From: David Knapp
Oops, didn't read the question close enough. In order to revive a hard drive that won't boot, I
do the following.
• Boot to floppy that has the basics on it—fdisk, edit, sys, format, command.com. Fdisk to see
if the drive is being recognized by the system.
• If the drive shows up and has a valid partition, then try to access it from dos.
• If you can't access it from dos, I would basically give up, but you can try to sys it too.
Depends on the problem.
• I would first go into the bios and attempt to redetect the hard drive.
• If I was unable to get the bios to detect it, I would then go to the drive manufacturer's Web
site and get the manual settings for the drive.
• Next I would get a boot disk from another machine nearby and do a format /s on the drive to
bring the operating system back up.
• After fixing the machine, I would then lock the bios and then proceed to flog the user with
rubber bands and paper clips for even looking at that enter setup option.
From: David Knapp
We have about 4 standard ghost images that we base most of our machines (Dell) on. We
have a boot disk that has NetWare drivers for all the network cards we use. We boot the
floppy, login, and re-image the machine once the new HD has arrived. Then we configure
networking, printers, capture batch file, and install custom software. If they want their data
backed up, then they should keep it on a server.
Reboot the machine hitting delete key entering into the cmos setup. Then click on the restore
default values to allow hard disk to reboot by itself again.
From: Chris Draper
When you support any number of users, hard drive failures are an unfortunate fact of life. I
have had users cry in front of me when I have had to tell them that all of their data has gone
to "data heaven.” Recovering data from corrupt or failed drives is more of an art that a
• Far and above, the best thing to try first is the old FDISK /MBR command.
• This will rebuild the master boot record. Although not always successful, it has recovered
many drives that were not at all readable. However, drives that have experienced head crashes
refuse to spin up and need much more attention.
• In these cases, method is critical. Set up the machine with a second hard drive.
• Boot to dos and try to copy the data off the drive using XCOPY. This way if you do run into
bad sectors or a crashed head you can simply stop the copy by hitting [Ctrl]C.
• I have even been able to get some drives to spin up by "gently" tapping on them with a
screwdriver while they were powered up.
• Please keep in mind that this is a last resort technique.