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Hard Drive suddenly showing as unformatted.


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#1 Bladactania

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:11 PM

Hello! I'm having an issue with a hard drive...

The 300GB Seagate Barracuda drive resides in an old desktop that hasn't been used for approximately 6 months. I installed the drive as a secondary to store music and other media on to free up space on the small boot drive that already existed. The drive has worked perfectly for at least 4 years (ran diagnostic tools on it every few months). 6 months ago, everyone in the house upgraded to new laptops and the desktop went unused for several months. I decided to set it up in the spare bedroom and use it as a rudimentary storage device for the network. To make sure the computer would work at it's most efficient, I performed a factory restore. I did not disconnect the secondary drive, however in the past I had done a factory restore with the drive attached with no issues.

Upon booting the newly restored desktop (which runs Windows XP incidentally) and performing the myriad updates, I attempted to access the secondary drive. I was told by Windows that the drive was unformatted and would I like to format it now. I selected No, of course. Intrigued, I removed the drive from the desktop and placed it inside an IDE drive enclosure I had and connected it to my laptop (running windows 7 via USB. Same result.

I did some minor research to figure out what the problem could have been. I went to cnet where I regularly go for information. I tried a few of their suggested software titles to attempt to fix the issue. The first I tried was MiniTool Partition Wizard to see if maybe the partition info on the drive was corrupted, but that didn't seem to have any effect. Then I tried MiniTool Power Data Recovery which analyzed my drive and was able to determine that there were still files on the drive that I could recover. With the free version limiting me to 1GB of recovery files, I decided to try it out. It recovered a number of mp3 files which it copied to my internal drive. The recovered file were named file1 file 2 etc. Not very convenient!

Next I tried GetDataBack. This provided more help as it detected my existing file structure including folders and original file names. However, to actually recover the files, I would have to purchase the full version for $79. I am willing to do this if necessary, but I would like to know for sure that it is necessary. The drive hasn't been completely overwritten or anything, it just seems to me that come crucial part of the drive has been altered like the file tables or whatever.

Is there a way to quickly restore the drive without needing to use an expensive software suite to recover the "lost" files? What is the likely cause/solution to my problem?

If any more information is required I will happily supply it!

Thank in advance,
Blad

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:31 PM

I own a license to use GetDataBack-NTFS...I found it worthwhile to pay. I haven't had to use recovery software in about 3-4 years now so I can't tell you anything more specific about it or any other data-recovery product.

If you are asking is there some miraculous way to recover/save/rescue a hard drive/partition that Windows tells you that it does not see...I can only say...none that I'm aware of. Something has gone wrong with the partition structure or the hard drive itself...that can only be clarified (IMO) by running a diagnostic on the hard drive and attempting a clean install.

I've never used any of the following, but others here have reported success with them:

TestDisk - Recoveery Software - http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Testdisk Instructions - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic377698.html/page__st__15

TestDisk Step By Step - CGSecurity - http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

Partition Find and Mount free partition recovery software - http://findandmount.com/

Recuva - Undelete, Unerase, File and Disk Recovery - Free Download - http://www.piriform.com/recuva

Louis

#3 Bladactania

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:41 PM

Bingo! I downloaded and used Find and Mount. It took about 2 minutes to so a quick scan of the drive and then mounted the found partition. now the drive shows as drive M in windows explorer with all my files where they should be!

Thank you so much for your help!

#4 hamluis

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 05:38 PM

:thumbsup: , glad you resolved it...happy computing :).

Louis




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