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The hard disk drive (Hitachi HTS547575A9E384) in my laptop (Samsung NP300E5A-A07PL) has failed... again (it was once replaced by warranty)! Lubuntu 12.10 noticed disk errors and switched '/' to mounted read-only, after which I have noticed the issue and shut down laptop.

At first try GRUB menu worked and I was able to run MS Windows 7 without any noticeable problems, but after reboot it stopped working. When using LiveCD (like now) sometimes some partitions (filesystems) are visible and accessible (at first I was able to mount '/home' but not '/' partition, and now I am not able to even run sudo tune2fs -l /dev/sda6: I get "Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while trying to open /dev/sda6", but once I was able to read superblock after not being able).

I suspect that the problem might be with connection / interface: the S.M.A.R.T. didn't show any errors or alarms when I was able to run / check it... but I didn't ran self-test. Laptop is still covered by warranty, but last time it looks like they just put new HDD.

I'd like to recover at least some of the files, both from MS Windows 7 partition (NTFS) and Linux partition (ext4). What tool can I use to recover? I suspect that rate of errors may increase with time from reboot, so incremental recovery would be nice to have.

BTW. do you have any idea what might be the problem? The HDD is quite new: it was replaced during warranty repair on 25-10-2012 (less than 0.5 year ago), the failure was quite sudden and unexpected.

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From what you describe, your best bet is something like dd_rescue from a Linux Live CD, I prefer Knoppix.

It will make a bit for bit copy of the whole drive, so it will get both your Windows and Linux partitions. If it encounters bad sectors it will skip over them and continue the cloning process. Assuming there aren't too many bad sectors you should be able to get the majority of your data off the drive.

As I'm sure you're aware, be careful when you use tools like this, they can destroy your data if used incorrectly.

As for the drive being bad, who knows for sure. I have seen brand new drives go bad within months, I think it has to do with the manufacturing process. Drives are mechanical parts so they are susceptible to failures, it's possible you may have just gotten a drive that failed prematurely.

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