Hard disk problem / booting problem

carapanceta - May 8, 2012 at 09:14 AM
 carapanceta - May 9, 2012 at 08:48 AM

let's see if I can explain the hole thing clearly. (Sorry for my English)

Some weeks ago the laptop (Acer Apire 6530G, AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80, 4GB DDR2, 320GB HDD, Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bits) began to have a strange behaviour. The hard disk apparently wasn't answering fine when accessing a/some part(s). The system became so desperately slow that I had to shoot it down by pushing the start button (believe me, I waited once during two hours for the correct system shoot down).

During a trip across Peru, before being 10 hours in a bouncing bus, Windows didn't start. I thought that the laptop was "broken". Back home, I spent two days rebooting. In Secure mode, the first time it toke a lot of time but it finally ran well. All the data in hard disk was accessible. Good news, NO DATA LOSS. I ran the laptop using Ubuntu (not installing it) to have fully functionality. Everything went well. I saw in hard disk SMART report that there were some bad sectors issues. Everything didn't go well.

After haven't done anything to restore Windows, nothing!, it began to run well again. Some days later the strange behaviour went back. Firefox, Emule and Kaspersky Pure, the programs which more time were running, caused the problems. I knew that because sometimes, closing them, the system gone back to normal. I reinstalled Firefox and Emule. Kaspersky began to malfunctioning and I decided to reinstall it too. The process failed at the end (appeared the strange behaviour) but, after rebooting, the program functionality was fine.

But the hard disk malfunction hadn't been solved. I could use the DVDs I prepared when I purchased the laptop to restore the system, but I don't want to loss installed programs, configurations, time, ... so I decided to make an image of the partition containing Windows and a copy of the other partition (in an external HDD). I install Ubuntu in the external HDD and look for a program to prepare the image. I read about Acronis. During installation the program informs about a KASPERSKY PURE NON COMPLETED INSTALLATION and ask to delete it to continue. I say YES. The installation ends and, after rebooting, Kaspersky's malfunctioning goes back. I reinstall Kaspersky and, after rebooting, Windows doesn't start. It doesn't return any error message, it simply has the strange behaviour from the beginning and spend a lot of time (who could know how much) at the first steps of Windows' launch. It's trying to get access to HDD's bad sectors that I don't understand why haven't been discarded.

So the laptop is at the same point as after the trip in the bouncing bus.

I get Clonezilla and make an image of the Windows partition. I make a copy of all the files in the other partition. From Ubuntu, I erase both partitions and create two new ones. As there were bad sectors, the new partitions are a little bit shorter than previous ones. When I try to restore the image with Clonezilla it tells that the image can't be placed in a partition of smaller size than original. So I delete the partitions again and create one a little bit bigger than original for Windows and another one in the rest of free space. Then I place the image with Clonezilla without problems and copy the files in the other partition.

After rebooting, the laptop doesn't do anything if the external HDD (with Ubuntu) is disconnected. If it is connected, Ubuntu loads fine but if I select to load Windows from the OS list available in the boot manager appears the infamous message "A disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart" ...

Have I affected the MBR in any way during any of the steps I've described? During the Ubuntu installation I said to put the boot manager in the external HDD. Should I try to restore the MBR in any way? Any idea of what to do before trying to restore Windows with DVDs I've previously mentioned (that's my last option)?

Thank you for your patience.

1 reply

Well, me replying myself.

I had the solution in front of my eyes and I didn't see it.

Restore the system to its original settings, getting a clean Windows running properly and restoring the MBR.

Restore with Clonezilla the image from the Windows partition getting back Windows running properly without having to install all the programs.

Now only wait and see whether the hard disk continue lossing sectors, which means that I need to buy a new one or that all goes fine.