I had a real problem today. I was trying to install a Windows 7 64-bit on my computer from scratch, with wiping the first partition of the hard drive. Installation DVD was found in the internet and not verified after burning… So, during installation I suddenly noticed that BIOS splash screen is hung after first PC restart. I forced it to restart again — same story. BIOS was getting stuck after showing a message about the hard drive SMART status is OK. There was no way to load BIOS or the system. I have Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive (ST31000528AS), quite new, it would be too pessimistic to think it was damaged. I unplugged the Serial ATA cable from the motherboard, and BIOS was booting again. My assumption was that Windows 7 installation somehow misplaced the MBR or something. So I would need some tools to restore the booting hard drive ability. But the real problem was that because of that defect PC would not boot even at the BIOS stage. I was trapped: I need a PC to fix the hard drive, but PC cannot stand this faulty hard drive. If I boot without the Barracuda, I have no chance to plug the disc afterwards. What to do?
I started exploring other motherboard options (I have an old but very functional ASUS motherboard) and I found Silicon Image SATARaid Controller I’ve never used before. That controller could also work as a SATA port, if selected in the BIOS. I plugged my Barracuda in the socket and refreshed the BIOS. The BIOS was booting normally. Now I would need to find a way to fix the hard drive. Windows 7 installation DVD was not good for that purpose, its recovery tools could not see the drive connected thru raid controller. I used my Lenovo Y510 notebook to goggle a free bootable cd. And I’ve found a beautiful piece of software called Ultimate Boot CD. It has tons of good stuff to check and repair issues related to BIOS, CPU, Boot Management, Data Recovery, Disk Wiping and Cloning. So, I Downloaded 300 Mb ISO image and burt it.
I actually used a free Linux-based OS Parted Magic included with UBCD V5.0. With that useful tool I accessed my faulty Barracuda and fixed the partitions. Parted Magis is good for many things:
•Format internal and external hard drives.
•Move, copy, create, delete, expand & shrink hard drive partitions.
•Clone your hard drive, to create a full backup.
•Test hard drives for impending failure.
•Test memory for bad sectors.
•Benchmark your computer for a performance rating.
•Securely erase your entire hard drive, wiping it clean from all data.
•Gives access to non-booting systems allowing you to rescue important data.
•Runs from the CD, no install required.