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Disappearing portable hard drive


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#1 mewvr

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 10:20 PM

My major concerns at this point are at the very least being able to recover most if not all the files on the phd. I know I should have backed up and it bit me in the ass that I didn’t.


Life Lesson # 1003: what you think will never happen to you; will in fact happen. :thumbsup:

I did try to research this on my own but I was unable to find something that even remotely matched this situation so I was unsure about taking the corrective actions that applied to other issues. I don't know if they are related but I have a suspicion they most likely are based on the time frame of the behaviors.

I have tried to be as specific as possible if there is more info needed I will gladly provide it. If there is anyone that can help or at least guide me through a data recovery process I will be forever grateful and would consider naming my third born after the hero who solves this! :flowers:

System Info
OS: Wxp (sp3) Home
Windows firewall (will be changing)
Avast Antivirus (had Norton till the problems started)
Wireless internet run through a combo router/modem
Linksys wireless adapter
Simpletech portable usb drive (320GB)
Firefox
I frequently run Photoshop/PS Elements/Acrobat and Office.
Bc of the size of these programs I have a secondary hard drive that is dedicated to music and a portable hard drive that is dedicated to graphics, documents, and photoshop tools.

I have listed the errors after the symptoms.
Symptoms:
• Error Msgs start
• Wireless Internet issues start (intermittent signal/freezing/dropped connections/extremely slow downloading)
• Constantly repairing connections.
• FF starts randomly switching to offline mode.
• Internet Tech visits (3xs)

Conclusion 1: Linksys adapter switched to a Belkin USB adapter. Worked fine for a few days then started with almost no signal and unable to connect.
Conclusion 2: Resets everything and checks line/modem/router. No issues detected. Tested the Linksys adapter just out of curiosity and worked fine so switched back to this adapter.
Conclusion 3: Replaces modem and router with a single combo unit.
*(Weak signal issue is not related to proximity, I moved everything to within 3 ft of the modem/router and it is still doing the dropped connection.)


• Start receiving the connect/disconnect sound over and over from ipod being plugged in to charge. Itunes is not being accessed when this happens.

Still experiencing issues so I start thinking maybe this is caused by a virus or something, I start doing some research can't pinpoint a specific issue and end up installing revouninstaller and CC Cleaner. No visible improvement.

• Portable drive starts disappearing from my computer, not often about every other week. Unplug/restart corrected the problem.
• Pdrive issue started increasing in frequency.
• Start getting new error code about the recycle bin.
• Restart/unplug is now taking multiple attempts to correct.
• Last weekend pdrive disappears completely. It is no longer viable in disk management or my computer.
• All externals that use a usb connection are functioning fine.
• Norton toolbar in FF reappeared possibly bc avg was installed.

Performed a system restore to a week prior with no success.

Error Messages:

(I saved screen shots of most error dialog boxes but it is on the problem child (portable hard drive) that refuses to work. I have listed the ones I could remember.)

• C:\DOCUME~1\Weaver\LOCALS~1\Temp\WER5994.dir00\rundll32.exe.mdmp
• C:\DOCUME~1\Weaver\LOCALS~1\Temp\WER5994.dir00\appcompat.txt

Numerous messages are in the event viewer such as (will provide txt. file if need be)
• System event #'s 7036/7035/57/50/26
• Security event #'s: 513/514/576/615/850/849/515/540/680/518

Recent Activity on my part:
• Install/Uninstall Blackberry manager
• DL and Install of object dock to modify desktop visuals.
• DL and Install of various spyware/virus programs.
• DL and Install of revouninstaller and cc cleaner. Used pretty regularly.
• DL and Install of hotkeyz and sendtotoys.

Actions taken thus far:
• Altered startup menu removing nonessential
• Uninstall/Install all nonessential software not related to XP.
• Changed out cords phd still not reading.
• Regedit modified "black" from 0 to 4

Earlier tonight I tried the phd again and it worked for a few minutes. I started checking folders to make sure it was all there (it’s not) so I could do a backup online. I started the backup with an online provider and it seems to have frozen. The number of files to be backed up is listed as 6725 with only 49 done. Since then it has disappeared from disk management screen but is still in my computer. No files are visible at all. But the space available is the same. There is 300 GB used with 20.6 available.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:08 AM

Typically...when a drive disappears...it has a problem.

Since it's an external drive, it could the enclosure the drive is in...it could be the actual hard drive itself.

My suggestion would be to remove the drive from enclosure...connect it directly to a working system...and see if the system picks it up properly.

If it does, then I would suggest moving all files from the drive immediately...and then running the appropriate hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic (long test, not short) on it.

If My Computer does not reflect the drive, but Disk Management reflects as either an empty volume, a RAW volume, or an unknown file system...then your best effort will be to try data recovery software.

Louis

#3 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 01:20 PM

Thank you for replying!

How do I go about doing what you suggested? I'm not a whiz but am fairly adequate with comp related stuff.

Killeen huh?
I was stationed there, once upon a time. :thumbsup:

#4 hamluis

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 02:09 PM

LOL...Killeen is just one of the many places I have slept in for more than a year :thumbsup:.

To remove the hard drive from the enclosure...you have to examine it. An external drive is nothing but an enclosure containing a hard drive just like the ones in a system.

Since it's just the same as a typical system hard drive...connecting it should be no problem. Remove the cover of the system and attach it to the motherboard. If the motherboard doesn't support that type of drive...the simple solution is to look until you find one that does. There are two types of hard drives and each has totally different connectors.

http://www.directron.com/patasata.html

Each hard drive manufacturer (almost each) should have a diagnostic tool available at respective website...for the purpose doing what we want to do, see if the drive has any problems. Look at the manufacturer of the hard drive (once it is removed from the enclosure) and you will see who the manufacturer is. Then go to the correct respective website and download the appropriate diagnostic.

Hard Drive Installation and Diagnostic Tools - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/

Bootable Hard Drive Diagnostics - Vox - http://usasma.vox.com/library/post/bootabl...iagnostics.html

The diagnostic will be in .iso format, which means that you cannot simply burn it to CD, using your regular method. Follow the instructions at How to write a CD-DVD image or ISO - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/write-a-cd-dvd-image-or-iso/ and the result will be a bootable CD containing the diagnostic tool.

If a long test and a short test are offered on diagnostic...run the long test.

Louis

#5 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:07 PM

Thank you!

By doing this is there any possibility that it will damage the other 2 hard drives already in there? Should I remove the secondary non-os hd to plug this one in?

Lol I have lived 23 different states/countries so far. The longest being here. I don't mind it though. Makes life interesting. :thumbsup:

#6 hamluis

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:59 PM

If you have an open connection, no need to disconnect any drives.

If no open connection, temporarily disconnect anything other than the optical drive and the system partition/drive. One thing to check would be the jumper setting on the hard drive to be tested, if it's a PATA drive. Make sure it matches the jumper setting of anything else on the connecting cable at the same time.

The default jumper setting for hard drives and optical drives from the factory...tends to be Cable Select, while the jumper setting on external drives I believe may vary.

AFAIK...there's no way for a bad hard drive to damage another connected drive. If the drive is near death, the system may not boot with it attached, as Windows goes through its component-detection phase.

Louis

#7 Ken-in-West-Seattle

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:17 PM

Did I miss the part where we find out if this is a desktop or a laptop?

might make a difference.

I assume hamluis's links cover both types of hard drives, but knowing the exact drive could also make it easier to give instructions.

All the current simpletech drives would be hitachi inside and most likely SATA.

The case looks like one of those that are glued together so it may be kinda ugly to get apart.

But if it is a newer one it would be sata and will connect to any desktop with sata drives and go into a external sata enclosure easily too. I ordered one from amazon a couple days ago for 6.00.

#8 hamluis

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:32 PM

We aren't treating a main drive in a system...it's an external drive in an enclosure.

Unless I'm mistaken (again) :thumbsup:.

Louis

#9 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:13 PM

Hamluis is corect.

The drive in question is a simpletech 320GB portable usb drive.

The secondary drive is in the case (I didn't install it though) is dedicated to music files.

The os hard drive only has the programs like PS/PSE and office. This drive is issue free (at the moment).

I have no problem with doing a fresh install since I have the boot disks for everything currently installed.

#10 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:15 PM

Correction

I have no problem doing a fresh install once the data if any is recovered from the external.

#11 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:21 PM

The drive is Western Digital.

Perfectionist that I tend to be I managed to remove it with out damaging the case. lol

Off to plug and test!

#12 Ken-in-West-Seattle

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:54 PM

The reason I ask is some laptops (and some external drives) have problems supplying enough power via one usb cable. That is why they sell two headed power boost cables for drives that drop off or disk manager or are not detected properly. This usually happens after several months or years of use.

#13 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:54 PM

Well apparently (correct me if I am wrong) connecting a SATA drive to my computer is not an option. The manual says the bio's are not capable of handling a SATA connection.

I also don't see the wires needed inside my computer.

It's a Dell Dimension 1100.

So I guess now I need to be looking at recovery options. Where do I start on that?

Ken - the unit does have a two headed usb cord that I kept plugged in when the unit was working. Even with that being plugged in now I am still unable to get access to the unit.
I turned my comp off this morning and when it rebooted the drive was once again gone.

#14 hamluis

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 08:52 PM

Everybody has a favorite data recovery program...mine costs so I won't suggest it. On second thought, I think it's money well spent :thumbsup:...

GetDataBack - Data Recovery Software - http://runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm

Louis

#15 mewvr

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 09:07 PM

Thank you very much!




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