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I have Windows 98 SE operating system, and a Hard-disk (20GB) with two equail partitions...

There is a short description of my problem on bottom of this post (read it first or start reading how it happened (right below)...)...

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Today I used my computer as usual, I wanted to restart it before using some other program. I choosed "Restart in DOS" and then to type "exit" (it's faster then a whole restart procedure). It worked before (althouh I know that it makes problems with "restart in DOS" function ever since i bought new graphics card, but it was not a big problem - usually it stops responding, and then when you restart it and do a ScanDisk it's OK), but now it was different.

It loaded windows and showed desktop, when all of the sudden computer stopped responding without any error messages (not even cursor moved). I tried CTRL+ALT+DELETE but it didn't work, so I restarted it via RESTART button on computer.

After restart ScanDisk program checked C: partition and find no problems. Windows 98 started loading (it asked me for a Safe Mod, but I entered Normal because it automaticaly loads Safe Mode if REALLY necessary, and procedes in Normal mode if not so necessary), but didn't complete loading windows (it came to the point when it was about to load desktop (just a blank screen with standing-still cursor ('wait' cursor symbol)), and then it completely stopped responding again).

After restart I Skipped ScanDisk, and succesfully started Windows in a Safe Mode, saw that it works and then immediately choosed "Restart" in a "shut-down" window.

It restarted Windows automatically in Normal mode, again stopped at desktop. I decided that maybe it's a good idea to shut down computer via POWER button instead of RESTART button (so all things in computer would completely restart).
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(I still wasn't aware of the seriousness of the problem - I just thought that (at most) it was a problem with restoration of registry like times before when computer needed to be restarted via RESTART button and was reporting errors in DOS ScanDisk till restored a good registry) I just wanted to get over it as soon as possible and continue my work on computer (like before...).

After that i turned-on my computer.

Tried command line mode (DOS) this time - checked everything - it's there: WINDOWS directory, DESKTOP directory - all's good. I Restarted it again.

I Skipped DOS scandisk, and succeded in loading Windows in Safe Mode; I runned ScanDisk program. It reported that it had found a Directory (known to me) which had more than 259 characters in complete lenght of name. It asked me to move it (thus repairing the problem) - (now mind you: the problem with Windows-not-responding is not solved yet) - I decided to turn of ScanDisk, and move-and-rename the directory in question manually instead, so it won't stand in a way to ScanDisk with finding the real problem. Runned a ScanDisk and after a while it stopped responding completely, so I restarted computer.

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AND NOW COMES A REALLY REAL PROBLEM.
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Problem with hard-disk! It showed that "Windows98" screen, and then hard-disk started cyclyng the same sound (like finding some small data and then doing a few same quick things for second and a half, and then all that again, and again, and again...). I decided to POWER-OFF computer via button. I waited longer this time and then turned it on again. The same thing.

Then I tried entering command line mode - I CAN'T DO IT! I CAN'T EVEN DO THAT!!! I can't even enter the DOS mode! Just that cycling sound.

I shut it down.

Quickly I used my other hard-disk (the small-one with the same WIN98SE system). With that system running I entered the non-working hard-disk (connected too). The renamed directory was there. Never mind, I entered WINDOWS directory. Hard-disk did the same cycling sound, but not infinitely, cause after a while it entered WINDOWS directory, BUT: Desktop directory wasn't there. That same cycling sound of hard-disk was there, but it couldn't find DESKTOP directory, and reported an error message (describing that). I still could use computer (it didn't stopped responding, but I couldn't do anything to repair the hard-disk)...

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PROBLEM:
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Obviously I made a mistake by changing that part of directory structure with windows-stuck-problem still on... I tried some hard-disk utilities, but they all want to make other changes instead of finding a real problem, or make statements like "Are you sure that you really want to do that?" so I didn't use them...

What is the problem? How to restore DESKTOP folder (everything is right there - data RALLY IMPORTANT TO ME THAT MUST NOT (AND I REPEAT: MUST NOT BE LOST!!!).

What to do?!?!

PLEASE HELP!

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Last Post by antioed
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Here's the absolute surest way possible to ensure your data isn't lost:

- Pull the hard drive out of your system
- Buy another hard drive and put it IN your system
- Load Windows onto the new drive and get it running
- Change the jumper on your old drive to 'Slave' and pop it in as a second drive
- Copy your valuable data files across to the new drive
- If the system fails to read your files off the old hard drive, take the drive to a very expensive data recovery service.
- Find the nearest brick wall and bang your head against it (until blood flows) for being silly enough to have vital data on your hard drive without a backup copy of it. Blank CDs cost less than a single cigarette, and CD burners cost about as much as a case of beer!

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Please note this is not the right forum for your problem.

I would say that the "desktop" directory that you are trying to locate resided on a portion of the disk that is now corrupt, I doubt you'll get that data back. This might sound crazy but try sticking the drive in the freezer for a couple hours and then try booting from your other drive with the broken one secondary like you did before and see if you get lucky...the window of opportunity for the old "stick the drive in the freezer" trick is limited but you might get lucky. Good luck!

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Here's the absolute surest way possible to ensure your data isn't lost:

- Pull the hard drive out of your system
- Buy another hard drive and put it IN your system
- Load Windows onto the new drive and get it running
- Change the jumper on your old drive to 'Slave' and pop it in as a second drive
- Copy your valuable data files across to the new drive
- If the system fails to read your files off the old hard drive, take the drive to a very expensive data recovery service.
- Find the nearest brick wall and bang your head against it (until blood flows) for being silly enough to have vital data on your hard drive without a backup copy of it. Blank CDs cost less than a single cigarette, and CD burners cost about as much as a case of beer!

You may not need to use a data recovery service, I used this free utility to restore literally thousands of files:
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html

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- Find the nearest brick wall and bang your head against it (until blood flows) for being silly enough to have vital data on your hard drive without a backup copy of it. Blank CDs cost less than a single cigarette, and CD burners cost about as much as a case of beer!

I have a CD burner, I have a whole pack of CDs, I do the backup all the time, but to do backup I wait until I have about 700 MB of data (which is done in about two months at most - and I have different cathegories filling up simultaneously so BACKING-UP is even more often) - I wait to store it immediately on CDs, because there is a lot of work that in some time in the future I found to be not complete, so I work on it some more, and then it's ready to be stored...

It's just not practical to do back-up "every day". If I would to store every single thing on CDs then I would have a bunch of useless versions - only the final version is needed...

OK, I could have made a temporary back-up on some other hard-disk, but... I KNEW that my hard-disk is reliable... Who would have thought that data could be lost(pobably not exactly 'lost') in this manner... Usualy it's just files being invisible (I have had expirinces with previous hard-drives...), and then you recover them and reckognize... I mean: whole directory... just isn't there... no trace... It is a problem of missplaced information about directory structure. I know that it must be possible to find those informations, I just don't know which is the best way to do that... and how to do it in the safest manner.

"If sky didn't fall on our heads today, then it won't do so tomorrow..."
vs.
"Better safe then sorry."

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If you are working on vital data, then regular backup is a must. At least weekly - not every two months.

Waiting until there is enough data to completely fill a blank CD (which has negligible cost) is false economy. Hell, when I have something that it's vital to have backed up I don't care if it's only a few kilobytes going on that CD!

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Please note this is not the right forum for your problem.

Isn't it? As far as I know operating systems (Windows 98 SE in this case) are in charge of maintaining databases about where-is-what on hard-drives. But never mind that; I will remind you that poblem occured in the first place when I tried to restart Windows - IT didn't do the job properly. I doubt that there is an actual physical damage on hard-disk...

I would say that the "desktop" directory that you are trying to locate resided on a portion of the disk that is now corrupt, I doubt you'll get that data back. This might sound crazy but try sticking the drive in the freezer for a couple hours and then try booting from your other drive with the broken one secondary like you did before and see if you get lucky...the window of opportunity for the old "stick the drive in the freezer" trick is limited but you might get lucky. Good luck!

I think that I didn't hear about this trick before, but this is for the actual damage on hard-disk isn't it... the warmer the magnet - the weaker magnetisation is (vice versa)?

I had registry-recovery-porblem once before, I think this is the same problem now (but this time more serious)... Before - DOS ScanDisk did the trick - it recovered the good registry, now it doesn't come to the point when ScanDisk would load.

What I'm aming at is that those who know "Windows 98" should know how to recover registry on that opearting system too... or maybe point to some other problem regarding my description of how problem occured...

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You may not need to use a data recovery service, I used this free utility to restore literally thousands of files:
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html

Thanks for the information. I also have Symantec's CD with utilities (it's the same thing isnt it?). I already tried a check-up with DiskDoctor - it asked me to move WINDOWS diectory to an error free zone, which I didn't accept beceause I didn't want to alter directory structure further more; and then it showed some creepy warning message - that's when I canceled a whole thing.


Also one note: i mentioned that ScanDisk (for Windows operating system) found that too-long directory name (over 259 characters) known to me, BEFORE THAT it said that it had find a problem, but that it would attend to it latter (after check-up). Did that give up some clue of what to do. (maybe someone already had that scenario, so he/she could tell me what is actually that which ScanDisk was about to attend to latter?)

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If you are working on vital data, then regular backup is a must. At least weekly - not every two months.

Waiting until there is enough data to completely fill a blank CD (which has negligible cost) is false economy. Hell, when I have something that it's vital to have backed up I don't care if it's only a few kilobytes going on that CD!

Like I said - I am convinced that my hard-disk is reliable, it is something else that caused data (exclusevly in DESKTOP directory) to be invisible. That directory which had a too-long name (which I changed) is there on hard drive on root directory, and it's all right (it was in 'Desktop' directory(!), now it's on C:). Something is wrong with registry...

I can see the second partition; I can see root directory on the first partition, and even (with delay, and specific hard-disk sounds) I can see Windows directory, and directories inside it along with files, but - there is no Desktop. Directory I renamed and moved was in "C:\windows\desktop\things\" from there I put it onto root directory...

Now I know what to do - backing-up everything on anoter hard-disk; but first: how to get this data back?!?

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Your problem description is consistent with a failing hard drive, which is a hardware matter.

1) Problem started with computer not restarting properly, and having to go to the Safe mode, not being able to enter Normal mode (because it stucks on entering). Now(!) - I could see all directory stuctures then (in Safe mode).

2) The real problem of not seeing desktop directory occured when I moved and renamed some too-long-named directory to other location and restarted... That doesn't sound like hardware problem.

3) I can see that moved and renamed directory.

(Does Windows 98 create a back-up registry for directory structure?)

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Hello,

This topic is in the proper forum. Let's not worry about that.

You mentioned that your hard drive was partitioned into two. It is unfortunate that when files are on your desktop, they are part of your profile, and thus are stored on the C:\ the directory structure that appears to be damanged.

I would boot off of a different hard drive, and then put this one in as the slave, and copy the files over (if you can get to them). Then after you are sure that your data is safe, format that partition and see what happens.

You might also consider getting a CD-RW to write your files to nightly. If that bothers you, you might consider setting up a second computer as a file server, so that your materials can be backed up to it. Another good idea is to stop loading up your desktop folder with data files. That affects your login speed, and if you do get a corrupt system partition, they are at risk.

Christian

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I didn't read all of the above post ,but with regards to waiting to have enough dada to fill a cd isn't necessary ,I use Nero and when burning I use multisession and and create new session each time with the same cd, and leave the cd open until i fill it then on the last burn set it to close the CD.

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Of course...

But.

Can someone tell me what is the procedure that happens inside of computer when system is not sure where is what on hard-drive? (what is that cycling sound in hard-drive I described?)

Does someone knows how to actually fix this problem?

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Win98 does back up your registry, each day ithe computer is turned off and turned back on the next day ,it saves five different ones,dropping the oldest off the end on the 6 day ,to axcess this boot with win98 boot disk and type in SCANREG /RESTORE this will display a listof backups, pick the odlest date, there should be a date from before the problem started .
If no backup is avaiable try , SCANREG /FIX

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Thanks for the information. I also have Symantec's CD with utilities (it's the same thing isnt it?). [/b]

No, it's not the same thing, Symantec doesn't do what this Restoration utility does. Keep in mind that the more you use your computer, the more corrupted the lost data will become, hence less 'good' data that will be recoverable. Restoration will fit on a floppy disk and can be run from there as well.

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Of course...

But.

Can someone tell me what is the procedure that happens inside of computer when system is not sure where is what on hard-drive? (what is that cycling sound in hard-drive I described?)

Does someone knows how to actually fix this problem?

The hard drive has a platter which is basically a spinning disk like a cd that stores 1's and 0's on it...that is your binary data. A mechanism called the reader arm picks up the 1's and 0's from the platter. The 1's and 0's are arranged in such a way that by stringing them together you'll get what you recognize as your data; pictures, programs, MP3's are all just arranged 1's and 0's. A hard drive keeps track of where 1's and 0's are and most likely what you're seeing there is that when it attempts to read the platter where it thinks a particular group of 1's and 0's are it is not able to read it and gets into a situation similar to a skipping CD...only more expensive. This is why you should try to keep the fragmentation down on a disk...eventually it will lead to read errors when data gets dropped on a heavily fragmented portion of the drive. You could try the freezer trick I recommended...you could try a defrag (which might cause the drive to fail completely) or you can buy a new drive, run regular defrag, get a more stable file system like NTFS and back up your stuff in the future.

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