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Unable to access external hard drive


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#1 marebear

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:01 PM

Hi -

 

I have a WD 500GB external hard drive that I have used to store important files over the years. Recently I tried to access it through my windows vista laptop and it was not displaying as one of my drives on my computer. After some mucking around (i.e., trying different USB ports, shutting down and powering up the hd and/or laptop) it finally listed as a drive on my computer. The pickle now is: I am unable to access it. I receive an error message that prompts me to format the disk before I can use it. This is obviously not what I want to do since I need the files on this hd. Properties of this drive show that both used and free space are 0 bytes (?!!).

 

I have tried using the cmd function to rename the drive but it gave me an error message related to the hd being FAT32. I attempted to convert to NTFS but that didn't work; I receive the error message of "Conversion from FAT32 to NTSF volume is not available."

 

I have tried using Parted Magic. Through both the quick and deep scans came up with "No partition found or selected for recovery."

 

The contents on this hd is irreplaceable. I would like to somehow find a way to access these files so I can copy them to a reliable storage device. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Mary

 

 



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#2 dc3

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:57 AM

You can try using Recuva.


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#3 chrisd87

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:25 AM

Right Click My Computer --> Manage --> Disk Management

Right click on the long blueish colored bar of the external drive.
Select change drive letter and path option
Assign a new drive letter

You should be able to see your data I hope *fingers crossed*

 

If that doesn't work then you can try to do a chkdsk on the drive to fix any errors.

 

1.Open a command prompt.

2.Type chkdsk ?: /r and press Enter *There is a space after the :*

3. The ? is the drive letter of the external drive.


Edited by chrisd87, 06 September 2013 - 10:36 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#4 dc3

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:54 AM

it gave me an error message related to the hd being FAT32.

 

Marebear, most USB drives (hdds, flash drives) are formatted to Fat32, this is because there are operating systems which can't read NTFS, Mac computer are a good example.

 

 

 

I have tried using the cmd function to rename

 

chrisd87, marebear has already tried to change the drive letter from the command prompt.  I would guess the command was diskpart, and entering list volume in the command prompt. 


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#5 chrisd87

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:03 AM

Renaming the drive and assigning a new drive letter is 2 different things. *I took it a different way, sorry for that.*

 

Has she tried to repair the drive with chkdsk?

 

Also, Mac's can read NTFS fine, they just can't write to them without special software and drivers.


Edited by chrisd87, 06 September 2013 - 11:29 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#6 dc3

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:24 AM

1)  Has he tried to repair the drive with chkdsk?

 

2)  Also, Mac's can read NTFS fine, they just can't write to them without special software and drivers.

 

1)  "He" signed their post as Mary. :whistle:   There has been no mention of running chkdsk /r since it is questionable at this point if the drive will be recognized.  It would have to be run from a command prompt.  I will suggest  this to her.

 

2)  There are Mac operating systems like Lion which can not read NTFS files.  The following is an excerpt from post #2 at MacRummors.

 

The NTFS file system on your hard drive cannot be read by Lion because it is not in a file structure that OX 10 can read. If you search the internet there is a piece of software that you can download onto OX10 (Lion) and it will read it. The software I really can't remember what it is but I have used it.

Edited by dc3, 06 September 2013 - 11:25 AM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#7 chrisd87

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:34 AM

I added the s in front of the h and dotted my i's and crossed my t's while I was at it... :clapping: Once again Lion can natively read NTFS, but can't right to it without software.... Here you go.

 

Let's focus on the topic at hand here...


Edited by chrisd87, 06 September 2013 - 11:36 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#8 dc3

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:50 PM

Marebear,  if this is the result of a bad hdd sector/s running chkdsk /r can help with this.  The question is will the external drive be recognized.

 

I'm sure you know how this is done, type cmd in the search box, right click on cmd in Programs above the search box and choose Run as administrator.  In the command line type chkdsk (external drive letter):/r  , then press Enter.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#9 marebear

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:12 PM

Thank you for your replies. My apologies for not being concise (due to my own ignorance) and the resulting confusion. By renaming I meant I was trying to assign a different letter to the drive. 

 

chrisd87: I had previously tried to change the drive letter through the cmd prompt but it resulted in an error message (its exact iterations I cannot recall with my goldfish memory, sorry). As per your suggestion I was able to change the drive letter in disk management utility but I still cannot access it (again it keeps prompting me to format it).

 

dc3/chrisd87: The chkdsk resulted in "The type of file system is FAT32. Cannot read boot sector." This is why I tried to (unsuccessfully) convert it to NTFS.

 

dc3: I will now try Recuva and see if it makes a dent.

 

I'll update on my progress. Thanks!



#10 chrisd87

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

If Recuva doesn't work you can try this as well.

 

Also TestDisk is a powerful free Data Recovery Software.

TestDisk Step By Step to recover lost partitions and repair damaged FAT/NTFS boot sector


Edited by chrisd87, 06 September 2013 - 02:42 PM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#11 marebear

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:03 AM

So this is what has transpired since my last post:

 

1) I tried Recuva. After its analysis, it stated that it would be able to recover a small fraction of my files (about 50 of my 37,000+ files). I looked through the list and none of them were files I were particularly interested in. I thought maybe another program would be able to find more.

2) So next I tried TestDisk. I followed the step by step instructions (thanks chrisd87) but my results were different from what is illustrated in the instructions (i.e., only through Deeper Search it found something but instead of it being a partition it was listed as 'MyBook'; and it did not allow me to change it to Logical or Write).

3) After that I tried GetDataBack. Its analysis appeared to be locating a lot of the files that I was interested in recovering. It ran for a while. I left it overnight. It was still analyzing after almost 24hrs when I heard a recurrent and loud ticking noise from the hdd. At the same time the program was displaying that it was encountering an error in locating files. The ticking and errors persisted. So I decided that this was likely not a good sign and so closed the GetDataBack program.

4) I then went back to Recuva. Thought, "heck any files are better than none." [Please note that I did not close Recuva after it located my files and while I was trying to use other programs to determine if I could recover more files.] I clicked the recover button and as it was starting up, the ticking noise began again from the hdd. So I shut down the program and along with my computer.

 

I think it's a sign that the hdd needs a rest. This is the most action it has ever seen. So it has been off for at least a day now. I will likely try again tomorrow and see what happens.



#12 chrisd87

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:19 AM

Here is a list of failing hard drive sounds. See if you can find yours under the western digital list and see what error yours falls under. Also I forgot to mention is your external drive in an enclosure meaning you can take it out and hook it up to a desktop? Also you can see if any of this helps you. *Scroll down the page and you'll see the information that western digital suggests to try.*


Edited by chrisd87, 09 September 2013 - 08:33 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#13 dc3

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:27 AM

Ticking is not good, in the industry it is known as "the tick of death".

 

I would suggest that you download Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows.  

 

In the upper portion of the page you will see "For Windows", Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows is the second option in the list, click on this.  Scroll down the page and you will find instructions for using this tool.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#14 marebear

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:48 PM

Thanks chrisd87 and dc3.

 

I ran the Data LifeGuard Diagnostics test (both quick and extended tests) before and after the ticking noise and everything comes back as a pass (with a green check mark). 

 

Using WD's troubleshooting tips, it appears like the drive has failed. This all doesn't sound too good for the prognosis of my hdd.

 

Based on the list that you had referred me to chrisd87, the ticking upon startup sounds like a bad preamplifier chip while the ticking during file analysis sounds more like unstable heads. I'm wondering if I did take the casing off if it would make a difference based on these errors? 






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