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External Hard Drive is no longer recognized


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#1 emilysu99

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 07:00 PM

Hi,

I'm having a terrible time with computers the start of this year. A few days ago my laptop stopped responding and upon restart Windows is failing to boot. But that is a different topic in a different forum.

A few days before my laptop crashed my nearly brand-new Seagate GoFlex external hard drive stopped being recognized. It went from working just fine one day to not working the next. I ALWAYS ejected via safely remove hardware in the event I needed to remove it. The day it stopped working I went to My Computer and clicked on my drive (at the time it was assigned J as a drive letter. It was there as always but once I clicked on it it said "You must format the drive to access it". I didn't do it because I have very valuable data on that drive. It was where I kept all my family photos. I've had my laptop crash once before and I didn't want to lose anything so I kept my valuable files on this external drive. Well sh*t I never would have had I know how often they fail. Once I get everything recovered (if i can) I am going to sign-up for an online backup service.

So far I have tried connecting it to another PC laptop, my work PC, my boss'es Mac. No computer is recognizing it as a formatted drive. When I connect the drive windows says it found new hardware and installs the drivers and says the device is working. But it does not show in my computer. The drive's LED remains constantly lit and I can hear the drive spinning appropriately. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the driver, nothing. I have found it as USB Mass Storage device under USB in Device Manager, and uninstalled it there then plugged it back in, nothing. I have gone in computer management, to disk management, and it is listed as Disk 2 with a sad black bar, and unallocated. It seems I can't do anything with it in disk management except format it which I don't want to do yet. I installed Seagate's File Recovery Software which found the drive and began to scan it for files, about 15 seconds into the scan it stopped and said it encountered numerous read errors and suggested "strongly" that I abort the scan and send the drive to their recovery labs lest I compromise the drive further. I aborted the scan but I'm not sure if it really would have damaged the drive further by continuing to scan it. I'm skeptical of Seagate because I've heard a quote for a physical file recovery from them would run about $700.

So I'm hoping someone here can help me.

thanks

Emily

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#2 caperdog

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:03 PM

i have had good luck with find and mount http://findandmount.com/

also Recuva http://www.piriform.com/recuva

#3 emilysu99

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for your reply. I downloaded find and mount first and I am trying that. I read through the FAQ on it and it said it needs a 32 bit OS to run and mine is 64 bit. I am attempting a scan anyway. Let's see what happens...

#4 emilysu99

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:58 AM

I tried running Find and Mount. It showed my drive but when I tried to scan it, it didn't do anything. I didn't get any errors but it also didn't seem to be working. I just left it alone for about an hour but nothing happened. Then I stopped the scan and tried to take an image of the disk but that didn't seem to work either. I will try it on my boyfriend's 32 bit OS laptop later.

Now I am trying Recuva but it doesn't show the external drive. It only shows my available internal drives. On Recuva's website is says it can recover accidentally deleted data as well as data from a damaged drive or reformatted drive. I don't want to reformat the drive then attempt to get my now-deleted data off it in case it doesn't work and I've just made it worse. I don't know how it can recover data from a damaged drive if the drive isn't shown for selection.

#5 caperdog

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 06:59 PM

other software i have tried is from Easeus http://www.easeus.com
they have a data recovery wizard and a partition recovery program also.

http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm
http://www.easeus.com/partition-recovery/

i don't see a 32bit limitation on their site

#6 emilysu99

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:40 AM

Nothing is working so far. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way. All of the partition recovery programs find the drive but don't do anything as far as recovering any data. They don't find any partitions because there were no partitions on it. All of the data recovery programs (with the exception of seagate's) don't locate the drive to even begin the process of recovering data.

I'm stumped.

#7 caperdog

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:23 PM

if the drive is working (spinning) then i would expect the partition table is messed up. Maybe there is better partition discovery software out there.

Anyone ?
What do linux users use to find lost partitions ?

If there is physical damage to the drive then Seagate is probably right, and you will need professional help to recover the data from the platters. you would have to decide if the cost is worth it. I would have thought it would be far more than $700.

#8 emilysu99

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:44 AM

When I plug it in I can hear the drive spinning just like it always did. I'm afraid I don't understand partitions. If the 500G drive was assigned only one drive letter, does it still have partitions?

I've heard of people putting their drives in the freezer to get them working again just long enough to get data. Or people opening them and plugging them directly into a computer as an internal drive to get to the data. Any idea if any of these tactics could work for me?

#9 caperdog

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:00 PM

A drive can have one or more partitions. You probably have one 500Gb partition. Therefore one drive letter.

I have froze drives before with some success. Its hit or miss. If the read head is stuck to the platter freezing could free it. 3-4 hours should do, but I have left them in overnight before.

Get prepared to copy before you remove from freezer and plug in. You may only have a short period of time before it gets stuck again. Hopefully it will be a couple of hours.

If the drive actually continues to work after this, don't get fooled, it will never be reliable again.

Cracking it open and plugging it in to another computer would bypass the drive interface (i.e. SATA) to Usb hardware. Never tried it before, but "nothing ventured ...."

#10 caperdog

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:12 PM

again... if the data is crucial
then you should seek professional help
each repair attempt could run the risk of possibly destroying more data and void the warranty.

Edited by caperdog, 09 January 2012 - 08:15 PM.


#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:21 AM

I've heard of people ....... opening them and plugging them directly into a computer as an internal drive to get to the data.

This is most likely to be your best chance if the problem is either:
  • Failure of the SATA-USB adapter used by the enclosure (and this is common).
    or
  • Degradation of the readability of the data by the SATA-USB adapter/USB connection-data transfer mode, thus preventing recovery of data using the data recovery programs.
There is no guarantee that connecting the hard drive directly to the motherboard of a desktop PC will allow you to recover your data, but it gives you the best chance possible of being able to do the job yourself.

Be warned: Opening the enclosure will void the warranty of the "external hard drive" as such.

It is possible that a bootable Linux CD/flashdrive will do a better job of "reading" the hard drive, if the Windows system has a problem. If Linux has a problem also, then we could investigate further, before again resorting to data recovery software. The fact that Seagate's File Recovery Software was actually able to identify the hard drive is a positive sign.
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#12 emilysu99

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:45 AM

I'm not too worried about the warranty. It might be under warranty still as it is only 2 months old but Seagate doesn't warranty data. If I sent the drive in for repair under warranty they would just wipe my data and fix it or send me a new drive. I am still trying to decide how valuable the data is. I would probably pay $500 to recover it but not $1500. I have all of my photos on it from the 3 years ago until about 6 months ago, all of my past school work, art work and portfolio (I'm a designer), and every last bit of my music. All told between 50-100G of stuff.

#13 AustrAlien

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:25 PM

I agree that you should not be overly concerned about the warranty in this case: You are risking the value (? $100) of the external hard drive, but your other choices seem to be even more unpleasant.

Do you have a desktop PC with a SATA port (and SATA-type power connection also) that you can use to connect the hard drive when you take it out of the enclosure? It doesn't necessarily have to be in-addition to what is already installed and connected in the box, since you can disconnect the existing hard drive and use those same connecting cables, if we use a bootable Linux CD/flashdrive to attempt to access the problematic hard drive and recover the data (to a flashdrive or another external hard drive).

If you do go ahead and remove the hard drive from its enclosure, be gentle with it, and do not risk damaging the hard drive further by rough treatment, especially hard/sharp bumps or knocks.

The following instructions can be used if you do go ahead and connect the problematic hard drive to the motherboard of a desktop PC. There are many options, but here are detailed instructions for one method ...

:step1: Download GETxPUD.exe to the desktop of a working computer
  • Run GETxPUD.exe
  • A new folder will appear on the desktop.
  • Open the GETxPUD folder and click on get&burn.bat
  • The program will download xpud_0.9.2.iso, and when finished will open BurnCDCC ready to burn the image.
    Please be patient: This could take awhile - download file size 63MB.
  • Click on Start and follow the prompts to burn the image to a CD.

:step2: Boot the computer to the xPUD CD.
  • A Welcome to xPUD screen will appear.
  • Click on File.
  • Expand the mnt icon on the left (click on the little arrow beside the icon).
  • sda1, sda2 etc. ...usually correspond to your HDD partitions
  • sdb1, sdc1 is likely to correspond to the partitions of any other connected hard drive, or USB flashdrive, external USB hard drive etc.
Are you able to view and access your data on the problematic hard drive partitions?


:step3: Copy your important files to an external media using xPUD:

  • Firstly, connect the external hard drive or flashdrive to which you wish to save your files.
  • Open your hard drive partition and navigate to the files/folders that you wish to copy.
  • Select multiple files/folders by holding down the <CTRL> key and selecting them all.
  • Use right-click > Copy
  • Navigate to where you wish to save the files, and in the right-side window pane, use right-click > Paste.
To shut down the computer:
  • Home > Power off
Success?
AustrAlien
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#14 Murph236

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

I am new to this community, but I have a similar problem. Should I create another thread or can I ask my question here?

#15 caperdog

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:30 PM

ask away Murph




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