Data Recovery Fun

I recently had a D630 laptop hard drive go bad.  Of course, there had to be 18GB of user data on it.  Windows wouldn’t boot in normal or safe mode.  Upon booting the laptop with WinPE, I could see all of the data was still intact.  I attempted to copy the data through Windows’ XCOPY command (/c option) and my trusty 2.5 to USB adaptor.  Unfortunately, the command would lock up on certain files for more than 20 minutes at a time where I had to put the USB adaptor out and then plug it back in.  Not much forward progress being made, I decided to try Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier.  Unfortunately, it too had problems locking up the Windows operating system when hitting certain “bad” files.   Also, it didn’t seem to re-create the folder structure correctly, dumping all the files all into one big folder.

I then tried GetDataBack NTFS, but it wanted to search the whole drive.  The data wasn’t deleted nor was the drive formatted.  I knew exactly where the data was: I just wanted to copy the blasted files!  The data search was taking too long because again it was hitting the bad sectors.

I decided to try the Symantec Ghost route: image the drive from WinPE using Ghost32.exe.  I used the command line switches -fro and -crcignore to skip over the bad sectors.  I let it run overnight.  I came in the next day and it had created a Ghost copy in about 6.5 hours.  Using Ghost Explorer, I tried restoring the files, but it would only restore 232MB of the 18GB.

I don’t easily give up on problems like this, so I tried something called Fastcopy within WinPE.  This utility is designed specifically to copy files from one place to another and fast!  This program had the ability to skip over the bad files with no lock ups at all.  In addition to this, it also recorded the time of copy, the data rate and kept a log of the files that it couldn’t copy.  Now I could give the list to my user without having to write down all the folder and files that were missed.

– Soli Deo Gloria