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Hardware Thread, Harddrive issue- is it safe to reformat and then recover? in Technical; Hi, I've got a 1 TB Seagate Freeagent Go Portable HD that's seems busted. Has been working fine for several ...
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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    Harddrive issue- is it safe to reformat and then recover?

    Hi, I've got a 1 TB Seagate Freeagent Go Portable HD that's seems busted. Has been working fine for several years, has loads of data on it. Only 1 partition.

    Last week, Windows 7 suddenly gave a message that the drive needs reformatting, because apparently it wasn't.

    Disk Management in Computer Management lists the disk as 'RAW', gives it a drive letter, but I can't connect to it in Windows Explorer.

    I've read here that an idea is to do a full format of the drive (NTFS), then use a file recovery program to get the data back. Obviously I'm a bit nervous about this, but it sounds ok in principle. Do you think this would work?

    And no, the data isn't backed up....

    Thanks for any advice


    ps- programs like "Save My Files", "Recover My Files", "Zero Assumption Recovery", "MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition", "Handy Recovery", "iCare data Recovery Software", "Seagate File Recovery for Windows", "Find and Mount", and "EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition 5.5.1" haven't been able to recognise the drive...
    Last edited by rocknrollstar; 9th May 2012 at 07:43 PM.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Do NOT format! IIRC, there was chat on here recently that W7 does a full 'write '0's format which will pretty much stuff your chances of recovering any files, anyway, that is besides the point. What may have happened is that your MFT has got corrupted rendering all of the information on the disk unreadable. What you should do is to remove the drive and into either a second machine or caddy and use a program such as Recuva to get your files back. I highly doubt the information is missing (unless something has gone horribly, horribly wrong mechanically) and the information should still be in a readable format on the disk. You could also try using a recovery boot disk, and even using chkdsk /f by booting into recovery mode with the W7 installation disk.
    DO NOT FORMAT

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    Jawloms's Avatar
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    If Windows 7 formats it with 0's, can't he bung it in an XP machine and format it?

    I've used GetDataBack successfully a couple of times.

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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    that was my question! What about xp formatting?

    Also, I thought chkdsk doesn't work on a drive recognised as RAW?

    Thanks.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    This one strikes me of being as bit 'gimmiky'. OK, you have a drive where all of the MFT and NTFS info has been lost. This does not necessarily mean your actual info has gone anywhere. Physically writing to the disk, and over the top of your files with a format will, IMHO, not be doing you any favours in the long run. I would concentrate on recovering information from an un-tampered with disk before getting desperate. And, if you have tried everything you can with that, only then try more desperate measures.
    Try Recuva on a deep scan.

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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    thanks dosbox, just not sure what you mean by "recovering information from an untampered with disk"? Do you mean doing chkdsk in recovery mode?

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    It's worth trying it on XP anyway. I've had a couple of memory sticks give that message on Win7 and they've opened fine on XP without having to do anything.

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    Duke5A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollstar View Post
    thanks dosbox, just not sure what you mean by "recovering information from an untampered with disk"? Do you mean doing chkdsk in recovery mode?
    He means, whatever you do, DON'T format it until you've exhausted all other possible options. There is a good possibility the controller in the external caddy has failed. Remove the drive like Dos_Box recommended, place it into a functioning machine (I wouldn't use another caddy for this), and retry your recovery efforts from there. Good luck.

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    If you don't have any luck with Windows (XP or 7), a bootable (live) Linux disc might be worth a try since they can sometimes mount volumes which are seen as RAW by Windows.

    Another program I have successfully used in the past to re-write the partition structure on a disk is TestDisk. I followed the instructions here, although this should only be attempted as a last resort. Also, if you have a spare HDD I would try to clone the corrupt drive first and then work from the copy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    W7 does a full 'write '0's format which will pretty much stuff your chances of recovering any files
    Only the full format does this. The quick format will simply overwrite the MFT.
    Last edited by Arthur; 9th May 2012 at 09:09 PM.

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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Also, if you have a spare HDD I would try to clone the corrupt drive first and then work from the copy.
    Thanks Arthur. What's the best way of doing this? I do have a 1tb usb disk, although there is data on that. Can I take an image of the corrupt drive, and save it on this working usb drive?

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    mattx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollstar View Post
    Can I take an image of the corrupt drive and save it on this working usb drive?
    There are tons of different applications that can take an exact copy of a drive. A couple I have used in the past are RMPrepUSB and HDD Raw Copy Tool* (with OSFMount being used to mount the .img file afterwards in Windows). Some data recovery programs (like GetDataBack) can work with image files directly so you don't necessarily have to mount it with a drive letter in Windows Explorer.







    * Make sure you choose FILE as the destination for the .img file with this program.

  13. 2 Thanks to Arthur:

    SYNACK (10th May 2012), tech_guy (10th May 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollstar View Post
    programs like ... haven't been able to recognise the drive.
    I forgot to mention it above, but PhotoRec would be yet another good program to try. Despite the name, it isn't just for photos.

    Download and run it from your spare 1TB hard drive and then follow the step-by-step instructions here.

    Have you taken the drive out of the enclosure and connected it directly to you PC via SATA? As @Duke5A mentioned, it could be the controller that has failed preventing the data recovery programs you have already tried from seeing the hard drive itself.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    > Make a linux live disk.
    > Boot live disk.
    > Connect HDD.
    > ???
    > Files.


    Just a suggestion.

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    Winhex but you gotta pay for it.



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