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External HD no longer appears and no drive letter


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#1 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 01:10 PM

Problem: previously working external HD no longer accessible. Shows as not initialized and no drive letter in Disk Management. Right clicking on drive within Disk Management does NOT bring up an option for assigning a drive letter. Instead a small box shows only four items available: Initialize Disk (grayed out), Offline, Properties, Help. Right clicking on the black single partition area brings up seven options (the first five are grayed out): New Simple Volume, New Spanned Volume, New Striped Volume, New Mirrored Volume, New Raid-5 Volume, Properties, Help.

 

Using CMD with administrator privileges so as to use the diskpart process does not work. Neither "list disk" nor "list volume" shows the plugged-in disk, only shows the SSD integral boot disk.  Third party software does show the disk, but the only option is to perform a VERY long "repair" process for which I would first have to purchase another high capacity disk to transfer the data onto etc.  So my hope is that the hardware/software problem can be fixed without doing all that.  Any ideas?  Thanks

 

Attached File  Screen Shot 3.jpg   84.39KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  Screen Shot 1.jpg   75.89KB   0 downloads

 

Lenovo L440 laptop

Operating System Platform: NT/2000/XP/Vista

Operating System Major Version: 6

Operating System Minor Version: 1

Operating System Build Number: 7601

Service Pack Description: Service Pack 1

Service Pack Major Version: 0

Service Pack Minor Version: 0

Product Edition: Windows 7 Professional

Windows Directory: C:\Windows

Windows System Directory: C:\Windows\system32

Shared Windows Directory: C:\Windows



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 01:57 PM

Something on the drive became scrambled. Your second image shows the 6TB drive as being MBR. A 6TB drive needs to be GPT, not MBR. That is why is shows 2TB as other (the max a MBR disk can be formatted to) and the other space as unallocated.  Did attempt to rebuild the MBR using the partition program? I would not attempt this on a 6TB GPT disk.

 

Sometimes on an external you could remove it from the enclosure and attach it to another computer if the USB bridge card is bad but not so much with WD's as the bridge card is proprietary and the data is encrypted.

 

If there is any chance of fixing this you would need to download Testdisk for Windows and attempt to repair the partition table if possible.

 

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

 

Run the program and select Advanced > Boot. How is the boot sector listed? If the boot sector is shown as okay you can then do a Quick Search and look for any partitions. Highlight any partitions found and then press the "P" key. Do you see your files? Depending on how important this data is I would recommend you get another drive and copy the files first then attempt to repair the partition table. If you do not see your partition using Quick Search you will need to do a Deeper Search and this will take considerable time on a 6TB drive.

 

Any files copied default to the folder you unzipped Testdisk to so you if do decide to purchase another drive to copy any files found by Testdisk copy the unzipped folder to Testdisk to the new external and run it from there. That way all your copied files will default to the new external. 



#3 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 03:26 PM

Yeah, I noticed the MBR discrepancy also . . and no, have not attempted any sort of repair thus far, for fear of screwing things up worse before I had a good idea of what was wrong.

 

Will try the suggested procedure once I buy another HD.  Thanks for your input!

 

Any additional "Aha!" flashes of insight or alternatives always welcome during the interim . . can't do the new HD purchase (for saving recovered data, if any) for another week or so.



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 04:05 PM

What you can do is a Quick Search and see if any partitions are found. This will not write anything to the drive. Select EFI/GPT and highlight any found partitions. If no partitions are found using EFI/GPT do another Quick Search using Intel.  Press the "P" key. If you see your files you should be good to go when you get the new drive. Just remember to copy the Testdisk folder to the new drive and launch it from there. 

 

Worse case scenario would be to use PhotoRec to scan the drive. PhotoRec being part of Testdisk. The downside of using it is all files are recovered in real time with generic names with the proper extensions. You can imagine how hard it would be to open and rename all the files on a 6TB drive.

 

Easeus and Minitools have Data Recovery Software that will scan the drive and recover the actual file names but these are paid programs. All scans will take a long time on a 6TB drive.



#5 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 04:46 PM

Am not sure I completely understood the details re Quicksearch but I did see it highlighted after a couple of preliminary steps.  Ended up with Screen Shot 4 as attached.

 

Can you make any sense of it?

 

Thanks

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#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 05:01 PM

I forgot to mention. You probably see this because you downloaded the 64bit version. You should download the 32bit version even when the OS is 64bit.

 

https://forum.cgsecurity.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=5773

 

See post by fiona.

 

Also it could be due to external drive being advanced format. I am not sure. But I would do the scan again using 32bit Testdisk.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Format

 

Edit: There is a Geometry Menu in TestDisk. If you get the same error after doing a QuickSearch with Testdisk 32bit select it and then post a screenshot.

 

Menus.png


Edited by JohnC_21, 29 April 2018 - 05:12 PM.


#7 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 05:30 PM

Ok, here are some screen shots of the process, including an Intel Quicksearch towards the end.

 

Not that I know diddly-squat, but that last one at least suggests to me that the data is ok?

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#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 05:47 PM

On that first image where you see the green highlighted partition do you see ALL your files after pressing "P"?

 

If not on your last image it shows a mismatch. Click on Geometry (see edited post #6) and post a screenshot. It may be required to change the Geometry of the drive (does not write anything to the drive) and run the scan again using EFI/GPT if you do not see all your files when pressing P in that first image.



#9 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 06:19 PM

I didn't know to type "P" etc but following your last instructions, per the screenshot, thus far I do see a small portion of the files, as shown.

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#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 06:29 PM

Each one of those is a directory so there would be more files in each. On the drive were there more directories in the root of the drive then what is shown in your image?


Edited by JohnC_21, 29 April 2018 - 06:29 PM.


#11 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 06:51 PM

Yes, I believe so, if I take your meaning that when I would click on "Computer" and see all the attached hard drives, then clicking on that particular large one I'm pretty sure that many other items would appear besides those shown on the screen shot.  Perhaps so far it is only showing one partition?  Though I'm pretty sure it was just one large partition, as I recall . . so maybe it has been sub-divided by whatever error process is at work?



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 07:04 PM

If your drive when working properly had more directories then Run Testdisk again and this time select Geometry and post a screenshot. Also Select Advanced and then the Boot option at the bottom of the window using the arrow keys. Post a screenshot. 



#13 richloomis

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 07:17 PM

Did not see anything that said "Boot" on that last item, see screenshot

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#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 07:29 PM

That's interesting. In the first image highlight sector size and change it to 4096. After changing then go back to Advanced  and see if Boot is listed. If not then go back to Analyze, select EFI/GPT and so a Quick Search. Changing geometry in Testdisk does not affect the actual geometry of the drive. Testdisk uses it for scanning only.

 

After changing it do another Quick Search using EFI/GPT. Do you still get the same mismatch.

 

If you still get the error then I recommend you post in the Testdisk forum explaining the GPT to MBR switch and the sector mismatch.

 

https://forum.cgsecurity.org/phpBB3/testdisk-photorec-forum-in-english-f2.html



#15 DataMedic

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 09:05 AM

Are you working with the drive still in the enclosure or did you remove it?  (I assume you removed it)  I ask because many WD drives such as My Book encrypt the data via the USB->SATA bridge. 

 

So if you take it out, the data is now encrypted.

 

I just hope you didn't initialize it or write any partition structure to it.  If so, you'll have a much harder time recovering the data now.


Edited by DataMedic, 30 April 2018 - 09:06 AM.





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