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I Can See My External Harddrive In "This PC" folder But I Cant access it.


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#1 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 04:20 PM

Hello. Im running 64-bit Windows OS 8.1 on my dell laptop. 1.70GHz Intel Celeron CPUB820. 4GB Installed RAM. Im having a problem accessing my Seagate 3TB Backup Plus External Harddrive.

After arriving from a New Years party, i figured I would free up some space on my laptop and transfer it to my external backup. When i turned it on and plugged it in, I opened Windows Explorer. I saw my external drive there, and clicked on it, but then the address bar started shading in as Green, like it was loading, or trying to load. I Waited for it to finish, but it never did. It got hung up on the very edge so I clicked the "X" next to the address bar and tried to access it again, but it wouldnt let me in.

i tried to safely remove the drive through the remove button, but it said it was busy. I know i set the option to where i can remove it without having to do this step, so i just removed the USB cable and proceeded to try again, but to no avail. I stayed up until 4:30 AM and still nothing.

Here are the things ive done so far.....

1. I've right clicked on the drive in "THIS PC" and click properties, but nothing ever pops up.

2. Ive tried to access the drive through "Disk Management" but it never loads up and it get stuck loading the "virtual...." something or other.

3. Ive tried starting up in SAFE MODE, and plugging in my External drive then but it still wont open.

4. Ive run Malwarebytes, Zemana scans multiple times. Ive run windows defender multiple times. and it doesnt find any malware or virus. I ran Windows Defender, because i had trouble running a full scan with Avast. It would turn off my computer around the 28% mark. I uninstalled it and went back to Windows Defender.

5. I restored my computer to a previous time and tried accessing my external drive again but no success.

6. I tried attaching it to my other ancient laptop that still runs windows XP, but it didnt even appear in the "My Computer" folder.

Ive noticed that my computer "freezes up" when i have the external drive plugged in, i can still move the mouse and open folders, but when i try to surf the web, the pages dont load. I cant even turn off the computer if the external drive is plugged in. Even on several occassions, ive resorted to removing the batter in order to turn off my computer. I know this is very stupid but I seriously couldnt figure out what to do.

Ive also noticed that when i plug in the drive, it no longer has the name i gave it it, It still has the Letter i gave it, but the name is changed back to the default i think.

Im at my wits end. How would i be able to fix this, and if i cant fix it, would i even be able to recover files?

Im feeling very helpless. Someone please help. Thanks.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 04:44 PM

There was a certain 3TB Seagate drive that was a disaster. A class action suit was filed because of their high failure rate. That being said you may have a chance accessing the drive using a live linux distro. Doing a drive test may send it over the edge. Your first priority is to recover your data. Do not attempt a chkdsk either.

 

You first need to disable SecureBoot in your UEFI settings if an OEM computer and if you have hibernation enabled disable it along with fast startup. Uncheck both boxes. Do a full shutdown at the command prompt by typing:

shutdown /f /s /t 0

Reboot and download the iso of Mint Cinnamon. Burn the iso to a DVD by right clicking and selecting Burn Disk Image. Boot Mint and do not input anything until you are at the Mint Desktop. At the desktop click the Computer icon. Your device will be shown in the left pane. Attach your Seagate External. You should see a USB icon appear. Click on it and hopefully Mint will mount the drive and you can copy and paste your files from the external to your internal hard drive. The internal hard drive is show in GBs in the lower left pane. 

 

Two other people with similar problems on Windows were able to retrieve their data using Mint. Good Luck.

 

https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3457

 

If you can't access your files in Mint then Testdisk may be able to recover them.



#3 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 05:48 PM

thanks for your quick response. I didn't realize there was a class action lawsuit against seagate regarding my external HD. I will definitely look into that.

I'm not very tech savvy. The Linux solution seems very complicated. What is the testdisk method? Is that the drive test method you referred to that may send it over the edge?

#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 05:51 PM

Testdisk is software that scans the drive and attempts to recover your files. Actually, using linux Mint is not that difficult. The main thing is to disable SecureBoot in your UEFI settings. When you boot Mint it runs from RAM and the DVD. It doesn't touch your hard drive other when you are copying files to it. 

 

Have you tried attaching the drive to another computer? That may be the first thing you want to do. 



#5 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 07:35 PM

I tried attaching it to my other laptop, but it's very old and runs on Windows XP lol. The harddrive didn't even show up on the "my computer". I won't be be able to access a different computer until the weekend.

What do you think caused this? My computer runs automatic maintenance around 1am when my laptop should be idle and I'm think that's when I tried attaching my hard drive after New year's. Maybe my OS was in the middle of doing something and me attaching the external drive messed it up.

Why does my computer "freeze" up when I attach it? Would I be able to scan it if it seemingly halts the processes of my OS?

Can you post the links of the two other cases you mentioned in your first response that had success with the Linux method. I couldnt find it on the search.

Edited by ifindsikeeps, 02 January 2018 - 07:40 PM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 07:49 PM

Because the drive is 3TB it has a GPT partition table. MBR partition tables only support drives of 2TB. XP cannot read a GPT disk. You would need to attach it to a Windows 7 or later computer. 

 

I can't recall the thread of one but see the below thread. Your case may be different and Mint will not be able to recover your data but it's worth a try. You lose the cost of one DVD or you can use a USB to boot Mint. I can give instructions on using a USB flash drive instead of a DVD.

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/666557/hard-drive-recovery/#entry4410414


Edited by JohnC_21, 02 January 2018 - 07:50 PM.


#7 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 08:09 PM

I guess i still have hope of being able to access the hard drive with my other computer although itll have to wait until the weekend.

 

I think i still have some blank DVDs available. Instructions for a USB Flash Drive would be great though.

 

Theres no chance of the Linux Mint method bricking my laptop right? Would I be able to use the USB Flash Drive on my older laptop that runs windows XP?


Edited by ifindsikeeps, 02 January 2018 - 08:13 PM.


#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 08:25 PM

No, linux will not brick the laptop. The problem being that older computer's with XP usually could not boot a USB flash drive. You can try and see if it boots. You may need to change the boot order in BIOS. Dells have a boot menu accessed by tapping F12 at boot allowing you to select the boot device.

 

If you decide to use Mint and want to try booting from USB download Rufus. Attach the flash drive you want make bootable and run Rufus. Make sure your USB drive is listed. You can leave the partition scheme as MBR if trying to boot from the XP computer. If that does not work than redo the steps and select GPT scheme for your Dell laptop with 8.1. Leave all boxes as checked. Select iso image in the dropdown box. It may list FreeDos. Click the small icon and browse to the Mint iso file you downloaded. Press Start. Backup any data on the USB flash drive as it will be formatted.

 

https://rufus.akeo.ie/



#9 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for all your help JohnC.... Is it possible to postpone this troubleshoot until the weekend? I appreciate all your help and time you're giving me, but I would like to try loading from my other laptop before booting the Linux.

 

I'll bump the post and let you know if it works on my other laptop.

 

thanks again!



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 08:42 PM

No problem. Post back when ready. If I do not respond then give me a PM.

 

Edit: You need to download the 64bit version of Mint. If the XP computer has a 32bit CPU it will not work. You can verify if your CPU is 32bit or 64bit using the utility below.

 

https://www.grc.com/securable.htm


Edited by JohnC_21, 02 January 2018 - 08:45 PM.


#11 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 05:40 PM

Do I have to specifically use Mint Cinnamon or can I use some other lite Linux version like Ubuntu? I might just clean install a lite Linux OS on my older Lenovo xp laptop.

#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 05:56 PM

Ubuntu will work too. I only mentioned Mint Cinnamon as it looks more like Windows vs Ubuntu. People moving from Windows have an easier time using Mint.



#13 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:13 PM

So update. When I tried loading it to ubuntu it wouldn't appear. I manage to try it on another laptop with windows 10 and an error actually popped up. Something about the drive not being accessible because of i/o... something. I was able to access disk management and it's showing up as a RAW disk now. What do I do now?

#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:44 PM

RAW indicates a corrupt file system and or partition table. 

 

You can attempt to see if Testdisk will find the partition table. See the following step by step. I would use the computer that can detect the RAW disk. Unzip the Testdisk file to a folder on your desktop. Run the Quick Search. Highlight any partitions found and then press the "P" key. Do you see your files? If you have enough free space on the drive you unzipped Testdisk to you can copy your files either by highlighting your files/folders and pressing the ":" key then "C" twice to confirm the copy or press the lower case "a" key to highlight everything. If you don't have the space on the drive for recovery you will only be able to recover a few files/folders at a time then transfer them to another drive. If you have a spare USB external drive you could unzip the Testdisk folder to it. All files copied default to the location you unzipped the Testdisk folder to. If a Quick Search does not find any partition then do a Deeper Search. This will take a long time.

 

https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

 

If Testdisk does not find your partition(s) then you will need to scan the drive with recovery software.



#15 ifindsikeeps

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 04:15 PM

Thanks for the help. I'll read up on that tonight.

Is it okay to run testdisk on safemode? If I'm able to copy my files, how do I choose where it is to be copied to? Is there a default folder for it?

Edited by ifindsikeeps, 09 January 2018 - 04:28 PM.





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