One of my hard disks seems to be failing.

I've since disconnected it and I'm looking for a solution.

When I start the machine, the disk drive spins up and is recognized. On the last 2 boots since the problem started, Windows wanted to run check disk on it, so I let it.

I got messages like

"Deleting corrupt file record segment..." and "Correcting error in index $I30 for file 95550"

Then a series of "Deleting index entry..."

When it finished booting up, for one or 2 minutes, it seemed like everything was back to normal.


Then, when I started to try to copy the data off the disk, and I might have got about 100 files off it when Windows explorer started choking, and then it asked me if I'd like to format the disk, because apparently it wasn't formatted.

So I shut down and took the disk out. Its sitting here. I think its more confused than I am.

Does anyone know what the heck happened? Does this sound like a "head crash"?

I guess my only recourse will be some kind of data center.

I think I now believe turning off hard disks is harmful and that you should NEVER enable windows "turn the hard disk off". I don't know if its related or this disk's time was just up, but this problem happened about 2 weeks after I enabled "turn my hard disks off after 20 minutes"

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    Back up back up back up Aug 7 '09 at 0:30
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    Install ubuntu onto a 16GB usb drive, and sudo apt-get install ddrescue and also go on the gnu website and download the ddrescue GUI. This tool will help you copy the entire hard drive without quitting onto your backup drive. Explorer in windows will quit if it finds bad sectors and just cancel the entire copy operation, ddrescue will never do this unless you tell it to. Nov 20 '16 at 17:26

All of my PCs, some of which are on 24/7, some only on while I'm using them, are set to power down the hard disks after 20 minutes. The accepted answer on the question you linked to says that there is no data showing this is damaging (plus, if there was, why would Microsoft make that a setting?)

Is this drive your primary or a secondary drive? I'm no professional, but it sounds to me like it's going downhill rather fast.

I had success once recovering information by placing the HDD into a USB enclosure, placing the enclosure into a gallon-size ziploc bag, and placing the bag into the freezer (the bag is to help keep condensation from forming). I pulled data off the drive while it was in the freezer, and got a very strange look from the wife as she walked by and saw the usb cord running out of the freezer. My understanding of the process is that the deep cold of the freezer causes a slight contraction of the HDD parts, bringing them back into alignment. Like I said - it worked for me, but no guarantees. My HDD was making a ticking sound and would keep having problems reading files.

Either way, the sooner you get that data, the better.

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    geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/01/… Amazing. I've never come across that. I almost though you were kidding :P
    – RJFalconer
    Aug 7 '09 at 0:33
  • @BlueNovember - Haha, that's actually the article I read about it from! I decided to use the enclosure since I knew the HDD would warm back up quickly inside the computer. Plus, there's nothing that makes you feel more like a geek than sitting with a laptop and cables running into a chest freezer. Aug 7 '09 at 0:45
  • wow, maybe I should have tried that, I had 1 new drive I had setup in raid 0 fail after 3 weeks and after loading 750gb onto it, I had a mad scramble to copy my data off it before it completely failed. Aug 7 '09 at 0:45
  • Definitely not recommended if you're remotely considering Ontrack or some other recovery vendor. But if you're sure you'd never shell out $1k-2k, then yeah freezer trick, rubber mallet trick, experiment w/ different orientations, etc.
    – hyperslug
    Aug 7 '09 at 1:16
  • This actually works. Froze for 12 hours, surrounded with a sports injury ice-"gel-pak". After 30 minutes, it peters out again, but I've put it in the freezer again for another round.
    – bobobobo
    Aug 7 '09 at 15:51

Might be worth trying Spin Right on it: http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm. If it works it would probably be cheaper than getting raked by Geek Squad.


How old is the drive? The "Drive is not formatted" points to a missing or damaged partition table.

You should try some diagnostic tools to recover data. I'd highly recommend testDisk and findntfs (the latter for ntfs drives only).


The other answers have provided some great tools that might help you recover at least most of your data. When you have recovered what data you can, I would recommend trashing the hd and never using it again. I find any drive that may be dying or in the process of dying is not worth the data loss or hassle to ever attempt to use or trust again. HD based storage is cheap to replace and make sure to have a backup plan for the future, so if this ever happens to you again, your data will be safe.

Here are some backup questions asked before to help you find a solution that will work for you.

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