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Fat32 File System Disappeared On External Drive


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#1 Pavones

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 11:36 AM

Hi there,

XP SP2

No drive access available via My computer, but I can see it.

It exists under Computer Management > Device manager > disk Drives
and Computer Management > Devce manager > USB controllers

It exists under Computer Management > storage >Disk Management
as a healthy disk F: but there is nothing listed under file system (unlike my system drive which says NTFS)


Since it's FAT32, I am considering booting a win98 drive, installing the USB drivers and giving it a

SYS F: (or whatever drive letter it ends up being)

Thoughts?

i don't want to lose the data.

I've already tried restarting, reinstalling the drive software and on two separate, but identical Satellite 2455-s305 laptops
I've also ran the diagnostics which came with the drive, a Maxtor One touch II. I received this code: CAA26647, and a note telling me "the drive needs to be replaced. if you don't have a recent backup, backup now" which I can't do under windows.

The command
SYS F:
would recover the FAT32 file system without damaging data, right?

TIA,
dean
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#2 WinCrazy

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 01:55 PM

Hi Pavones. Doing a 'SYS X:' will simply make the FAT32 drive bootable to DOS. It does not recover files.

Lots of people have trouble using external drives whether that are formatted in FAT or NTFS.

The first thing to do is uninstall all the USB drivers and then reboot to let XP reinstall them automatically.
Control Panel > System > Hardware tab > Device Manager button

Click the plus sign just to the left of the entry Universal Serial Bus controllers. Right-click on each entry there and select Uninstall for each. Close out the various windows and restart your PC. After your Desktop appears again you will see XP popups showing all the driver reinstalls.

If this doesn't work you should suspect the external hard drive or the case that houses it. You need to open up the external drive's case and extract the hard drive from it. If you have access to a desktop PC it would be very useful to open its case and temporarily hooking up the hard disk drive directly to the IDE ribbon cable. Shut down the PC first. You can diconnect the cable going to the desktop's optical drive for this test. Be sure to cannect a power supply lead to the hard drive, too. You can let the bare drive hang in any position as long as its circuit board doesn't come into contact with any metal.

Retart the PC and see if you can see the files on the new drive listed in Windows Explorer. If so then backup all the files to another drive or CD/DVD. If not then the drive has either has gone bad or perhaps it has just lost its formatting. Consider formatting it with the NTFS file system - its far more robust than FAT(32). If there are no files then reformat the drive and copy a bunch of files to the drive to see if the drive is now functional. If not then the drive is bad. If so then perhaps the drive case has messed up the drive. At this point the simplest thing to do is to reinstall the hard drive into the external case and see if it has any more problems (or not). Of course, you will be taking a chance that this may happen again.

I've had an external case in which its drive lost its data unexpectedly. This may happen with certain combinations of hard drives and external enclosures. There's no way to predict this and no way to fix it, either.

#3 Pavones

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 08:46 PM

Hi Wincrazy,

Thanks for the reply. I understand that the drive would become bootable with "SYS X:", and I don't expect "SYS X:" per se to recover the files, but what I'd like to do is make winXP see the file system as FAT32 (the file system type is blank under Computer Management > Disk Management, but if I right click properties on the drive from there, it shows the filesystem as RAW) so that I can copy them off elsewhere. I really do not want to lose the data on the drive.

I tried your suggestion of uninstalling the drivers. It redetected the drive, made me reboot twice, but now is the same again.

I don't have a desktop PC to use, so that won't work until I can procure one. I do have another empty, brand new drive I can pop into the enclosure to test whether the box is bad... good idea. I'll let you know how that turns out.

As I mentioned above, I want to keep the data, so I won't be formatting it. Can you recommend a data recovery software? I've used Norton Disk Doctor back in the day, but it was slow and DOS... I'm sure there are better, newer ones?

Thanks,
dean
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#4 ThorXP

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:41 PM

removed by ThorXP

Edited by ThorXP, 08 September 2007 - 09:43 PM.


#5 usasma

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 06:13 AM

Windows has the ability to see FAT32 volumes - so if Windows doesn't see the FAT32 volume on your external drive - and you're getting the message about disk failure - then it's likely that the drive has died.

In that case, data recovery is pretty durned expensive - you can start by trying the free programs at http://www.runtime.org
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#6 Pavones

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 08:03 AM

Hi Usasma,

Hmmm, not good :thumbsup: You're right, windows should be able to see the file system. But if it were corrupted is there any way to "remind" windows that it is FAT32 by somehow affecting the MBR of the external drive? "FDISK /MBR"? but for xp? hmmm, you've got my wheels turning :flowers:

I know that the message told me the drive was failing, I just don't want to give up yet and send it in. When I get access to a PC, I'm going to plug it in there too, although it seems like the USB controller part of the drive works fine... it sees the new drive.

Thanks for the tip on runtime... I'm browsing their site.
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(2) Toshiba Satellite 2455-s305 laptops, 768MB ram and 512MB, 60Gig HDs, WinXP SP2, Firefox/Thunderbird, AVGFree, Adaware2007, Spybot SD

#7 WinCrazy

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 10:55 AM

Hi Pavones. Once you get the bare drive hooked up to a dektop's IDE ribbon cable run one of these drive diagnostics:
Seagate/Maxtor, Western Digital, Hitachi/IBM, Samsung.

#8 Pavones

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 12:57 PM

I was able to initialize, partition, format and copy to the new drive with the same enclosure, so the controller is working fine. On to drive diagnostics.

Anyone heard of or have opinions about:
Partition Find and Mount http://findandmount.com
or Partition Table Doctor? http://www.ptdd.com
I'm also looking at Get Data Back from Runtime.

thanks wincrazy-
I'll check out the maxtor drive diagnostics when I get it hooked up.

Thanks again,
dean
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#9 usasma

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 05:52 PM

GetDataBack is a great tool - but expensive! (but they'll tell you what's recoverable before you pay).

I'd consider SpinRite, but I'm not well versed in it's use. I've heard amazing things about it's restorative powers (it's also not free).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 Pavones

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 03:42 PM

Well, good news and bad news.

Bad news is the drive had many bad sectors in the MBR and the FAT table area to the point where GetDataBack could not even reproduce the FAT table or directory tree :flowers:

However, during the scan, I noticed that it found a truckload of files.

I decided to turn the drive over to "professionals" ;)

After some reported HEX editing, the "pros" were able to reconstruct the MBR and get the drive to be seen by the OS (somehow between the time I looked at it and the time the "pros" looked at it the drive became unrecognizable to the BIOS :thumbsup:

Good news:
they were able to recover all 28 Gigs or so of photos.

Bad news: $$$$

Anyway, thanks for your help here, and remember, always have a backup of your backup of your backup. :trumpet:

dean
ACER Aspire 5630 2gig ram, 160gig HD, XP sp3, Firefox, AVGfree
(2) Toshiba Satellite 2455-s305 laptops, 768MB ram and 512MB, 60Gig HDs, WinXP SP2, Firefox/Thunderbird, AVGFree, Adaware2007, Spybot SD

#11 hamluis

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 04:48 PM

Uuuhhh...there are some recovery programs that don't break the bank and which are effective:

File recovery and hard drive data recovery software - QueTek™ Consulting Corporation - http://www.quetek.com/

http://www.quetek.com/prod02.htm

And it's time to purchase (and use) an imaging program for backups...for the next time.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 26 September 2007 - 04:49 PM.


#12 Pavones

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:51 PM

Uuuhhh...there are some recovery programs that don't break the bank and which are effective:

File recovery and hard drive data recovery software - QueTek™ Consulting Corporation - http://www.quetek.com/

http://www.quetek.com/prod02.htm

And it's time to purchase (and use) an imaging program for backups...for the next time.

Louis


Thanks for the tips.

BTW I was using not an imaging software, but Dantz Retrospect for backups... not good enough?

How is an imaging software better if my disk has bad sectors?
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#13 usasma

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:13 AM

It depends if the errors are physical, or if they're in the file system. If physical, then you'll just have a bunch of data with errors. If it's the file system, then you'll be able to recreate the errors from the image - not a good thing!

Do you mind letting us know the cost and who you used? There isn't much info available on recovered data - so this'll go a long way towards helping folks in similar situations!
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#14 Pavones

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:23 PM

It depends if the errors are physical, or if they're in the file system. If physical, then you'll just have a bunch of data with errors. If it's the file system, then you'll be able to recreate the errors from the image - not a good thing!

Do you mind letting us know the cost and who you used? There isn't much info available on recovered data - so this'll go a long way towards helping folks in similar situations!


Yeah, I figured recovering images of bad (physical) sectors would just put bad data back :flowers:

I used a local (to where I was at the moment) guy because I wanted to meet the guy whom I was going to entrust with my data. I highly recommend local people over sending your drive in the mail.

The cost of the recovery was $100 for labor and the initial quote was $25 per gig of recovered data. When the guy saw how much data there was (28 gigs), he reduced the cost per gig to $14. The total was $500 and change. A bargain if you ask me... the data was ultimately much more valuable to me. The guy who did it, Ronald, is in Santa Cruz at Santa Cruz DSL where we happened to be at the time.

However, I was irritated yet pleased at the same time for a couple of reasons:

1. I told him to connect the drive directly to an IDE cable, knowing that the recovery would happen much faster. He connected it to a USB drive, and during the recovery process, the city lost power, and he had to start over. TWICE! This may have even been the cause of some of the damage to the drive. Also, why wasn't the USB drive plugged into a UPS? He said that's the way they normally do drive recovery (via USB) and that normally it works, and that he actually had a late night AHA moment in which he decided to try to connect it to an IDE cable (even though I TOLD HIM TO IN THE FIRST PLACE :thumbsup: ) It wasn't even because he was trying to get extra labor hours because the labor cost was fixed at $100.?!

2. I told him I first and foremost wanted all the photos recovered, not the video. He recovered the video and wanted to be paid for the extra gigs. I told him no, I said I don't want it. He was, however, nice enough to just delete it and not charge me. He could have saved us both some time though. On another good note, once he recovered the directory tree, he called to ask me what I wanted recovered (this was when I told him no to certain videos for the first time and he recovered them anyway).

3.He was under a very tight time constraint (two days) and came through.

The bottom line: He got the data back at a good price. I'd recommend him if you can't do it yourself.

Hope this helps.
dean
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#15 usasma

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:09 PM

Thanks for the info! Sounds a lot cheaper than most other recovery techniques that I've seen. I've gotta get into figuring out how to reconstruct the MFT in the future.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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