External Hard Drive Problem.....

Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
In a separate thread, I posted my problem about an external hard drive's power cord getting bent and breaking off. I've now bought a replacement hard drive enclosure, and have installed the hard drive into it. My PC recognizes the drive and has assigned it a drive letter --- BUT when I double click on the drive letter (hoping to view it's contents that I hoped was still there), all I get is a message that the drive needs to be formatted.

I am not convinced that the drive has lost any data, so I do NOT want to format it. (I transferred it to a new enclosure in hopes of continuing to use the data - it contains all of my original NEF/ORF files from the past few years.)

When I right-click on "Computer", then click on "Manage", the drive is listed and says that there is a "healthy primary partition". The size of the drive seems to be listed as correct as well (1863.02 GB for this 2T drive). However, the file system is listed as "RAW". I've never encountered that before. :confused: All other drives are NTFS.

Can anyone help me out with getting this drive's data to be visible again? I REALLY don't want to lose it's data if I can help it! BTW - When I right-clicking on this drive in this "Manage" window, one of the options is "Mark Partition as Active". Is that something that I should try?

FWIW, my OS is Windows Vista - 64 bit. The drive is a SATA drive and the enclosure is USB.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,902
Location
UK
When I right-clicking on this drive in this "Manage" window, one of the options is "Mark Partition as Active". Is that something that I should try?
NO YOU SHOULD NOT - unless it contains the loader for an operating system, potential to end up with a computer that stops working.

A RAW file system is a system which was not recognized by Windows. This could be caused by the file system records being damaged such as the file allocation table etc. In your case of a burnt/broken connection the indications are that this could have happened.

Above all for now do not try to write data to this disk and resist the temptation to 'try' anything until you are sure that the risk of further damage is nil :smile:

It is possible that the data that remains is still viable but you will need to try and recover probably using a data recovery program such as R Studio Recovery Here or Stellar Phoenix Here I mention these as they are the ones I have actually used. I am pretty sure that both offer demo that will estimate how much data can be recovered.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Check google, here is one possible fix I found for you: http://www.ntfs.com/mbr-damaged.htm
Thanks for the reply, Kirbinster. However, that info is a bit too technical for me to understand. To be clear, the drive is NOT my system's boot disk, so does the solution in the link about the Master Boot Record (ie - run fdisk.exe)still apply?

The drive itself is recognized by Windows (It assigned Drive Letter L: to it.) I just can't open any folders or files. When I double-click on it, the exact message is: "You need to format the disk in Drive L: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?" The answer is NO - since I don't want to lose any data.

Thanks!
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
NO YOU SHOULD NOT - unless it contains the loader for an operating system, potential to end up with a computer that stops working.

A RAW file system is a system which was not recognized by Windows. This could be caused by the file system records being damaged such as the file allocation table etc. In your case of a burnt/broken connection the indications are that this could have happened.

Above all for now do not try to write data to this disk and resist the temptation to 'try' anything until you are sure that the risk of further damage is nil :smile:

It is possible that the data that remains is still viable but you will need to try and recover probably using a data recovery program such as R Studio Recovery Here or Stellar Phoenix Here I mention these as they are the ones I have actually used. I am pretty sure that both offer demo that will estimate how much data can be recovered.
Thanks, Tony. I'll explore those programs you linked to.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,902
Location
UK
I am not sure that the FDISK /MBR command will work in this instance as the MBR refers to Master Boot Record. This is the first sector of a disk drive that tells the computer how to load the OS among other tasks.

As I understand it there is no OS on the drive in question therefore using FDISK is questionable as you do not know what data has been written into this first sector.

IMHO safest option is to try the data recovery software. These will not write any info to the damaged disk only read info and store to another disk for recovery
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
I am not sure that the FDISK /MBR command will work in this instance as the MBR refers to Master Boot Record. This is the first sector of a disk drive that tells the computer how to load the OS among other tasks.

As I understand it there is no OS on the drive in question therefore using FDISK is questionable as you do not know what data has been written into this first sector.

IMHO safest option is to try the data recovery software. These will not write any info to the damaged disk only read info and store to another disk for recovery
Tony,

I'm trying the Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery demo to scan the disk. How long should this take? It's been about 6 hours now, and it's still scanning! (2T drive on a Intel Quad Core 2 Q6600 processor, via USB 2.0 connection) So far, I see no filenames populating the list. It seems to me that this is very bad sign, right? :frown:

Thanks!
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
732
Location
New York
Download an Ubuntu .iso to cd (it's free), set your computer to boot from cd drive in bios, and run Ubuntu os. Plug in external drive and see if the Ubuntu will see the files. If so, copy them to your computer or another drive. Then reformat the drive and copy them back.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
2,551
Location
Chester, Virginia, USA
Bert,

Have you tried getting the power and hard drive cables and just connecting the drive to the SATA slot your motherboard ( initially ) to see if you can read the drive and copy the files?

Don
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Tony,

Have you tried getting the power and hard drive cables and just connecting the drive to the SATA slot your motherboard ( initially ) to see if you can read the drive and copy the files?

Don
No -- I'd really prefer not opening the computer case, TBH. That's the reason for having the external drive in the first place.

BTW - I just realized that I have "Spinrite" software. Perhaps I should give that a try?
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,902
Location
UK
Tony,

I'm trying the Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery demo to scan the disk. How long should this take? It's been about 6 hours now, and it's still scanning! (2T drive on a Intel Quad Core 2 Q6600 processor, via USB 2.0 connection) So far, I see no filenames populating the list. It seems to me that this is very bad sign, right? :frown:

Thanks!
It could take an awful lot longer on a 2TB drive as it is finding everything i.e. it finds ALL files including erased files. It could take many more to complete the scan one estimate from a user 30hours for their 2TB.

Not sure but think that R Studio may be a little faster
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
It could take an awful lot longer on a 2TB drive as it is finding everything i.e. it finds ALL files including erased files. It could take many more to complete the scan one estimate from a user 30hours for their 2TB.

Not sure but think that R Studio may be a little faster
Tony,

I let it continue running overnight. It's been about 17 hours now. If I've let it go this long, I might as well stick with it rather than start over with the another product. There are still no files populating the list - not even one file. Under "Scanning Data", all it says is "Searching Critical Information", and the numbers for "Reading sector number...." are changing faster than I could read them.

I guess that all I want to know at this point is whether or not this is a good sign that the software is achieving something, or whether to give this effort up and try Spinrite. (Ie - Shouldn't some "save-able" files be shown in the list by now? :confused: )

BTW, the drive was getting quite warm with all of this scanning going on, but it is normal temperature now. (The process may have shutdown overnight, when my PC went into sleep mode.)

Also, last night, before going to bed, I was going to give up and shut it (Stellar Phoenix) all down. But the software wouldn't allow me to. In other words, clicking on the X (both in the window and in the upper right-hand corner) does nothing. I think that the only way to shut down the process before it ends will be to shut down Windows altogether. - Would that cause a further problem?

Thanks!
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,902
Location
UK
Bert, from memory with this software the time to actually populate the file recovery list was quite a long time - even on a small drive. In fact I think that it is possible that this will not happen until the whole drive is read, during this time the app is putting the information into its own file system.

As far as I remember there are filters available to limit what files are searched for but I guess that you have set it to find all?

I have not used Spinrite but one reason to not consider it for data recovery is given Here If the author is correct Spinrite actually reads then tries to write data back to the same sectors on the potentially damaged disk. This IMO is not a good way to do it and nearly all other Data recovery techniques always recover data from the source to another destination.

I am unsure about the shutting down as I seem to recall that this was possible and you were able to resume at a later time - this might be a feature of the limited trial version ?

I would also expect after giving a command to shut down that you would have to wait a while for the program to actually write the data to disk - how long I do not know.

I would not try to force a close by shutting down Windows as you may find that Windows does not like it. After waiting a while for Stellar to stop I would use CTRL+ALT+ Del to get to task manager and try to end Stellar there

http://www.stellarinfo.com/installation-guide/windows-data-recovery/pro-user-guide.pdf

EDIT: Thinking about the time taken to perform this task I came up with this:
Assume your drive USB 2 and theoretical data rate is 480 Mbps - but in the real world you may have to halve this to 240 Mbps.

This would then require around 18 hours for data transfer. However you are not just transferring data as the app. is trying to find/rebuild your data on the fly therefore you should expect longer times as not only are you reading from the drive but the recovered data is being written on another drive.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Uh Oh......

Stellar Phoenix finally finished it's scan (it took about 24 hours) and indicated:

"0 entries found. Not a valid volume, or critical data structure of volume badly corrupt." :eek:

Hmmmm.... Not good at all. I think that I'll have to give Spinrite a crack at it in a last ditch effort to save the data. :frown:
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,902
Location
UK
Sorry to hear that obviously does not sound good. Well if it was me I would not use Spinrite (for the reasons stated) at this stage I would try R Studio or if the data that valuable consider a commercial (expensive!) data recovery service

EDIT:I was surprised that no data at all had been found so after giving it some thought thought I should post back. Looking at your original photo in the other thread the power cord plug looks to be really distorted where the black plastic fits to the plug end and further where it has broken off looks like signs of 'frying'.

Under these circumstances it is just possible that physical damage has occurred to the read heads or the controller. Consequently even though data may be on the the HDD platters that this cannot be read due to head damage hence you getting nothing. I would not like to say that this is the case for sure but something that you need to consider. If possible this type of recovery is possible it is a job best left to the experts as the drive heads get replaced and the data is then read to another disk for recovery.

I really do hope that this worst case scenario is not the case. Good luck and let us know how you get on
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
Sorry to hear that obviously does not sound good. Well if it was me I would not use Spinrite (for the reasons stated) at this stage I would try R Studio or if the data that valuable consider a commercial (expensive!) data recovery service
The drive is (was?) where all my Raw files were automatically backed up to automatically when I import images into Lightroom from my memory cards. In other words, they are second copies. The drive contains a copy of every original digital negative that I've shot over the past 5-6 years. Many of these files are not worthy of processing (I shoot a lot of stinkers :redface:), while others are backups of original out-of-camera NEFs/ORFs that are worthy of processing. (most have already been processed.) Fortunately, the original copies of the files that are worthy of processing are still on an internal drive on my PC.

So - no - the data isn't valuable enough to pay for data recovery. Worse comes to worst, if Spinrite can't help, I'm still left with the original NEFs/ORFs that were worth processing. I have already backed those up elsewhere. If I do successfully recover the files on this drive, all I'll be gaining, in effect, is full access back to all the files that I have shot (in case there's a few that I later deem worthy of processing or re-processing.) If I can't recover the files, it'll be akin to losing a few shoeboxes of negatives of long-forgotten, not-so-great photos.

But, if Spinrite is successful, I'll be transferring the entire contents of this drive to a new drive ASAP, since I'll no longer trust this one.

Thanks for all your help!
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
Yeah - It's DEAD.

I tried Spinrite on the drive. Although it detects the presence of the drive, it can't even open/access Sector 0.

So, I think it's hopeless at this point. :frown:
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2010
Messages
5,725
Location
Annapolis
So - no - the data isn't valuable enough to pay for data recovery.
A simple trick you might want to try that works in most cases. If you have a like model drive get the appropriate Torx driver and swap control boards from a known good drive and pull your data off the "bad" drive. As I said, this works in most cases unless you have platter damage/wear, which is unlikely. I have had much success doing this over the years. I always buy like drives so I can do this if need be.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom