64 - Boot Abstradrome HDD Regenerator from an image on a USB drive

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Abstradrome HDD Regenerator is a data recovery utility for hard drives that may have bad sectors.
If you install this software (free to try for 90 days, but the free version - click to download only repairs one bad sector), then you can use it to create a bootable CD or a bootable USB drive. You can read an article on it here. This software may be helpful if you have a hard disk with bad sectors and you have important files on it. The software will create a bootable CD or USB drive for you once it has been installed.

If you have tried to recover files from a corrupt disk using TestDisk (see Tutorial #28) but the recovery stops because a hard disk error has been found, then use HDD regenerator to try to fix the errors first before you run TestDisk.

Click the icon above to buy HDD regenerator

The instructions below detail how to make an image of this USB drive and add it to your grub4dos multiboot menu. if you don't already have a multiboot USB drive, you can make one using RMPrepUSB by following one of the other Tutorials on this website. Alternatively, just use RMPrepUSB to prepare a USB flash drive or USB hard disk and format it as 'FAT32 + Boot as HDD' and then click on the Install grub4dos button to make it into a bootable drive.

HDD Regenerator Demo

1. Install RMPrepUSB and create a 3MB FAT16 MSDOS USB stick by using these settings:

 Note that item 1=3 MB, item 4=FAT16 only and 5 is not ticked.

This will actually make a 7.5MB partition on the USB drive for you.

2. We now need to download and install HDD Regenerator. If you have an XP system, I recommend that you make a backup (System Restore backup), as HDD Regenerator needs to be installed onto Windows but there is no uninstall link provided afterwards. If you have Windows Vista or 7 then a System Restore point will automatically be created when you install the application. HDD Regenerator caused problems on my Windows 7 system when using QEMU and RMPrepUSB, so I recommend uninstalling it as soon as you have made a bootable USB drive! HDD Regenerator is very difficult to uninstall if you do not have a Restore Point or backup!

3. Download and install HDD Regenerator installation application on your Windows System. A free trial is available or you can buy the full version as required. The free version will only fix one bad block.

4. Run  HDD Regenerator  (see Windows System Tray) and click on the 'Create USB drive' icon - follow the instructions to create a bootable USB drive using the USB drive you just prepared with RMPrepUSB (the drive volume will actually be about 8MB FAT16).

5. Test the USB drive either using the QEMU button in RMPrepUSB or by booting it on another system. Check you get a display similar to the one shown in the screenshot above.

6. At this point I strongly recommend   uninstalling  HDD Regerator as it seems to interfere with QEMU and RMPrepUSB. I recommend that you use the Windows Vista/7 System Restore feature to rollback the system to before the point where you installed HDD regenerator and allow it to reboot. Alternatively you could try the Control Panel - Add/Remove programs option.

7. Now create an image of the USB drive using RMPrepUSB's Disk -> File button. Save the image as HDDREG.IMG

8. (optional) to reduce the size of the IMG file, use 7Zip and Add to Archive... and choose GZip as the file format - this should create a much smaller image file called HDDREG.IMG.GZ. This reduces a 7.5MB IMG file to less than 1MB typically. Another alternative is to enter a size of 3MB when making the IMG image file in step 7 above.

9. Add the HDDREG.IMG (or HDDREG.IMG.GZ) file to your USB multiboot (all singing and all dancing) USB boot pen and add the following menu to you menu.lst file  (tip: press F4 in RMPrepUSB to open up a menu.lst file in Notepad):

title HDD REGENERATOR 2011\nScans and repairs bad sectors on a disk
map /hddreg.img (hd0)  || map --mem /hddreg.img.gz (hd0)
map --hook
find --set-root /hddreg.cab
chainloader ()+1

In the example above, the HDDREG.IMG file is expected to be in the root of the USB drive. You can place it anywhere as long as you also change the menu path - e.g. /_iso/utils/hddreg.img.gz.

10. Finally go test it! Either use the RMPrepUSB QEMU button (F11) or boot from the multiboot stick on a real system and test out the new app!

Test using the QEMU Test button in RMPrepUSB...