Pres. Jonathan Cartu Writes - Trying to rescue files from a dying hard drive, but every... - Jonathan Cartu Computer Repair Consultant Services
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Pres. Jonathan Cartu Writes – Trying to rescue files from a dying hard drive, but every…

Trying to rescue files from a dying hard drive, but every...

Pres. Jonathan Cartu Writes – Trying to rescue files from a dying hard drive, but every…



Going to be a long post, bear with me.

BLUF: I’m trying to save files from my wife’s dying laptop, but it always goes to Startup Repair. I’ve tried a â€‹bunch​ of stuff, so I’m going to try to outline it all and give as much information as possible. 


How We Got Here:

A few months ago, we were trying to recycle all our old electronics, so we wanted to get any files worth keeping off of them before wiping them and sending them to the recycling people.

We ran into a problem with my wife’s Samsung laptop: she couldn’t remember the password.

– I looked up how to circumvent that. Unfortunately, it was long enough a ago that I don’t remember what I actually did.

– I’m not sure I even did anything – but at some point, the computer booted to the Windows Startup Repair (maybe intentionally? Sorry, this is the low-info part), and then would only do that.

– I can interrupt it to go to the System Recovery Options, the BIOS, or to Samsung’s recovery tool (more on that later).

– Things were very busy at the time, so I set it aside a few months, until last week (which is why I don’t remember exactly how the problem started).


Since then, I have tried searching for solutions all over the web and gone through a number of processes meant to fix it to no avail.

This is going to be a LONG post


I don’t particularly care about fixing the thing; we just want to be able to look through the files and see if there are any documents, pictures, etc, we want to save.



Details about the Laptop:

Samsung NP-QX411

Dated July 2011

Running Windows 7 Home Premium

We do NOT have an installation disk, Windows came pre-loaded

I don’t really know which partition or ‘drive’ was supposed to be for what, there appears to be C,D,E, and F drives, an unlettered one, and an X (more details below).


Here’s what I tried, in order as best I can.


1. Startup Repair:

Obvious first move, I ran the Startup Repair.

This ran for a LONG time, as in a couple days.

At some point said “Attempting Repairs…Repairing disk errors.”

When it finished it displayed:

“A harddisk problem is preventing Windows from starting.

Contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer to determine if you need to repair or replace the disk.

Click finish to exit and shut down.”

Under that, two links:

“View diagnostic and repair details.”

“View advanced options for system recovery and support.”

I selected “view diagnostic and repair details, and here is what it displayed:

::Begin display::

Diagnosis and repair details:

Startup Repair diagnosis and repair log


Number of repair attempts: 1

Session details


System Disk = DeviceHarddisk0

Windows directoy = E:Windows

AutoChk Run = 0

Number of root causes = 1

Test Performed:


Name: Check for updates

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken = 591087ms

Test Performed:


Name: System disk test

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken: 0ms

Test Performed:


Name: Disk failure diagnosis

Result: Completed successfully. Error code = 0x0

Time taken: 63ms

Root cause found:


Bad hard disk:



::End display:


Next, I clicked on the “View advanced options…,” which took me to the System Recovery Options, which read:

Choose a recovery tool

Operating system: Windows 7 on (E:) Local Disk

and gave the standard options: Startup Repair, System Restore, System Image Recovery, Windows Memory Diagnostic, Command Prompt


I’d already run Startup Repair, so I choose System Restore:


2. System Restore

Running System Restore resulted in:

“No restore points have been created on your computer’s system drive.”



This is actually out of sequence, but since it only provided information, rather than try to fix anything, I figured it should go earlier

In the Command Prompt, I ran DISKPART, then entered this command:

DISKPART> list disk

Which gave me (not displayed like this, but in a table format):

Disk ###: Disk 0 | Status: Online | Size: 698 GB | Free: 1024 KB | Dyn: [blank] | Gpt: [blank]


Next, I did

DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk


DISKPART> list partition

This gave 5 partitions, in this order:

Partition #: Partition 1 | Type: Primary    | Size: 100 MB | Offset: 1024 KB

Partition #: Partition 2 | Type: Primary    | Size: 272 GB | Offset: 101 MB

Partition #: Partition 0 | Type: Extended | Size: 406 GB | Offset: 272 GB

Partition #: Partition 4 | Type: Logical     | Size: 406 GB | Offset: 272 GB

Partition #: Partition 3 | Type: OEM        | Size: 19 GB   | Offset: 678 GB



DISKPART> list volume

Volume #: Volume 0 | Ltr: F         | Label: [blank]                  | Fs: [blank]   | Type: DVD-ROM | Size: 0B         | Status: No Media

Volume #: Volume 1 | Ltr: C         | Label: SYSTEM              | Fs: NTFS    | Type: Partition     | Size: 100 MB | Status: Healthy

Volume #: Volume 2 | Ltr: E         | Label: [blank]                  | Fs: RAW     | Type: Partition      | Size: 272 GB | Status: Healthy

Volume #: Volume 3 | Ltr: D         | Label: [blank]                  | Fs: NTFS    | Type: Partition      | Size: 406 GB | Status: Healthy

Volume #: Volume 4 | Ltr: [blank] | Label: SAMSUNG_REC | Fs: NTFS    | Type: Partition      | Size: 19 GB    | Status: Healthy     | Info: Hidden




3. Chkdsk

I did some googling and found a few people with similar problems posting over the years and looked at the answers they were given.

The first was to run chkdsk in the Command Prompt

I did several variations of this as I tried to figure out the appropriate specifics.

I will post what seems like the relevant information from each variation, but I took photos – so if I’m missing vital info, let me know and I may have it.


Opened Command Prompt

prompt defaults to X:windowssystem32>


3a. Entered chkdsk C: /f

(I know the repair said Windows was on E:, but there was some time between that and running this, and I just did what the instructions said first)

That ran fine (lots of numbers and such for which I have photos) and ended with:

“Windows has checked…

Mac Computer AiroAV

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