Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • November 23, 2017, 07:48 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue  (Read 1536 times)

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:49 AM »
Hi

I have been given a laptop to sort out. It was crashing out during windows 7 pro startup to a blue screen.

The drive had surface errors which chkdsk repaired, on restarting Windows Repair loaded and checked the hard disk again.

It then starts windows but gets to a black screen with a mouse pointer and no further (same in Safe Mode). I have also tried last good configuration.

I decided the best approach was to rip out the disk - plug it into another computer and backup the data before putting it back and doing a factory restore.

This is where the real fun starts:

On my desktop Disk Manager assigns a drive letter and marks the partition healthy but when I try to open the drive is says Access Denied. I expected this on the data folders but this is the whole partition and gives no option to go further.

I plugged it back in the laptop and went into the recovery console command prompt and can read the partition fine.

I ran Paragon's Disk Management tools from CD and the drive shows up - I can see and copy the files - so the drive isn't bitlockered.

OK I plugged numerous USB drives into the computer and none of them show up in the BIOS or in Paragon - reloading the disk tables doesn't find the USB drives either.

Anyone any idea how to get a USB drive to be recognised - the BIOS has USB legacy enabled, I have tried USB 2 and 3 sockets, it doesn't have secure boote enabled or any other security measures that I can see enabled.

Failing that any idea how to access the drive via a USB adapter on my desktop?

I don't like giving up but I am stumped!!!

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 37,622
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 10:14 AM »
I decided the best approach was to rip out the disk - plug it into another computer and backup the data before putting it back and doing a factory restore.

Seems like the right approach to me..  Or else plug in an external drive to the laptop and clone the internal hd -- which sounds like what you were trying to do next..

OK I plugged numerous USB drives into the computer and none of them show up in the BIOS or in Paragon - reloading the disk tables doesn't find the USB drives either.

So are you saying that essentially -- your desktop couldn't read the laptop drive when plugged into a usb dock connected to the desktop, AND the laptop refused to see any external usb doc drives?

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,265
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 11:57 AM »
Is there a CD/DVD player in the laptop using a SATA connector?

If so, you can use an external (and separately powered) USB dock that allows you to connect it with a standard SATA cable. I got one of those from an U.S. embassy auction sale (a bi-annual thing here in Paraguay) and it works well.

That way you can connect 2 drives on the laptop and start cloning to have a backup.

Disadvantage is that you will likely need to open the laptop. Depending on make and model, that could be a damaging operation. With that I mean too "plasticky" laptops don't close up nicely anymore after they have been opened.

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 01:11 PM »
I decided the best approach was to rip out the disk - plug it into another computer and backup the data before putting it back and doing a factory restore.

Seems like the right approach to me..  Or else plug in an external drive to the laptop and clone the internal hd -- which sounds like what you were trying to do next..

OK I plugged numerous USB drives into the computer and none of them show up in the BIOS or in Paragon - reloading the disk tables doesn't find the USB drives either.

So are you saying that essentially -- your desktop couldn't read the laptop drive when plugged into a usb dock connected to the desktop, AND the laptop refused to see any external usb doc drives?

Yes the laptop drive can't be read on my desktop and no USB drives show up on the laptop - and all the drives seem to work otherwise.

I have used USB 2 and 3 drives on the laptop (it has 4 USB ports 3 x USB3 and 1 x USB2).

I have a drive cloning station so in theory I could clone the orginal drive onto a larger hard disk and them maybe create a new partition in the spare space and copy the data over. All feels a bit like hard work and it is all time - at what point do you say this is beyond economic repair - get a backup next time!

Is there a CD/DVD player in the laptop using a SATA connector?

If so, you can use an external (and separately powered) USB dock that allows you to connect it with a standard SATA cable. I got one of those from an U.S. embassy auction sale (a bi-annual thing here in Paraguay) and it works well.

That way you can connect 2 drives on the laptop and start cloning to have a backup.

Disadvantage is that you will likely need to open the laptop. Depending on make and model, that could be a damaging operation. With that I mean too "plasticky" laptops don't close up nicely anymore after they have been opened.

I suppose that might be the only other option but I am reluctant is is pretty flimsy and there is no guarantee I can get at the SATA connector without having to strip away all the plastics and maybe even have to remove the motherboard - don't really fancy that without a disassembly manual.

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 37,622
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 01:26 PM »
The path of least resistance would seem to be making a backup of the laptop drive using the laptop, using a cd-based backup tool at boot time, and a usb stick or an external usb dock/drive, and then telling client to replace the hard drive.
With the cost of hard drives, my advice would ALWAYS be, at the very first sign of trouble that has even a 1% chance of being hard drive related, is to backup the hard drive, then replace it and put the original on the shelf.

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2017, 02:22 PM »
The path of least resistance would seem to be making a backup of the laptop drive using the laptop, using a cd-based backup tool at boot time, and a usb stick or an external usb dock/drive, and then telling client to replace the hard drive.
With the cost of hard drives, my advice would ALWAYS be, at the very first sign of trouble that has even a 1% chance of being hard drive related, is to backup the hard drive, then replace it and put the original on the shelf.

I'd love to do that but given that it won't recognise a USB drive to backup  :huh:

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,764
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 03:16 PM »
@Carol Haynes: The problem you describe sounds familiar.
My suggestion (though it looks like you have already attempted this) for a likely shortest route for problem elimination and analysis would be to isolate the drive by removing it from the laptop and plugging it into a separate portable hard drive enclosure or other USB3 slot, connected to another PC which functions just fine and has HDS (Hard Disk Sentinel) installed. Then run HDS and (say) Malwarebytes and MS Defender for malware checks (just in case) over that drive. You could also make a clone copy (e.g., using AOMEI Backupper) whilst you were at it. The HDS report will be the main thing to look at, assuming there is no virus problem.

By passively analysing and copying the drive in this fashion, you will not be directly changing anything on the drive, though if it is failing (and it sounds like it could be), then the thing will automatically be trying to dynamically self-correct any bad sectors detected whilst it is being read from - which could well cause hangs/crashes on the host laptop it belongs to.

If the disk is not identifiable/addressable on another PC, then it may be corrupted or failing. You may be able to set/change some of the SMART switches (using HDS or other hard drive hacking tools) and that could correct some issues around identification/addressability (e.g., parity bit?), though I have not needed to use that feature where it was available, so am not sure how much use it would be.
It may be that some of the drive's SMART or firmware settings are non-generic and are peculiar to that make/model of laptop, though I have no experience of that sort of situation.

Sorry can't be of more help. Not trying to teach you how to suck eggs.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 03:46 PM by IainB »

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2017, 04:32 PM »
I have tried connecting the laptop drive to a desktop computer - Drive is listed as healthy and given a drive letter but won't load - the only thing I can think of is cloning it and trying to deal with it on the orginial laptop

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,265
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2017, 02:16 AM »
Not sure if it helps, but you could try to use a piece of software, called: PartitionGuru.  It comes as feature limited freeware, but it might help you to access the data of the drive when you take it out of the laptop, into a dock connected to your computer.

As you say, the drive is correctly recognized by the Windows management software, but won't allow you access. Software, such as PartitionGuru, might give you that access as it can circumvent standard Windows controls. Perhaps it could be an idea to use a linux liveCD to access the data from that docked drive. If you can't beat Windows into submission with Windows based tools, liveCD's might provide the proper (read-only) stick. It all depends on how the data access is locked.

The advantage of this is that you won't have to open the laptop in ways you are not comfortable with. Still, if you are able to clone the disk first, do so. And use the tools and skills of your choice on the cloned copy.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,764
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2017, 10:43 AM »
I did a Duckgo search of "Windows does not allow access to a USB hard drive", and came up with several hits. This one looked interesting (and reminded me of when I went and deleted some obscure settings about USB drives in the registry, when a single USB port on a laptop couldn't access a perfectly OK USB hard drive):
Windows 7 - Notices but does not 'see' external usb hard drive
I upgraded from Vista Home Premium SP2 (32Bit) to Windows 7 Home Premium (32Bit) and after the upgrade my external usb hard drive can not be seen. The system notices it when it is plugged in and/or powered on but does not show it under My Computer or any other drive display option.

I have seen other posts about this all without a solution- could I have missed the solution - if so please forgive this posting and please point me in the right direction.
If there hasn't been a solution posted and you know how to solve this issue I am very interested.
The Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility indicates this drive is supported and the upgrade advisor did not object to it.
Thanks ...
...
Resolved:
The resolution was to:
  • Plug in and turn on the external USB hard drive
  • Right mouse click on My Computer
  • Left click on Manage
  • Left click on Device Manager
  • Expand the USB list
  • Find the USB device for your USB Hard Drive (in my case it was the one that had no description)
  • Right mouse click - Uninstall
  • Turn off the external USB hard drive
  • Turn on the external USB hard drive and let it find and install the driver
  • It should work
Lionel B. Dyck
_____________________

Not sure whether it will help.

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2017, 08:17 PM »
Not sure if it helps, but you could try to use a piece of software, called: PartitionGuru.  It comes as feature limited freeware, but it might help you to access the data of the drive when you take it out of the laptop, into a dock connected to your computer.

As you say, the drive is correctly recognized by the Windows management software, but won't allow you access. Software, such as PartitionGuru, might give you that access as it can circumvent standard Windows controls. Perhaps it could be an idea to use a linux liveCD to access the data from that docked drive. If you can't beat Windows into submission with Windows based tools, liveCD's might provide the proper (read-only) stick. It all depends on how the data access is locked.

The advantage of this is that you won't have to open the laptop in ways you are not comfortable with. Still, if you are able to clone the disk first, do so. And use the tools and skills of your choice on the cloned copy.

Thanks - will give that a go if I need to

I did a Duckgo search of "Windows does not allow access to a USB hard drive", and came up with several hits. This one looked interesting (and reminded me of when I went and deleted some obscure settings about USB drives in the registry, when a single USB port on a laptop couldn't access a perfectly OK USB hard drive):
Windows 7 - Notices but does not 'see' external usb hard drive
I upgraded from Vista Home Premium SP2 (32Bit) to Windows 7 Home Premium (32Bit) and after the upgrade my external usb hard drive can not be seen. The system notices it when it is plugged in and/or powered on but does not show it under My Computer or any other drive display option.

I have seen other posts about this all without a solution- could I have missed the solution - if so please forgive this posting and please point me in the right direction.
If there hasn't been a solution posted and you know how to solve this issue I am very interested.
The Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility indicates this drive is supported and the upgrade advisor did not object to it.
Thanks ...
...
Resolved:
The resolution was to:
  • Plug in and turn on the external USB hard drive
  • Right mouse click on My Computer
  • Left click on Manage
  • Left click on Device Manager
  • Expand the USB list
  • Find the USB device for your USB Hard Drive (in my case it was the one that had no description)
  • Right mouse click - Uninstall
  • Turn off the external USB hard drive
  • Turn on the external USB hard drive and let it find and install the driver
  • It should work
Lionel B. Dyck
_____________________

Not sure whether it will help.

No because I am not looking for it in Windows - I am using WindowsPE (basically a Live CD of Windows 7) which works fine with USB disks on other computers not just on this laptop. I figured it must be a BIOS setting but either I can't see it or it is hidden??? The BIOS allows boot from a USB HD - but I can't see how if it doesn't pick up there is a drive plugged in.



The drive I am fiddling with is 500Gb so I have order a 1TB replacement which gives me plenty of space to fiddle with - hopefully!!

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,764
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2017, 09:34 AM »
No because I am not looking for it in Windows - I am using WindowsPE (basically a Live CD of Windows 7) which works fine with USB disks on other computers not just on this laptop. I figured it must be a BIOS setting but either I can't see it or it is hidden??? The BIOS allows boot from a USB HD - but I can't see how if it doesn't pick up there is a drive plugged in.
______________________
-Carol Haynes (June 24, 2017, 08:17 PM)
Ah, that would make it somewhat different, I guess. Sorry, I had not understood that you were using WindowsPE. I was right off the track there.

I know nothing about WinPE, so went and looked it up. You have presumably checked out the limitations,  dependencies and supported drivers, etc. (e.g., as in What is Windows PE?), so I can see why you might be stumped.
Maybe you have inadvertently tripped into a trap for the unwary, built into WinPE by MS, to prevent misuse of WinPE for pirating, or something - one never knows. There can often be a discoverable reason for most such odd things. Maybe WinPE is working as designed?
Rhetorical Q: Under what circumstances might it make sense to design WinPE to exhibit this functional behaviour, in this situation?

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,265
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 07:57 PM »
Does BartPE still exist?  With that software you could create a WindowsPE like boot-disk or pen drive, with a lot of helpful 3rd party tools already "baked" into it. Many moons ago, in the XP era, I did create such a disk and it was pretty helpful. Still, the 'HiRens Boot CD' is more powerful in getting access to data on hard disk and/or removing limitations. The Knoppix liveCD's were also very helpful to access both Linux and Windows partitions in those days. Neither of these two free boot CDs were that hard to use.

Linux has no problem reading from disks with NTFS. Writing to that filesystem could be a problem under Linux, depending on the combination of Linux and NTFS versions. Using an older version of Linux with the NTFS version from Windows 10 could cause write problems. But if both are more or less of the same period, even writing to NTFS isn't that big of a deal. Because of that I will say that if your WindowsPE disk won't do what you need it to do, by all means try a Linux based boot disk.

Limitations build into Windows are often easily circumvented by simply booting from Linux. 

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,643
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 09:40 PM »
have you considered reflashing the bios?  could be there's an upgrade available, and its sometimes possible to reflash the existing version,

a bit extreme perhaps, but its looking like the drive is a write off anyway

xtabber

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 592
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2017, 01:53 PM »
Question: What make is the laptop and how old is it?

The fact that the drive can be accessed when in the laptop but not through another computer makes me wonder if there is a BIOS security lock set.  ThinkPads (and probably other laptops) allow you to set a password in the BIOS that locks the hard drive so that it cannot be accessed if removed from the original computer.  If that's the case, the only solution I know of is to unlock the drive through the laptop BIOS before removing it.

If the lock was set intentionally, you will probably need to know the password to unlock the drive, and quite possibly a password to unlock the BIOS as well.

I suspect the USB problem is something else, but it might indicate a hardware problem (best case) or that the BIOS itself is hosed (worst case).

Whatever you do, I would certainly not try  to flash the BIOS before you have this problem worked out.

If you can't unlock the drive, since you have Paragon HDM and it can read the drive in the laptop when you boot from a CD, I would try imaging the drive to optical media and moving the image to another computer, then restoring it to another disk. That will probably take a while to do, but it should at least give you an un-encrypted backup image to work from.

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 8,013
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2017, 11:52 AM »
Finally sorted it out - the drive was inaccessible on other computers because I had to change the share settings on the drive and then all the permissions. Never seen this happen before.

All very odd.

The drive appears in windows on the laptop - just not outside the installed version of windows - also very odd?

Anyway after a lot of swearing and too many hours he has a working computer again!

Thanks everyone for the suggestions xx