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I have a bad HD (numerous bad sectors)

I'm attempting to get some of the data off, however Windows keeps trying to reread the bad sectors - resulting in a really really long wait time

can I configure Windows to only attempt a retry once, then to assume the data is bad (and maybe return 0's)

my goal is to clone the disk to a mechanically sound drive, where I can run chkdsk

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closed as off topic by MDMarra, RobM, Shane Madden, EEAA, John Gardeniers Oct 29 '12 at 10:50

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Hi all, I'm hoping for clarity in configuring the retry limits found in how Windows defaults when reading bad sectors. I believe you're saying Clonezilla, using Linux, can be more tightly configured. Can Windows be configured not to retry on bad sectors? I have the source code for my cloning tool, is there an IOCTL that could be sent to do this? –  stuck Oct 28 '12 at 15:24
    
Regardless of what side of the "Windows vs. *nix" debate people sit on, I've not seen anyone ever claim that Windows is a good data recovery platform... because it isn't. –  RobM Oct 28 '12 at 16:31
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2 Answers

Doing this in Windows is plain stupid.
Every attempt by Windows to retreive something makes matters worse.
Besides Windows keeps writing things (swap, logs, temp-files, etc.) to the disk continuously thereby increasing the chance things go from bad to worse.

The main thing is to NOT write to the original disk anymore and keep the amount of reads as low as possible.

Hook up the new disk to the system (either internally or by an external HDD enclosure). Boot from a live-CD or USB stick with recovery tools (e.g. CloneZilla, PartedMagic, Hirens) and make the clone first. (You can tell these tools to skip after a minimum of retries.)
And make a RAW copy (sector by sector) ! A filesystem based copy is no good as the filesystem is not to be trusted.
If the data is important make a clone of the clone to a 3rd disk as well. This gives you a fallback should you make a mistake trying to do a repair on the 1st clone. (No telling if you would be able to start again from the original bad disk. It might be totally dead by that time.)

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You can connect this HDD to some other computer as a secondary, or you may buy external case (they are cheap these days) to connect it to a functioning computer and run chkdsk there. Or you may use a live Linux CD (such as Ubuntu) to retrieve data from bad HDD.

Clonezilla can be used to clone partition to a partition or a hard disk to a hard disk according to your needs.

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