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DOWNLOA Hard drive failure troubleshooting checklist

By Bill Detwiler Editor ·
Having a reliable set of troubleshooting guidelines can increase your odds of recovering from a hard drive failure. Our Hard drive failure troubleshooting checklist walks you through a proven hard drive troubleshooting process that covers physical connections, BIOS settings, viruses, partitions, formatting, physical and logical errors, and Windows 2000 and XP Disk Management.

Review the checklist:

Let us know if our list is missing a step you regularly use to troubleshoot hard drive failures or if there's anything we can do to improve the document's format.

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Disk tools

by Bagmaster50 In reply to DOWNLOAD: Hard drive fail ...

I have found that hard disk diagnostics tools on a bootable floppy disk has been a life saver for me. I just had a Maxtor 60 gig that came back to life after using the Maxblast bootable cd to zero fill the drive. All of a sudden I could format and install an OS on it after I had already replaced it with a new 80 gig for the customer. I thought the firmware on the hdd controller had gone bad. The customer allowed me to keep the drive so now it has a home in an old Dell.

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Ultimate Boot CD

by dmuth In reply to More disk tools

You can download a CD full of various hard drive testing and repair utilities at:

Also iuncluded are utilities for wiping data on a hard drive, such as when you upgrade a machine and want to securely delete data from the old hard drive.

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Customized Windows XP Boot CD

by stevedart In reply to Disk tools

There is a free program called PE Builder you can download at:
This is a Preinstall Environment. Meaning it Windows GUI based boot CD.
You will need a Windows XP CD to create the boot CD. In addition to basic tools like Chkdsk, the CD has a nifty networking client. It?s worth mentioning that anyone with a little skill can customize the boot disk to include Ghost, Partition Magic, MacAfee Antivirus and a host of other programs. It has saved me on more than one occasion.

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Disk recovery tools

by donny.wilkins In reply to Disk tools

When a harddrive crashes in our shop, the first thing we do is to try to boot it in safe mode. If that doesn't work, then we try checkdisk. We can only afford to spend a certain amount of time to fix the disk. Instead if using recovery software, we will take the disk and make it a slave on another pc. This works really well. Also, for laptop harddrives, we have a tool to connect it to another pc. The connection for the laptop can be taken off which exposes the pins. Our tool fits to the pins and also has a power outlet that can be connected. Then I boot up the host and copy all files needed for the owner. It only cost about $7 and can be used over and over again.

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recovery tools

by marcus.robson In reply to Disk recovery tools

what is this tool that you have and how can I get a hold of one?

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Notebook HD adapter and USB caddy

by BHunsinger In reply to recovery tools

I got one of those notebook to fullsized adapters from SED. I think they are made by Cables to go. They are called 2.5" to 3.5" ide notebook mounting kits.
I have also had excelent luck with sticking the bad HD into a USB external drive caddy and letting it do it's thing> Took all night to back up a drive, but it wasn't visible when directly hooked in via an ide cable

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USB caddy

by ECarlson In reply to Notebook HD adapter and U ...

I use a $9 USB 2.0 external laptop hard drive enclosure, and it has worked great so far on a number of hard drives, for copying/backing up data and performing general cleanup on laptop hard drives.

Though, if you work with older laptop hard drives (like the under 10.Gig kind), many are thicker than the newer laptop hard drives, so you need a case that can fit thicker hard drives.

Some laptop drive enclosures slide the drive in from the end, and therefore don't fit the thicker drives. The one I have, the drive goes in from the top, so I just leave the lid off for thicker drives.

They also have USB adapters with no enclosure, but mine has worked fine, and I like having the circuit board of the hard drive protected.

One more thing to pay attention to is that some laptops use an adapter attached to the laptop hard drive connector and it's sometimes hard to tell that it is an adapter, since it fits so perfectly. So if the hard drive connector doesn't seem to match the laptop drive enclosure connector, you have to remove the adapter to connect it to the enclosure.

- Eric,

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by Endoscopy In reply to Disk tools

Using UBCD4WIN at you can create a Windows XP or 2003 bootable DVD. It is a seriously large add on to BartPE. It allows adding alternate bootup images like UBCD, Spinrite, Knoppix, and others. With some effort it can have almost all diagnostic tools added that are not already there. Unfortunately not computers have DVD readers. For those you need the UBCD4WIN with any added tools but separate bootable CDs for UBCD etc.

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Hard Drive Failure...

by b.wilen In reply to DOWNLOAD: Hard drive fail ...

Hard drive failure is usually not a spontaneous event but one which typically exhibits sporadic boot failures prior to giving up the ghost...the user should be queried as to the characteristics of the drive during the last several months...the formation of bad blocks during Scandisk will also forcast an eventual drive failure. Also, the user should also give information if any type of software used to "fix or restore" (including antivirus fixes) the drive prior to failure. This information will aid in the post-mortem troubleshooting...

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