A customer of mine contacted me saying her husbands PC had crashed the night before and now won’t boot up and is coming up with pages and pages of “bad block” errors while trying to load up Windows 7.
The PC is a HP Pavilion i7 2600 series from around 6 years ago so I immediately had suspicions of extensive hard disk wear as I’ve been seeing a lot of PC’s and laptops lately around the 5 to 7 year old bracket have issues for the same reason. Basically, if a computer system has a single hard disk and is “thrashed” for years on end through regular large downloads from the internet or sustained pagefile usage (as a result of not enough RAM) it eventually starts to give way and critical errors will begin to occur in the read/write heads.
In a nut shell, this hard disk was dying… fast. I was able to get around the boot up issue and look at her data by using a unix boot disk and at least confirm that it was still there and then and begin the recovery process. The hard disk was in such bad shape that I found if I started to copy the data off to another external USB drive the original hard disk would heat up after about 15 minutes and then essentially turn itself off and become invisible to the system halting all data recovery.
I ended up having to create a script to copy data for 10 minutes, wait for 10 minutes to give the drive a chance to cool down and then run the data recovery for another 10 minutes. I left my custom script running for about 9 hours and after about 300 odd attempts at copying the data in the end I got back for her at least 95% of the data on the drive. She was absolutely stoked and ended up buying one of our new Powerhouse PC’s with an i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 240GB SSD + 1TB SSHD Hybrid hard disk. All up, her husband is back in business on a blisteringly fast new system and all of his important data back.