I have three drives installed, 1 SSD and 2 HDD. While the system is in the SSD, many program are installed in one of the the HDD. But I think that HDD is failing. I can hardly even boot the computer. The HDD makes horrible sound when booting. In HDTune Pro, I have seen the "Reallocated Event Count" yellow.

Now what is the best action now to take? How to save the data?

Furthermore, is it possible to clone the disk with another HDD, and resume to the previous system state?

  • The best action, is to back up! – Dave Feb 11 '14 at 12:28
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    The only real solution is to move the data to another drive – Ramhound Feb 11 '14 at 12:36
  • @Ramhound, a raw move is possible. But a total move may run into some user power issues. – Colliot Feb 11 '14 at 12:46
  • You ask how to save the data, moving it, is the only real way. You can copy it if your hardware is functioning. – Ramhound Feb 11 '14 at 13:05
  1. You need to recover as much as possible while you can, do a clone! Ideally use bootable Linux from USB. To clone drive you can use g4l, clonezilla or just dd.

    Try to not touch drive and don't have it running for more than necessary. It sounds like you have badblocks AND possibly issues with the engine or some bearings.

  2. If it is too late to read using regular tools you might try tool like SpinRite. It will take ages to run but I had good success in the past with it. There are other similar tools, maybe even OpenSource.

  3. If you have data which needs to be destroyed you might struggle with running boot and nuke type tools - use drills and hammer! This is true if drives drops off and shuts itself down. So make sure you have removed data completely OR drill holes through it.

  • Is there any cloning tool under Windows? – Colliot Feb 11 '14 at 13:17
  • try this: sourceforge.net/projects/windd However, if you can boot of USB use CloneZilla - it is so much better as it will allow you compression for example! – Chris Feb 11 '14 at 13:33

If you can't boot it and you have a HDD caddy knocking about then you can use it as a portable drive and backup your stuff this way. It would really depend on why it's failing.

Good lesson in backing up your stuff at the very least.

UPDATE: If you have an instance of Windows installed on this HDD you can take an image using Norton Ghost or any open source imaging software you can find (time to hit up sourceforge.net;). Although I don't think this is the case for you. Give Clonezilla a try. It has worked just fine for me in the past.

If you are able to use the drive as an internal device and have something to back it up to the just about any backup software will do. Once again, time to hit up sourceforge.net.

  • Is there any good backing up methods? Or simply copy and paste? – Colliot Feb 11 '14 at 12:39
  • I will extent my answer for you to take this into account – Matthew Williams Feb 11 '14 at 12:41

You need to take a back up... Should you choose to take an image, or just back up the files, well that is up to you! If you no longer have the original program installation files, then an image is probably a better bet...

However, I do suggest you do this sooner than later.

Then, buy a new hard drive, copy everything over and when you've verified everything works, bin the old HDD.

Since the drive got into this situation, you may want to consider using a SMART tool to just keep an eye on the hard drive health of all the hard drives. And of course, make sure backing up is a regular thing.

File back ups can be free, using Robocopy where you write your own back up (and it's easy). There are paid for back up services, which take an 'image' of your machine, but both of these are well documented online. Acronis does full images and will clone it, BackMeUp (I am the author) is fine for simple file back ups

  • Any backing up methods to recommend? – Colliot Feb 11 '14 at 12:41
  • No, that is up to you to research really as only you know your needs... – Dave Feb 11 '14 at 12:42

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