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  1. #1

    Possible HDD Failure


    I am not 100% sure if the problem is in the NTFS partitions or the hard drive itself, so I figured I'd ask those who know more about this than me before giving up on the hard drive.

    First, as a background, this is not my laptop, and it has only Windows 7 at the moment (with a linux live CD). As such, I unfortunately do not have access to the laptop beyond telling the owner what to do over the phone.

    Apparently, she had her camera case (which has a magnet) near the hard drive of her laptop for an extended period of time, and only noticed when she heard a clicking sound. She immediately turned off the laptop, and noticed the camera case's position. I'm personally surprised that moderate-strength commercial magnet could damage a computer, given the powerful magnets in the hard drive itself and various other testimonials, but it seems possible at this point.

    In short, when she turns on the computer, the POST screen is displayed, and she can access the BIOS. However, the normal page afterwards (I forget what it's called, but where all the interrupt handles and hardware information is listed) is not displayed. It's simply a black screen for what she says is around a minute, and then a page shows up that simply says "Windows is loading files" on a black background with white text. She has left it to do this for several hours, and it was still running.

    I told her to create a Ubuntu live CD (the distribution that I use most frequently), and have been trying to diagnose the situation. The Live CD will load, but cannot mount the hard drive.

    For reference, her hard drive has three partitions:
    /dev/sda1: Dell Utility
    /dev/sda2: Windows recovery partition
    /dev/sda3: Main Windows partition
    First, I had her check the partition health using gparted. On opening gparted, /dev/sda1 is listed as healthy. However, sda2 and sda3 are listed with warnings. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the warnings, but they mentioned problems with the partitions.

    Attempting to mount using the following commands:
    mkdir /media/ntfs
    sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda3 /media/ntfs
    Results in:
    ntfs_attr_pread_i: ntfs_pread failed: Input/output error
    Failed to read $UpCase, unexpected length (-1 != 131072).
    Failed to mount '/dev/sda3': Input/output error
    NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it's a
    SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows
    then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very
    important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate
    it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g.
    /dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the 'dmraid' documentation
    for more details.
    Next, ntfsfix gave the following:
    ubuntu:~$ sudo ntfsfix /dev/sda3
    Mounting volume... __ntfs_volume_release(): Inode 10 still have 1 references.
    Attempting to correct errors...
    Processing $MFT and $MFTMirr...
    Reading $MFT... OK
    Reading $MFTMirr... OK
    Comparing $MFTMirr to $MFT... OK
    Processing of $MFT and $MFTMirr completed successfully.
    Setting required flags on partition... OK
    Going to empty the journal ($LogFile)... Failed to empty $FILE_LogFile/$DATA: Input/output error.
    Failed to reset $LogFile: Input/output error.
    Then, using smartctl:
    sudo smartctl --test=long /dev/sda
    Results in:
    ubuntu:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda
    smartctl version 5.38 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
    Home page is <<REMOVED SO I CAN POST THIS (LINK)>>
    Device Model:     WDC WD5000BEVT-75ZAT0
    Serial Number:    WD-WX60AC9N7992
    Firmware Version: 01.01A01
    User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes
    Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
    ATA Version is:   8
    ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
    Local Time is:    Mon Jul 18 03:54:20 2011 UTC
    SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
    SMART support is: Enabled
    SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
    General SMART Values:
    Offline data collection status:  (0x00)    Offline data collection activity
                        was never started.
                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
    Self-test execution status:      ( 121)    The previous self-test completed having
                        the read element of the test failed.
    Total time to complete Offline
    data collection:          (13560) seconds.
    Offline data collection
    capabilities:              (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                        Offline surface scan supported.
                        Self-test supported.
                        Conveyance Self-test supported.
                        Selective Self-test supported.
    SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)    Saves SMART data before entering
                        power-saving mode.
                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
    Error logging capability:        (0x01)    Error logging supported.
                        General Purpose Logging supported.
    Short self-test routine
    recommended polling time:      (   2) minutes.
    Extended self-test routine
    recommended polling time:      ( 158) minutes.
    Conveyance self-test routine
    recommended polling time:      (   5) minutes.
    SCT capabilities:            (0x303f)    SCT Status supported.
                        SCT Feature Control supported.
                        SCT Data Table supported.
    SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
    Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
      1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   199   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       163
      3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   181   181   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       1916
      4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       2517
      5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
      7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   200   199   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
      9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   097   097   000    Old_age   Always       -       2643
     10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
     11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
     12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       2483
    191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   025   025   000    Old_age   Always       -       75
    192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       24
    193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   193   193   000    Old_age   Always       -       23636
    194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   101   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       46
    196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
    197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   192   192   000    Old_age   Always       -       683
    198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
    199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       2
    200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
    240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x0032   097   097   000    Old_age   Always       -       2585
    241 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       4299000944
    242 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       8172929017
    SMART Error Log Version: 1
    No Errors Logged
    SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
    Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
    # 1  Extended offline    Completed: read failure       90%      2643         468040
    # 2  Short offline       Aborted by host               70%      2440         -
    # 3  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2279         -
    # 4  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2103         -
    # 5  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1576         -
    # 6  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1381         -
    # 7  Short offline       Completed without error       00%         0         -
    SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
        1        0        0  Not_testing
        2        0        0  Not_testing
        3        0        0  Not_testing
        4        0        0  Not_testing
        5        0        0  Not_testing
    Selective self-test flags (0x0):
      After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
    If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

    From the above, the following line worries me:
    # 1  Extended offline    Completed: read failure       90%      2643         468040
    That's a lot of bad blocks, if I understand the output correctly.

    In summary, I don't know where to proceed from here. Is the hard drive dead, or can it be fixed? If it's not fixable, will I still be able to get data off of it by attaching it as an external slave drive to my computer, when I next see her? I have a cable that allows for connecting 2.5'' SATA drives as if they were external hard drives, which I have used in the past to get data off of failing hard drives, but I'm not sure that will help in this instance.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2

    You probably need to run testdisk on it.

    It would be more convenient to have it where you can work on it. Testdisk is available in various forms. It's probably on your repositories, or you can get it on a self booting iso, and make a CD to run on her computer.

    If your main plan is to recover her data, sda3 would be your focus. If you intend to recover her OS with it's data you'll need to restore the whole disk.

    Yes, you probably can restore the whole disk with testdisk. just read the directions as you go along, and pay attention. (And don't make any promises!)

  3. #3
    Yeah, I wish that I had it with me to work on it in person. However, it's currently 3000km away. Ah well.

    I had not heard of testdisk before. Thank you very much! I'll be sure to look into it.

  4. $spacer_open

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