Picked this one up yesterday afternoon, nice Sony Vaio laptop, which had been dropped off a chair while booted up. As would be expected, the hard disk was damaged, and the system partially booted into windows, then reset itself. Ran Ubuntu 9.04 from a live CD, and the rest of the machine seemed OK, and I could see the contents of the hard drive OK, so I thought it was worth a try to recover the data at least.
So, first job, back up the data. Created a new partition on my external hard drive and started copying the files over. After an hour, the copy time had risen to over 50 hours, and it was finding one uncopyable file about every 30 megabytes copied. This meant there were probably over 3000 corrupted files, and at 10 seconds a corrupted file, copy was set to take a hell of a long time.
I decided to run a CHKDSK on it, so I booted from the Windows XP Professional disk and went into the recovery console, but the administrator had a password on it. Booted into an Ubuntu 9.10 image I have on a USB stick, which has software for removing administrator passwords. Back in XP Pro, and ran chkdsk /R, which got as far as 53% then failed with unrecoverable errors. However, I could now boot into Windows on the machine! I started the machine in safe mode, and kicked off a full CHKDSK. This started on a reboot at 6:00 pm last night, and was checking free space as I left this morning at 8:50. Which means it has repaired all bad sectors so far. When I get home this evening I will do a full back up, and run an optimiser to clean up any obvious errors.
The laptop may be quite usable but my recommendation will be to replace the hard drive and install a whole new windows and restore the saved data to it, bit that will be the client’s choice.
Update – eventually after out 4 passes through checkdisk, bad sectors were still being found, sothe disk is probably useless. At one point, the system.log file was corrupted, making it impossible to run windows. The client has decided to replace the disk.