Crap, I spelled "advice" wrong. Won't be my first, nor last, error today.

First, apologies for breaking the rules right off the bat. I don't have my notes or the dead Shiba at this house - I'm moving. I searched through the threads, and found some promising leads for download tools, but haven't made much progress. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to revive the laptop's hard drive.

I have my nephew's Toshiba laptop (about a year old) that crashed while he was downloading music files. Yes, I know he shouldn't have been.. but he did. His mom tried to rescue it using the system rebuild disks that came with it and failed, so she tried formatting the hard drive and the format failed. So I tried it, and it consistently failed about 80% of the way through the format. I'm thinking dead hard drive, here.

I tried the UBCD and have been working my way through learning the tools. Ran chkdsk, which found unrecoverable errors. I tried "fixmbr" and "fixboot" and then tried format and install using my own copy of XP Professional, thinking if I could get it up and running I'd just use the Toshiba system disks to restore. I was able to create a smaller partition and do a quick format and get through install to the first reboot, but then couldn't boot. The partition passed chkdsk.

I am ruminating on the possibilities. It could be the hard drive is really toast, and I should just replace it, but I'm trying to save them the money if I can. Plus it's kind of personal challenge for me. Maybe he got some kind of terribly cruel virus that corrupted something I'm not fixing, like the BIOS? It's been a long time since I installed and formatted a new disk and I've become stupid about it. Toshiba, of course, has nothing of any help on their site. I did download a boot CD image from Hitachi (it seems to be a Hitachi drive).

Rather a long way to go about asking for a recommendation of steps to follow and what order ... Sorry I don't have the machine to provide specs, but since the problems go so deep it's probably something simple and fundamental. It just seems too much of a coincidence for it to freak out and die in mid-use on a bad site... surely it is something I can fix.

Thanks in advance for any lights thee might shed upon this frustrating little problem ... would like to get it fixed and out of here so I can get back to packing, moving, fixing home for sale, setting up bookbinding studio, updating personal website, etc.


8 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by Kentuckienne

It does indeed sound like the hard drive has had it. Replacing it may be the only option.

You could try downloading memtest via google. Run it for atleast 7 passes, any errors at all and the memory needs to be replaced.


Fixed it! It was indeed the drive. I tested the memory, I tested the drive (it kept failing) and even tried to make a smaller partition so as to exclude the bad sectors. Finally I went online and priced a replacement drive. $37 for a Western Digital 160 GB drive, same as what's in there .. if I'd checked earlier, I think I would have given up earlier! But it was instructive to try to decipher the problem, and a good refresher course on DOS commands. Anyway, slapped the drive in, booted with the Toshiba boot disks, and off we went. After downloading many many software updates we are better than new. I guess the lesson here is that the dicey website use was a red herring. The laptop failed for other reasons - he uses it in bed, probably tossed it around, left it on the soft covers, who knows. Thanks to all who helped me out on this!

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