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Thread: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    16

    Red face Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    I've never used Ubuntu and my Dell PC with Vista crashed and would not boot, so I made an Ubuntu CD, v11.04. Now I would like to recover my data.

    But I do not see my hard drive on the Disk Utility, under Storage Devices.

    I chose the option to "try Ubuntu without making changes to my PC" and I am able to boot and navigate around Ubuntu, so my hard drive clearly isn't dead, but I can't directly access it. (I'm typing this from another PC.)

    My problem seems similar to the rather old thread linked below. I sort of understand what needs to be done, but typing in commands and the actual steps to take are beyond my comprehension... Uh. NTFS partitions, what?

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=540582

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    16

    Red face Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    sudo fdisk -l

    is that a number one or the letter L ?? I really don't know what I am doing. I typed in the #1.



    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -1
    fdisk: invalid option -- '1'

    Usage:
    fdisk [options] <disk> change partition table
    fdisk [options] -l <disk> list partition table(s)
    fdisk -s <partition> give partition size(s) in blocks

    Options:
    -b <size> sector size (512, 1024, 2048 or 4096)
    -c switch off DOS-compatible mode
    -h print help
    -u <size> give sizes in sectors instead of cylinders
    -v print version
    -C <number> specify the number of cylinders
    -H <number> specify the number of heads
    -S <number> specify the number of sectors per track

    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$
    Last edited by sbr2011; September 9th, 2011 at 11:04 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Under the stairs.
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    1,408
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    The fact that you can navigate on Ubuntu has nothing to do with the HDD. With a live CD, it doesn't use the HDD...you are navigating the LiveCD. If, when you boot up the CD and go to Places, you don't see your NTFS,(that's just the file system for Windows) then follow the steps given below...from that thread:

    Boot up the Ubuntu live cd and once you're at the desktop, open a Terminal.

    Type:
    Code:
     sudo fdisk -l
    You'll get a list of partitions on the pc You'll likely have an NTFS partion that is called /dev/hda1 or /dev/sda1 . Just match the name to your list.

    We need to make a folder to mount the data in so let's create one

    Code:
     sudo mkdir /data
    Then lets mount the Windows partion into it so you can copy off the data (match the /dev/ name to what you found in the list above

    Code:
     sudo mount /dev/hda1 /data
    If that completed without errors you can open a file browser and go to the /data folder and see the files. Email or copy them off as you wish.
    Last edited by Enigmapond; September 9th, 2011 at 08:36 PM.
    Dell Inspiron 1764 Laptop, Intel CoreTM i5 520M), 4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz, 512MB ATI Mobility RadeonTM HD4330 Integrated Intel HD.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    49

    Unhappy Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    Im not a super genius, but i have had this problem before.. when you cant access the drive in disk utility (or gparted) then it is possible it is dead beyond recovering data. That was my experience anyways.
    "And the next time you consider complaining that running Lucid Emacs 19.05 via NFS from a remote Linux machine in Paraguay doesn't seem to get the background colors right, you'll know who to thank." (By Matt Welsh)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Tintinhull, Somerset, UK
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    106
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    When you boot from a live Cd it does not use your hard drive at all. The fact that Ubuntu is running does not indicate any life in your hard disk.

    NTFS is the file system that Windows uses. Ubuntu 11.04 should have no difficulty reading it. If it can read your disk it should show up in Nautilus as something like 250GB File system. If it's there click on it to try to open it. If so you should be able to save the access the files and work on saving what you want.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Beans
    16

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    How can your pc boot if the hard drive is toast??? Is there a way to make my hard drive bootable again? I do not have a windows vista recovery CD, that's why I'm trying ubntu. I wanted to try and save the files before doing a clean install of windows.

    When I plug in my external hard drive it shows up on the disk utility as 80 GB FILE SYSTEM or whatever and works fine. I was hoping the internal hard drive would be on the disk utility so I could transfer files but it isn't.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Beans
    44

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    I dont know if this helps, but if you want to recover your data you can try this, remove your hard drive and install it into another computer, a desktop, or computer that can take a second hard drive, or you can purchase an USB to hard drive cable for about 30 bucks on ebay and plug your hard drive into it and it will boot just as a external drive. You can access your files that way to transfer them to another form of media. This is assuming you do not have a windows vista disc and cannot repair startup using the disc, or boot up in safe mode. Dunno if it helps but figured id try.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    ɹǝpun uʍop
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Xubuntu

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    It boots from the CD, not the hard drive, as stated. Have you checked the cable to the internal hard drive? I'd say if it is all plugged fine the drive may have had it. When you are at the Ubuntu desktop could you open System>Administration>Gparted (with the external drive unplugged so you only have the internal HD plugged in). Anything?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    In your brain.
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    352
    Distro
    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    Quote Originally Posted by sbr2011 View Post
    How can your pc boot if the hard drive is toast??? Is there a way to make my hard drive bootable again? I do not have a windows vista recovery CD, that's why I'm trying ubntu. I wanted to try and save the files before doing a clean install of windows.

    When I plug in my external hard drive it shows up on the disk utility as 80 GB FILE SYSTEM or whatever and works fine. I was hoping the internal hard drive would be on the disk utility so I could transfer files but it isn't.
    As the above user stated, you do not need a hard disk to boot anything from a CD. In fact, I have no hard drive in my laptop... my OS is installed to a small USB drive.

    If your internal hard disk does not show up in Ubuntu, then it probably is done for. However, you could try creating a boot CD/USB of GParted. I find that having a boot device of GParted works better than installing GParted to your OS. If it doesn't show up in a live CD/USB of GParted, then I'd say that it's broken and suggest getting a new internal HDD. However, if you need to, you can install an OS to your external HDD.

    There are some programs that attempt to try and recover data from broken devices, but I don't know much of them or if it would help in this case.
    Chrome > Firefox > Opera > Safari > IE

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    England
    Beans
    Hidden!

    Re: Using Ubuntu to read dead hard drive

    From the live CD use system->administration->terminal and run the command
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    What is the output from this, please?
    DISTRO: Xubuntu 14.04-64bit --- Code-tags --- Boot-Repair --- Grub2 wiki & Grub2 Basics --- RootSudo

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