Hard drive about to die I think

6 Dec 2007
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United Kingdom
Looks like my brother's hard drive is about to give up the ghost.

His desktop died a death a couple of weeks ago with a black screen saying that NTLDR is missing.

After much internet searching, I tried replacing the relevant files - but no go, so I ended up reinstalling Windows XP - I didn't do the reformat stage - it's on a recovery partition and I didn't want to lose a lot of the stuff he had.

It worked and he was happy, however, it's gone and done it again today and there's a sort of clicking sound coming from the tower.

I take it the hard drive is well on it's way out and it's going to need replaced.

Two questions - any recommendations on a decent hard drive - bad news being that it's an IDE drive (PATA, whatever you call it).

Next - the fact that he doesn't have XP discs cos it's on a recovery partition - does anyone know how I would get his XP over to a new drive?

I have XP discs but they're Dell discs and won't work in a non-Dell PC.
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Can't really go wrong with these: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/131307

As for XP, you'll need an OEM CD with which you can use the existing product key (which should be on a label on the machine, probably round the back). You can try asking for media from the manufacturer, but that's likely to cost a small fortune (they like to try and charge £20+ for 'shipping and handling'). Other methods aren't exactly legal, so I'll leave that as an exercise for you (and perhaps your MSN client).
If you can get the disk up and working long enough I would buy a copy of Acronis backup software (about £30). Install it on the machine and take an image copy to an external hard disk. replace the failing disk in the PC (IDE/SATA disks are easy to come by) and then restore the image back to the new drive...its all quite simple to do....and you end up withy exactly what you had on the PC but in a different drive.
That's a bad idea if the drive is failing, you can very easily end up with an incomplete copy and a total waste of time and money. (that and paying for such software is.. pretty silly)
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Thanks all - I did think of saving an image, but if there are knackered files there, I'd be transferring them over too.

I'll get a look at these hard drives too thanks.

And I'm sure I'll be able to (ahem) procure a copy of XP - just a pity mines are Dell - I've got XP Home and Pro and Vista. Strangely enough, the Vista has never been out of the sleeve..........................

Would his licence key work with Pro as well?

Edited: Ooh, Monkeh, that's the exact same drive I was looking at earlier - but I wasn't sure if it was SATA or PATA?

Also, just thought - I noticed in some of the searches I was doing that there were 2.5" and 3.5" internal hard drives - how do I know which one I need? Or do I need to haul the tower to bits?
That particular model is PATA. You'll definitely be wanting 3.5" if it's a standard size tower, only laptops and extremely compact machines use 2.5".

And no, the key won't work with Pro. You'll need a real OEM copy of XP Home to use the key, it won't work with a standard retail copy (or shouldn't anyway).
As coljack and I have suggested the same thing I do not thing its silly at all....in my years of fixing PC's I've used this method many times and its never failed. The trick is to make sure you get the files which may be causing a problem restored first. Even if you don't you can always fix them on the new drive... Coljacks idea of using western digital's software is a good one...saves having to spend money on software....I use Acronis becuase I have to deal with all types of drives...
And remember the old saying "But surely you backed up your data?" :LOL:
Beyond the fact we are not 100% sure the disk is either dead or dying...

I would try a disk image with, for example, 'Macrium Reflect' (MR)- the freeby. http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

As with most disk imagers the resultant 'image' can be 'mounted', using in the case of MR, MS File Explorer, data is easily copied etc.
Even if there are some system files damaged, it is very likely user's data files (My Documents etc) may remain valid.
'Tis worth a punt - a useful tool - Cost? A little time.

If anyone takes the plunge, then decides the recovery cd would be useful - Don't balk at the idea of building a BartPE Rescue CD...
A good 'how to' from the Macrium site :- Here
More (plugins) on that cd than meets the casual eye !!

Even with a fresh install it would be nice to reclaim data files and browser profiles if not more.

As coljack and I have suggested the same thing I do not thing its silly at all....

Trying to restore an OS from a failing drive is daft. Restoring files is obviously necessary, but the OS might as well be reinstalled; it'll run better anyway.

At the very least you can do it with free software (really free software, not just software you don't have to pay for) rather than using Acronis.
Not daft at all..in fact I've just done another....dont have such a closed mind...options other than yours do work...
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