Ok, so I connected my 1.5Gb external HD to my new Dell laptop (Win 8) to copy files to the laptop. I started the copy process before bed (external drive working properly, files were visible), and when I woke up the next morning I was not able to see any files. Did some research and determined the HD was set to RAW somehow.
Anyway, I found this link: http://html5.litten.com/how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/ and followed the instructions, creating a bootable USB flash drive with Parted Magic. Booted to the USB drive onto my older Dell laptop running Win7, and was able to run testdisk and view my files in parted magic. Whew! They were still there. I then decided to copy my files (the ones I really wanted) to the HD on my laptop. I rebooted into windows and confirmed the files are there and I can open them.
I then tried to use testdisk to fix the external drive, but I am not having any luck. Since I was able to view my files, I chose write, to write a new partition, but it still isn't viewable in windows. Also, since I don't boot to the drive, I tried to change it from * to P, but that didn't have any effect. I have since put it back to *. Also, I did the deep analysis which took all night and the only problem is the read error noted in the screen shot below (ran it again to get the screenshot hence the short % done). BTW, there were no other partitions found. Here are some screenshots of what I am dealing with along with the SMARTCTL log file for the external drive in question.
I have been learning a little bit about HD's, boot sectors, etc during this whole process but am far from understanding how it all really works and how to fix my problem (if I even can). For instance, I read that attribute 197 is an indicator of surface damage, and mine has a high raw value, so I'm wondering if the HD has physical damage that won't allow me to continue using it??
smartctl 6.0 2012-10-10 r3643 [i686-linux-3.7.9-pmagic] (local build)
Copyright © 2002-12, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org
=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family: Western Digital Caviar Green
Device Model: WDC WD15EADS-11P8B1
Serial Number: WD-WMAVU2010932
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 00206017b
Firmware Version: 80.00A80
User Capacity: 1,500,301,910,016 bytes [1.50 TB]
Sector Sizes: 512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Device is: In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is: ATA8-ACS (minor revision not indicated)
SATA Version is: SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s
Local Time is: Sun Mar 24 10:04:50 2013 UTC
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
Warning: This result is based on an Attribute check.
General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status: (0x85) Offline data collection activity
was aborted by an interrupting command from host.
Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status: ( 115) The previous self-test completed having
the read element of the test failed.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection: (32400) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities: (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
Suspend Offline collection upon new
Offline surface scan supported.
Conveyance Self-test supported.
Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities: (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability: (0x01) Error logging supported.
General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 370) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 5) minutes.
SCT capabilities: (0x3031) SCT Status supported.
SCT Feature Control supported.
SCT Data Table supported.
SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x002f 200 200 051 Pre-fail Always - 0
3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0027 204 180 021 Pre-fail Always - 4800
4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 098 098 000 Old_age Always - 2728
5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 200 200 140 Pre-fail Always - 0
7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x002e 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 094 094 000 Old_age Always - 4983
10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 099 099 000 Old_age Always - 1151
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 10
193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 193 193 000 Old_age Always - 21070
194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 109 101 000 Old_age Always - 41
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 148
198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0030 200 200 000 Old_age Offline - 136
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate 0x0008 200 200 000 Old_age Offline - 144
SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed: read failure 30% 4983 6150136
# 2 Short offline Completed: read failure 30% 4983 6150152
# 3 Short offline Completed: read failure 30% 4970 6150136
SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN MIN_LBA MAX_LBA CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
1 0 0 Not_testing
2 0 0 Not_testing
3 0 0 Not_testing
4 0 0 Not_testing
5 0 0 Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.