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-   -   Suggestions on how to rescue files from a friend's dying laptop hard drive (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=4175497178)

maples 03-05-2014 08:07 PM

Suggestions on how to rescue files from a friend's dying laptop hard drive
 
Hi!

My friend recently dropped his laptop, from about two feet. At first, things seemed fine, but then games slowed down, then he got a few Blue Screens (tm), and now it seems that the Windows bootloader can't find a Windows installation on the hard drive.

To me, it sounds like he had a head crash. My plans were to boot from a Lubuntu flash drive that I keep with me, and then open up its file manager and start copying files to more flash drives and other external media until we get everything we can or the drive quits.

I was thinking about trying out the dd command (coincidentally, I read an article about how to use it last week), but since part of the drive is obviously bad, it might not be the best idea. Also, we will probably only have flash drives available to copy files on to.

IMHO, this doesn't sound like a very good plan. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I would prefer to stick within the Lubuntu if possible, but I would be willing to try other things as well, as long as they have clear instructions or is basic enough that a newbie could use (in case something goes wrong, which is bound to happen with a dying drive).

Thanks!

EDIT: BTW, I've told him that he should leave it turned off until we start to rescue his files

metaschima 03-05-2014 08:31 PM

If you need just a few files, you should focus on those and get them off ASAP.

If you need many files, then you may be better off using 'ddrescue' to image the whole drive to another equal or larger drive. Then you can use whatever tools like testdisk/photorec or foremost to get the files that are damaged from the good drive.

Modern laptops have HDDs with drop sensors that park the heads when you drop the laptop. How old is this laptop ? Either way, the HDD could be bad even without dropping it.

maples 03-05-2014 08:43 PM

I will ask him before we even start if there any files that are REALLY important, and get that first.

As for ddrescue, I'm 99% sure that we'll only be able to use flash drives, but you never know...

As for the age, I can only guess. It has an Intel Pentium processor, if that means anything to you. It also has Windows 8, and I think UEFI boot, which makes me think that it's newer. But even if it has a free-fall sensor, what if Windows decided that freefall is the perfect time to defrag the disk?

As for it already being bad, I'm inclined to doubt it. He had no problems (that I'm aware of) before the drop. Maybe it was a tiny defect but it was still able to operate normally, and the drop just amplified the defect?

Whatever the problem is, I have a feeling that it won't last that much longer. Once we get everyhing off of it, we might crack the drive open and see if there's a streak in the middle of the platters. :)

onebuck 03-06-2014 08:05 AM

Member Response
 
Hi,

You can get some useful utilities from: Tools, Recovery, Diagnostic, Emergency

Hope this helps.

Habitual 03-07-2014 04:46 PM

Triinity Rescue Kit

jefro 03-07-2014 08:10 PM

Might consider some command like dd or ddrescue to image it off. Any time you use a damaged drive, it could make it worse.

DiskChris 03-14-2014 04:13 PM

If its a UEFI computer with Windows 8, make sure secure boot is disabled or you will problems booting linux. Yeah I would ask if there is any *really* important data, and copy that first, then as others have said use ddrescue. Ddrescue is supposed to use an algorithm designed minimize the stress on failing drives.

onebuck 03-14-2014 04:52 PM

Member Response
 
Hi,
Quote:

Originally Posted by DiskChris (Post 5134710)
If its a UEFI computer with Windows 8, make sure secure boot is disabled or you will problems booting linux. Yeah I would ask if there is any *really* important data, and copy that first, then as others have said use ddrescue. Ddrescue is supposed to use an algorithm designed minimize the stress on failing drives.

There are several distributions that can be installed to a UEFI system. You just have to follow directions for your particular distribution. For Slackware you can look at: http://docs.slackware.com/howtos:sla..._uefi_hardware

Really no need to use Legacy mode in the BIOS unless that is the only way to get a particular Gnu/Linux installed on a UEFI system. UEFI is a good protocol to prevent unwarranted or wanted issues with a system via firmware.

maples 03-15-2014 01:18 PM

It was a UEFI boot system, but I could use the boot menu to select "boot from USB" in "legacy boot" mode. I only had time to get the REALLY important stuff off (his Eagle Scout project) because we did this in the library before school, but I plan on taking another round at it some other time. When that happens, I'll take a closer look into ddrescue.

Thanks!

boutje 03-15-2014 02:45 PM

Dying hard disk afther dropping laptop
 
@maples
You can use Hiren's Boot CD.
Download it at http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ and burn on a cd.
Dissable UEFI by accessing BIOS and set your boot order to "boot from cd".
Boot from the cd and shoose Mini Windows XP in the menu.
This link explains how you can recover data from a dying hard disk.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_RpUxfMayU
I hope this will solve your friend's problem.


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