Testing Hard Drive - off machine

  jack 15:57 18 Jan 2010

One of my flock's machine is ailing and after many ministrations I have concluded the the HDD is on its way out probably.
Currently the Windows XP Pro installed is broken and it fails to boot and reports NTLDR files missing - not withstanding many attempts to rectify it.
So come Wednesday I an going to his place armed with my IDE/USB cable to transfer his files to a laptop and, try to resurrect the drive one more time.
What I would like to do is to be able to check the condition of the drive sans Windows
Is there an app that I can install on the Laptop to check the errant drive ,as an external device so to speak?

  MAJ 16:07 18 Jan 2010

You could try the drive's manufacturer's website for such an application, most provide them for free.

  johndrew 16:07 18 Jan 2010

If you go to the drive manufacturers web site you should find tools to do this. They should provide bootable disk software for both floppy and CD options.

I`m guessing that since it is a laptop you will need to boot from the CD drive. Depending on the laptop you may simply be able to insert the CD (after burning the ISO image to it) and allow the PC to boot, some laptops may require you to select the boot option in the BIOS - the manual will advise.

If you advise laptop manufacturer/part number it is likely someone here will provide more information.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:46 18 Jan 2010

"I an going to his place armed with my IDE/USB cable"

1. connect to your machine and run a virus check

2. you can use windows error checking tools from disk management to check the drive or download the appropriate manufacturers tests onto your machine and run from there.

3. you can copy the NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR files from your machine(if XP) to his drive and then see if it will boot when reconnected.

  BRYNIT 16:54 18 Jan 2010

Remember doing a full check of the disks surface for errors can take several hours depending on the size of the HD.

  jack 16:53 20 Jan 2010

Well what a pickle he was in.
Stranger things happen I guess.
So today I
Disconnected the patient machine from mains.
Disconnected drive data and power in machine.
Connected IDE/USB cable to lappie and its own power to mains.
Lappie 'ding donged' connection
New hard ware flagged up
But icon would not come to desktop.
Took drive out of machine put in a caddy and and it came to lappie screen.-
With a completely funny screen in terms of folders.
Following earlier comments in
click here
Copies over the missing NTDLR file from lappie to the Drive.
Reinstalled drive in the the patient machine.
It fired up - to...... wait for it......
Half way through a New WinXP Pro installation.
So in his poking and trying a repair I guess he hit the wrong button.

  jack 14:46 25 Jan 2010

Having finally got an WindowsXP installed and working with various bits and bobs installed - took it back to owner.
Connected up
Booted to POST and Windows start - showing 3 WindowsXP installedation list.
Selected top one- Came to screen OK.
Rebooted to see what the other two were about
Bother were inmcomplete installedations[presumably owners attempts] each shoing files missing from System 32.
reverted to top[latest install- working but a few moments previously]
It too now reports missing file, and will not complete loading.
So what is causing the continuing round of failures?

  johndrew 16:25 25 Jan 2010

Could be the "incomplete" installations are confusing the boot process. You could either delete them or format the drive and install XP again in full.

If you delete the two installations, you may need to do a repair on the "good" installation using the XP CD - you will need the XP key for this.

You could also have a failing HDD. Have you tried the manufacturer`s diagnostic checks?

  jack 20:52 25 Jan 2010

This has been my contention to the owner for some time
But some folk take a lot of convincing.

BTW- how would one go about removing ther incomplete versions- without a reformat?
The installs are being made with an XP PRO 'Retail' disk so thats OK

  BRYNIT 20:54 25 Jan 2010

Sound like you have more than one partition on the HD. Did you do a full scan of the HD or just one partition.

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