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I had Windows 7 in my machine and suddenly the Harddisk(500 Gig Seagate SATA) won't boot. I connected the HD to another machine as a slave and tried to format the drive.

The Drive is listed in Disk Management but says unallocated and am not able to format, says the drive is write protected. Tried using partition manager, says I/O error occured.

I don have much of data in the disk, just need to get it working again.

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the hard disk's dead. get a replacement – Sathya Feb 20 '13 at 7:06
How old is the computer? How old is the disk? – hot2use Feb 20 '13 at 7:35
Both are two yrs old – SriHarish Feb 20 '13 at 8:13

If it suddenly stops working in one system and you are unable to format the drive in another, you have a failed hard disk drive. You may have a mechanical failure or electronic failure on the disk, but in either case you should consider:

  • filing a warranty claim if possible
  • purchasing a replacement drive
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  1. Download the SystemRescue 3.0 ISO : Hompage / Download
  2. Burn ISO to CD or create a bootable USB Disk using 'Live USB Creator' LiveUSBCreator Homepage.
  3. Attach an external disk drive that is the same size as your old harddisk (better: slightly larger) and that is empty (can be a new disk)
  4. Boot the computer using the created CD or USB drive using the default SystemRescue setting
  5. Start the graphical tool GParted
  6. Note down the different disks (SDA, SDB, SDC, ...). The drives are displayed top right in a kind of pull-down menu.
  7. Find the disk that matches your Windows 7 partitions (will show up as NTFS) (e.g. SDB)
  8. Find the disk that matches your external disk drive (e.g. SDC)
  9. Start a Console
  10. Type in the following command dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc bs=32M
  11. wait (there is no output from dd until the copying has finished)
  12. keep on waiting (see 11.)
  13. Boot form the new disk / external drive

caution if : Input File ; of : Output File

Mixing the drvie letters will render your disk useless!

I've recently done this for my Dad's laptop before he sent it back to get it repaired. The partitions are copied one-to-one to the new hard-disk / external drive. I was then able to erase the partition on the disk of the laptop and boot from the external drive :-)

At work I used the same procedure to duplicate an old 250 GB 5400rpm HDD to a new SAMSUNG 840 Pro SSD disk and my system booted first time. (and it's faster than Ghost).

Using SystemRescue and especially DD takes some getting used to and you have to persuade yourself to the hit ENTER, but it's nice when it works in the end.

This solution should help as your disk is read-only and dd with the correct cvommand will just copy away all the partitions at block level from your disk to the new disk.

Wikipedia DD command

Learning Linux commands: dd

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well, I don have much of data... but tried to read the disk with ubuntu live CD... The start up for ubuntu was damn slow and am not to select the disk for installation.... probably dead I guess... – SriHarish Feb 20 '13 at 11:41
Ubuntu will try and interpret the disk, wheras dd doesn't care much. It just reads what it can at block level. You could add a conv=noerror to skip errors and see what you get in the end. – hot2use Feb 20 '13 at 11:49

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