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Old Jul 6, 09, 11:21 am   #1
 
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Question Help! "a disc read error occurred"

turned on my gateway* laptop & got above message, with "press ctrl, alt, del to restart" & it loops back to same message...is my HDD dead? is there an easy fix or do I have to take to local "TeckGeeks" for repair/recovery?

*model mt6821, OS is vista (I know, gateway+vista, but it's been runnning great for 2 years with no problems, well until now).
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Old Jul 6, 09, 11:31 am   #2
 
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Look up "ultimate boot disk", it might help.

There's also Spin Rite from grc.com. It's not free, but it is worth it.

If you suspect a virus, start with the ulimate bot disk. If you suspect an actual hardware problem, start with SpinRite.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 11:52 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by JadedTraveler View Post
Look up "ultimate boot disk", it might help.

There's also Spin Rite from grc.com. It's not free, but it is worth it.

If you suspect a virus, start with the ulimate bot disk. If you suspect an actual hardware problem, start with SpinRite.
Thanks for assist. I'm on my netbook with no CD, so my only option for downloading either program is on my home apple laptop or Mac desktop. Since I need the "fix disc" to be compatible with windows vista, do you think I could have an issue with downloading program from Apple & then trying to run on my gateway?
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Old Jul 6, 09, 11:56 am   #4
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Originally Posted by travelsavant View Post
Thanks for assist. I'm on my netbook with no CD, so my only option for downloading either program is on my home apple laptop or Mac desktop. Since I need the "fix disc" to be compatible with windows vista, do you think I could have an issue with downloading program from Apple & then trying to run on my gateway?
The Ultimate Boot CD is distributed as an ISO image file, which, when burned to a CD by almost any CD burning application, will provide a sector-by-sector copy of the original CD. Whether it's burned by a Mac or a PC really shouldn't matter.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 12:04 pm   #5
 
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The Ultimate Boot CD is distributed as an ISO image file, which, when burned to a CD by almost any CD burning application, will provide a sector-by-sector copy of the original CD. Whether it's burned by a Mac or a PC really shouldn't matter.
OK, thanks. I'll try UltBot first & then Spinrite, if needed.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 1:53 pm   #6
 
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You might also try a couple of simpler things... 1) reset the BIOS to factory defaults and 2) make sure the drive is seated. Laptop drives are usually accessible, some with screws, some without. It could just be a loose connection.

Lastly, go into the BIOS and see if the drive is detected. If it's not detected, the programs mentioned aren't going to do much. If it is detected, then you may be able to recover everything.

Do you have your original Windows disks? Is there a "recover" option in BIOS? these may also work if you can see the drive.

If this doesn't work, or if you can't see the drive, you *may* be able recover the drive by purchasing an external adapter (or case) - and then remove the drive and connect it via the adapter to a working system (Mac is OK). From there, see what is on the drive, whether there are any errors (SMART, etc.) You may even be able to fully recover the drive this way.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 4:51 pm   #7
 
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Unhappy Update

Appreciate the help & I tried all offered advice. unfortunately my HDD is dead...would not recognize any external devices, nor Bios function, just the same error message endlessly repeated. after hours of fooling with it, I surrendered & dropped the HDD off for file recovery.

Oh did I say what caused all this...my ex-house cleaner dropped my laptop!
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Old Jul 6, 09, 5:14 pm   #8
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Originally Posted by travelsavant View Post
Appreciate the help & I tried all offered advice. unfortunately my HDD is dead...would not recognize any external devices, nor Bios function, just the same error message endlessly repeated. after hours of fooling with it, I surrendered & dropped the HDD off for file recovery.

Oh did I say what caused all this...my ex-house cleaner dropped my laptop!
Which is the very reason I went with a Solid State Drive as opposed to a hard drive. I hope you get your data back.
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Old Jul 6, 09, 5:15 pm   #9
 
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...I surrendered & dropped the HDD off for file recovery.

Oh did I say what caused all this...my ex-house cleaner dropped my laptop!
Oops, I hope ex-house cleaner is legal or you are not running for office... just kidding.

I used a utility called Findpart and was able to recover a drive:

http://www.partitionsupport.com/utilities.htm
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Old Jul 6, 09, 9:38 pm   #10
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The odds are very high that the drive is not usable. The odds are good it's dead and you won't get anything off it.

If you weren't doing backups and you truly need the data there are services that have a decent chance of getting your data back. They are normally quite pricey, though--success probably means a 4-figure bill.

Those of us used to working on our equipment would have no problem putting in a new drive. Reinstalling could be problematic if you don't have restore disks for your machine, or if you have one of these setups that uses a hidden partition to hold the restore data.

If you're reasonably handy with tools you can Google your machine and find out how to swap the drive on it. (Unfortunately, they can be hidden, having directions helps. If you do it without directions, do *NOT* mess with any fans--there is thermal grease under them that's one-shot.)

If it's localized damage the boot CD will at least let you get your data off. If the drive failed (and they have a habit of totally failing without any warning) the boot CD won't do squat. See if the BIOS admits the drive is there.
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Old Jul 7, 09, 10:46 am   #11
 
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Unfortunately, no BIOS at all, let alone recognition of the CD...so it's HDD=RIP, as soon as forensic team can get me my unsaved files back (yes, I do backups...just not in last few months---a lesson learned & all that.)

My next decision is to fix or buy: when dropped, upper left corner has slight dent + hairline crack which will most likely expand, meaning at some point lid won't close & maybe other stuff. Repair will probably run around $200, + price of new HDD ($90?). I like the Gateway but not a big fan of Vista, so I'm thinking, maybe just get a new laptop with SSD & Windows XP instead & begin again.
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