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Old 01-24-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
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Unhappy Fixing/recovering WD15EARS HDD after a failed Acronis WD Alignment procedure

Hello. First of all i want to tell that i am new to this forum, and I'm not sure if I really am posting in the right section. Second I'd like you to know that English is not my native language, although I'm pretty fluent at it, anyway please don't be too mean to some mistakes i might make.

The story begins few years ago when i was really frustrated about my laptop's characteristics and especially HDD's capacity. So i decided to assemble myself a whole new PC. Since my laptop's 100 GB HDD was really too small for me i decided to buy a 1 TB HDD so i will never have that problem ever again, but I've found even bigger HDD of 1.5 TB which is WD15EARS. Once I've bought it i installed WinXP (i didn't know nothing about Linux back then by the way) on it and made two partitions, 20 GB for C: drive which is OS drive and the rest for D: drive. It took some time but i didn't really hurry. The fun started when i booted the OS. You can't even imagine how badly it lagged. Every time i booted it took several minutes to load. I didn't even realize back then that it was hdd failing me i simply had no knowledge or idea of what could've been done in that kind of situation so i just used it as is. Then in some time (i don't really remember the reason) i needed to reinstall my OS and installed Win7 instead of XP. During the partitioning progress i probably choose to delete the 20 GB partition and map it again and i believe that is the reason of that Win7 worked really much much faster than XP since (as you have already might've guessed) it actually did fit into that 4kb block. Yet it still lagged sometimes since my main drive D: was not aligned to 4 kb. Then i got myself Linux and made three new partitions by cutting a piece of D: which are /, /home and swap. Linux worked just like WinXP - horribly. That was Ubuntu on Gnome (i don't remember the version really) but then i tried several other distros like Ubuntu on KDE (kubuntu) and they worked as good as Win7 (i believe that was because of remapping the partitions and luckily fitting 4 kb sector). In time i started to encounter some problems with downloading large files via programs like DC++ and uTorrent they have been giving me an error of something like "crc check failed" but i simply restarted the download into a different location. The first time I've got some knowledge of the WD Green series and HDDs in common was when i tried to play Black Mesa (the remake of Half-Life on Source engine) and sometimes i had really horrible lag and didn't seem to stop, so i decided to post on Black Mesa Community Forum (the discussion can be found here). And based on the information i provided it turned out that i have a lot of bad blocks on my hdd (plus some partition's are not aligned) and a user with nickname lexa2 have explained a lot of things to me and provided a lot of help in testing and fixing my hdd without risk of losing data (since i had no resources for backing up 1.5 TB). The idea was to run badblocks to generate a file with list of "questionable" sectors and then try to read the sectors using hdparm and if they are bad to write zeros over it. It's really a lot of info to say here so i will only say that
badblocks -b 4096 -c 1024 -o ~/hdd-badblocks-found.txt -n -s /dev/sda
showed me more than 500 sectors 4 kb each on ~70% and and i didn't really feel like manually work over all the 500 sectors. I decided to buy a new HDD but never did that for a couple of reasons. Until recent time I've been using the hdd and the problems started to get even worse with this crc check fails. That started to be really annoying and overall the slowness of the hdd was really making me mad. So i discovered that Acronis WD Align Tool which aligns the partitions to 4 kb (for me that was D: and linux-swap - that's what the program said). And I thought like "Wow, I could finally get the desired speed and make the lag go away!" I have made a LiveUsb with an Acronis tool and started the procedure. But as it happens during the process it showed an error of something like "read/write error in sector XXXXXXXXXX" and options "retry", "skip", "skip all" and "cancel". Retries didn't help so i clicked "skip all" since there was nothing really that could've been done. So i just left it working for around 8+ hours and when I looked again it didn't progress for an inch and the ETA have raised from 5 to 16 hours. So i realized that doom have come to this world and the process is probably endless and even if it's not, there is almost no chance of successful alignment or data security since there are unusable sectors on the way, so i just turned the PC off. Now it appears that windows can see the partition but cannot read it and windows "Disk Manager" shows RAW for its filesystem. As for Linux, i was hoping it will be real helpful as it was before but when i loaded from a LiveUsb (i didn't fix grub after last windows reinstall so i couldn't start the linux from my hdd) but it didn't even seem to see such kind of partition in a file manager. So i used GParted to see that my D: drive is /dev/sda5. And i tried to mount the drive via terminal
sudo mkdir /mnt/disk && sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda5 /mnt/disk
but i got a similar to GParted output (i tried to run a fix filesystem with GParted first) which wanted me to run chkdsk:
ntfs_mst_post_read_fixup_warn: magic: 0x00000000  size: 1024   usa_ofs: 0  usa_count: 65535: Invalid argument
Record 0 has no FILE magic (0x0)
Failed to load $MFT: Input/output error
Failed to mount '/dev/sda5': Input/output error
NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it's a
SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows
then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very
important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate
it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g.
/dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the 'dmraid' documentation
for more details.
GParted told me to run chkdsk. But chkdsk simply declines to work with partition saying
 C:/Windows/system32>chkdsk /f D:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Unable to determine volume version and state.  CHKDSK aborted.
I've tried different programs under Windows but none of them seemed to work except one, it was actually recovering the files with specific extensions (.mp3, .jpg, .avi and such) but eventually it showed read/write error and didn't seem to respond after.

That happened today's morning and I've been looking for methods of data recovery all over the web for 10+ hours now. Nothing seem to work. I couldn't find any solution on that kind of specific problem in the web so I'm pretty much desperate at this point. I would really not like losing some irreplaceable data as photos and such, even thought it would be real sad to loose all the rest (i had all the 1.5 TB used), but if there is at least a chance of recovering at least a part of the data and it doesn't take a week to complete i'd like to use it.

So basically what do I want to do:

a. Recover any data I could limited to ~150 GB (as i simply does not have more additional space for recovery on an external drive) - but this is optional.
b. Fix all errors on the hdd by any means necessary since there is no valuable data to lose now.
c. Remap all HDD the right way so there will be no problem with that 4 kb sector. But i believe that won't be a problem if I do that under modern software like GParted.

Now you might ask why would I post on a Linux forum about HDD, but my opinion is that linux have lots of powerful software for working with hdds and that is why i would really prefer it instead of DOS/Win tools.

Oh by the way, some time ago i have set the idle-time-before-parking to maximum via WD's program under DOS so it wouldn't park all the time while using linux, if that's important.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Old 01-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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UPD: the program i used on windows (the one that worked) is RecoverMyFiles. It's on the screenshot.
Click image for larger version

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ID:	11703 If that's any important.
Old 01-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #3
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Well, I didn't manage to recover any data. I've deleted all partitions and remapped them again starting every single partition with a sector's number that can be divided by 8 and the result have no fractional part (what i mean is partition_first_sector % 8 = 0). I also used windows standard utility for formatting disks on the broken partition so it could right all zeros over it. That was done to fix that bad blocks problem (not sure if it actually does solve it). Thread can be closed.


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