Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stardate 62398.66 - Frak

Today we got back from being out with Loren at the Sesame Street park in PA and the Dell Inspiron E1705 had an error message about not being able to boot. Odd, since it was running with the screen saver on when we left. To make a long story short, here is the problem:

*** Hard Drive - DST Short Test ***
Test Results: Fail
Error Code 2000-0148
MSG: 0: IDE ERROR: Status 3E No additional sense information

The laptop will not boot from the hard drive. And if I boot from CD-ROM I can get to the Hard Drive but I cannot see the "Users" directory at the root level. To make matters worse, the backup (which seemed to complete successfully yesterday) will not permit me to restore. It just does not show any restore points available, even though I can see the data files on the drive for yesterday. I tested the restore function back when we first got the drive, but it failed a couple of months ago and I had to scrap the backup data and start over and I apparently never re-checked the restore to ensure it was working property.

We're completely screwed. We'll loose months and months and possible more than a year of photos if I cannot get the data either from the hard drive or from the backup. I'm going to call the tech support line for the backup software tomorrow, but I'm not anticipating any luck with them. My next option is to send the drive to one of those data recovery outfits and spend whatever it takes to get the data back. (Anyone got any suggestions as to a good place?)

I am ready to throw the laptop out of the window and into the courtyard below. I've now spent the past 3 hours trying to fix this, to no avail.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.



CAPT_Sawyer said...

Small Update - Apparently back in April I made a manual copy of all the photos on the laptop to the network drive - not a backup, but a drag-and-drop copy. So worst case we'll lose around a month and a half of pictures. The bad news is, that includes our trip to Yosemite. At least I got the blog entries posted so we have a few from each day.

JamesF said...

I feel your pain. I had something similar happen once. Although I was still able to access parts of the drive if I connected it to another system (large sections though were completely unaccessible). I didn't do the data recovery thing, although it did teach me to always have photos in at least 2 locations. That's why I bought the Western Digital MyBook. Right now I pull pictures to the computer, but then don't delete them from the memory card until I copy them to Ginger's computer or a backup drive somewhere (having a 16 Gig memory card helps in this situation). I really do feel for you though, because I remember being just about sick when I lost my data.

Trailing Male said...

Hmm. I can sympathize. Okay, if it won't boot but is not completely fragged, you may be able to salvage it with a utility. Emily's old laptop drive was about dead (still booted most of the time, but on its last leg) and although we could salvage most of the data, a bunch of good programs would be lost (including our Albanian language software!). I downloaded SpinRite and used it to fix the drive as much as it could (move data from bad sectors to good, mark bad off the list), then cloned it using Apricorn's EZ Gig II. Unfortunately it didn't set an active boot sector, so I then had to use freeware TestDisk. Now it works great, even loads a little faster than it used to.

Word of caution: SpinRite can run for 12 hours (depends upon drive size) and will halt if the temperature exceeds manufacturer's specs.

I can't recommend a particular data-recovery firm, sorry! Best of luck and keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up. We may be able to take another PC and set this drive as a seconndary HD.. then see if we can access data.

Bill D (of Roanoke)

CAPT_Sawyer said...

UPDATE - Since some people are coming to this page via Google Search for this error message, I'll tell you that ultimately we sent the drive to a recovery service but they wanted $500 and 4 weeks to recover the data. Since we really only had about 30 days of material not backed-up, I just did a warranty replacement through Dell. So far we've had no problems with the replacement drive.