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Hard Drive Recovery

March 26, 2009

in computer hardware,computer performance,Windows

by David Hakala

Probably the worst sight a computer owner can see is this message on an otherwise black screen:

“No boot device, please insert a bootable media.”

Your hard drive is hosed. Windows won’t start, even as far as the Recovery Console. What is wrong, and what are you going to do?

First, see if the problem is in the hard drive or its controller, which is on the computer’s motherboard. Open up the computer and switch the drive’s data cable from the motherboard connector labeled IDE1 to IDE2. Try to start the computer. If it starts, you have a bad controller and not a bad drive.

If it doesn’t start, try removing the drive and installing it on another computer as drive C. If it still won’t start, there’s something wrong in the drive.

Re-install the bad drive as a secondary or “slave” drive. Boot from the good drive and see if the bad drive shows up in My Computer. If so, you still have a chance to rescue data from the bad drive.

If you can see the bad drive while it’s installed in a working, Internet-connected computer, go download PC Inspector File Recovery. Install it on the working Windows drive.

PC Inspector File Recovery includes an extensive HTML tutorial on data recovery. There are many ways to recover data, depending on how the drive is damaged. Follow the tutorial and the troubleshooting tips in PC Inspector File Recovery and keep your fingers crossed.

If you cannot see the bad drive in My Computer on a working computer, you’re looking at spending several hundred bucks with a data-recovery service. Check your Yellow Pages or Google “hard drive recovery” and “data recovery.”

Hard drive recovery by professionals is seldom a fast or inexpensive process. But such specialists can work apparent miracles. Data has been recovered from drives that were burnt, crushed, and even had holes drilled through them. If you absolutely must recover that data, it probably can be recovered — for a price directly proportional to the amount of pain you’re in, just like hospital emergency room treatment.

David Hakala has perpetuated technology tutorials since 1988 in addition to committing tech journalism, documentation, Web sites, marketing collateral, and profitable prose in general. His complete rap sheet can be seen at:

{ 1 comment }

Stewart Vardaman 03.27.09 at 9:40 pm

Hah, funny you should mention this. I’ve done this at least a dozen times, even twice with SCSI drives. You remember when the RAID controller died in my server and I was scrambling everywhere to find a SCSI card? Your technique works with Linux too.

I also have a 2.5″ to 3.5″ IDE drive converter. That will let you recover a laptop disk with a desktop PC. I usually will run chkdsk on the 2nd drive too.

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