I looked at most questions related to this, but most of them are when somebody accidentally formatted the HDD. So I'm asking again.

Dell Laptop with 70Gb HDD crashed. Windows XP is not bootable, but I can boot fine into linux from a USB drive.

On Linux, the NTFS drive is not mountable as NTFS. I tried some of the linux ntfs utilities, and they say there's an IO error fixing the $LOG or Journal, then the programs abort. ntfs-3g cannot mount the disk, even in readonly mode.

What else can be used to recover at least some files?


First thing i would do is check the hard drive using one of the many tools available.

If this reports drive errors then you know the source of your problem - faulty hard drive.

If the drive passes all tests then it's probably worth running a memory test aswell as the next stage would be to fix whatever Windows booting problem there is.

If your question is more about recovering files from an NTFS partition on a damaged Hard Drive then there are lots of resources for such, there are also Companies who specialise in recovery. Then again if you're after Software recommendations then personally i've used Ontrack and GetDataBack.

  • What is your "tools" link??? – Ayman Nov 25 '11 at 4:33
  • It links to the homepage for 'Hirens Boot CD' - a bootable CD image with almost all the hardware testing tools you'll ever need :) – HaydnWVN Nov 25 '11 at 8:56
  • Had to work on a disk with a corrupted MFT. Ontrack did a pretty good job on everything except the Outlook database which was being accessed when the crash happened. – Fiasco Labs Nov 25 '11 at 17:41

I had good luck with using the Windows XP Recovery console.

  • Great news! Any indication what the actual problem was? Or shall we put it down to something needing repairing/reinstalling within Windows? :) – HaydnWVN Nov 25 '11 at 8:57

I have had great luck with Spinrite in cases like this. It has made several non bootable hard drives come back to life for me.


You can go to manufacturer's web site and search for tools specifically developed for your hard disk model. You can scan the disk and if you're lucky you may be able to fix problems without needing to format it. I remember scanning my failed disk with such a tool, and then I was able to mount it under Linux.

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