Recover Data from Failing Drive


Hello, I am a newbie and not too PC technical. I have a dilemma that I have not been able to find in past posts. I Have Desktop HP Pavilion a6110n running Vista Home Premium, purchased August, 2007. It has 320GB Hitachi HDD.

The other day I turned Power on and instead of computer booting up, I got this Black screen with “Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk and Press Enter” No disk was supplied with PC, and I never got around to burning a Recovery Disk.

I downloaded the 120 MB Windows Vista (x86) Recovery disk Torrent in the ISO format and burned CD as recommended.

Following WiKi instructions, I put CD in DVD drive and Pressing F12,
I begin booting the CD with screen saying “Windows is Loading Files”. This takes about 10 minutes. Then a screen appears with all kinds of info, which at the end says….”Hard Disk Failure is imminent. Please backup your hard disk and have it replaced” and gives options to Press ESC or Press F2 to continue.
I press F2 and then the Windows Vista Screen appears to repair. I proceed with repair process, but get message “Startup Repair can not Fix Problem”. In denial, I repeated this procedure several times without success and even tried every option of the Recovery Tool with same “Cannot fix problem.

I ran a “PCDoctor”? Vista Boot Disk, which ran some kind of test on the hard drive. In summary, the report came back with following info:
DiskCoverage 50%
Sector Block (0-16383), (16384-32767), (32768-49151), and (65536-81919) all Failed Verification. Also, reported Error Codes HD535-6, HD521-1, HD521-2, HD521-4 Failed Test.

HELP!!! OK, I have external SimpleTech backup drive, but got lazy these past couple months. I have to assume the hard drive is crashing, but still has some life to retrieve recent emails, photos and documents??? But HOW???
Hi p-jay, welcome to NST.

Unfortunately, your drive is dying. But when we say "dying" we don't mean it the way we do when we talk about people.. it's not like it's "on the way to death" - in reality, parts of it are dead and parts of it aren't.

If the data you want is on the damaged clusters, you're out of luck. But there's a good chance you can get tons of data off the drive.

Connect the drive to another PC and download yourself a copy of PhotoRec, an excellent file recovery program by CG Security.

PhotoRec - CGSecurity

Check it out, and best of luck.
Thanks Guru for the quick answer. I have an old Gateway computer with Windows 98 (I think), although the hard drive is only 13GB. Do you think I can get away with that?

I will try downloading the Photo-Rec and save it to a CD, but then should I load it into the working PC or the "sick" one?
Looking ahead, I will need to get a new hard drive to replace the one that is "dying" and load my original Vista O/S that the HP was built with. But...I do not have any CD's, just the label on the side of the machine with the MS Windows Product Key number.

Could I use the NTS Recovery Disk that I downloaded? or do I have to contact HP to get the Recovery disks for my a6110n machine. Again, thank for all your help!
You'll need a real Windows Vista installation CD for that. You can either contact HP and request a set of recovery discs, or borrow a Vista DVD from a friend and use the label on the side of your PC for activation.
hi i am very new to this and have tried the vista recovery disc however i get an error code of oxo what does this mean in relation to my not being able to bootup