I will start with the problem...
A few days ago my laptop (windows 7) my laptop rebooted by itself but it didn't get any further then a black screen with a white mouse pointer that i could move around. It seems to stay on that screen forever (I left it on for one night, same). I cannot do anything, alt, ctrl, del doesn't work, clicking anywhere doesn't do anything. It was scheduled to do updates at the moment of the crash but i don't think that has anything to do with it, because it wasn't scheduled to reboot when it went into black-screen-white-pointer for the first time (I had clicked 'delay reboot for 4 hours' less then 4 hours before the 'crash')
Solutions I came up with:
Of course I tried rebooting with the Windows CD, but somehow this doesn't work. It gets stuck in the black&white screen of death (from now on referred to as W&HSOD...) before I get any kind of menu. I tried the CD on another computer, on whitch it did work. Yes, I changed the BIOS settings into boot from CD/DVD. I downloaded RC.iso and put it on a disk to boot from: this gave me some options but when it then continues to boot, gives me a blue screen of death. I tried the bootup CD from LiveBoot from Wondershare, this gives me a menu with the options 'boot from CD' and 'boot from HDD' and both give me the B&WSOD. I then stumbled upon Knoppix, put it on a DVD and finally, something worked. It doesn't seem to have any problems. I then checked the HDD in 'Disk Utilities' and it appears to have 5 bad sectors. My HDD is partitioned into 4 ehm, parts? whitch are
2. System 3.
All are NTFS.
All the bad sectors are in part 3. This part I cannot mount using Knoppix. The 4th part seems to be fine, I can mount it and access and copy my files. Now, had I done regular backups, I would write zeros to the whole freakin' disk (something I eagerly look forward to, muhahaha), reinstall windows and pray that my HDD works fine from there on. But of course I didn't and I have some files that I would really like to have back, so I need to find a way into that 3rd part. I have tried testdisk and found out that a lot of my files are still there, but I still couldn't access my former 'documents and settings' folder. It just didn't find any files or folders there. I also ran PhotoRec, whitch I used to copy everything from partition 3 to an external harddisk, but some files still seem to be missing (or at least unrecognizable) and everything is a complete mess because file names are lost and folder structure too. I then started looking for other programs that could be of any help and came across RStudio for Linux. It also could scan OS_install, but didn't see any folders in Documents and Settings. Furthermore, because it is a demo version, I could not make an image of the partition so I can bomb the HDD with zeros without worries, start using my computer again and try to recover my files using windows, making stuff a lot easier (for me).
So here are my questions:
- Is there any other (free) program that can create an image of OS_Install?
- If PhotoRec couldn't find my files (in origional shape), are they too corrupted to be recovered? But if only 5 sectors are bad, how can my total 'Documents and Settings' folder be invisible for both TestDisk and RStudio?
- How is it possible that it just refuses to boot anything but knoppix from CD? Could it be that a boot from CD is not actually not a complete boot from cd but it gathers some information from the HDD, and that in my case exactly this information is somehow corrupted?
- Does it even make sense to zero my HDD in the hope this solves my problem and lets me boot windows from DVDs again?
- Any other suggestions?
I'm sorry to bother you with so much info and questions, I hope it all makes a bit of sense to you guys... Any help will be very much appreciated!
Windows is funny.
I recommend popping out your laptops battery, unplugging, and depressing the power button for a few minutes.
Also, if you have two DIMMs of RAM in your laptop, I recommend trying them one at a time and trying to boot windows.
Clonezilla can make a backup of your whole drive or partition so you can restore after on another disk to get your files :
Clonezilla - About
+1 on Clonezilla
As for the other ideas;
Restart the machine, hitting [F8] repeatedly.
You should be a black and white screen asking if you want to start Windows normally. You don't...
Arrow down to Safe Mode with Networking, and hit [ENTER]
This is going to run Windows in Fisher-Price Mode, minimal drivers and resources, and allow you to run all sorts of Windows diagnostic tools.
Back-up you files.
If you end up getting S.M.A.R.T. errors while checking the disk, run it til it's dead, but save you work to a flash-drive, all the while saving for a new Hard Drive... :(