Is it Possible to retrieve files from an I/O Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by mbcrazed, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. mbcrazed

    mbcrazed GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 10, 2012
    Hey Everyone! So far I've gained quite the reputation here in China for fixing computers. I've fixed about 20 so far without any troubles. However, there is this one Laptop with a corrupted hard drive I can't seem to fix. At first the Computer wouldn't even boot and I finally got it to boot. Tried safe mode of the Windows 7 OS the owner has and that's when I found out it was corrupted. Right now I have Xubuntu booted from a flash drive trying to get into the drive, but it's a no go. The owner of the laptop only wants the photo's they've taken over the past 3 years, but so far I haven't even been able to access it. I was thinking about ddrescue, but that would most likely just create more of a problem. I'm completely stumped on what to do, so I decided to turn to the wise GBATemp users for help! Thanks!~

    (P.S. I've attached a photo of the error message along with this post.)

    Attached Files:

  2. sarkwalvein

    sarkwalvein More coffee, please!

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    Jun 29, 2007
    I would ddrescue it into a similar HDD, then using this second clone HDD and windows I would try fixing the file system using chkdsk or similar tools.
    Source: Experience, already did it with an 320GB HDD that fell down and barely worked, I was able to restore most of the files.

    PS: Of course keep the original HDD on a safe to try something different just in case the process goes wrong.
    PS2: You could even try fsck on the clone HDD, but I think chkdsk would give better results.
    Last edited by sarkwalvein, Sep 22, 2015 - Reason: I'm old.
    mbcrazed likes this.
  3. mbcrazed

    mbcrazed GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 10, 2012
    Alright, Thank you! I'll use my external drive and back it up. Hopefully I can get these photos!
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    When it comes to IO failures my experiences have been six of one, half a dozen of another when it comes to Windows vs Linux for recovering files from a NTFS formatted drive. Basically also try a Windows live CD (bartpe if you have it, a version of it comes with Hiren's boot CD and would be the main reason I do not link said boot CD now) and also try a Linux one.

    The best way would be if you had a fancy hard drive read/clone tool as they can cut through a lot, they cost an awful lot though. You could try an actual hard drive image/clone (whether you want something like Clonezilla or something more computer fixing focused I leave to you to decide) and then load that as some kind of virtual drive.

    On very rare occasions (mainly back in the internally it was sata but they still presented IDE for late IBM/early lenovo days and dell from around a similar era) I have seen the hard drive controller/power rail inside the laptop fail and cause IO errors and on even rarer occasions I have seen the hard drive circuit board/pins have some failure/corrosion that causes this. To that end inspect the PCB -- if you can otherwise solder then you can probably spot the main/common faults. Also get a caddy or a different laptop and stick it in that instead -- doing it in hardware is fine for a corrupt registry or something but if you are brushing up against such faults then best to remove the possibilities.
    In the modern world I do not particularly rate or anything like it, if you are fixing some ancient 486 through p2 (and if recovering someone's photos makes you a friend then fixing someone's machine that might be underpinning their business will do better still and I still find stuff like that in businesses/industry) then it is well worth a look.

    Beyond this you get into the world of big boy data recovery and that is a strange world indeed, and I say that knowing what we do around here/having looking a mirror.

    Hard drive recovery is an object lesson computer fixing triage though, especially if you are doing it as some kind of business -- you might be able to spend 50 hours and piece things back together byte by byte but most would rather not have false hope and just let the mourning commence.
  5. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Just to add my experience, sometimes you can just plug it into another computer and if it reads the drive, you can try check disk or other utilities to try and fix it. Keep in mind that hardware issues (in my case, the header wearing out) spell out the end of the drive so backup and replacement may be the only option.