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Trying to reformat laptop.....


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:40 AM

....and I'm having a heck of a time. I'm wondering if I have a damage hard drive.

It's a co-workers laptop. He was in the middle of composing an email and up pops a black screen saying that no hard drive was available.
Try to reboot...the Dell screen comes up, then the black screen comes up with the message saying it can find no boot drive.

I've tried reloading Windows. I can boot to the CD and can delete the partition, create a new one, but when I get to the formatting part, the progress meter comes up, the CD drive spins up for a minute, then all activity stops. The meter never goes up (stays at 0). I've tried NTFS and FAT and get the same thing.

Do I have a damaged hard drive here?

I did make a little progess yesterday. I opened the bottom panel up and moved everything in there around a bit. Blew the dust out with compressed air and put it all back together. Before that, when I'd go into the BIOS, it would have a blank where the HD should be listed. After that, it would recognized the drive type and size, but still would get no further in a boot.

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted January 29 2004 - 03:36 AM

Does Dell have any HD diagnostic utilities that you could use when booting up from a bootable floppy and then launching the HD diag utility to check the health of the HD?
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#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:35 AM

I can check that. I'm going back and forth with Dell at the moment. I think the laptop is still under some sort of warranty. If so, I'll probably just get a new HD out of them.

Here's another quesiton....is it possible to connect a secondary HD to a laptop? This is a Dell Inspiron. If they do send a new drive, I'd like to try to connect the original drive to the machine to see if it is possible to recover any data.

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted January 29 2004 - 08:35 AM

If it has USB 2.0 ports, you can get a 2.5" HD USB caddy to access the old laptop HD. XP is the preferable OS, but I think you can get it to work with Windows 2000 as the OS with the proper USB drivers loaded.

You might also be able to get something that slips into the CD-ROM slot and accepts the 2.5" laptop HDs.
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#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:37 PM

This laptop is a couple of years old, so I'm sure it doesn't have USB 2.0.

If anyone knows of any product that will allow drive access like this, let me know.

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Brice

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Posted January 29 2004 - 06:40 PM

If you can, try booting up with Knoppix on CD, saved my ass when my harddrive did the same, I was able to save my data, and had to get a new drive. Good luck.
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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted January 30 2004 - 02:51 AM

Easiest way to try to access the old drive is to get a cheap 2.5-to-3.5 inch drive adapter and then hook it up to any PC with a normal IDE port on it.

Costs a few dollars or so, last I checked.

The only other way, as Patrick already said, would be to get it to talk USB (either 1 or 2, 2.0 being MUCH faster) or firewire, but either of those solutions are not useful for recovery like this. They would be useful for adding an external drive for everyday use if you need more space than the built-in drive has.
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#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted January 30 2004 - 03:26 AM

Brice,

I've checked into the Knoppix programs, and even if it won't work in this case, it seems like a great utility to have around.
I downloaded the ISO of the program, but Nero is telling me that I don't have enough room on the CD for the file.

I've not burned many ISO files, so maybe I'm missing something. Anything?

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted January 30 2004 - 06:00 AM

Is it possible to access old data if you do a repartitioning, even if the formatting doesn't start without good data recovery software?

Or was the data on a separate partition that you didn't touch?

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted February 02 2004 - 01:07 AM

I ran a HD diagnostic and it's telling me that the drive is physically damaged. Nothing I do (other than the utility I ran) will even access the drive. So I don't believe that I could re-partition it anyway.