Computer won't boot, hard drive crashed?

#1
My problem is with my daughter's Toshiba. It is 3 months old & under warranty. In fact they're having me send it in to get checked out, but we're thinking it is a hard drive error & they're probably going to replace it. She's got some college papers in progress that we're hoping to save if at all possible, but the laptop is not booting. I'm not 100% sure of every thing that has happened or in what order, but here's what I know.

On Tuesday night she ran her virus scan & all was great. On Wednesday evening she got online long enough to check campus email on their website, to log into her computer class website, and to check her facebook account. Also she signed out long enough for her suitemate to check her facebook as well. No one went to any other websites, downloaded anything, etc. The computer shut down normally & was left on her desk.

She woke up Thursday & pushed the power button, then left it to boot up while getting dressed. She saw a black screen with 1 row of numbers, then something about missing files, then a black screen that only had a - in the top left screen. She couldn't load into safe mode. She saw a message referring to an i/o error that referenced problems with removable storage, hard drive or cd drive. At one point she got some beeps & nothing happened. The Toshiba guy had her try to load the recovery disk with no luck.

She brought it home tonight & I saw the I/O message again. I tried changing boot order & using the recovery disk--choosing the 2nd choice which said 'options' & it said it would try to repair the hard drive. Then it said it was going to restart the system. Then it went to a black screen. After a while I powered it off & restarted it trying safe mode again. I got to where it listed a bunch of files it was loading & it got stuck. At that point a google search took me to this site where it suggested Recovery Disc Download using utorrent & imgburn. I downloaded the 64 bit version. I'm 99% sure that is what her system uses.

I put the disc in her laptop & used the f12 to force a boot from cd. I got the push a button to continue screen, followed by it acting like it was loading windows. Then I got a 2 tone blue screen with the pretty starbursts. I'm assuming it's part of a windows load screen. I even had a cursor I could move around. It never did anything else.

I'm just wondering if there's something I'm doing wrong or something I'm missing? Like I said it's heading back to them next week when the box gets here to ship it in, but I'm still hoping to save her files. I would have pulled her drive into an enclosure & try to see if I could find the files, but my enclosure is for a different kind of drive & the connectors are different. Any thoughts?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi fuzzled, welcome to NST
Get a live Linux distro.
Burn it to a CD.
Boot it on your daughter's PC and use in "Try Ubuntu without changing your computer" mode (1st option)
When the Desktop appears, use "places" / Computer to bring up an Explorer-like interface.
Navigate to her personal files (probably all in Vista Drive\Users\her name\...) and drag and drop the lot into some external storage medium where they'll be safe from the attentions of the warranty crew.
You shouldn't have the same problems booting the Linux CD as you had with the recovery disk. (Windows disks can refuse to boot on a PC with a HDD problem)
 
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#3
I downloaded the Linux & was able to boot to the desktop though it was slow. I couldn't find any recognizable files.

I saw:
ubuntu
desktop which listed download ubuntu & something else (not her windows desktop stuff where 1 of the folders is)
file system
HDD recovery 250gb
trash
network

documents (these were all empty)
music
pictures
videos
downloads

I tried to search for a folder name & part of a file name, but no luck. So now I am really even more confused as to what is going on. Do you think the computer has lost her data completely? Any other suggestions?
 
#4
I downloaded the Linux & was able to boot to the desktop though it was slow. I couldn't find any recognizable files.

I saw:
ubuntu
desktop which listed download ubuntu & something else (not her windows desktop stuff where 1 of the folders is)

file system
HDD recovery 250gb
trash
network
What's in the bolded partition? Sure you went to Places>Computer?
 
#5
Places/Computer: has 2 listings.

1st listing is 250 GB Hard Disk:HDRecovery (that's the full name HDRecovery is not separate file & if you click on the whole thing it just calls itself HDRecovery)
2nd listing is Filesystem---which appears to be Ubuntu stuff

In the HDRecovery are the following folders:
bin, boot, images_boot, planfolders, sources, zzimages
Loose files are: bootmgr, data.ini, plandata.ini, omi.ini, editaf.bat, !v5_01_11.VRP


In filesystem are the following folders:
bin, boot, cdrom, dev, etc, home, lib, media, mnt, opt, proc, rofs, root, sbin, selinux, srv, sys, tmp, usr, var
Loose files are: initrd.img, vmliuz



Under
 
#6
Places/Computer: has 2 listings.

1st listing is 250 GB Hard Disk:HDRecovery (that's the full name HDRecovery is not separate file & if you click on the whole thing it just calls itself HDRecovery)
2nd listing is Filesystem---which appears to be Ubuntu stuff

In the HDRecovery are the following folders:
bin, boot, images_boot, planfolders, sources, zzimages
Loose files are: bootmgr, data.ini, plandata.ini, omi.ini, editaf.bat, !v5_01_11.VRP
(You can try looking at this tutorial for more information on backing up your data from Ubuntu LiveCD)
Ok, that's your "system" partition (meaning it contains your boot files), but apparently not your OS partition. If its not showing the OS partition, then apparently it is not detecting it for some reason. Maybe the bootsector of that partition is corrupted. You can try:

Code:
bootsect /nt60 ALL
from the Command Prompt on the Neosmart recovery disk (after selecting "Repair My Computer"). Then try booting from the Ubuntu disk again, and looking in Places->Computer.