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recover an SQL .mdf file that is currently written to a bad sector

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You are correct in that cloning is the most secure way to rescue your data. However, from questforfla's previous posts I gathered that the company he works for doesn't like to spent money on IT. With that in mind I made my comment.

You could also be right about this problem being the cause of earlier issues with their backup procedures. I missed that previous thread while lurking here.  :-[

Anyway, questforfla should be thinking about running multiple SQL Express servers. One that is used as production server and another that synchronizes with the production server on regular intervals. When the production server is having a problem, the redundant server can take it's place, everyone can continue and he has time to properly fix whatever is the problem of the production server.

The main problem with such a setup is the license from the software they use for their business. Does their license tolerate the use of a redundant server or not.

I haven't used this yet but from what I have read and heard, it may be able to move the data to a good sector so it can be read. Others here may have direct experience.
It isn't a free solution but if the data is valuable the price may be insignificant.

Maybe it was me that did not make this clear enough.  Cloning would be a Perfect Solution and I DID buy the Server Edition of Macrium at over $200 to do just that.
it will not run.
It cannot Read the drive to clone it so no good there.  Cyclic Redundancy Error.  I tried several passes and never get any further.
I need a Good Clone or there is no point.  I have also tried copyng as much of the file as can be red and simply attaching the db to a completely new insall of the software.  That also fails.

When the Program that is on the drive runs and it can see all the currently entered data, it acts like there is no problem.  I have no idea how this could be other than it is a crappy program.  Windows is throwing Bad Block errors at me one per minute or more often.
The company who wrote the software is NO help.  Their program SAYS it makes a backup.  But only They can read it, they do not tell anyone else how to see what is in it.

I think i have done my duty nd am ready to give it up.  I warned them all, I did everything i could.
MAYBE one day if they ever NEED one of those backups and then find out that none of them has been any good for the past 10 months or so, maybe then i will be vindicated but I am honestly tired of trying to help when no one here understands the problem and no one at the "software company" cares about it.

Thanks for your input, as always.  In my eart, i knew that there wasn't going to be a good solution for this but it never huts to ask.

HDClone - that would be a tool to use. The freeware version is slow, but it does the job. It will create a bootable device (CD/DVD/Pen drive) and after you connect both hard disks, you only need to boot that system up and it will clone your hard disk. Might take a bit (no pun intended) on the problematic sector(s). It doesn't use Windows at all and that is a good thing in this kind of cases.

There are alternatives to HDClone if you so desire, but I can (and will) personally attest to the excellent qualities of HDClone.

Maybe Macrium is good(enough) at cloning, but as far as I know their software to be able to make images of a hard disk. And Google confirms.

An image is not a's close, but it isn't a clone.

Stoic Joker:
Okay, this bit is marginally insane...but the sensible options appear to have been exhausted.. It seems that the db is attesting to be both valid and corrupt at the same time. I say this once before with a db that hadn't been properly maintained for a few years, and had some of it's slack space on a bad sector.

Probably best to hear from Shades before trying this, but...

If you run the MSSQL maintenance routine (Shrink database/files) on the db to compact the db it may allow you to get the actual data "out" while leaving the (presumed) corrupt slack space where it is.

It's a dangerous, and quite possibly insane idea. But if the current instance of SQL is indeed the only thing that can read the db, then maybe it can be leveraged (e.g. tricked into) copying the db for you.



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