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How to rescue a PC with a faulty hard drive

Dealing with a PC that just won't boot

When a recently bereaved reader found she couldn't boot her late husband's PC, our Helproom Expert diagnosed a faulty hard drive. Here's how to fix a PC with a faulty hard drive.

QUESTION My husband recently passed away and I'm keen to retrieve what I can from his PC, but it refuses to start up. I get the message: 'Auto Detecting SATA Port2. Atapi Cdrom Data port1: st3750528AS CC44 Ultra DMA Mode-6 S.M.A.R.T. capable and status BAD Data POrT2: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH41N MN01 Ultra DMA Mode-5 Hard master hard disk: S.M.A.R.T. Status BAD, Backup, and replace. Press F1 To resume'. Pressing F1 takes me to a black screen. Please help. Amy28john32

HELPROOM ANSWER We're sorry to learn of your bereavement. We'll do our best to help you get the computer working again. The message you're seeing suggests there is a problem with the hard drive. Do not attempt to boot this PC again.

Attempting to reinstall Windows on a hard drive failing in this way can cause permanent data loss, so this is also a no-no.

To prevent any further damage to your precious files, data recovery will need to be performed – and, in this case, when it's so important that you get back those files, it would be best done by an experienced professional. Be sure to make it very clear that you require data recovery and not a simple repair with a new hard drive.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice.

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