We have a hard drive in an older HP laptop that has failed but does not have a complete back up.

We can't boot Windows at all--just get a hard disk error. I installed Ubuntu to a USB (from a working computer) and booted the "dead" computer from that and came up with the following error:

Error mounting /dev/sda2 at /media/ubuntu/CE2A6BV92A6BACE1: Command-line `mount -t "ntfs" -o "uhelper=udisks2,nodev,nosuid,uid=999,gid=999" "/dev/sDA2" "/media//ubuntu/CE2A6BV92A6BACE1"' exited with non-zero exit status 13: ntfs_attr_pread_i: ntfs_pread failed: Input/output error Failed to read $MFTMirr: Input/output error. Failed to mount '/dev/sda2': Input/output error NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it's a SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g. /dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the 'dmraid' documentation for more details.

So...given that I have no clue what any of that means and I can't boot into Windows at all, what can I do from here?

  • Its saying your hard drive has errors if you cant boot into windows its shot/damaged.
    – DnrDevil
    Feb 29, 2016 at 23:49
  • It is not necessarily completely broken. Try creating a bootable FreeDOS USB Stick with UNetbootin(Windows/Linux) or Rufus(Windows only). Boot from it and run chkdsk /f. If anything is unclear I will post a step by step answer.
    – danzel
    Mar 1, 2016 at 1:55
  • I will work on this. If I can't figure it out, I'll be back to ask for step by step! Thanks!
    – Lark
    Mar 1, 2016 at 18:08
  • [Be patient with me--I have twin babies and a toddler, so spare time to work on these things is hard to come by!]
    – Lark
    Mar 1, 2016 at 18:20
  • I've been working on this in bits all week. Attempting to run chkdsk from FreeDOS and the D drive says "Error reading from drive D: DOS area: drive not ready" (assuming that is the failed drive) and the C driv says "This program cannot be run in DOS mode." Suggestions from here?
    – Lark
    Mar 6, 2016 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


Given that you can't boot to anything and it apparently isn't readable I would hazard a guess and say your drive is damaged beyond all hope.

Typically an Input/output error is indicative of hardware damage or failure. This is further the case typically if no OS or system can mount or repair or read the filesystems on the disks.

Unless you have backups, I believe you are out of luck here.

  • Darn...that's what I was afraid of. We have a partial backup, but were hoping to recover the rest of it.
    – Lark
    Mar 10, 2016 at 1:50
  • @Lark partial backups are not full backups. IT 101: Backups Are Important.
    – Thomas Ward
    Mar 10, 2016 at 11:13

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