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My wife's PC suddenly stopped booting up properly. It gets as far as the Windows 'loading' screen with the bar scrolling away, but that's as far as it gets for some time, then suddenly flashes up a BSoD barely long enough to see, then the display cuts out.

We've got identical PCs, and after swapping components, I established that my PC suffers the same problem if I swap in the HDD. Even if I plug hers in as a second HDD on my machine, it still does the same thing, even though it's booting from mine. I can't even boot her machine from CD or DVD either, so I couldn't even use a recovery disc.

I did manage to partially boot my PC into safe mode with the other HDD attached, and it got as far as loading 'crcdisk.sys' and froze.

Anybody know what could be wrong with it, or at least how I can get the data off the disk? I'm assuming there's still data on the disk, given that it at least shows me the vista 'loading' screen.

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Why can you not boot the recovery disc from CD or DVD, did you go into the BIOS (Maybe F2 or F12 during reboot) and change the boot priority of the CDROM to #1 and then the Harddrive as #2? Then maybe you can let the system recovery run, and if that doesnt work open the command prompt and run a chkdsk? – j_bombay Nov 30 '12 at 15:17
It IS running from the CD, but for some reason merely plugging the HDD into the machine is enough to stop it booting properly from anywhere. – Flynn1179 Nov 30 '12 at 15:31

It certainly looks like the hard drive is bad.

Try booting to a Linux live CD and copying the data on the hard drive to an external storage device. Viewing the SMART information and testing the drive using smartctl may provide additional insight on the problem.

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Just tried booting from a linux live CD- it wouldn't boot that either. This is what's really confusing me- even though I'm not booting from it, I can't get anything to boot as long as that HDD's attached to the machine. – Flynn1179 Nov 30 '12 at 17:18
Using a hard drive enclosure, boot from a live CD without plugging the drive in. Once the system has started, plug in the hard drive and try again. – bwDraco Nov 30 '12 at 17:28
Ah, cool.. I was wondering how to boot first, then plug it in. Any reason I can't boot from my working HDD instead of a live boot with the enclosure? – Flynn1179 Nov 30 '12 at 20:44
It appears the drive locks up while communicating with the computer... – bwDraco Nov 30 '12 at 22:43

An option to getting the data off would be using any Linux Live CD. Windows likes to BSOD, but with Linux you should be able to recover a large portion of the C:\Users folder.

I have used RIPLinux with success. If you want to go that route, I can provide you a summary of how to deal with it (if you need a summary, that is).

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Yes, I would say the hard drive is indeed bad!

As far as getting your data off, download GetDataBack and then try connecting the bad hard drive to your machine as the second hard drive. Run GetDataBack and try to copy the files onto a good drive.

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