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first time here, so I'll crack right on. I'm not really a huge hardware guy, but a friend has passed me on a laptop that wont boot up. There are two answers to this problem I guess, ideally the end result would be a working laptop, but otherwise just pulling the data off the HDD would work too.

Initially I didn't think the problem could be related to the HDD at all, as the laptop switches itself off halfway through POST, but after playing around, removing the HDD and booting with just ram lets me access the bios fine.

Chucking the HDD into my desktop, showed the harddrive up as "MODELNAME/error" or something along those lines, and without knowing anything about hard drives at all, I'm guessing that even the header/name (clueless about correct terminology) is corrupted. If this is the case, then I think POST is trying to read the HDD, then immediately hitting an error and restarting.

So, if you're still with me, any war hardened HDD vets out there, have you experienced this before/do you know any good tools for repairing/recovering from a pretty damn screwed HDD.

(I hear whispers around the internet of a fabled freezer trick, I guess I will try this if all else fails)

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You need to give us exact information. Sadly information like ".... or something" won't help us help you. If you cannot even get the HDD to start spinning then your options are limited, and most of those options, are extremely expensive. – Ramhound Jan 31 '13 at 12:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Generally speaking, if you can't get the BIOS to notice the drive, it might as well be a toaster. yes the freezer trick may get it going once or twice, the drive appears to be in an advanced state of failure.

Check the SMART stats of the drive. in windows i use Speedfan to view SMART data and in linux I use palimpsest (ubuntu's Disk utility). that should give you a good idea of how far gone it is, and whether the problems involve stuff like bad blocks (reallocated sectors) or mechanical issues. if you don't have bad blocks, then your goal is to just get the data off ASAP. if there are bad blocks, then you shoudl look into a tool like DDRescue which will attempt to recover the data from the reallocated sectors.

good luck

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If you put that drive in another system and can not assign a drive letter (windows) or cant mount then there is little that you can do yo recover the data.

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