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Thread: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

  1. #1
    Very good friend of the forum Virchanza's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

    Default Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    A friend of mine gave me his laptop to look at, he said it wouldn't boot up for him. He said he'd dropped the laptop and it got a bang.

    So I turned on the laptop and the BIOS told me "OS not found". I went into the BIOS setup and saw that the BIOS didn't detect the presence of any hard disk.

    Anyway, I had a hunch that the hard disk might just be loose, so I unscrewed the back, pushed the hard disk in tight, and then booted it up.

    It booted fine! So once it had booted up (into Windows 7 unfortunately), I set it to run "chkdsk" on the two partitions on the hard disk. I left that running and went off to do something...

    ...I came back a few hours later and the laptop was dead. Turns out someone had unplugged the laptop, and it didn't help that the battery was low. Serves me right for not making a big sign saying:

    Don't unplug this, the laptop needs power or it will be broken forever.

    So after that mishap, I turned on the laptop again... but now it says "Disk Read Error" instead of "OS not found".

    I don't know if it's the BIOS or MSWindows that's telling me this.

    First thing's first, I wanted to confirm that the hard disk was fine physically. So I booted off a Ubuntu CD and ran the Disk Management utility. I hoped that this would let me run a SMART test on the hard disk, but it turns out that the hard disk doesn't support SMART.

    So now I want to do a bit-by-bit test of the hard disk. I want every bit to be read from, written to, read from again, and then have its original value restored... something along those lines.

    So... does anyone know a good boot disc or a good program that will test every last bit on the hard disk? (Yes, I've already done some Googling, but I'd like to hear from someone who's actually tried out one of these programs).

    Once I'm satisfied that the hard disk is physically sound, I'll proceed on to fixing the filesystems (or just wiping them, whatever).
    Ask questions on the open forums, that way everybody benefits from the solution, and everybody can be corrected when they make mistakes. Don't send me private messages asking questions that should be asked on the open forums, I won't respond. I decline all "Friend Requests".

  2. #2
    Member skor78's Avatar
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    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    This is in no way related to either backtrack or pentest.. and probably the thread will get closed very soon, however, i can give you a free tip on that, if google results aren't satisfying to you, format the partitions, and then run something like hiren's boot cd disk utilities.. if you want someones else experience on this, just take it to the nearest computer repair shop, or use another forum.
    محاولة أصعب!..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The Netherlands

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    Not related indeed but....Spinrite is very, very good. Made by GRC (Steve Gibson, a name you might have heard of), and it costs 99 dollars I think. It also does insane data recovery so it's a useful tool to have all around.
    Student Systems Administration and Network Engineering, second year.
    Don't PM me with questions, unless very specific. Otherwise, use the forums so everyone can potentially benefit from it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    you might also check out something like HDClone or SuperDuper if you're running OSX. You will need an external hard drive, but you can clone one disk to the other and see if the second disk boots. If it does obviously everything is fine because those applications make a bit by bit block by block sector by sector copy.

  5. #5
    Good friend of the forums
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    Hyrins boot cd has a coulpe of hard disk testing tools, i found the segate one was quite good

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    Hi, you can try this. You can make a bootable CD and run the program. It will detect errors and, if you want, fix them for you. It will also tell you if the HDD is to much damaged and you better buy a new one.

    HDD Regenerator:

    Let me know.
    Last edited by TheFlyingDutchMan; 12-06-2010 at 06:16 PM. Reason: link attached

  7. #7
    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    The Crystal Wind

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    *sigh* let's make this related to backtrack, Virchanza isn't an idiot, and there's that old adage about glass houses.

    Because we have the forensics mode in backtrack there are features available to do filesystem work, but unfortunately because we are dealing with cross platform, there are not many tools available for you. If you have an external harddrive you can do a simple "dd" to the external harddrive. I'm fairly certain Windows won't let you boot off of an external drive, but dd will at least hit every sector on the disk if you do it based on the drive rather than the file system. After you've done the dd, run an openssl sha1 and openssl md5 over the drives to be certain that the two are identical, and then clone them back. There's your read and write. The main problem is, yes we have tools, no they are not particularly helpful for cross platform work. You can also just mount the NTFS partition and see if it throws any errors - I imagine a bootsector/ disk not found related error will fail pretty early in the mounting process - it's not a perfect test, but a test none the less.

    Soooo a little off forum topic: I use BartPE like there is no tomorrow (I prefer to build my own rather than use something like UBCD). Fire up off the CD/ DVD and use the fact that you are booting Windows to check Windows. Compaq's hyrins is a good example, I just prefer to use the same system tools to do my repairs etc.
    Still not underestimating the power...

    There is no such thing as bad information - There is truth in the data, so you sift it all, even the crap stuff.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Laptop got a bang, want to do a bit-by-bit test of hard disk

    +1 what compaq suggested. Hirens BootCD is absolutely fantastic and its a brilliant thing to have

    I know i have used Knoppix in the past to remount a drive and that helped a bit... But Hirens BootCD is my suggestion too.

    Good luck and please let us know what you did to come right.

    Hope this helps

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