Situation: we have an old, unused laptop that we want to give to my father and mother in law but Windows kept complaining that the hard drive will fail soon, it should be changed. But unfortunately I don't have that Windows 7 product key anymore. Probably was an OEM but the sticker has been peeled off.
What I tried: I have a spare 500 GB Toshiba drive and the faulty one in it is also a 500 GB WD. So I pulled up an Ubuntu from an USB drive, put my spare drive into another USB HDD case and started to dd.
I didn't really think it through, so I started to copy the physical drive,
/dev/sdc. It took like 24 hours to copy but I thought it was because the old drive had a couple of bad sectors.
Since then my spare drive seems even more dead than the original with Windows on it. It won't boot, not readable, fdisk can't manage it. I'm beginning to think that it was a fatal mistake to replace the first sector with the MBR and the partition table because it may have contained information on the physical architecture of the disk.
- Is this assumption correct?
I tried to find some way to recover the disk, followed some step-by-step instructions that told me to dd some data to the disk. Whenever it was some bigger amount, it always failed with input/output error. However when I just tried to fix the MBR, it worked and didn't produce any error.
- Do you think that the problem can be fixed somehow? If I'm correct, rewriting the MBR is just copying 440 bytes, not 512. In the remaining 72 there's the MBR and - I just suspect it, sorry if I'm wrong - some info about the disk.
Now fdisk states this about my now dead spare drive:
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773120 sectors
How can I make sure that this is valid for my Toshiba HDD and not something copied from the dying WD?
The good solution would have been to partition the drive beforehand and use dd separately for each partition that I want to save?
EDIT: fdisk on Ubuntu seems fully functional, I can view, edit and save the partitions, but the disk is still not working. I'm more and more suspicious that it's the disk geometry that's not matching somehow.