This computer was failing to start properly… OS not found, press any key to continue, or something like that.
When I go to take a look at the PC, it seems to boot correctly, but part-way through booting XP, it displays the BSOD. After a restart, it just shows a disk read error… this is not good 🙁
An internet search reveals that these types of drives (fujitsu mpg and mpf series) have a bad reputation for failure of their firmware (ie electronics failure). eg, take a look at: http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?act=ST&f=4&t=5592
Anyway, it seems like the failure is intermittent at first, but rapidly deteriorates.
So I try to image the drive, but I only image 10GB of the 20GB drive.
After that, the bios can no longer detect the drive (even an hour in the freezer didn’t help).
I call the customer, and she says that she can recover most of her data as she has paper copies, and copies of emails on another PC. So I don’t take the recovery any further (but it would have been interesting to see how much could be recovered… I suspect it would have been quite good, as she was only using about 3 or 4 Gb, so most of her data would have been in the first half of the drive).
Anyway, I replace the drive, install a new DVDRW, reinstall XP and office, then show her how to backup to DVD (so future data loss is minimised).