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Computer help forum: Easiest way to recover data from unbootable HDD?

by: hanselthecaretaker April 20, 2008 12:20 PM PDT

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Easiest way to recover data from unbootable HDD?

by hanselthecaretaker - 4/20/08 12:20 PM

For a Sony Vaio VGC-RB44G with Windows XP Media Center Edition installed.
Here's what's happening:

I tried Knoppix 3.9 at first, and it detected the SDA2 portion of the HDD with all the typical files, but it froze up so I restarted and then it was unable to mount it after that. I tried version 5.3.1 and same thing. It'll mount SDA1 that has the system files but not SDA2 which has the more customizable/personal files, which are what I'd like to get.
I tried hooking it up to my rig with OEM XP Home on installed but it's not reading the drive either, detecting several corrupt sectors following a scan, and asking me to format.

The partition table is screwed up too from the looks of it.
For a 250 gig drive it's showing:
"-" (EISA) ~7 gigs
"H" Fat32 ~1.3 gigs
"C" Unknown ~231 gigs

None of the above are even detecting a Windows install.

Here are the errors I've gotten in the process of trying to boot from the C:

"Windows could not start because of an error in the software.
Please report this problem as:
load needed DLLs for kernel."

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll.


I know I'll probably end up having to reformat the drive, if it's even worth saving at all, and then hopefully finding an OS to reinstall that will activate on a vendor rig. The original OS cd is unavailable as the pc was "open box" and all that it came with are a couple unbootable recovery discs.
I'll try making a boot disc out of them for now.

Any ideas are much appreciated.


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