I have a 6.5 year old Windows (Vista) desktop computer at home that
upped and died a few weeks ago. Really really dead. (Fortunately I had
made a full Windows backup three days before it croaked and was able to
recover everything I needed and copy to my new replacement computer. Yay!)
The deceased computer has two hard drives, the second being a hidden
mirror of the first. Supposedly it would run off the hidden drive if the
primary disk failed, or make use of both drives in tandem, and for all I
know if might have done that when the computer was on its last legs.
When one attempts to boot the computer, there is briefly displayed some
diagnostic info showing Drive 0 as "Degraded", and Drive 1 "Failure".
I was able to boot off a disk and run KillDisk to kill Drive 0, but
unfortunately KillDisk does not see Drive 1, which may be in a worse
state than Drive 0. (There may be other hardware problems as well. The
machine was running extremely hot when I ran KillDisk on Drive 0, so I
shut it down after one pass for fear of something burning. Seriously. It
had that burning wires smell.)
So before sending the computer off to recycling, what can I do about
Drive 1, which may or may not have personal (and likely UVM) information
still on it? The drive may be pretty well fried at this point, but for
all I know there still could be recoverable information on it.
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
University of Vermont