Hey sMax! Thank you for your help. I def. can't afford what it would cost to have an expert take care of it... so I am left to try some data recovery options like you suggested. Otherwise the drive will just sit here forever for me to look at sadly. I can't believe just having the on and off switch toggled a few times has done this! Oh well, I will look in Recuva or Data Rescue even though my problem DOES seem like hardware issues... Quick quwestion... do those programs try to fix the drive at all or just transfer the data? Probably transfers.. I'd have to find a lot of space some how. But my situation doesn't look good.
Generally such programs are mainly for recovering the files to another drive. It is possible that some data recovery programs might be able to fix some "software" disk programs such a rebuild directories, etc…but you would have read the features to know if a data recovery programs will do such work or not.
The end result is that it will likely be a recovery operation only. Even if you could somehow "repair" the drive, you would DEFINITELY not want to trust that drive and quickly get all your data onto a new drive. The point is that you will need a new drive under basically all scenarios.
If a drive is spinning, then sometimes it cannot take much to royally hose it. So, if the drive was actually "doing stuff" when the switch was flipped on and off, then it might be enough. The other possibility is that the drive have been on its "last legs" so to speak already and the flipping of the switch on and off tipped it over the edge.
If it comes to it I will follow your instructions and try pulling the internal drive out. I appreciate all the ideas! My brother also told me he heard someone put their drive in the freezer for a while or something. Hmmm, that will be the LAST attempt though.
I have heard of people saying that putting a drive in the freezer helped them be able to mount the drive long enough to get their data off. I have no clue how accurate such reports are as I have never tried it myself.
Well, asuming you check this thread again... I KNOW so well that you are right about backing up.. BECAUSE this HAS happened a long time ago too. The only thing I can't figure out is how to back up?? I'm a data hog.. so if I have a TB drive almost full, what do I have to do? By another drive to just put the exact same stuff on it?? I DID back up a few pictures and stuff, but that was a loooong time ago and out dated.. so most important documents with important info etc. are gone :\
Backing up can be a simple or as complex as you want. A lot of it will depend on how paranoid you are about protecting your data.
The simplest approach is to get a second drive and manually copy (i.e. just like you would copy a file in Windows from one location to another) any important files from the primary drive to the backup drive. Obviously, if you are dealing with a lot of data/files, then this can become tedious, especially trying to keep track of what you have backed up and what you have not.
So, the next step up is to use some sort of backup program. Depending on what version of Windows you are running, you might have built-in Windows backup function. For some versions of Windows, it is pretty good. Of course, you can always buy a third party backup program. Most backup programs allow you to setup automatic backup schedules…or you could do it manually (i.e. you manually start up the backup program and run the backup yourself). If you go this route, then you will want a backup program that can do "incremental backups". You could even look at an online backup service like Carbonite, CrashPlan, Mozy, etc. When you reach that point of trying to pick backup software, you can always create another thread asking for advice.
From there is can get more and more complicated by doing multiple backup copies, adding in offsite storage of at least one backup copy (some people use online "cloud" backups for this), etc.
The other simple way would be have your new external drive be an RAID 1 external drive. A RAID 1 actually uses to hard drives such that the one hard drive automatically, on-the-fly is being duplicated to the other drive. The idea is that if one of the drives in the RAID 1 array dies, you will still have your data on the other drive. Technically, this is not a "true" backup as you can still lose data to accidental deletion or file corruption (i.e. you delete or corrupt the file on one drive, it gets deleted or corrupted on the other drive). As a result, even if you go this route, you likely would still want to do a traditional backup to another separate external drive.
Anyway, no matter what happens I want to thank you so much for your time and information! Without it I'd be a sitting duck So.. THANKS again ;)
P.S. Those programs like Recuva can only help me if my drive shows up huh?
Depends on why the drive is not showing up. If the partition table has been hosed, then yes, they may still help. If it is an actual hardware problem like we suspect, however, then they probably will not help…unless maybe was some sort of intermittent hardware failure that did something like hose the partition table, etc (i.e. not enough of a hardware failure that the drive is completely dead, but a more "minor" hardware failure that scrambled some of the critical OS level type information that is need to mount the drive).