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Discussion Starter #1
Well my girlfriends parents have a dell computer from around 2001 or so and they wanted me to take a look at it since the computer wouldn't turn on. It isn't the entire hard drive but when I try to boot it says disk read error. It won't even boot in safe mode. So I am assuming that the only thing I can possibly do is reformat and reinstall windows but they have a lot of pictures on the computer that never made it anywhere else. They really want to save the pictures but they can care less about anything else.

I tried to connect the drive to a different computer and take some data from it but it says that the drive is not formated and asks me to format it. Is it possible to retrieve any data from this dirve? Also should I reinstall windows on this drive or is it going to go bad eventually it is just an 80gb drive so it would be cheap to replace but if I don't have to I would rather just reformat it. Thanks for the help.
 

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Check and make sure they don't have anything like Go-Back installed. Programs like Go-Back use a different file system IE: a file system with in a file system. Try using the linux knoppix live CD and see if you can access the drive from it. If you can then you can back up the pics via LAN. Find out what brand the drive is and try the disk drive tools that seagate and western digital have and you might be able to repair a sector or what ever is wrong with the drive. If all else fails put your ear close to the drive when you turn it on and listen for anything that sounds like metal slapping or crunching sounds. The heads might be slapping into the platter or the platter cylinder. If theres something physically wrong with the drive (just not bad software) then the drive will have to be shipped off to a data recovery service but that can cost a pretty penny.

This is why you always backup your files.
 

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I don't have access to the computer but I am going to head down their tomorrow and I can check. It is a Maxtor hard drive so I am not sure if they have any programs that will fix the drive. I am also not sure how to access it with Linux but if you could point me in the right direction I learn fast so I am sure that I would be able to figure it out. I know a little about computers but you guys definitely are over my head sometimes. Thanks for the help I will let you guys know what the error says word for word as long as I remember to bring a laptop so that I can get online.
 

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Im downloading Knoppix right now so once I figure out how to use it I will give that a shot.
 

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if it is formatted with the NTFS file system then it will need a OS that can read NTFS. does the 2nd computer you hooked it to read NTFS? knoppix is a good idea because I think it will recognize the NTFS as well as the older FAT file system. if you have a system that is windows and can read both NTFS and FAT then use that.
 

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if it is formatted with the NTFS file system then it will need a OS that can read NTFS. does the 2nd computer you hooked it to read NTFS? knoppix is a good idea because I think it will recognize the NTFS as well as the older FAT file system. if you have a system that is windows and can read both NTFS and FAT then use that.
**** I didn't even think of that I forgot that my sisters computer which I connected it to is really old but it runs XP doesn't XP usually use NTFS??? The computer has to be about 10 years old and the one that the hard drive is from is NTFS. I am going to give it a shot with knoppix though tomorrow since it seems like the best way to do it. Will it recognize my ipod though so that I can back everything up? I don't have another drive so that is really my only way to back everything up.
 

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Knoppix will see the NTFS file system but only in a read-only state but enough that you can copy files from it. I never tried a iPod in Linux before, but I have tried Linux on my iPod. I don't know if it will work. Best bet is to get another hard drive that has a FAT32 file system in a external setup like USB and use it to hold the files.

As long as the computer has Win2k, XP or Vista it can use a NTFS even if the host file system is FAT32.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok I hooked it up to my brothers computer which is almost the same exact computer and it is running check disk as I speak. It says sector #### unreadable. Once it finishes booting I will see if I can get any data from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It said that the drive is not formated again I am going to try and run knoppix once I get to their house and see if it will read it.
 

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Thanks for all of the help guys. I tried out Knoppix and the drive won't show up I also tried spin rite and when I can get the drive to show it says that it is unable to access the drive. So I really don't know what to do from here I found a site that talked about using Knoppix and they said that freezing the drive will sometimes let you get into it but I am not sure if I want to try that one out yet.
 

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If the drive wasnt 6+ years old, I'd be more inclined to think it's just an easily fixable formatting problem and you could grab the data off via knoppix/spinrite/getdataback etc. With a drive that old though, and one that was probably dusty/poorly ventilated inside a dell case inside a cabinet, I'd be willing to bet it's physical damage and they're SOL.

I've never heard of freezing a drive actually working...it actually sounds pretty dumb and I cant think of any reason why it would even theoretically help. Then again, you've already exhausted basically all the software options...maybe it wouldnt be a bad idea to get some prayer beads, hang a dreamcatcher, light some incense, do a mantra, then throw that sucker in the freezer.
 
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