Easy way to repair Windows hard drive from Zorin?

Greetings and Long Time No See,

Okay. I have a friend with a dying Windows Laptop. Trying to rescue photos off it.

I managed to get Zorin on a thumb drive and booted. They’re having mixed results, and from 2700 miles away I can’t tell if they’re making some sort of mistake. Because some photos make it, others are reported as ‘corrupted’.

It occurs to me that (perhaps?) there’s a way to run a disk repair of that Windows drive FROM Zorin? Is there? Because I can’t be there to do it but instead share stuff over the phone/text –

– the simpler the method the better.

I don’t care if it’s the terminal providing it’s only a command or three.

Related question – does running a disk check risk the complete collapse of the old drive? Or would Linux stop trying to fix it if the corruption was already quite bad.

They are able to get into desktop, mind you.

The best bet is to recover everything possible before trying to run a disk check. That way, even if you only get ten percent, you at least got some of it.

Unfortunately, no, there is no Simple method. In the old days, I could netcat in and that was anything but simple.
Often times, a method is reliant on the procedures, not the desire of the individual.

In data recovery, any file that has lost its marker or been overwritten or even partially overwritten can be corrupted. Once ‘corrupted’ there is not a lot you can do. I recommend trying the free Disk Digger and have them run it to exclude files that they know they would not want.
For example in running it to recovery photos, a person can usually have it include only file extensions they actually used, like .jpg, so that it does not spend a lot of time recovering system .svg files they have no interest in recovering.

So I advise everyone to eBay their PCs around year 3 or 4.

They may last longer than that but once you get to this point – kicking self in head.

At least my suspicion was confirmed. Leave the drive alone until you rescue what you can. Killing the drive only makes matters worse.

Eventually I’ll get my friend to upload their photos to Google Drive or wherever.

Recommending Zorin Core as a first letter choice to anyone in this scenario.

An example:
A stuck armature is a common problem.
Here is the trick I use in that situation.
Remove the HDD and seal it securely in a freezer bag. I have a small vacuum pump. But most folks can employ less mechanical measures.
Freeze the HDD overnight. In the morning, remove the HDD and lay it on its side on a flat bench or table. Lift the back or bottom corner up to where the HDD is on its edge and on one corner.
Release, letting it smack down flat on the table.

Now, I think most readers would squirm at that- It works. Freezing causes the components to shrink, pulling away from each other. The smack is the jarring force that gets moveable components to come unstuck and get moving again. On its edge prevents the armature tip from hitting the disk. This one technique is an example that has helped me to get at lost data many times.
This is only an example, though in typing it, it may just save someones day in the future. But the example demonstrates that Recovery can be a bit Scary, seem risky and along with no guarantee of success - Something you want Someone Else To Do. It also is something you want to do last on the list.

You are spot on- Saving Back ups to another drive, be it solid, spinning or cloud, really is the first solution to data recovery. Preventative maintenance may make a machine last longer and preventative maintenance may make data last longer. Once a person has reached that point of Recovery from a broken machine, it is often too late and that is how (for me too) the lesson gets learned.

In spite of "free" Disk Digger is really quite good, though. It will recover partially corrupted images, as well and I have used it For the purpose of extracting data from corrupted images that I needed, even if the rest of the image is a loss. Without posting an example, it is hard to explain what I mean by that... But imagine a scenario where your long lost grandmother is in a photo of a field of trees. That digital copy is all you have and it is now corrupted. But If an extraction yields a portion of the photo that shows her face, you may be content to keep that new copy, forgoing the scenery.

My 2 cents - heat causes a lot of damage. On my desktops, I have dedicated fans (took a little cutting of part of the case) for the hard drives. Keep them running cool - any electronics for that matter - and they last longer. On a laptop, I noticed that newer versions have vents at the bottom. People like the sleek look but that also leaves no place for vents since people won’t like the vents upwards (plus you need space for the keyboard). My work laptop is like that - added to that runs Windows which makes it run hotter. I elevate the farther end with a box (even a pencil will help) which allows more heat to escape.

You don’t have to sell your PCs in 3-4 yrs - just accommodate for bad case/frame designs and/or avoid using OSs that unnecessarily tax the system.

PS - Aravisian’s Disk Digger recommendation made this poster happy: Help Pls... Zorin Os detects extarnal Hard disk but cant acces it

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You don’t have to sell but it’s a point where if you don’t sell you won’t get much for it a year or so later. I find around that point you get enough back to offset a complete upgrade.

I just did this in fact. I had a 3.5 year old Asus VivoMini PC. In the day I got 8GBs of RAM and 512 SSD. (Back then people actually warned you SSDs aren’t reliable. That 3 years would push it. Ahem.) This unit, new, cost $699. Came with nice DVD drive too.

2021-01-28 18_39_13-s-l500.jpg (JPEG Image, 500 × 500 pixels) — Mozilla Firefox

I just got $228 for it. I would have gotten more but I had to confess it has a noisy little fan. I had to stress that as to not have it returned. I cleaned out the unit now and again but it was designed wrong.

Then I tried two new Mini PCs. Beelink GTR has two tiny fans and would be quiet until they kicked in. Then painfully loud. And cleaning the fan next to impossible. Returned it for a Minisforum DMAF5. This had one easy to clean fan… that wouldn’t shut up.

Both had 16GBs of RAM and 512 SSD. That latter was only $599. But since they were both Ryzen 5 3550s SPEEDFAN couldn’t fix either.

I then accepted there’s no such thing as a silent Mini PC. And yet all three claimed silence. Honest. A complete lie.

I tried an Asus ExpertCenter medium sized tower. Crazy quiet. 10th Gen i5 and for my needs plenty fast. Did I mention it’s silent?

The entire side comes off. No tools needed. Giving me ample access to fan and cleaning. But get this. See in the close up all those holes on the left? I bought me these off Amazon for $10 –

They’re magnetic. And as luck has it the PC is metal. CLICK and now I have a filter. When it gets dirty or clogged looking I just pull it off, rinse it, and use the other one in the meantime.

This unit was also $599… or $609 if you include the filters. Its weirdly only 12GBs of RAM but hey – at least it’s not 8!

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