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External hard drive problem


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#1 MalwareMutilator

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 05:54 PM

Hi all, :)

The motherboard on a friend's laptop fried, and she has about 150 gig of data she needs (pictures, music, etc.) I took what I thought would be the easy route and purchased a Sabrent SATA to USB kit to retrieve the data. At first I thought the kit was not working as other than lighting up, absolutely nothing happened when I attached the kit to my laptop. However, after swapping the hard drive with the drive from my laptop, my computer boots up just fine using her hard drive.

I dug deeper and finally discovered that her drive WAS being recognized using the Sabrent (sort of), but Windows reports that the drive is not “initialized”. Windows disc manager only reports that the drive is a USB mass storage device. Windows does not assign a drive letter, and I cannot access the drive.

My question is . . . if I “initialize” the disc, will I lose the data? I can obviously retrieve the data now by swapping drives, but I am curious what is wrong. :unsure:

Both drives (hers and mine) are Vista. Both computers are Toshiba's (very similar models but not exact).

Thanks,
George

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#2 James Litten

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:04 PM

Hi

You don't want to initialize it.

Have you tried connecting it to the laptop via USB prior to turning on the laptop?
Sometimes that will get a better detection of the drives parameters then plugging the USB into the laptop after it is running and having Windows Plug and Play do the detection.

James

#3 MalwareMutilator

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:54 AM

Hi James,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have tried that, and just about every other combination I can think of. I always see the same condition "drive not initialized". In truth, I am unaware of what "initializing" a drive is. Is it some form of low-level format? Does that procedure result in data loss?

I have learned one thing for certain though . . . the cables Sabrent furnishes are pure junk!

Any other ideas you may have would certainly be appreciated. With the large amount of data she needs to recover, the task will be really time consuming without having her old drive directly attached to her new laptop (direct copy and paste). Neither of us owns a large capacity external drive, so I guess we either purchase one, or fill-up our little 50 meg pen drives about 25 times. :hysterical:

Thanks again,

George

#4 James Litten

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

An uninitalized disk in Windows means that Windows can not determine the proper structure of the Master Boot Record (MBR) in the first sector of the disk. The internal connection seems to read it correctly yet the external(USB) does not.

That makes it a good candidate for recovery with a Linux LiveCD. There are a couple of good CD's out there that you can try.

Here are some instructions using a Puppy Linux LiveCD

Here are some (perhaps oversimplified) instructions from me using a PartedMagic CD

If this does not work, let us know.

After you recover the files, let me know and I'll tell you how you can probably repair the drive. Getting important data off of it should be done first.

James

Edited by James Litten, 21 October 2012 - 12:00 PM.


#5 MalwareMutilator

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

Hi James,

The answer was simple. I took the adapter back to Tigerdirect and exchanged it for this:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2477926&CatId=3770

Worked like a charm. Now I can access the entire drive. Also, this adapter kit is far better built that the other.

Thanks again, :thumbsup:

George

#6 MalwareMutilator

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:53 PM

I forgot to mention that Tigerdirect told me they are having a lot of returns on the other adapter. Perhaps the CRAP cables they are supplying?

George

#7 James Litten

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for the update, George. I'll make a note of the problem with that product and you'll probably save me some time in future repairs with that knowledge :)

James




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