Friday, October 14, 2005

Laptop go BOOM

What is it about me and computer Hard Drives?

I owned the only HD model ever made with a firmware bug in it. Then I've proceeded to burn out at least 3 hard drives at home, and one at my last job.

Well, yesterday, the HD on my work laptop just went boom. Never had a laptop HD do that before. My machine locked, and after a hard boot I started getting blue screen of death:

Well it turns out according to HP, that this is a 'known problem' with their laptop and XP. However, their answers for how to fix it ... didn't work. Nothing could write to the drive, nothing could modify it. Any access would end up causing a 'Cannot write to Sector 0' error.

Not good.

Luckily I went home armed with some various boot recovery disks from work, and managed to get one configuration working where I could boot from the CD, get on the net, and then run this lovely program: Winternals Disk Commander, which was the ONLY program that could actually read the files.

So I was able to transfer the contents of my HD, over 100mbps network, to my primary home machine. 40 GB's of data takes a while doing that. :) Oh, and of course I had to baby it, because it would every now and then hit a file it couldn't read, lock up, and I'd have to restart it selecting only the directories/files it hadn't gotten to yet.

Eventually, I had it all over, and was able to burn important bits to DVD

The drive was really toast though. I kept trying to just wipe it at that point, and nothing could even touch the partition table or MBR.

Wow. Oh well, new HD is ordered as this was under warranty. And I got all my data.


Unfortunately, I was up until 3am to do that ... Ugg ... You know you are getting old when the idea of being up at 3am fills you with dread, and not joy.



Blogger james said...

I found an ISO of a bootable CD-ROM on P2P which includes some of the Winternals tools you recommended. The file name is "Ultimate Boot disk Ghost (1394 USB1.1 support) Drive Image (Can remove boot CD for burning to CD_RW) Partition Magic NTF
.rar" That got me out of a non-booting jam! Back online and backing up my files as I type this. Thanks for the tip!

12:34 AM  

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