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Windows 7 and my external hard drive


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#1 railfan

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 09:25 PM

I purchased a WD Elements 1 TB external hard drive about a year ago. At the time, I only had a linux desktop (ubuntu), and the hard drive worked very well with it. I was always able to open and save files to it, and it was free of any problems. Recently I purchased a Samsung laptop that uses Windows 7 as its operating system. I took the hard drive, plugged in the power to the wall outlet, and connected the USB cable to the laptop. Immediately, a message came up that said I need to format the hard drive in order to use it with Windows 7. Because I have many very valuable files on the hard drive, and I wanted no part of formatting, I unplugged it from the laptop. A couple days then went by, and I decided to plug the hard drive back into the old Linux to save some files to it from that. When I did so, a message came up that said the hard drive wasn't compatible and wouldn't open, or something to that effect. My goal is to simply be able to access those files somehow, and I have no idea how. Please keep in mind that I'm in a way "technologically disabled", and a complete computer novice. I don't know how to use the command line, or anything of that nature to solve the problem. Formatting the hard drive isn't an option, until the files are safe on either another hard drive or a computer. Any suggestions?

Mod Edit: Moved from Linux to External Hardware, merged feedback on duplicate posts in other forums ~ Hamluis.


Thank you very much to anyone that can provide some help here!

Charlie Wood

I am a computer novice...any suggestions? Are there any companys that can retrieve the data from it for me if not?

Edited by hamluis, 05 January 2012 - 01:49 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Linux O/S.


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#2 Ken-B

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 09:54 AM

Hi,

More detail please.

I assume that you cannot access the data on a hard drive.

Are there any error messages ?

What have you done so far ?

Attempting to get access to your drive yourself is not too difficult.

================

To answer your question about companies who specialise in data recovery - this is EXTREMELY expensive.

Edited by hamluis, 05 January 2012 - 01:45 PM.


#3 stiltskin

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 10:53 AM

Open a terminal and type:

df -T

Under the Type column you'll most likely see ext2 or ext3. If so, Windows, which is only aware of Microsoft's filesystems, won't be able to read it.

Your choices are:



[1] Don't use it with Windows.

[2] Remove all files from it on linux, use fdisk, cfdisk or some graphical program to change the filesystem type to FAT32, NTFS, or something Windows can read (if it's larger than 2G, Windows may have a problem with anything other than NTFS), format it as vfat or NTFS (based on the type you selected), then move the files back. Be sure to thank Microsoft for refusing to cooperate with everybody in the world since linux filesystems aren't the only ones Windows doesn't know anything about.

[3] Get another drive, format it on Windows, boot into linux and copy files between the drives, then use the new one only on Windows and as much as you'd like on linux.
There once was an ext2 program for Windows that allowed read/no-write access to the filesystem (this was in the late 90s/early aughties). It was flaky then. And I wouldn't dare trust it with any version of Windows from XP on. It may not even be maintained any more.

#4 railfan

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:33 PM

So I do all of this on windows? Right now I just want to be able to open the thing on linux, but I can't do that either...

#5 hamluis

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:11 PM

What file system is used on the external drive?

<<...said the hard drive wasn't compatible and wouldn't open, or something to that effect.>>

That would make the error message a linux O/S message...and this is the Win 7 forum.

Since all error messages are not equal...you need to try to quote exactly what appears onscreen when such occur...and it would not hurt to pinpoint exactly at what stage such messages appear.

I will move this to the BC linux forum.

Louis

#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 12:08 AM

Please tell me what version of Ubuntu you are using and I will try to help you determine what/where the problem is ... and see what we can do about recovering your files.

Do you have any qualms about opening up the USB external enclosure to remove the hard drive from inside it?

I presume the hard drive itself will have a SATA connection: Do you have SATA ports available on one of your Desktop PCs to which we could connect the hard drive directly, using a SATA data cable? It is quite likely that the external USB-SATA enclosure/adapter is at fault, and we need to eliminate that as the most likely problem area.
AustrAlien
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#7 railfan

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:03 PM

Thank you very much everyone! Later tonight, I will make am attempt at using the hard drive on my LInux Desktop, and I will take a screenshot of the error message that I'll pass along here.

Please tell me what version of Ubuntu you are using and I will try to help you determine what/where the problem is ... and see what we can do about recovering your files.

Do you have any qualms about opening up the USB external enclosure to remove the hard drive from inside it?

I presume the hard drive itself will have a SATA connection: Do you have SATA ports available on one of your Desktop PCs to which we could connect the hard drive directly, using a SATA data cable? It is quite likely that the external USB-SATA enclosure/adapter is at fault, and we need to eliminate that as the most likely problem area.

Thank you very much for your help! RIght now, I'd really rather not touch the hard drive's inside, as I'm a bit of a computer novice, and I want to see if there is any other possible way to access my files first. Thanks again...

Edited by hamluis, 05 January 2012 - 01:44 PM.





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