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The laptop, when booting into Windows XP, started to display BSOD with "Unmountable Boot Volume" message.

I tried to chkdsk /r: "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems"

fdisk also doesn't work. It produces an error that I can't remember.

Linux LiveCD GParted smartcl scan gave the PASSED log message. But trying to format the hard drive using GParted on first attempt showed "input/output error", but clicking Retry would yield the "Everything-went-good" message. Yet, refreshing the GParted's display would still show my hard drive as being NTFS file system with about 6GB used.

Then I tried to use Partition Wizard Boot CD. Same as with GParted - Partition Wizard would display my hard drive as NTFS file system with about 6GB used. I could actually right click and "Explore" the NTFS partition. I saw my files. But I'm not trying to recover them because there's nothing on that hard drive I need anymore, so I want to format it and install a different operating system.

Trying to use "Delete" the partition gives the same result, after Applying the pending delete process - the NTFS partition remains untouched(just like with GParted). Trying to format the partition takes a really long time(+1% progress bar every ~30 minutes). Running Surface Scan made my laptop restart. Every time.

Also, I downloaded a Disk Fitness Test program from the manufacturer of my hard drive and ran an Advanced Test, which said that my hard drive passed it. But running format utility prompts with an error saying that the device is corrupted.

Fixing MBR also didn't change anything.

So, is my hard drive finished for good? I'm confused between successfull tests, ability to actually explore the partition, and receiving all kinds of errors trying to format or delete the hard disk.

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I've seen similar errors caused by usually one of 2 things, either the MBR on the drive has a error in which case use hex editor to rewrite it, or indeed your hard drive is done. If you do a lot of partitioning, as it seems you do, it may be the MBR. Have you tried using dd to wipe the disk? –  user88311 Jan 28 '13 at 4:13
    
@user88311 You could say I've been partitioning alot on this hard drive. But I've always partitioned the hdd entirely and it always had one big partition. I haven't used dd because I don't really know what it is or how to use it. –  John Jan 28 '13 at 4:17
    
@user88311 Found about dd here: how-to.wikia.com/wiki/… Ran the first command example to wipe the disk and put it into background. It's runnng right now when I check jobs but I don't see it in ps. Is that normal? –  John Jan 28 '13 at 4:43
    
@John Pls see my answer for some updates. Also you should be careful with dd, it is a rather low level utility. –  Karthik T Jan 28 '13 at 4:45
    
@KarthikT I did. What do you mean by low level utility? As long as it fixes my hdd I'm fine. I'm not afraid to lose the data on hdd. –  John Jan 28 '13 at 4:47

1 Answer 1

You might want to install Disk Utility (palimpsest). First check S.M.A.R.T status. Then try to delete/format Drive (not partition). This will also show you the number of bad sectors, looks like you have quite a few. smartcl would also have access to this info, but Disk Utility I find is more user friendly, being GUI based.

You should be able to install it on your Linux LiveCD with a simple

sudo apt-get install palimpsest

Assuming you are on a debian derivative system. I am not sure if this will work with the GParted Live CD though, I cant find more info on if it is debian based. You can make a Ubuntu based LiveCD and work with that.

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I'm using Crunchbag LiveCD(based on deb and can be run on my laptop unlike Ubuntu). I'll try the palimpsest after checking out the dd command user88311 suggested. At the moment dd command is running in the background. Hopefully it will work. –  John Jan 28 '13 at 4:44
    
@John ah ok, good luck with dd! –  Karthik T Jan 28 '13 at 4:47
    
I'm not really sure if dd is doing anything atm. [1]+ Running sudo dd ....the rest... & CPU usage is at 2% too. Is that normal? –  John Jan 28 '13 at 4:53
    
@John dd would be writing to disk, so I wouldnt expect too high cpu usage. Your disk should be quite noisy though (if it makes noise if accessed) and iotop if you install it should show high numbers. –  Karthik T Jan 28 '13 at 4:55

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