General Question

ETpro's avatar

Is there any good software to recover a corrupted hard drive?

Asked by ETpro (34490points) May 28th, 2011

I have an E Drive on my machine where I had a bunch of less regularly accessed files parked. Suddenly, then I try to access it, I get a message “E:\ is not accessible. The file of directory is corrupted and unreadable. It’s an 80 gig NTFS drive and running under XP, SP3. Is it worth downloading a tool to try to rebuild or recover data on it? It definitely doesn’t have anything on it that would be worth the cost per megabyte that the data recovery firms charge for their services.

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20 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Try Recuva, that might work, or boot into a PArted MAgic CD

Berserker's avatar

I’m curious, would rewinding your history before whatever cataclysm corrupted the hardrive be able to retrieve your stuff?

ETpro's avatar

@XOIIO Thanks. Will check into both.

@Symbeline I don’t know of any cataclysm. I hadn’t needed anything from it in a month or more, and when I tried to access it the other day, I hit that message. There was never any apparent disk crash.

Berserker's avatar

So it either all disappeared, or won’t let you access it. Did you download any updates for XP? Does that even still have updates? I don’t know. But that sucks. :(

ETpro's avatar

@Symbeline XP updates itself when it thinks it is appropriate. If I am not there when it decides to do so, it just shuts down all apps, saves open files, reboots and installs the update. The only clue I have is that all my open windows are closed.

Berserker's avatar

Oh, so the file is fucked, rather than what holds it. Like the details in your question…I read them yeah, but didn’t read it right I guess. Sorry lol.
Well, if a tool does exist to try and recover lost files, why not just try it? (besides prices?)

krrazypassions's avatar

u cud also try the trial version of Kernel for Windows
They are claiming it can recover data from corrupted NTFS drives..

(Recuva doesn’t correct corrupted drives- it only recovers deleted data that has not been overwritten)

ETpro's avatar

@krrazypassions Thanks. Will check into it. If anything works, I will let you all know.

jrpowell's avatar

If I was you I would try a Ubuntu Live CD first. It is free except for the 4 cents for the disk you burn the ISO to. I have had good luck getting it to see drives that Windows gave up on to recover files.

It will just boot into Ubuntu from the CD without touching anything. If it sees the drive you can then just drag your stuff over to the drive Windows sees.

koanhead's avatar

One thing you might consider, if you have a livecd handy, is to use the “dd” tool to make a copy of the affected volume. “dd” stands for Disk Duplicator; it makes a bit-for-bit copy of the source.

The syntax (in Linux) looks like this:

dd if=/dev/source-disk-device of=/dev/target-device bs=512

where source device and target device are their linux device nodes, and bs=512 means “write in blocks of 512 bytes”. See here for more information on device nodes, or consult man dd.

ETpro's avatar

@johnpowell My son has been pushing me to install Ubuntu. It’s encouraging to hear it can sometimes resolve problems Windows cannot. Thanks.

@koanhead Links very much appreciated. Thanks. I have a 500 gig network drive I can hook up for a copy.

ETpro's avatar

@krrazypassions Looks like Kernel for Windows agrees. The partition is damaged. It may be a total loss.

funkdaddy's avatar

I’ve used GetDataBack and it worked well.

There’s a free demo that will see what it can find so you don’t have to pay unless it’s going to work.

koanhead's avatar

I forgot to mention that the dd tool will not necessarily help you fix the affected volume, but only to make a copy of it in case the data gets zapped by other recovery tools.
The good thing about dd is that is does not require the volume to be mounted in order to work, and therefore it doesn’t care if the filesystem is corrupt, unsupported, or even written by aliens.
If you are using an Ubuntu disk you also have access to the Disk Utility tool which allows you to run SMART tests on the hard disk itself to make sure the hardware isn’t faulty. Also it allows you to check and repair some filesystems, but I’m not sure how useful that is in your case. It’s certainly worth a try though, especially if you have a backup image.

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy Thanks. I will give it a try. Fortunately, Kernel for Windows was available as an evaluation copy too. So nothing lost when it diodn’t work.

@koanhead Sounds good. I am definitely going to try a boot from an Ubuntu live CD, so I will be able to try the dd trick.

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy Some progress. GetDataBack saw the partition in FDISK mode and could see part of what I want to recover, the images. All my old family photos and Spoony the Cat photos are parked over there. But all it saw was a collectin of TIFF files. No JPEGs. But that’s the most hopeful outcome so far.

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