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Author Topic: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD  (Read 8632 times)

MerleOne

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Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« on: October 20, 2009, 04:20:13 AM »
Hi,
A friend a mine has a very damaged 2"1/2 HDD.  The FAT32 fat system is reasonably OK, but several files have read error.  I just want to copy the files that are OK to a new safe location.  I have tried so far :

> Unstoppable copier
> Durable Copier
> Active File Recovery Pro
> DeadDiskDoctor

They all exhibit the same issue : when a damaged file is encountered, there is some kind of long timeout (several minutes) until the OS returns control and the file is declared as unreadable.  

Does someone know of a software, possibly free, that can skip damaged files without spending 5 minutes on each damaged one ?

I have also tried to perform a drive snapshot image, but when I mount the image, the important folder I want to backup appears to be empty.

Thanks !
.merle1.

awopbamboo

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 04:43:08 AM »
Why not use 'xcopy' from the command line a /c  (ignore's errors)

i.e.

xcopy c: x: /c /s /b

c: being the drive to copy from
x: being the drive to copy to

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yksyks

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 04:45:29 AM »
I had a couple of surprisingly good experiences with DRevitalize. If possible I'd suggest to make a backup of the whole disk first though, I'm usually using DriveImage XML in raw mode.

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 04:46:38 AM »
Why not use 'xcopy' from the command line a /c  (ignore's errors)

i.e.

xcopy c: x: /c /s /b

c: being the drive to copy from
x: being the drive to copy to


Will try that !

Update : /b doesn't exist in XP xcopy apparently
Update 2 : doesn't work either, as soon as an error is found, it takes ages to skip the file
.merle1.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 04:53:55 AM by MerleOne »

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 04:47:51 AM »
I had a couple of surprisingly good experiences with DRevitalize. If possible I'd suggest to make a backup of the whole disk first though, I'm usually using DriveImage XML in raw mode.
Will try that too, thanks.
.merle1.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 05:41:57 AM »
Just a couple things that occurred to me while reading this.

If the drive really is that damaged, the recovery window is rather small & experimentation can be fatal.

Given what you've tried so far, if it ain't completely dead by now...it probably wasn't that bad to start with.

So... Is there a specific reason you didn't just run CheckDisk on it? That would leave you with all copyable files (albeit perhaps less than you started with).

Granted it's not free, but I've had excellent results with RunTime Software's GetDataBack on both NTFS & Fat32 drives.

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 06:10:18 AM »
I had a couple of surprisingly good experiences with DRevitalize. If possible I'd suggest to make a backup of the whole disk first though, I'm usually using DriveImage XML in raw mode.

Strange : after more than 50% check with Drevitalize 2.30, no single bad sector has been found.

Updated : finally, this is OK, default are at the end, I found them using HDTune.
.merle1.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 06:20:28 AM by MerleOne »

f0dder

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 06:27:53 AM »
I hope you ran DIXML in raw copy mode before experimenting with an application like DRevitalize :o
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MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 06:43:44 AM »
I hope you ran DIXML in raw copy mode before experimenting with an application like DRevitalize :o
I ran Drive Snapshot, but not in RAW mode.  Maybe I should use this RAW mode...
.merle1.

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 08:45:45 AM »
Update : for the moment, I have given up with DRevitalize : much too long to repair sectors. Besides, I want to know which files are corrupt.  I have given another try to the freeware unstoppable copier and I get the best possible results, even if it is quite long when accessing hard to read files.  But it takes no CPU, so I can do something else at the same time.
.merle1.

awopbamboo

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 08:50:30 AM »
As I said previosuly.  xcopy will do this for you

xcopy c:\ x:\ /s /c /y 1>x:\out.txt 2>x:\err.txt

The errors will be ignored, but reported in the file x:\err.txt

Replace x: with the drive you want to copy to.

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MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 09:19:30 AM »
As I said previosuly.  xcopy will do this for you

xcopy c:\ x:\ /s /c /y 1>x:\out.txt 2>x:\err.txt

The errors will be ignored, but reported in the file x:\err.txt

Replace x: with the drive you want to copy to.

As I said above, it works fine except that it takes ages when a single error is encountered.  It's something that seem to happen à filesystem level and xcopy apparently is no exception.  It's the recognition that there is an error that takes time.  After that xcopy just does it job, but I wish I could speed up the error detection process with some kind of clever utility.  So far I am sticking with Unstoppable copier with seems to be ... unstoppable.
.merle1.

awopbamboo

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 09:26:35 AM »
Sorry, missed the post above!!

Cheers
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MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 10:14:51 AM »
Just a couple things that occurred to me while reading this.

If the drive really is that damaged, the recovery window is rather small & experimentation can be fatal.

Given what you've tried so far, if it ain't completely dead by now...it probably wasn't that bad to start with.

So... Is there a specific reason you didn't just run CheckDisk on it? That would leave you with all copyable files (albeit perhaps less than you started with).

Granted it's not free, but I've had excellent results with RunTime Software's GetDataBack on both NTFS & Fat32 drives.

Yes, I wonder what a checkdisk /f /r would do, but my first impression is to get as much data from the source before modifying it in any way.

Regarding GetDataBack, I might try, but since it's not my data, and my friend is certainly not going to pay anything, I'd rather use already owned tools or free ones.

Thanks.
.merle1.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 10:43:37 PM »
*Shrug* If you got an image ... you got an image. If a drive is still spinning and isn't making any "grinding noises" ... I usually start with the HDD manufacturer's diagnostic software, let it have the first crack at repairing. Then I can usually strip the attributes and copy files off of it.

attrib -h -s -r *.* /S /D

Also Temporary Internet Files tend to make file copy (much) harder then it needs to be.

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2009, 01:55:53 AM »
Just a quick update : the HDD is now quite dead, it won't be recognized by Windows any longer.  I guess that was to be expected, unstoppable copy being quite intensive.

Fortunately, I have a snapshot image, but that can be exploited only when restored onto a safe HDD, so I can run recovery tools from this restored HDD.

At that point I remembered what I should have done, or at least tried.  I mentioned I had tried Active@FileRecovery Pro.  There is a companion program, Active@Partition Recovery.  It can also make images that can later be processed with these powerful recovery tools.  Now I just hope the snapshot image will give the same result...
.merle1.

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2009, 06:56:21 AM »
Yet another update : I have almost completely solved my recovery problem, except for a small detail : the created drive snapshot image was not easy to use : only one folder appeared in the mounted virtual drive, and it was empty.

I tried Recuva from Pirifom, scanned the virtual drive in deep scan mode, asking to see only non deleted files, and I was able to recover all files.

The small detail is that some of these recovered files are corrupt, those who contained damaged sectors that were skipped during the imaging by snapshot.  And there is no easy way to tell which are OK and which are damaged, only by opening them in their respective applications. And even then, it may not show right away.

Anyway, that's better than nothing !

Thanks for your suggestions.
.merle1.

f0dder

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2009, 06:59:05 AM »
Recuva is only really suitable for recovering recently-deleted files - it's not very good for "deep" recovery purposes.

The tool I've had best success with is GetDataBack from runtime systems. It's slow as hell and is non-free, but it does a pretty decent job... of course won't "repair the unrepairable", but handles trashed filesystems decently.
- carpe noctem

MerleOne

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2009, 07:03:48 AM »
Are you sure it can handle virtual drives?  I tried many tools such as active@filerecoverypro, Easeus Data Recovery, PowerDataRecovery, and they all want a "real" HDD to work on.  In that case, files were not really deleted, the filesystem was just slightly damaged.
.merle1.

worstje

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2010, 09:07:43 PM »
I happened to find out my system drive has bad sectors today, and as one might imagine I'm going on a mad backup spree. Some files got damaged sectors in them, and it really isn't fun to have to deal with that stuff.

After googling for a suitable rescue tool, Unstoppable Copier did an awesome job saving my stuff. It also lets you say that you want it to only try a little bit to copy certain files, which is great for me since the file that was borked was a huge 10GB file for me, and the damaged parts I can luckily restore through other means. Sadly, since it was my system drive with my pagefile on it, it had a habit of freezing up my entire PC while trying to fix broken sectors, but I think that is technically unavoidable.

I definitely recommend that program to people who need to save files from their damaged disk drives.

4wd

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2010, 10:09:11 PM »
Sadly, since it was my system drive with my pagefile on it, it had a habit of freezing up my entire PC while trying to fix broken sectors, but I think that is technically unavoidable.

You turn your pagefile off if you have enough RAM that it won't cause too much of an impact -or- you use a PE, (or seperate OS), to recover your files.

I'd especially recommend at least a PE for recovering files on the system partition - you can then be reasonably sure nothing is being written to the drive you're trying to recover off, (Windows does an awful lot of housekeeping writes to your system drive).

PE = Pre-installed Environment: see BartPE or Winbuilder for probably the two most well known projects.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 01:30:02 AM by 4wd »

worstje

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2010, 10:45:01 PM »
Yeah, I know, but prior to checking, I did a surface check using HDTune already, and long story short, I knew there were only a blocks with issues, all of which were a bunch of files I put on there around the same period. (It was the kind of spot that is just out of reach of the 'end of drive' area, but far enough to the back you only start noticing it once your drive gets full enough.)

Had I needed to recover a lot of files, and had the time to keep my PC working its disk off to get my data, I'd have dualbooted, but I really didn't/don't have the time for all of that, and it worked well enough for my purposes.

Thanks for the tips though.

Shades

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2010, 11:34:05 PM »
While recovering data from my damaged HD (with Exchange server on it) to a new one I used the most recent unstoppable copier at the time (some 6 months ago).

It has a setting with which you can set the retry/repair level. Put it down to the lowest one and files with errors are practically skipped when encountered. At least it was working like that for me.

worstje

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Re: Quickest way to copy files from a surface-damaged HDD
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2010, 11:50:58 PM »
Yeah, that's what I did. Probably shouldn't have set it all the way down, but still, I 'only' lost 500MB out of 10GB, so happy me was happy. :)