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Accessing a Corrupt Drive


grimjon
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I have a barebones MSI Wind nettop (945GC with a single core Atom processor) that was running Leopard using the MSIWindosx86 install. The hard drive became corrupt after a hard reset, so I replaced the corrupt drive with a new one and attempted to reinstall the thing. But after beating my head against the wall trying to get a Vanilla SL install to work on it, I finally bit the bullet and went back to the tried and true MSIWindosx86 Leopard install I used in the first place. My problem now is I would like to be able to access the data on the original hard drive.

 

I stuck the bad drive in an external USB drive enclosure and plugged it into the newly built nettop but it does not recognize the old drive. When I look at the old drive in Disk Utility, it shows it as a USB drive, and reports some data about it, but it cannot be mounted. First aid gives me no options for the drive, and verify doesn't seem to do anything. Are there any Mac gurus out there who have any suggestions?

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I would fire up a Linux live cd (or install if you have one) and check it out in there. Mac and Windows both are picky about drives being perfectly clean or they won't mount (OS X less so, Windows very much). In Linux you can usually force the drive to mount, read only of course to preserve your data, and see what is there. That has save my butt many times.

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I would fire up a Linux live cd (or install if you have one) and check it out in there. Mac and Windows both are picky about drives being perfectly clean or they won't mount (OS X less so, Windows very much). In Linux you can usually force the drive to mount, read only of course to preserve your data, and see what is there. That has save my butt many times.

 

Thanks for the advice. I think I still have a copy of Ubuntu installed on my son's desktop. I'll see if I can get the old drive to mount when connected to that machine and try to pull the data I want off that way.

 

Any reason I could not reformat the drive and reuse it once I do?

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Nope, shouldn't be any problem as long as there is no physical problem with the drive. After you've saved all your data (if that was successful) use badblock to test the drive. Run it with something like

 

badblock /dev/sda

 

If "sda" is the hard drive you are trying to recover from. Badblock basically reads/writes (it might not do both unless you tell it to, but it doesn't matter) each block on your drive. It will take a while if the drive is large. If you end up with no output, that means your disk is good. If you end up with a bunch of weird output, or numbers of blocks, that basically means there are parts of the drive that are not good, and cannot be read/written from/to.

 

If you only end up with a list of bad blocks (many lines with numbers on them) as output, you can run badblocks a second time and see if you get any output. If you get no output the second time, your drive is still good and you can continue using it. Every hard drive has some space reserved that it can use to replace the bad blocks. When you run badblock and it tries to read a part that is bad, the drive will fix the area if it can. However, if you have too many bad areas, you will end up with bad blocks that cannot be fixed and the drive is not usable (or at least not reliable).

 

If you end up with a bunch of weird output (might look like some sort of weird error message or programming code) then you probably have a bad drive.

 

Most likely its just a software problem and your drive is fine, but I would badblock it just to be safe.

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Nice, thats one I actually didn't know about. Thanks for the tip

 

Wow, that was a great suggestion. Testdisk allowed me to repair the damaged drive to the point that I could get it mounted and visible, so all I had to do was drag-n-drop the files I wanted to the new drive. Piece of cake!

 

- jb

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