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Occasional Contributor
Khaled9447
Posts: 13

My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

Good Evenning,

How are you? I hope you are fine.

 

I have a problem with my laptop internal Hard Drive, that my laptop cannot detect it anymore.

 

the problem started when I had so many crahses in my laptop and for some reason I thought that I may need to formate my laptop, so I unplugged my internal hard drvie from the laptop, use an "USB to IDE/Sata" connection to connect my hard drive with any other computer to backup my data.

 

But, the computers could not recognize the hard drive, they read it and told me that it has been read, and it appears in the taskbar tray icon that I can safely remove it...but when opening "my computer" I cannot find the hard drive letter...it is not shown up.

 

after many tries, and googling the internet, I tried to plug back the hard drive to the laptop, but the same problem occured which is while the laptop is booting, a black screen apears with white writings on it, just as shown in the picture below (click on the link)

 

http://im31.gulfup.com/CAbR1.jpg

 

and after entering the setup menu (by pressing F2) the hard drive is None.

 

Can you please help me with my problem?

and tell me what is the problem and the reason why it happened?

 

 

and Please Please, If you know some way to restore my data on that internal hard drive, can you please tell me

I need that data, it is so important and my college work is sotred on that hard drive.

 

Thanks so much, and very sorry for the disturbance.

Khaled.

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

I have the same problem Khaled9447. I'm sorry, but I haven't found a solution yet. I apologize in advance I wrote this too basic, I just don't know how much you know about computers and figured the simplest explanation would be best.

 

But, I do know how you may be able to salvage your hard drive and recover the information. It's a bit advanced, but doable. I'll first tell you how I did it and then offer a suggestion for a Windows-only solution that I haven't tried.

To recover the information on my hard drive, I removed the hard drive and plugged it into another computer like you did with the usb adaptor. That computer runs Ubuntu Linux, which is an Operating System like Windows but different.  I then opened the terminal and typed "sudo fdisk -l" which is a command that lists all of the storage devices connected to the computer. For the harddrive, it said that it had an "Invalid partition table". Basically, the information on the hard drive was intact, but the computer's map to find that information was wrong, so nothing on the hard drive would work. I installed and ran a program called "testdisk" and followed the prompts to reconstruct the partition tables on the hard drive. After that, I was able to see the disk like normal and backup my information.

 

Testdisk looks like a very useful program, though this is the first time I've used it. It has a Windows version as well, so you might not need a linux computer to backup the information on your disk, though I haven't tested that, so I can't tell you for sure that it will work.

 

Here's the link to the testdisk homepage: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

 

I hope you'll at least be able to get your information back. Please note that our problems may not be identical and there may be more that needs to be done to recover your information. I'll make another post with some things you can do to narrow down the cause of the original problem, but they should be done after you backup your information.

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some questions:

 

Does the hard drive make any loud noises/clicking sounds? If you put your hand on it while it's running, can you feel it shake a bit every now and then? Those could be signs that the hard drive is physically damaged, which would be impossible to recover the information unless you paid a specialist company to recover it, which is expensive.

 

Does the Bios not recognize the hard drive all the time, or just sometimes?

 

What version of windows are you running?

 

There's a few options as well. You'll need a Windows Recovery disc or the actual windows install disc. If a friend has the same version of Windows as you do, you can make a recovery disc by going into Start -> Control Panel -> Backup and Restore and on the left side you'll see an option to "Create a System Repair Disc".

 

Once you have a System repair disc, put it in your laptop (and put the hard drive back in as well) and press F12 to access the boot selection menu. Here you'll see you CD-rom drive (which may be listed as ODD). Also, you'll probably see HDD with a blank space after it since your laptop is not recognizing the hard drive. Select your cd drive and press enter. It'll boot into the Windows Recovery Environment where you can run some tests.

 

Once it loads, select your language and, if it tells asks you to "Repair and Restart", select no for now. Click on "Load Drivers" and click ok. This will pull up an explorer window. Click on "Computer" in the side panel. Do you see your hard drive listed as a drive? There will always be the X: drive, which is for just when you're inside the recovery environment. If there are any other hard drives listed, click on them and see if it contains your files.

 

Exit out of the "Load Drivers" and select the first radio button option (not the restore from system image option). Click ok. You should now see a list of different options like System Restore and Startup Repair. Click Startup Repair and wait. If it works, try to see if your computer starts windows like normal. If it fails, first hit "don't send" on the windows that pops up (if there is one that pops up asking you to send a problem report). Click on View Problem Details (or something similar, it's in the left-bottom corner of the Startup Repair window). You probably won't be able to paste the report for us to see, so scroll to the bottom where it says something like "Root Causes Found" and take a picture of that. You can upload it like you did the last picture or attach it to your message here on the forum.

Occasional Contributor
Khaled9447
Posts: 13

Re: I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

 

@ gorrillamcd

 

Really Thanks a lot for your reply, it really means a lot to me.

 

Unfortunatelly, in the bios it says that there is no hard drive which means it does not recognize it >_<

I went to many computer specialists in order to find a solution, but all of them could not.

they all agreed that my hard disk is not going to work again, and it is almost impossible to retrieve the data stored on it.

 

anyway, I am really thankful for your help and your reply.

really appreciate it, and sorry for bothering you with my problem ×_×

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

Hey @khaled9447, no problem. I'm glad to help. I still think you should try connecting the drive to a computer running linux and run testdisk with it. The BIOS on my laptop wasn't seeing the hard drive the same as yours, but it was actually the hard drive controller and not the hard drive itself that was bad.
Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

I am getting the same screen as Khaled9447. I have a Toshiba satellite L-305-S5955 running Vista 32 bit. Something happened to the laptop awhile back and I bought the official Toshiba "Recovery Media" (two disks). It wasn't fixing the computer, and then some months passed and I kind of forgot about the laptop, until I had the idea to try to see if there was a way to run some other OS from the optical drive, in order to see if I could "see" onto the HD....and, if I could, then to save whatever data I could. Then, once the data was saved, I would just do the restart holding down the "0" and put the laptop back to it's out-of-the-box state.

But the problem was that I stupidly swapped HDs with another not-booting laptop I own, an HP mini netbook. The HDs both plugged into the other computer, but neither booted up the laptops. So I switched them back so the orig Hitachi HD is back in the Toshiba, and now, unless the Toshiba Recovery Disk is in the optical drive and it boots from THAT, the Toshiba won't go past the screen that says "no bootable drive" that Khaled9447 took the screen shot of!! My theory is that when I put the netbook HD in the Toshiba, it went to find drivers before it ultimately failed....and those drivers overwrote the ones I need to be working right. The reason I think this is because a) before I switched the HDs, I never got that error message, and I think the HD was recognized, b/c several splash screens would load before finally just going to a black screen + pointer (which moved around via the mouse), instead of my desktop loading, which is the point it would have loaded if everything was working normally. Reason b) is that when I boot from the Toshiba Recovery disks, and choose 'system recovery", no OS appears in the screen where you choose your OS and click "next"....It says "if you do not see your OS listed, click load drivers to load drivers for your hard disks". Then I get a popup asking me to "insert installation media for the device and click OK to select the driver"!

My question is, aren't the drivers I need somewhere on the Toshiba Recovery disk(s)...?? I think so, I just don't know where. Right now, I'm in (I think) one of those hidden, Toshiba recovery partitions, this one is called "Boot" (X) and I'm in Windows/System32/DriverStore/FileRepository...there are a number of files in here that I think are drivers, because I seem to be able to choose them while doing the system recovery. I just don't know which one...thre are a lot of them, and you can't tell from the file names what a lot of them are! But I'm hoping one of these will satify this **bleep** laptop and allow it to move beyond this point of the recovery, so I can ideally do the startup repair, or at least grab what's on the hard drive. Any help is greatly appreciated...thanks.

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

Two things:

 

First off, the Windows Vista problem starting up with a black screen and the mouse is not a hard drive problem and most likely easily fixable. There are several things that can cause it, so you'll want to google something like "windows vista black screen error startup" and use the information you find to track down what the problem is.

 

The good news is, it sounds like your hard drive isn't too far gone. To make things simple, I won't get into fixing it with linux. You might be able to do it with just the Recovery Disks. First, check to see if you can "see" the drive by clicking the "Load Drivers" button and going to "Computer" (or similar). The X: drive is, for all intents and purposes, the Recovery CD and not part of your hard drive. C: will most likely be your hard drive. If it shows up, then you can continue. If it doesn't, you'll have to follow my instructions from above about using Linux and testdisk to attempt to fix the drive.

 

If you can "see" the C: drive, then click cancel and then click the button to the right of "Load Drivers" (I can't remember what it's called. The goal is to get to the screen with a list of recovery options. If anything else pops up, click cancel and you'll eventually get to the screen where the first option is "Startup Repair" (If I remember correctly). Click on the Command Prompt option, type C: and press enter. Now type, "bootrec /fixboot" (no quotes) and press enter. Then type, "bootrec /fixmbr" and press enter. Now type, "bootrec /RebuildBCD" and press enter. This is will the drive and find any valid windows installations (even those that weren't listed in the boot manager). You can then add partitions to the BCD which should enable them to be bootable. After this, you can run "chkdsk /f" if you'd like which is the same as "Scan Disk" inside windows. Once that's done, close the command prompt and do "Startup Repair". It is a fairly automated tool that can fix many problems. Once it's done, it might say it failed. If that happens, click on View Problem Details (or similar) and scroll down to the bottom to find the "Root Cause". Write down exactly what it says the root cause is and tell us here.

 

After that, restart your computer and see if it worked. If not, run Startup Repair again (sometimes it requires multiple runs) and see if it is booting. If it still doesn't boot, there's a more serious problem and you can try the Linux method I described above. Please keep in mind I'm just telling you what's worked for me in the past. It's best , if you can, to create a backup of the drive before you start messing with it, especially if it has important information. You can use clonezilla to make an exact image of a drive (problems and all) and at least that way, if something gets worse, you have the option to go back to square one.

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

First of all -- THANK you so muich for the help. The good news is, I CAN "see" my hard drive, and always could, within the recovery. When I put it on "Computer", I saw it at the bottom, below the X: drive and another one I can't remember (maybe "boot"?). I did the hit "cancel" thing but that just took me in a  circle back to the the "Missing OS" screen" (the one where my OS does not show up and it asks me to load drivers). So this time, instead of hitting "load drivers" I hit "Next" (I think this is the button you forgot the name of?) and lo and behold, it took me to the System Recovry screen, with the various options, "Startup Repair" being at the top!!

I chose command prompt like you said, but here I ran into my first problem -- when I put C: and hit enter, it gave me the message "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error".  !!! I guess, as if it indeed cannot "see" my hard drive? (even though it DID show up earlier). So, I"m stuck here. The prompt that was presented was X:\sources\recovery\Tools\   and that is where I typed C: and hit the enter button. Ideas?
I then tried to run "Startup repair", which is running right now as I type this, but it's doing what it always did before, which is continually run forever, saying "attempting repairs", but it keeps going. It was at this step that I gave up before and didn't do anything with the laptop repair attempts for a long time. I don't know what to do next. Is there a way to get to the C: prompt? I thought I had done it once before, but it's possible i'mthinking of anopther computer...thanks again for your help so far. 

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

UPDATE: Startup Repair still whizzing away, after three hours, so I decided to do some more investigating on my one good computer to see what else I could find out. I found this interesting thread on a Windows 7 forum...it is VERY close to the same situation/problem I have, except that I am running Vista, while the poster on the forum had upgraded from Vista to Windows 7:

 

http://http://www.sevenforums.com/crashes-debugging/198470-windows-failed-start-cant-find-operating-...


- He has the same problem that when booted from his recovery disk, and at a command prompt, he cannot get from the X: drive to his C: drive in order to run chkdsk. (he gets the same I/O error mssg I do)

- He has the same original problem where he could only boot to a black screen with white pointer cursor (which could be moved).

- At his "System Recovery Options" it also says, like mine, "Operating System: Unknown on (Unknown) Local Disk"

  (I think it's doing this because I wasn't able to load the apparently missing drivers, and just hit "next" like you said to do...doing this DID get me to the System Recovery Options, but I'm wondering, if it's taking hours and hours on Starup Repair and doesn't even know what OS I'm running, how can it ever fix anything? Then again, I haven't gotten any error messages and it hasn't crashed out of it, either...so who knows.

It's a long thread, and if you read it, you can see that people seem to think he has some sort of partition problem w/ his HD, which is why it isn't fully recognized. It IS recognized somewhat (like I said, when i went thru the steps you earlier outlined, the hardrive C: was appearing....the laptop just will not boot TO it when I start the laptop without the recovery disk inserted in the disk drive, and I get the "media test failure, check cable, no bootable drive" message, and in the System Recovery, I get "operating system unknown" messages, etc. 

It's so confusing, because most all of the threads on the Toshiba forum I've found so far that regarding that  media test failure, check cable message seem to end with a person saying the HD is probably toast....but in some of these threads, this has happened with new HDs being installed! And you seemed to think my HD sounded basically ok. As I said, on the Windows 7 forum, the ppl on there seemed to think it sounded like more a partition disappearing kind of problem; in other words, the HD seemed saveable. 

 

 

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

I agree that it seems like a partition problem @ginbelt. If you read what I wrote to @Khaled above, that's what the problem was with my hard drive and what I believe the problem was with his. It has similar symptoms to a bad hard drive (Recovery Environment displays "Unknown" and you can't boot) but if it was a bad hard drive, it wouldn't show up in the "Load Drivers" prompt. Your problem still seems a bit different than mine though since I'm pretty sure my problem was a bad hard drive controller on the laptop. Your's sounds like more of a software issue (corrupted partition tables I think).

 

A note about startup repair: It shouldn't take that long and I highly doubt you'll get anywhere by leaving it running that long. If it doesn't finish within 10-15 minutes max, go ahead and stop it since it'll just be wasting time. Also, the link you posted had a typo. Here it is corrected (for posterity): http://www.sevenforums.com/crashes-debugging/198470-windows-failed-start-cant-find-operating-system....

 

Reading through that forum thread you linked to, I'll reiterate that Testdisk is what you'll want to do to fix the partition. Since the "bootrec" command steps didn't work (since you can't switch to the C: drive), then the next step is to scan it with testdisk and see if there is a problem with the partitions and, if so, fix the partition tables. I had forgotten, but testdisk has a Windows version as well (not just linux) though I haven't used it. Here's the link that they gave on sevenforum.com to the TestDisk wiki: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 

You can hook up the drive to another computer you have as a second hard drive. Install Testdisk on that computer and run it on your bad hard drive. Since your on vista, this part of the wiki will apply to you: "Under Vista, right-click testdisk_win.exe and then "Run as administrator" to launch TestDisk." Follow the step-by-step guide and post back here with the results (can you boot after completing it? Does the recovery environment recognize windows again?). It would be good to try running Startup Repair after you complete the Testdisk process. Let me know how it goes. Note in the sevenforum thread that after he ran testdisk, he had a different problem, hence the reason you should run startup repair after you finish with testdisk.

 

EDIT: I just finished reading some more of that thread and it seems startup repair can possibly take a long time to complete. If it doesn't change after 2 hours, then stop it.

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

gorrillamcd wrote:

I agree that it seems like a partition problem @ginbelt. If you read what I wrote to @Khaled above, that's what the problem was with my hard drive and what I believe the problem was with his. It has similar symptoms to a bad hard drive (Recovery Environment displays "Unknown" and you can't boot) but if it was a bad hard drive, it wouldn't show up in the "Load Drivers" prompt. Your problem still seems a bit different than mine though since I'm pretty sure my problem was a bad hard drive controller on the laptop. Your's sounds like more of a software issue (corrupted partition tables I think).

 

A note about startup repair: It shouldn't take that long and I highly doubt you'll get anywhere by leaving it running that long. If it doesn't finish within 10-15 minutes max, go ahead and stop it since it'll just be wasting time. Also, the link you posted had a typo. Here it is corrected (for posterity): http://www.sevenforums.com/crashes-debugging/198470-windows-failed-start-cant-find-operating-system....

 

Reading through that forum thread you linked to, I'll reiterate that Testdisk is what you'll want to do to fix the partition. Since the "bootrec" command steps didn't work (since you can't switch to the C: drive), then the next step is to scan it with testdisk and see if there is a problem with the partitions and, if so, fix the partition tables. I had forgotten, but testdisk has a Windows version as well (not just linux) though I haven't used it. Here's the link that they gave on sevenforum.com to the TestDisk wiki: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 

You can hook up the drive to another computer you have as a second hard drive. Install Testdisk on that computer and run it on your bad hard drive. Since your on vista, this part of the wiki will apply to you: "Under Vista, right-click testdisk_win.exe and then "Run as administrator" to launch TestDisk." Follow the step-by-step guide and post back here with the results (can you boot after completing it? Does the recovery environment recognize windows again?). It would be good to try running Startup Repair after you complete the Testdisk process. Let me know how it goes. Note in the sevenforum thread that after he ran testdisk, he had a different problem, hence the reason you should run startup repair after you finish with testdisk.

 

EDIT: I just finished reading some more of that thread and it seems startup repair can possibly take a long time to complete. If it doesn't change after 2 hours, then stop it.


I havnt gotten a hold of Test Disk yet, but do have a new development that is good: running Startup Repair all those hours gave me a diagnostic report that it found at least one problem, and fixed it. I can't remember if I got to this message after hitting the "restart" button on the Recovery Menu DURING the interminable Startup Repair process, or if Startup Repair simply finally stopped and gave me the message (unfortunately, things are starting to run together in my mind)...but the point is, soley through running Startup Repair, I saw a diagnostic report saying that Startup Repair found at least one problem and fixed or tried to fix it. It was something having to do with a partition table....I WISH I had written this down exactly, but it said something to the effect that the OS was unrecognized so but a fix was fixing this table... It went on to say something like I should run Startup Repair again, like you said earlier.

So my question is, can Startup Repair eventually fully fix some of these partition problems? I did run it again but it didnt' get to where Windows now comes up or is recognized, but now I'm getting a Startup Repair "Windows cannot repair this computer automatically".....it also seems to think I've attached a camera or other device to the laptop, and says i should remove it and restart (nothing is connected, just have the Toshiba Recovery Disk in the optical drive is all). There was a link to view diagnistic and details, and it said (I can't copy/paste the whole thing, but I will attempt to retype it all (or at least the important parts)):

 

Startup Repair diagnosis and repair log

--------------------

Number of repair attempts: 1

 

Session details

-----------------------

System Disk = \Device\Harddisk0

Windows directory =

AutoChk Run = 0

Number of root causes = 1

 

Test performed:

------------------------

Name: Check for updates

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 0 ms

 

Test performed:

-----------------------------

Name: System disk check

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 0 ms

 

Test performed:

-----------------------------

Name: Disk failure diagnosis

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 15 ms

 

Test performed:

-----------------------------

Name: Disk metadata test

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 359 ms

 

Test performed:

-----------------------------

Name: Target OS test

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 109 ms

 

Root cause found:

--------------------------

No OS files found on disk.

 

Repair action: Partition table repair

Result: Failed. Error code = 0x490

Time taken = 155190 ms

 

------------------------------

-----------------------------

 

Again -- the diagnostic I've typed above is from the second time I ever received a diagnostic; I forgot to write it down the first time and am not sure if it said the same thing as above, but I'm pretty sure it did, ie I don't think it was able to repair the table partition, but it said to keep running startup repair.....THIS time, it isn't telling me to keep running startup repair, jus tthat it can't repair it automatically.

 

Some questions: at this point, would you say the problem is that the System Recovery process doesnt fully recognize my hard drive (C:smileyhappy: which is why it says it doesn't know what OS I'm running, and this is PROBABLY becuase of this table partition on my HD? And if i could fix this one problem, I might well be able to boot from the Toshiba disk to a working Windows Vista desktop.....and then could do other things, like try to rescue the files from the hard drive (in the case there might be more problems with the drive)?  Or, would this just get me to the point of that black screen/white pointer which I originally had before trying to swap hard drives (that problem that you said in your first post that was not a big deal to fix if I googled it)? I should try to turn on the computer without the Toshiba disk inserted and see if I can at least get to the black screen/white pointer now, instead of the "media test failure, check cable/Exiting PXE ROM/no bootable device" message.

 

I know I'll have to run this Testdisk app....I do know how to remove the Toshiba's hard drive, but I'm not at all sure how to hook it up to to my Acer (which I'm typing this on now) in order to run Testdisk on it. And, since I'm running Vista on the Toshiba laptop, and Vista is on the Acer as well, I would pretty much have to purchase the Windows version of Testdisk, wouldn't I (I wouldn't be able to use the free Linux version probably every one else is talking about)?

 

Would there be anotehr way to run Testdisk on the Toshiba laptop -- say, could I do it from a flash drive? Or do I need more of a functioning OS at the time  in order to do this (hence you telling me to hook up the Toshiba's removed hard drive to another computer entirely, and do it that way? Sorry for my confusion, this is above my knowledge level, but trying to hang in there! Thanks again, too --

 

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: I'm sorry, I was getting ahead of myself a bit. Some ques...

According to that Startup Repair report you posted, Windows couldn't find any OS files and tried to repair the partition tables, which failed. I'm not sure why it might have failed to fix the partition tables. However, I think that Testdisk will have a better time of it. Don't buy it. The only version I've ever seen is free. Here's the link to their website download page: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download

 

In order to run testdisk, you'll either need to hook up the hard drive to a working computer or you can run it from something like "Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows" (since testdisk is one of the many programs that comes with it). Hooking it up to another computer will probably be easier I think.

 

To do so, you'll need an extra SATA cable to connect it to your computer. I didn't think about that before (since I have plenty laying around here) but you might have to go buy one. You can open up your Acer and look for your hard drive. There are two cables connected to it. One has four smaller cables and the connector is slightly wider. That's the power. The other is a single flat cable, which is the SATA cable. If your cd-rom drive uses the same kind of cable, you can borrow that one. Once you have a SATA cable available, remove the hard drive from your laptop. It's usually just one screw and a plastic panel that you remove. You then pull the hard drive sideways until it can't go further and then out (don't just try to pull it out since you'll likely break the connectors).

 

Once it's out, look at your Acer. Follow the SATA cable of the hard drive to the motherboard (the main board in the back of the computer). There should be an identical connector directly above or below where the hard drive is connected. That's where you should connect the laptop's hard drive. Now, find an available power connector (borrow one from the CD-rom if you have to) and plug it into the laptop's hard drive as well. Now, start the Acer. Be sure it doesn't boot from the laptop's hard drive. It won't hurt your computer if it does, but you'll get the same error you got on your laptop.

 

Once it's loaded, check if the hard drive shows up in "My Computer". If it does, right click and go to properties. What kind of filesystem does it say is on it? If it asks you to format, say no. Now download and install testdisk and follow the step-by-step guide I linked to above. Let me know how it goes. Once it's done, restart the Acer and go to my computer again. Does the hard drive show up? Double-click it and see if you can see your files. If you can, I'd advise backing up any important files you have before going on. Afterwards, you'll then be able to return the hard drive to the laptop and boot up the recovery environment again. Run Startup Repair again and take note if it says unknown for the OS. You might have to run the command prompt in the recovery environment and do the "bootrec" commands (/fixmbr and /fixboot). Once all that is done, try to boot the laptop normally. If it comes back to the black screen and mouse, congratulations, your hard drive now works. If not, it'll probably be best to format and reinstall windows on the laptop then.

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

Hey- earlier on, in your intial post to me, you were saying to go to command prompt and do the ""bootrec /fixboot" ,  "bootrec /fixmbr" and "bootrec /RebuildBCD" commands, but I said i couldn't, because i couldn't get to the C: prompt (I got an I/O error). Do those commands HAVE to be done from the C: prompt? I ask because I went back and re-read that sevenforums.com thread, the one started by "silvergreen" who seemed to be getting all the same issues and error messgaes that I get, and he was being to told to run those, too. On page one of the thread, he says he got that I/O error too when trying to get to the C: prompt when choosing "Command prompt" from System Recovery Options....but then, on later pages of the thread, after he succesfully gets into Diskpart from the command prompt, the other posters are telling him to do those bootrec/fixmbr, etc commands, and he says he does them? Now there appears to be some partitions that then disappear, and but it is not clear WHY, but what is more weird to me is why do these posters tell him to run these commands again (look at post #14 - page 2) when he's already said he can't access the C: prompt? And silvergreen says that he WAS able to run these commands (although he typed the first two wrong, he did do them correctly later)....reading the thread, do you think he typed these from WITHIN Diskpart..ie, at the prompt DISKPART> ??? And, would that work?? I'm really confused here. It seemed to work for him, but it shouldn't have if he was within Diskpart, like he says he was, right? or is that wrong? Could it be possible that it worked because the partition he was concerned about (partition 1, which was the part of the C: drive he was having problems with) was listed as "active" -- i ask all of THIS because I ran all those Diskpart, detail disk, detail part, etc commands too, and got a lot of info thru this, but I found that the correspoding part of MY C: drive is listed as "partition 2" and "volume 1" and is listed as "Active: No". 

Question: if I was to set it to Active in Diskpart, would that be good - should i try? It does show as "healthy" btw. 

I'm half tempted to try to contact silvergreen and ask him this, because that series of steps with the bootrec is the one part of the thread where it doesn't make sense logically...but this could be because I'm making incorrect assumptions. I'm just trying to do everything i can before making the leap and doing the Testdisc thing. I'd love to be able to fix this from the command prompt....

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

gorrillamcd, and anyone else having this same problem: after a lot of research on this, and doing some things at the command prompt and then running Startup Repair a number of times more, I have FIXED my

 

1) "hard drive not being recognized" problem,  as well as my

 

2)  "OS is not recognized" problem (which was expressed the Startup Repair message: "the windows boot configuartion data file does not contain a valid OS entry"

 

The laptop is still not functioning perfectly within Vista --- but at least I can now GET to Vista, both with the Recovery Disks and without them....I think I'm about 80-90% there.

 

Recall that in your initial message to me, you'd suggested going to the X: prompt, typing C: and hitting enter, and then running a number of of those "bootrec" commands, and then running chkdsk /f and then going back the Recovery Menu and running Startup Repair.  When I would try to get to the C: prompt, however, I'd get the message: "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" -- it was at that point that you suggested downloading the Testdisk app. You wrote: "Since the "bootrec" command steps didn't work (since you can't switch to the C: drive), then the next step is to scan it with testdisk and see if there is a problem with the partitions and, if so, fix the partition tables." 

 

I found out something VERY important, that series of steps you had suggested early on, WOULD have worked, because I didn't have to be at the C: prompt to run them....you can run them from the X: drive!!!

 

I repeat to everyone: one does NOT have to be at the C: prompt in order to a) run DISKPART or b) run CHKDSK /F or run c: run bootrec.exe, bootrec/ fixmbr, bootrec rebuildbcd, etc!! Just get to the command prompt by choosing that option in the System Recovery Options menu, and when you get that X:\sources\recovery\Tools\ prompt (which like you said is actually the Toshiba Recovery Disk, running on some sort of RAM), don't bother typing C: just run the commands you mentioned. The first thing I tried was typing "Diskpart" and then, when it retured to the prompt, typing each of these one of these individually and hitting return after each one, and looking very carefully at what each one told me:

 

DISKPART
LIST DISK

AS I'd written, this was all suggested on that Sevenforums site, and it was good advice...List Disk told me the main, huge part of my C: drive was "Disk 0"

 

So then I wrote each of these next commands individually (only the part in CAPS), with a hard return afterwards:

 

SEL DIS 0   <----this says to the computer, I want to only know about Disk 0

DETAIL DISK <----this requests detailed info about Disk 0, which is the hard drive 
LIST PART  <----this request info on the partitions on the hard drive

 

DETAIL DISK told me the most important part --- DETAIL DISK showed that my hard drive's file system was -- like the guy on sevenforums -- listed as "RAW" -- so I was in the same boat as him.

 

LIST PART showed I had 3 partitions, with partition 2/"PART 2" showing as "not hidden" and "not active" and being the one that is "RAW" I also had a partition 1/PART 1 which was also E: and was NTFS and I believe this was a small partition with some Windows stuff on it. Lastly I had a partion 3/PART 3, another small partition with only about 7,000 MB....but THIS one was the one that was showing as "active" (only one partition of a disk can show as active at a time, I found out). But the main problem was that there were major problems with that partition 1, being that it was showing as "RAW".

 

I also ran 

 

SEL PART 1

DETAIL PART

SEL PART 2

DETAIL PART

SEL PART 3

DETAIL PART

 

EXIT

 

This gave more more detailed info on each individual partition. I began to actually repair some of my problems when i found a microsoft page which detailed the bootrec process....:

 

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392#method1

 

I didn't do it exactly the way it said to do it, but I did run, at the X:\sources\recovery\Tools\ prompt (which you get to from the System Recovery Menu) the following command: "bootrec.exe" (no quotes), and then, indiviually, "bootrec /scanOS" and "bootrec/ rebuildBCD which are supposed to scan all disks for OS installations that are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Neither one did anything for me, so I then typed "bootrec /fixmbr" which didn't do anything but when I tried "bootrec /fixboot" it told me it found some problem and fixed it. 

 

At THIS point, from the X: prompt I typed: "chkdsk /f" which does the things Testdisk does (find problem on the disk and fixes them) but you don't have to be at the C: prompt to use it, I'll state again. This found and fixed lots more problems. I got to the point where it wasn't doing anything new, and so went back to the System Recovery Menu, and ran 'Startup Repair" and guess what? THIS time, it recognized my OS as "Vista" -- and when i ran it, it went fairly quickly and said it found and fixed a problem. I kept running it, again and again though, and I think, IIRC, that it kept finding and fixing new problems, until, finally, it ran it perfectly without finding ANY problem with my startup process!

 

So now, when I'd start the computer up from being off, it no longer went to the System Recovery Menu, but instead, started to load Windows, like before all this started. However, it would take me as asking for my password and getting me to the old desktop (with all the old icons, etc), but there is still some glitch where Windows doesn't work right....it freezes at various times and I haven't yet been able to get into any app yet. Running Startup Repair finds NO problems. Sometimes it will take me again to that System Recovery Menu, and sometimes not. 

 

What I think happened is, I had some major partition issues which I finally was able to fix at the X: prompt. I think people with a similar problem as me and OP should get to the X: prompt and do all these things with the goal being to get to where the OS is now recognized (oh, I should also note that after doing the bootrec stuff or the chksk commands (can't remember which is was), my Disk 0 wasn't listed as "RAW" anymore -- I ran a Detail Disk within Diskpart to check it -- it now read "NTFS" like it was supposed to. 

 

I am wondering what the next step is to fix the Windows issues? Anyone gone through this? Probably I need to do some sort of system restore/fresh install, but the fly in the ointment is that i still would like to first get Windows to the point where I can finally get to my C: drive and back it up/save the data on there....at that point, I am fine with overwriting everything. Last time i ran chkdsk it still didn't give me the response that chkdsk has found no issues/problems,.....there was some probem with it not being to transfer some kind of log to somewhere. I don't know how to fix this, however, or if fixing it would even solve the Windows problem.

 

Here were some other pages I found very helpful in getting to this point:

 

http://malwaretips.com/blogs/fix-computer-wont-start/

 

http://www.vistax64.com/general-discussion/212265-invalid-partition-table.html

 

If anyone has any insight at this point, or further advice, or if anyone needs assistance doing anything I did, feel free to let me know. Thanks to everyone who helped me, especially gorillamcd!

Ace Advisor
Jerry_Lippey
Posts: 39,135

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

 

Satellite L305-S5955

 

 

Good job! And you certainly get an A for effort.

 


I still would like to first get Windows to the point where I can finally get to my C: drive and back it up/save the data on there....at that point, I am fine with overwriting everything.


If all you want to do at this point is rescue your data, here are three ways.

 

(1) Install any version of Windows to a different folder on the same drive and boot it. You can use Windows Explorer to copy important files to external media.

 

(2) Download a free CD or thumb drive that boots to another operating systems or to a preinstall environment. See this message for an example.

 

(3) Remove the hard drive, mount it in an external enclosure, and access it from another computer.

-Jerry
Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

Hey Ginbelt, I'm glad to hear you got it fixed. Sorry I couldn't reply the past week; I've been pretty busy. I'll remember that about running the recover tools while in the X: directory. I guess the current directory doesn't matter for that after all.

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

[ Edited ]

Well, I thought it was at least on the road to being fixed, even if not fully fixed YET....but, after running chkdsk c: /r for over 24 hours now, it has been in stage 4 of 5 for most of that time, throwing up messages that say "Windows has  replaced bad clusters in file xxxxxx", and has been at "12% complete" for most of this time, too. Now, it hasn't "frozen" here, and does continue to do things....every few 5-10 minutes or so that go by, it is further along and doing this with another file, the number of files that have been checked continues to climb higher and higher....I assume it's just going slow because it's hit a part of the drive that has more issues than the rest. But I guess this means that the HD indeed well might BE bad and in need of replacement after all...I've been hoping that I can at least fix enough issues that i can not only get into a Windows environment, but a Windows environment that is stable and will not freeze up on me, like it has been doing.

 

Note: I figured I had to try to work on fixing the HD a bit more first, before trying to boot to another OS in order to recover data from the HD, or hooking the HD up to a working computer, because I figured that even booted up from ubuntu or whatever, if I can't boot to a non-freezing Windows from my Toshiba recovery media, why would Windows act any differently with the machine booted from ubuntu, or anything else? Does that make sense? Same with mounting the HD in an external enclosure....I figured I wouldn't be able to successfully see the files on that HD, because I can't see them successfully with the Toshiba recovery media (at least not yet...fingers crossed). Maybe i wasn't clear in how far along I'd come in fixing this....i can get to Windows now, but I can't do anything in Windows, except enter in a password, and get to the screen with my old desktop....still have not been able to actually click on a file or app ON that desktop and have something happen other than the computer freezing!

 

Everythign I read online says to NEVER interrupt a chkdsk operation, even if you think it's running too long, at least not if it is still doing things/fixing things/replacing files, etc.

 

So therefore, even if it takes over a week, I guess then that I should keep letting chkdsk /r run from that command prompt until it either says it's finished and has found x number of errors, OR until it actually does stop/seize up at some point?? Would you agree? Or, would it actually be better to power off the machine, mid chkdsk run, and hope for the best? Again, I'm just hoping that chkdsk can maybe fix just enough to allow me to get files off the HD when booted from the Toshiba recovery media....also, I really would like to get a good read on the current state the HD is in. I imagine I'll almost certainly have to replace the HD, if it's even worth it given the prices on new laptops now....but I don't want to write my files off just yet...I feel like I'm so close to getting to them!

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

Important question: when running chkdsk /r from a command prompt is taking a lot longer than it ordinarily might, is it within the realm of possibility for it to "get stuck" on a particular file or sector and literally never budge from that spot? I'm not talking about a typical computer freeze whereby literally everything onscreen totally freezes/no pixels move, or a computer crash where it goes to a black screen or blue screen, etc....this seems different, because in the very last line of text, there is a blinking underline character...just like it looks when it's working on a file just before a new line of text is spit out. So there is movement...it's not frozen in that traditional sense. Plus, the hard drive continues to spin, I can feel it. For all intents or purposes, it LOOKS like it is going to move on and get to another file, it just hasn't!

 

So, can chkdsk /r stay stuck on a file literally forever? Or, at least as long as the the battery has juice/the laptop is supplied with power? I'd have assumed if there was a problem with the hard drive, and it was on a file for 20+ hours, it would go to the next file, complete the run, and then give a diagnosis report of "bad drive" or whatever. Or, would TOTALLY freeze up  -- the white line/cursor would stop blinking. But neither of these has happened. I want to know if it's possible that it could keep in this limbo for weeks/months/years, because the advice I read online is to NEVER forcibly power off a computer when it's running chkdsk. I don't want to forcibly turn it off unless it IS possible for chkdsk to theoretically run forever, never analyzing the next file. 

 

It says it's at "108,842 of 175,152 files processed." with that blinking cursor. Up to that point, it was replacing bad clusters successfully, so I assumed when chkdsk was done, I'd have a report on my hard drive to look at, and perhaps it would evben be fixed enough to grab my files off. 

Occasional Contributor
ginbelt
Posts: 28

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

Latest update, and important question: not only has CHKDSK /Rr now been stuck on "108,842 of 175,152 files processed", but I can now hear -- very, very quietly (only can hear it if I put my hear to the laptop, near the hard drive) a slight, intermittent-but-regular, gentle tapping type noise. It's it not really a clicking, a grinding, or squealing noise, but it is a regular sound, that comes about every five seconds, and last about one second. 

 

I read in one place that the longer a hard drive that is failing spins, the worse the damage can increase. So, would it be smarter to forcibly shut the computer down at that point, and cross my fingers that I can still recover some data via one of the three methods outlined earlier -OR- should I just let CHKDSK continue running? It feels more and more like CHKDSK is never going to go beyond file 108,842. What is the best/gentlest way to forcibly shut down a machine running CHKDSK /R??? please help!

Occasional Contributor
gorrillamcd
Posts: 10

Re: My Laptop cannot detect it's internal hard drive

Hi Ginbelt,

That's a bummer. If it's making noises like that, it could be that it's going bad. I would definitely stop the chkdsk by now (you have WAY more patience than I do, I didn't even realize you still had it running?). You don't have to fix every bad sector to pull information off the drive. You can try pressing CTRL - C, which usually stops command line programs. If that doesn't work, I'd forcibly restart it. Not the prettiest solution, but it sounds like it might not be receiving input. If it's in the Recovery Environment, try closing the command line window to stop chkdsk. Once the computer is off, try booting to the hard drive (you said before you could get back to the black screen with mouse, correct?). If it boots, chances are the information is safe. I strongly suggest connecting it to another computer and copying the information off. As said before, there are several ways to do that. If you have an external hard drive enclosure, that would be the easiest. You can also connect it internally to another computer as a secondary drive (with SATA cable to the motherboard). The third way would be to boot a live CD/usb operating system, such as Ultimate boot CD 4 Windows or ubuntu linux. Save your information before going any further trying to fix it. You might want to just format and reinstall windows on it instead of trying to fix the black screen and mouse problem, though I think it's fixable, it depends on how much more time you are willing to spend on it.

As to whether the hard drive is bad or not, it's hard to tell (since I can't actually hear it myself). If you're worried about it, I'd by a new drive for it (they're not terribly expensive).