# Repairing hard disk when Windows installation disk won't boot

I'm trying to recover some data from a faulty hard disk with Windows installed on it (on which Windows won't even boot). I have tried so far:

• Booting to Ubuntu live USB stick and running ntfsfix (didn't work)

• Trying to mount the broken partition when running Ubuntu from usb stick (doesn't mount)

• Running photorec image recovery tool from live Ubuntu (it found some stuff but not the images I was looking for)

Now as a last resort I got myself a Windows installation on a USB stick so that I can try fdisk, but the installer doesn't work. The loading screen shows up and then the installer crashes. The installer works fine on other computers. I suspect that the installer is trying to read the hard drive to see if there's something there but when it can't read one partition, it crashes.

On Ubuntu, I can mount other partitions except the one I'm interested in so at least the hard drive is not completely dead.

So the question is, what options do I have left? To be more specific, my goal is to recover some images from the faulty ntfs-partition on the hard drive. Other than that, I don't care about the contents of the hard disk.

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If you have not written any data to the hdd, you might have luck, with Spin Rite 6 on level 5. It sounds like the master boot record was lost, which means the files were deleted, because the file index was invalid upon Windows detecting an error on the partition. –  Ramhound Dec 4 '12 at 17:46

Pull the drive out and hook it up VIA usb or slave it to another computer. Then either copy the files or use a recovery program like EasyRecovery to recover files.

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I tried that. Windows (not even already installed one on another hard drive) won't boot if the faulty hard drive is plugged in. –  Echows Dec 4 '12 at 18:14
If this is a SATA drive, wait until windows is booted up already before plugging it in. You can plug in SATA drives hot, or use a USB adatper. –  BroScience Dec 4 '12 at 18:16
Actually after waiting like 10 minutes in the windows loading screen, windows started checking (presumably) the faulty drive. Now it says "scanning and repairing drive [some unintelligible path]: 1% complete". The checking is dead slow though, after 5-10 minutes only one percent has been checked. –  Echows Dec 4 '12 at 18:33