Need Help After Hard Drive Failure

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  1. Posts : 7

    Need Help After Hard Drive Failure

    Yes, I should have known better. I had a rescue disc only for W-7.

    When I got my Dell Precision T3500 it came with Windows 7 installed.
    I received the free Windows 10 upgrade a few years ago. Last week the system HDD would not start, a gentle tap on the desk got it spinning again, and it booted up.

    I tried to clone the drive to a SSD and used a SATA to USB HDD adapter, the SSD got destroyed. The system said I needed to do a repair, (at the cmd line) but would run only after a reboot.
    I thought at this point I was really in trouble. And I was. The drive will run only to access the files, but I cannot boot from it. (connected to another box to test) Went to a computer shop, he also could not clone the drive.

    Bought what seemed to be a Genuine W-10 (USB Stick) from e-bay, but even though the instructions said the device was bootable, It would not. (tried everything I could with BIOS) Plugged the stick into a laptop, and Explorer did not find any data on it.

    I installed a new HDD and reloaded Windows 7 from the CD that came with the computer.
    Since the upgrade was a digital download, I had no activation codes for W-10.
    Went to Microsoft website on the chance I could upgrade again. Started the upgrade, why not? What could go wrong?
    After running all night, I still have W-7, the display is messed up and the drivers won't drivers won't load.

    SO here I am looking for help. Have I overlooked anything? Seems my options are to purchase another W-10

    Thanks in advance.......
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 34,213
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    Hi, as you have already installed an activated Win 10 on that PC, you can clean install Win 10 on it directly. Activation should be automatic. Forget Win 7.

    You can create a bootable USB drive for Win 10 (or DVD at a push) for free using the MS media creation tool (on another PC).

    Tutorials available. Search the searchable Tutorial section for Clean install - actually I believe that's one listed right at the top when you click Tutorials.

    Consider whether your PC also supports UEFI - if so, change (in the 'BIOS') to that first.

    Once you have Win 10 installed (as per tutorial that's installed to unallocated space on the disk), then to protect yourself - as is endlessly recommended by members here- from catastrophe, start a new regular routine of disk imaging e.g. Macrium Reflect - free/paid - + large enough external storage for disk image files.

    had no activation codes for W-10.
    - your digital entitlement is held against a hash of a form of your hardware id on MS's servers. If necessary run the activation troubleshooter or contact your regional activation centre.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 7
    Thread Starter

    Well, that got me nowhere. I used the MS media creation tool with a brand new USB stick to create a bootable device.
    After the software completed, I still had no system on my drive 0.
    In desperation, I tried to reload Windows onto the original failing HDD. Ran nice all the way to the end. Then I got this error:Need Help After Hard Drive Failure-img_20211203_232347822.jpg
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  4. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 34,213
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    And thank you for your reply, by the way.

    Check your disk.
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  5. Posts : 68
    Windows 10

    1. Rescue discs are terrible ( my opinion )
    2. Having to tap computer for the drive to work means the HDD is dying or maybe their is a loose cable.
    3. You need to get your important files off the Windows 7 drive.
    4 To clone a drive you should try Macrium and EaseUS that is what I use
    and make sure the drive is plugged into the machine and not an external bus
    like USB. If it is a Sata drive then it needs to be in a SATA port. If it is IDE drive
    then it needs to be in the IDE port. You can not get good results via USB
    ( at least in my experience )
    5. Media creation tool would be the item you would want to run otherwise
    it would be Win10 PE ( which is a free all in one windows 10 tool set and far more easier to find ). Write this to USB via "ISOtoUSB" or "Rufus".

    6. I dis-advise reinstalling or installing windows to a HDD that is failing. You
    could manually move all the files and folders to the SSD drive ( via Win10PE running ). You could clone the drive via tools in Win10PE ( or something like
    macrium which I advise against using USB and the actual SATA and or IDE ports ). The bottom line that drive has bad sectors ( unreadable and or writable sectors ) and until those sectors are marked as zero via a disk check ( which you should be able to do via Win10PE ) no operating system can be installed to that HDD.

    7. Never buy anything you can get for free. Again the WIN10PE .ISO you could
    write to disc or make into USB bootable via Rufus will enable you to access your drive in privacy and do whatever it might be

    A. Move your files.
    B. Move the entire Operating system files and everything ( that unreadable sectors might slow you down )
    C. Make a copy of the drive ( using the official SATA and or IDE ports and USB because I have had bad experiences with USB )
    D. Do a repair...however you manage that which whatever tool you choose
    E. Do a scan and mark bad sectors as Zero so your install will not see those sectors.
    F. Another thing I am forgetting is that windows have backup copies of all necessary files to load the operating system in a folder somewhere. You could copy those files to their respectable and damaged counter parts and see if it books. That is what your rescue disc would have done if any action was to be taken. Again I forget where those are located.

    G. You do not need activation codes to run windows 10. I have not activated my windows at all and it runs great.

    You do not need to purchase a windows 10 install as their are many free downloads. My understanding micro-soft even have it and 11 for download.
    You should be more concern with the SSD install because so far you told us the original HDD has physical damages.

    If I was you I would get WIN10PE. Use Rufus to write .ISO to USB. Load WIN10PE. Do a scan on your Windows 7 HDD to see if any tool will find an error ( bad sectors, unreadable/unwritable sectors ). Then use a tool to copy the HDD install to the SSD to see if it will migrate the entire operating systems.
    Then try loading the now SSD with the Windows 7 install.

    If it fails to load I would do some research on the "Media Creation Tool" options ( which are located via pre-start commands in WIN10PE ) somewhere
    and attempt to repair the SSD install of your windows 7 if possible.


    I would install Windows 10 ( again this is free and you should be able to find it online via microsoft or wherever ), and make a disc or use "Rufus" / "ISOtoUSB" to make a bootable USB. Run the install to the SSD and see if it works.

    About activation. You might have to pay for that from microsoft for Windows 10 but...


    But you do not need to activate Windows 10 to run it at full power. It is free but you have customize windows via other methods, programs, and applications. All activation does is limit customization options to be honest.

    Windows 7 activation is needed but I do not know if Microsoft still does it via phone anymore. You might need other options if the activation is no longer functioning.

    So I hope this solves your problem or leads you down a path that would nix the problem.
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  6. steve108's Avatar
    Posts : 18,743
    19041.1466 - 2004/20H1 Pro x64

    Steve MN said:
    Well, that got me nowhere. I used the MS media creation tool with a brand new USB stick to create a bootable device.
    After the software completed, I still had no system on my drive 0.
    In desperation, I tried to reload Windows onto the original failing HDD. Ran nice all the way to the end. Then I got this error:Need Help After Hard Drive Failure-img_20211203_232347822.jpg
    Hello Steve,

    Have you tried installing Windows 10 using the USB you made with MCT to your SSD? It's unclear what you tried to install to from the quoted post above.

    Clean Install Windows 10

    I'm not sure what you mean by "it got destroyed". I would try installing to the SSD again with the HDD not connected to your PC and tell us what happens.

    If you are installing the the same PC you had Windows 10 on before, do not enter any key when it asks for one. It should activate automatically after you the install finishes and you connect to the internet.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 7
    Thread Starter

    I'll reply to Daymin first,
    From your post:
    #2 Yes, I know tapping the HDD means it going bad, but it was C: and would not boot, and I was trying to boot from it. I removed it from its mount and from listening to it, could tell it was in trouble. Tapping got it spinning and it did boot. (For the last time)
    #3 I keep most of my data files on another HDD. After the failing drive was spinning, I did not want to shut it down.
    I downloaded Macrium and tried to clone to a new SSD which was connected to a USB to SATA adapter. This failed. I came up with an error telling me (to run a repair via the cmd line. (think it was chkdsk or something similar) I was told to reboot before the repair would run)
    The failing drive never would boot again.
    The W-7 installation was tried on a brand new HDD as a replacement for the failing one. I tried to reinstall W10 from the Msoft website without success.
    The SSD is dead......I have been using another computer for testing drives. The failing drive still comes ready and I have copied programs and files from it.
    #4 I purchased a W10 on a USB from ebay, there were no files on it, sent back and got a refund. I also did try a USB download of W10 from Msoft website several times. Booted up, clicked through all the buttons, looked promising said it was writing files, but failed to install on a brand new 1TB HDD. I agree, USB doesn't seem to work for me either. What is "EaseUS" ?
    #5 Something else to look into. W10 PE & Rufus ?
    #6 No, not installing anything to the failing drive.

    Reply to Steve 108,
    Yes, tried several times to install W10 from the USB I made from Msoft site. But always to the new 1TB HDD.
    The SSD is dead, plug into another computer and cannot find any trace of it with explorer. When ever I tried to install to it, it was always connected to the SATA0 cable.

    I never get asked for any activation code. But the computer is always connected to my network/internet. Should I unplug the cable during the install?

    Thanks for all the help folks,
    I did better with DOS................

      My Computer

  8. steve108's Avatar
    Posts : 18,743
    19041.1466 - 2004/20H1 Pro x64

    Unplug what cable? Is the SSD no returnable or under warranty? Any idea why/how it got fried? You are attaching both power and SATA cables, right?
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 7
    Thread Starter

    When I said "unplug what cable" I was referring to the network.
    As to the SSD getting fried, I assume when I had it connected via the USB adapter when I tried to clone to it.
    Can't return it, I damaged the SATA connector. My bad.
    And yes, both cables are connected........

    And to clarify, I did try to reinstall W10 to the failing HDD once in desperation hoping to quickly clone it to the new 1TD HDD.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 68
    Windows 10

    #5 Something else to look into. W10 PE & Rufus ?

    W10PE is in response to the limited availability of the Windows Media creation tool

    It features multiple tools ( mostly free variants ) of many tools and should get most problems out of the way.

    If the failing drive is no longer needed then just start a new installation of Windows 10 or whatever you want to install.
      My Computer


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