/hundreds of groups. Since I had no apparent problem with the other 3 partitions on the old HD, I copied all the old data from the other 3 partitions onto the new drive (but not on C:). I occasionally encountered "cyclic redundency read errors" (I think that was the term) for some files, but in general I was able to recover about 95% of the data from the other 3 partitions.

After using the new HD for about 48 hours, it also crashed experiencing similar problems to the new drive, i.e. chkdsk gave out at about 25%, no dir for C: but dir worked for the other 3 partitions. Too much of a coincidence for me to believe that two drives died so similarly with a week.

My conclusions at this point is that perhaps there is come type of virus that attacked the S.M.A.R.T controller into thinking the HD was bad and/or wiped out the NTFS or boot sector, and by copying data from the old drive to the first that I had perhaps reintroduced the virus onto the new drive. Another suspicion is that perhaps there is something wrong with the Motherboard that caused it to fry the drives, but then why was only the C: drive primarily affected and not the other drives.

So at this point, I have no operating system working on the computer (I am typing this from an old computer with Windows 98). I am trying to avoid losing all the data that I have on the other drives and in fact still hopeful of retrieving data from the C: drive on the original HD. There is no data (other than windows/apps stuff) stored on the C: drive of the new HD.

So then, what can I do to help resolve the nature of this prob? As is, I have no OS or internet connection for the computer, so I can't perform the normal virus/malware checks. Like most of your posters I rather suspect, I'm quite distressed by the situation. Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Samm

Samm

    Trusted Tech

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,476 posts
Hi there

I guess it would be possible to have a virus that causes sectors on the drive to be marked as bad, although I have personally never come across one.

Another possibility is that either the drive ribbon cable is bad or the PSU is causing the problem. I am assuming the drives in question are IDE as opposed to SATA, in which case, you may wish to swap the ribbon cable for the optical drives with the one for the hard drives, or better still, replace it altogether.
If it is the cable, then replacing it won't make any sectors already marked as bad disappear but it will stop it happening again.

If it is the PSU, then this will need to be replaced & the bad sectors may not be recoverable.

One possible option, if you have access to another computer, would be disconnect the drives in that computer & install yours. I suggest just install the original 160GB drive on its own to start with. Many drive manufacturers provide a utility that can be run from a bootable floppy disk that will diagnose & low level format the drive. This may be your best bet for determining whether there really are any physical bad sectors. If it works, a low level format will also remove any viruses that may be lurking there.

What make is the 160GB drive?
  • 0

#3
Hardluck Hank

Hardluck Hank

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
The 160M is a Maxtor Diamond Max Plus 9, 160GB ATA / 133 MD. All HD's mentioned are IDE.

The HD cable on the orig computer did not have much space between the master and slave HD connectors so I switched it with the cable that came with the new HD when I switched the HD's. I had a second HD (a WD 80M) as the slave on the original computer, but it does not seem to have damaged at the time that the 1st HD was or when transferring data from it to the new HD. The 80M HD was attached when both crashes occured. If the prob was the PSU, shouldn't it also have damaged the 80M HD? And why was only the C: mainly affected while leaving the vast majority of the three data partitions unaffected?

So let tweak the HD hoopups scenarios slightly.
1st crash: 160M master 80M slave.
New install: 300M only attached. Loaded windows.
Data xfer: 300M master bad 160M slave, xfer 3 data partitions to data partitions on new HD.
Data xfer: 300M master 80M slave, switch HD cable, xfer data from 80M to data partitions on new HD.
Several hours later 2nd crash occured with 300M master and 80M slave attached.

In all configurations, HD assisnment was via "cable select" settings on all HDs.

The PSU is protected with a Battery Backup unit (Context 900 AVR). However the computer PSU could still be bad. Are the larger HD's more susceptible to damage via the PSU than smaller drives?

I do have access to another computer (this one) but unfortunately it is a slow 240Mhz Win86 model that doesn't support larger HD's. I can still run the Win XPHE system disc on the bad computer and using the recovery utility perhaps reformat the drive. If I do so, will it just reformat the C: drive? I assume as much, but only wanted to resort to this as a last resort. I am still hoping somehow to try to salvage any data that may be left on the orig HD C: drive.

Edited by Hardluck Hank, 04 January 2006 - 02:08 PM.

  • 0

#4
Samm

Samm

    Trusted Tech

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,476 posts
OK, thanks for the additional information.

Re. your query about why only the C partition and not the slave drive or the logical partitions seem to have been affected....
There is nothing to stop the other partitions on the damaged drives from being affected at all but the C partition is th emost likely to be hit because it is the partition that is in constant use. i.e contains the windows installation etc so data is being constantly read from & written to this partition. Even when you are not knowingly reading/copying/writing/creating data on it, windows is still doing this when it runs programs, uses the swap file, places temp files & cookies etc on the drive.
Therefore when a problem occurs with the drive, the chances are it will be the C partition that is being accessed at that time.

As I suggested before, for the purposes of troubleshooting, it would be wise to have only one of the drives connected for now, so I suggest that you go back to using the original data cable, just in case.
Whether you decide to do this or not, I still recommend you check the connections on the data cable & the pins on the motherboard IDE port.

It would also be worth swapping the molex connector that you have had plugged into the master drive for one of the other molex connectors on the PSU. This will at least eliminate any possibility of it being a problem with that particular power connector.

To determine whether any of the data is easily recoverable on either drive, you could try booting the system from a boot disk & accessing the drive that way. If the files on the drive are accessible & seem OK, then you just need to find a way of transferring them off of there.

After doing this, or if the data does not appear to be recoverable, I suggest you go to Maxtors website & download there DOS based powermax utility. This will allow you to run diagnostics on the drive & should let you perform a low level format if necessary. Be warned that a low level format is a last resort & will render all data on the drive completely unrecoverable.

A normal (high-level) format, such as the one used by windows & DOS, will not affect the bad sectors. In other words, they will still be present after the format.

A low level format only removes the marking of the bad sectors. This means that if these sectors really are bad, then the system will detect them & remark them all over again when you try to use the drive. A low level format also removes all the partitions on the drive. In other words, you can't just low level format the C partition, only the entire drive.

I appreciate that your other computer cannot recognise drives of this size but if you can find a machine that will (speak very nicely to a friend maybe?), then your best option would be to connect one of your drives up as a slave in their computer & attempt to recover the data that way, preferably to a flash stick or CDRW rather than to their hard drive.

When you run the daignostic etc though, do this either from your own system or from another computer with all of that computers own drives removed. This way theres no chance of anything you do accidentally affecting another drive.
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP