How can I save my harddisk?

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Hello group

I have a harddisk which is bought as a 250GB disk. My BIOS recognizes
it as 250GB. It has functionen for about a year as a 250GB disk. And
during that time I have stored a lot of data on in (a large portion of
which I, _naturally_, haven't got backed up). A short while ago it
suddenly stopped functioning as 250GB (see more about how it happened

I have tried the disk on a friend's PC, and experienced the same
problem there as on my own setup. WinXP (Explorer) tells me it's a
1.2GB disk. Disk Manager (in Computer Management) disagrees with
itself. In the overview on top it tells me that the disk is 1.2GB,
while the graphic representation on bottom says that it is 238GB
(probably what you get when you buy 250GB these days). I can't see any
indications that the drive should have been split up into partitions,
and I haven't partitioned it. I also tried to merge parttions with
Partition Magic, but was told that no mergable partitions were present
on that drive. If I right click on the drive in Partition Magic and
select resize/move, I get the error message "Error #2002 There are
invalid entries in the FAT". This should be a problem, which can be
fixed with Scandisk, but Scandisk reports my drive to be 1.2GB and
without errors.

Partition Table Doctor V 3.0 tells me to use it's fixboot function.
When I close the program, it wants to restart the computer to implement
the changes. After restart Explorer still says that the disk is 1.2GB
and if I run PTD again, it still tells me to use the fixboot function.
In addition I get this error message each time I run PTD "Error: The
total sectors of the partition 1
on hard disk 2 is 488392002. The right total sectors is 2490012. Do you

want to correct the error?". I comes every time i run the software, no
matter if I have chosen yes og no the previous time.

Could the problem be caused by that I have had Daemon Tools installed
with a device mounted on the affected drive? I tried to reinstall DT to
see if there was anything I could remove. But I wasn't quite sure what
to do, and I think that the version og DT I reinstalled might have been
newer than the one I made a device with.

I would be grateful for any help or suggestions.

Thank you


Re: How can I save my harddisk? wrote:

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The very first thing you should do is:

1) Buy a matching 250GB disk.
2) Find a program that will copy the contents sector by sector
   to the new disk.
3) Then, use whatever methods that come to mind, you can mess up
   the original disk if you want. The "image" of the disk you
   have made on the second disk is your backup.

The thing is, as long as a disk is still accessable and readable,
you should extract what you can from it and store that info in
a safe place. Some recovery programs can mess up a disk, and
if you have a sector-by-sector backup of the original disk, then
all is not lost.

Using a sector by sector copy program, and making sure it has
attempted to transfer the entire 250GB of data, is the best you
can do. The sector by sector method avoids issues with the
corrupted file system(s) on the original disk. I would sit
and watch the sector by sector transfer, until it is complete,
as you may find areas of the disk have physical damage, which
may make the sector by sector backup fail.

So, backup first! If you are still able.

And avoid switching the power off and on a lot with the damaged
disk - the damaged disk might only have a matter of days left
to live. (I learned this lesson the hard way, turned off the
power on my bad disk, and the next day it would not start!)

And having more than one spare, brand new disk, will make the
recovery operation easier to do. A recovery program may wish
to copy the damaged disk, to a clean new disk, and having
a second new disk to place the recovered data, would be

You might end up with enough spare disks, that it will be
easy to make backups in the future :-)


Re: How can I save my harddisk?

Paul wrote:

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Thank you for your advice. I must admit that I strongly suspect that
any attempt to copy the disk sector by sector will give me af copy of
the 1.2GB disk, that the OS wants it to be. Does that sound unlikely?

Re: How can I save my harddisk? wrote:

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The purpose of attempting to make a sector by sector copy
of the disk, is in case there is physical damage to the
original disk. Yes, the contents of the archival copy of the
disk will still make the disk look like a 1.2GB. But, if the
original disk stops working completely tomorrow, you can
still attempt to fix the copy of the information, as the files
are undoubtedly still there in some form.

Say a certain portion of the disk is unusable (cannot be
written), and that is why your repair attempts are failing.
With a copy of the disk, the repair tools may succeed in
fixing the problem.

If you buy a couple of spare disks, you can put an archival
copy of the bad disk on each of them. You can use your repair
tools on one new disk, and see if you can fix the problem.
If the repair tool scrambles the data on that disk, you can
copy the second new disk to the first new disk, and try again.

The only reason I am suggesting such caution, is two spare
disks are cheaper than using a data recovery company. I have lost
a disk once, because I said "Oh, I can back this drive up
tomorrow and work on it". When the next day came, my disk and
its data were completely dead. And my chance to do a backup
copy was gone.


Re: How can I save my harddisk?

You would probably get a warmer response to your post if you did not try to
redirect the readers to an external link (Google or not).

However if you go to the disk manufacture's web site you will most likely
find a utility to copy sector by sector (free software) . I have used most
major drive makers utilities and have found them to be very reliable.

As for the cause of your problem I can't say without seeing it, but my guess
is that the partition table in the Boot Sector is messed up. might not be to
much of a problem.

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