Can you confirm dead HDD??

  keef66 09:37 07 Aug 2006

Father in law's pc apparently crashed the other day during a spot of web browsing. Upon restarting it goes into an endless loop:
Screen message saying something like "Windows did not start normally, we apologise for the inconvenience.... then giving startup options of safe mode with / without command prompt or networking, last known good, or start windows normally. Whichever option is selected, nothing happens for ages, then it sounds as if it's doing something but there's another post type beep and it crashes back to the same on screen message. Only way of stopping it is to hold in the power button.

Ran memtest86 from a floppy at bootup; no problems with the ram apparently.

Ran an old Hitachi HDD diagnostic floppy which correctly ID'd the HDD as a WD 20GB, and after testing reported 2 or more unrecoverable problems on the disk.

Used my Win XP disk to boot to the recovery console and ran chkdsk /p which reported the same unrecoverable problems.

Took out the HDD and hooked it up to my pc as slave. It was recognised as drive G, but slowed my pc to a crawl. None of the disk contents would show up in Explorer, and I got a pop-up message telling me the drive is unformatted and did I want to format it. When I right click on G and select properties, it shows file type as RAW and both free space and used space are 0GB.

Can I with reasonable confidence tell him the hard drive has failed and he's lost everything on it?

  Gongoozler 09:54 07 Aug 2006

Hi keef66. I don't think it's possible to state categorically that the HDD is dead, but I think it is highly likely that it is. With new drives costing about £30, the easiest solution is probably to fit one anyway. You can experiment with file recovery software but hopefully your father in law has backed up all the important files anyway.

  keef66 10:03 07 Aug 2006

Thanks for the rapid response; that was to be my plan of action,- tell him it's failed, but for 30 quid he can have a shiny new drive 4 times the size, and I'll install Win XP Home from my cd but using the coa from his case.

I admire your optimism, but he won't have backed anything up, I can guarantee it.

Once he's back on the web, in my spare time I can mess about with file recovery progs and see if I can get any of his digital pics back.

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