the case of the flaming hard drive

Over the last few days, I’ve had a lot of computer issues floating around so when I found my My Documents folder to be missing, I guess I sort of just figured that it would turn up eventually. Well, late yesterday I finally learned that the drive that houses that particular set of folders in my server just up and crashed – I found this by way of Windows asking me if I wanted to format the drive when I clicked on it! Of course, I said no, but I don’t really know too much about disk recovery so I let it sit until I had some time to play with it today…

1) Started a simple chkdsk on it when I came home for lunch, but it finally gave up after finding about a billion bad sectors.
2) Downloaded Maxtor’s (now Seagate’s) drive repair utility because they’re the manufacturers of the drive, however the “short scan” failed at, like, 1% and the “long scan” gave up after finding 99 disk errors.
3) Tried running Spinrite on it, which is supposed to be one of the very best disk recovery apps on the market, and it seemed to be working ok until it halted itself, too! There must be a lot of work to do because it originally gave itself a timer of 8 hours to run the job, and had adjusted it to over 14 hours a bit later – I don’t care, just get me my data back. Nonetheless, it seemed to be going great until I went in to check on it and found that it had halted the recovery at .8732% – less than one percent! – due to the drive temperature crossing a threshold. It gave me an option to override and ignore any future temperature spikes, but I was afraid of losing the drive forever so I’m letting it cooldown now…

The funny thing is, I actually did have a backup of this drive! I say “did” because my stupid backup program deleted the backup files – I have it set to overwrite existing files and delete missing ones to keep it in sync with the working copy … and seeing as how the original is now gone along with the backup copy, my best guess is that the script saw that there weren’t any files to mirror in the source directory, so it just assumed that I’d deleted all of them and did the same to the backup. 🙁

Anybody who has any tips at all about disk recovery, please do feel free to share them at this point! That drive contained all of my personal files – photos, budgets and financial planning, pretty much everything I’ve ever written or done creatively … you get the idea. Help!!!!!


  1. ACK! 🙁 Wish I could help. Try taking it out and putting it in another computer, to make sure it’s not anything else that’s messing it up? Or try to recover data?

    Good luck.

  2. I know – I was actually pretty proud of my Knoppix try, too, because it’s the first time that I’ve ever used Linux on one of my own machines at home, believe it or not! Once this whole mess gets straightened out, I’m gonna have to play around with it some more … what distro would you recommend?

    I’m going to try swapping it to another PC later in desperate hopes that it’s maybe a bad IDE controller or something, but other than “risk Spinrite burning it up,” I’m running out of options… 🙁

  3. I use (and love) Ubuntu, and they’re actually just about to come out with the newest version in two days, so you picked a good time to start playing around. My only other experience with any other distro was my sister’s Red Hat system back when I was in high school, about which I was very snobby. XD

    Anyway I think Ubuntu is like a great combo of the nice features of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. (IE, user-friendly, pretty, and fun to use/customize). I have taught myself, via trouble-shooting or trying to find Linux versions of Windows software, how to use the command line somewhat and it’s really satisfying to have an operating system you can play with! 🙂

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