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Hard drive clames to need formating (much help please))

Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
edited April 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So my backup external hard drive, the one i keep my school work on just claimed that it needs to be formatted and I can't read nor write to. This is very bad, is there anything i can do to get the data back? Help please!!!

Cptn Pants on

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    ElectricTurtleElectricTurtle Seeress WARegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Heh, good luck. So here are things you can do: plug it in to a different computer. Also, if the drive has more than one interface such as USB vs. IEEE1394 vs. eSata, try the other interface in a different computer. If you still can't get to your data, void that warranty and tear it open. Take the HDD out and figure out if it's PATA/IDE or SATA or SCSI or whatever. Find a desktop that you can hook that sucker into (I'm assuming the enclosure contains a 3.5" HDD, and not a 2.5" laptop style or some proprietary micro drive like they use in embedded devices) and see if you can get your data. Being able to put the drive on a bus other than USB will also give you more options via BIOS that you can mess with to potentially find a magical combination that unlocks an otherwise inaccessible drive. There are those out there who might criticize such methods, but let me tell you, after a decade of messing with old broken hardware, sometimes the same hardware works when it otherwise should not and doesn't work when it otherwise should, and if you reach the point of messing with BIOS settings to try to read you data, chances are it's irretrievably gone already anyway.

    Honestly, if it doesn't work on a different computer or different interface, you're probably looking at a 4 in 10 chance of it working after being dismantled and transplanted into a desktop. If it doesn't work then, you've got a less than 1 in 10 chance of fixing it by messing with your hard drive controller's bus settings.

    ElectricTurtle on
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    DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2007
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/08/10

    Sorry to be of little help. Do what ElectricTurtle said.

    Doc on
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    FristleFristle Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    What ElectricTurtle said. Your drive has had a failure of some kind, and you'll have to try to salvage the data, but you can't do it over USB. That is why you need to remove the disk from the enclosure and attach it to a SATA or IDE controller in your desktop computer.

    Once you do, you need to make an image of the drive as soon as possible (if you can). There's a lot of choices of software out there to do that, I don't use them often enough to make a recommendation though. Once you've imaged the drive you can relax a bit, and try some things out. You might have to run an "undelete"/forensics application to dig through the drive image and try to recover files. If I were on Windows I might try SleuthKit (windows install binary here).

    Fristle on
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    redimpulseredimpulse Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    There is also a chance that it's just the USB enclosure. I've seen that more than enough times.

    Regardless, if you can get it in a machine, also consider the old tried 'n' true booting from a live cd such as Knoppix to retrieve data. Linux is a little better at retrieving off of dying drives than Windows is.

    redimpulse on
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    FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Only if you are trully desperate: I keep hearing amazing things about Spinrite. I don't know if this constitutes as some kind of publicity for them so I won't link anything. Just google it.

    It costs a bit of money though, but TWiT and TWiS (obviously sponsered by and with them) come up with some interesting stories and cases where that piece of software managed to save the day. If your HD is really near death, this might do the trick to get as much data back as possible. It will try to do everything to get information from "lost clusters" by moving the head towards bad areads from different directions. They explained that even though some clusters are damaged, it does not mean that all the data in the cluster can't be read none the less.

    Anyway... I also hear that the thing can take several hours to diagnose a drive, sometimes up to 24 hours.

    Frugus on
    Frugus Eggbeater
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    wow, it might be worth a shot, i'm gonna check to see if my warrinty is up and if it is i'll rip this sucker apart.

    Cptn Pants on
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