Clone a damaged disk first

Clone a damaged disk first
Rick Cook

One of the problems with a damaged hard drive is that it is usually unstable. Trying to fix the damaged disk can do even more damage. This is especially true when using programs that automatically repair FAT tables, rebuild partitions or fix the Master Boot Record (MBR) automatically. One cheap piece of insurance is to copy the damaged disk to another disk and work on the copy. Unlike a conventional disk copy operation this kind of cloning involves copying the drive image sector-by-sector using special software that bypasses the operating system's copy utilities with their parity checks and such. The goal is to take everything on drive A and put it on drive B whether it makes sense or not. There are a number of third-party utilities which clone even damaged disks, such as

Requires Free Membership to View

Byte Back from Tech Assist Inc.

Once the disk has been cloned, you can use your repair software's automatic rebuild facilities or examine potential trouble spots, such as the (MBR), and attempt to repair damaged sectors yourself with a media editor. If you can't recover the information, at least you're not making the problem worse.

About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in January 2001

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.