Boot sector

Recovering data after a boot sector failure

A common failure on a hard drive is the boot sector. It could be a physical failure where the sector is impossible to read, or the sector has been corrupted or over written. The symptoms of such an error will typically look very bad, and may often suggest that the drive is unrecognized and should be formatted.

CnW Recovery has tools to assist in reconstructing the boot sector and hence making the drive possible to recover.
The boot sector contains information on what types of logical partition exist on the drive. For many current PCs there appears to be only a single NTFS partition, but actually a lot of common name PCs have extra partitions that keep copies of the operating system. The NTFS partition will still be the biggest, but there is often a small FAT 16 at the start of the disk, and also at the end. Details of all partitions need to be recalculated to enable data recovery to be performed.

Stage 1
The first step, after ensuring that other areas of the disk can be read, is to go to the Partitions function within CnW. In this function, one can scan the hard drive for existing or old partitions. If details are found, a boot sector can be created. A very useful feature of CnW software is that this boot sector does not have to be physically written to the disk a virtual copy can be used. Forensically therefore a disk is not changed, and also it can be used when the first sector has physically failed, make writing a boot sector impossible.

Stage 2

Once a boot sector has been created, the normal CnW recovery routines can be run

If it is not possible to determine the partitions of a disk by scanning, the user can enter the partition type, eg NTFS and the starting location and so set the disk up for recovery.