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This is a discussion on External HD with irreplaceable urgent data shows files/folders but all are now empty within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. First of all, I have a desktop PC running Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit. Second of all, I apologize for


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Old 08-06-2014, 08:48 AM   #1
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EEK!

First of all, I have a desktop PC running Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit.

Second of all, I apologize for the length of this post but I wanted to include all relevant information and history of the drive in case some piece of that info happened to be key in solving this issue.

Now for the details of what’s going on. I have a 3TB Seagate external hard drive that, up until about 2 weeks ago, I’d been using solely as a backup. I have another backup hard drive as well but it contains older files and is kept off-site. I’m a professional filmmaker and film editor and have a massive amount of raw footage as well as various edits of files which take up an incredible amount of space and, unfortunately, about 2 weeks ago I ran out of space on all of my internal and external hard drives and, at the time, didn’t have the time or money to go out and buy more HDs (online backup is also not an option given the incredibly slow internet speeds where I live vs. the terabytes of data I have stored across numerous drives) so I just started moving my most recent work (around 60GB worth) onto the 3TB backup drive as a temporary measure for storage since I had no other drive with enough space available. I’ve been using this drive since December of 2012 (for backup) with zero issues; it has remained plugged in and turned on since that time. For further info, the drive in question is a Seagate Expansion 3TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STBV3000100).

Then, about 6 days ago, I needed to make room on another hard drive and again, the only drive with adequate space was my 3TB backup drive, so right before going to bed I moved a folder containing 90GB of files from one of my internal drives to the 3TB backup, figuring it would be done transferring by the time I woke up the next morning. I woke up the next morning to find that, 7 hours later, the transfer was still in exactly the same position that it had been the night before – and that, in fact, nothing had been transferred at all. It kept giving me the flashing bar telling me it was about to transfer but no data had actually been moved. I wrote it off as some random glitch as I had to rush out that morning anyway so I cancelled the transfer, shut the computer off, and didn’t think much of it.

About 2 days later (4 days ago), I noticed that the 3TB Seagate no longer showed up on my list of drives when I booted up. I tried unplugging the 3TB backup drive from the computer, restarting with it unplugged and then turning the computer back on and plugging it back into the USB port once the computer was on and it made the standard “drive recognition” noise upon being plugged in to notify that it had been recognized, then came up with the typical window telling me it was scanning it for files like it does whenever I plug an external HD in, and once the blue scanning bar had finished I chose the option to “Open folder to view files using Windows Explorer” and after doing so just got a totally white empty window…no name at the top, nothing, just a completely blank white box that was supposed to be my drive opened in Windows Explorer. I waited for a while for it to load but still nothing. I tried clicking out of the box which prompted a (Not Responding) message at the top of the white box. I tried ctrl + alt + delete but nothing happened. I eventually had to manually power down the computer as the entire PC had frozen and no action had any response whatsoever.

When I powered up the computer again it gave me the usual “system did not shut down properly” screen and I was prompted to boot in Safe Mode. I did this, then restarted, only to have it freeze on the log in screen, prompting yet another manual shut down (and another warning that the system had not been shut down properly.) I can’t remember what the term was that it gave me the second time, but instead of being prompted to either start Windows in Safe Mode or start Windows normally it prompted me to do a “diagnostic test” or something along those lines to determine what was going on. I did this, it ran a test, and came back saying that it could not determine what the issue was. I remember it said something like “if you have plugged in any cameras or other portable media into your computer recently, unplug them and try again.”

I shut down the computer entirely, unplugged the 3TB Seagate Backup, powered on the computer again (it booted up normally) and once it had booted I plugged the 3TB Seagate in once again, this time using a different USB port. Again, it recognized the drive, came up with the scanning drive for files window, but instead of opening it in Explorer I went to Computer to check on it – it was listed there with the same drive letter and the drive name, but instead of having the colored bar underneath it indicating how much space was available (i.e. “46GB Free of 465GB” etc) there was no bar or information whatsoever, which I have never seen before. I took this to be a bad sign, shut the computer off once more, unplugged every external drive, then plugged in only the 3TB external (while the computer was off) and booted up the computer. This time when I went to “Computer” the 3TB Seagate was listed and had the typical blue bar underneath it indicating how much space was used and how much was available, and it was the correct amount of used space. Not only that, when I double clicked it, it actually opened and showed me all the files and folders on the drive instead of freezing and giving me a white window that crashed my computer like before. The problem came when I tried to access any file or folder…it would take a ridiculously long time to load a folder of even 20 images, and though the image files inside the folder were all listed there, no thumbnail previews ever came up and when I tried to double click an image to open it in preview it wouldn’t work and couldn’t show me the image.

Keep in mind that I have roughly 60-80GB of recent material located ONLY on this one drive that is absolutely essential to my work which I have not had a chance to back up anywhere else. At this point I bought four external hard drives (two 3TB External HDs and two 2TB portable HDs) which I should have done a long time ago as I began to run out of space (I also should have had a backup of this backup) but at least now I have those on hand for backup and more storage but the problem is that I can’t get anything on my original 3TB Seagate external HD to work.

First it showed all my files as being there, inside the folders etc, but now it’s doing something else entirely. I rebooted yet again, opened up the 3TB Seagate, it showed all my folders and the files in the drive, but when I opened up any folder it would say the folder was empty. This is something I know not to be true, as those folders contained hundreds of gigabytes worth of data previously, now it just says every folder is empty. Furthermore, it still lists the files in the root directory of the hard drive (G:/) but for example, when I right click and select Properties on a video file I know to be 13GB in size, it’s now listed as being 28.7KB in size instead. Meanwhile, when the drive is viewed in the Computer folder, it still shows the exact same amount of space used…1.13TB free of 2.72TB. Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/FjPqIsZ.png

So, basically I don’t know what to make of all this. Obviously I’m gravely concerned for the 60+ GB of files I need for my work that I recently moved to this drive and exist on this drive ONLY, either in the root directory (but unopenable and listed as only being a few KB in size for some reason) or inside the folders on this drive which Windows Explorer claims are all completely empty. I found a screenshot of the Computer folder from about a week ago (before I had any problems with this drive) that showed it still had the same amount of space used/available (1.13TB free of 2.72TB) which is what it is still saying, but I have no idea how to access or recover anything from this hard drive or what to make of any of what’s happened with it so far.

I would take it to a specialist and gladly pay them to fix it but live in a rural area and am currently without a car for at least another week and the closest PC repair shop that I trust is an hour and 25 minutes away. In the meantime, I *really* need the recent ~60+GB of data that is only on that drive and would like to back up the entire contents of the drive onto another drive (or several) as well to be safe. According to the program CrystalDiskMark the drive is 58% full with 1631GB of data on it - screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/PYldu87.png - but when viewing the drive in Windows Explorer it’s as if the entire drive is empty, and the few files displayed in the root directory are mere kilobytes when they were previously gigabytes in size. I’m afraid to do anything (including restarting the computer or even opening the drive in Windows Explorer again etc) for fear of messing it up even further and potentially losing the data on there forever, if it hasn’t already been permanently lost, which is why I’m posting here for a professional opinion from someone more knowledgeable than I on what to do next.

So, given all of this;
  1. What can I do? How can I recover and/or backup the data on that drive? I have 4 brand new external hard drives available with adequate space on-hand now but Windows Explorer shows my 3TB Backup drive as practically empty, despite the Computer stats and CrystalDiskMark saying otherwise.
  2. What is likely going on here/what is the cause of all this? What does the behavior of this drive over the past week indicate?
  3. Given the info in this this thread, in all likelihood, *is* the data on that drive recoverable?
  4. What is the safest thing I can do to preserve the data on that drive, knowing something is definitely wrong with the drive itself? (Other than waiting another week or more and taking it to a PC repair specialist, time i unfortunately do not have).
Thanks in advance for any help or advice and again, apologies for the length. I really do *greatly* appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this and help me out; I’m currently in crisis mode as this data is irreplaceable *and* time sensitive for my work so any help in recovering it would mean a great deal to me. Thank you.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
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Possibly the USB Controller inside the USB Enclosure for the HDD is in the state of failing. You can remove the HDD from the enclosure and attach it to a USB Adapter or put it into another USB Enclosure with a power adapter.
With the drive attached, if it comes up with a drive letter with a list of folders. Then do a Check Disk on the Drive. Go to Start/Search and type CMD, Right click the CMD results and Run As Administrator. In the Elevated Command Prompt type the drive letter of the external. (eg) G: and press enter. (eg) G:> at this prompt type chkdsk /R and press enter. Now type a Y for Yes to Unmount the drive. Check Disk will go through 5 stages and will take a long while.
If you still have problems, you can try and recover your files by using the free TestDisk Program. I have had the best luck with GetDataBack. You will need another drive of the same size or larger to restore your files to.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:10 PM   #3
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Have you tried checking the drive Seatools (link on @spunk.funk signature) to find out and fix some possible corruption on the drives media?
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:43 PM   #4
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Hi Urgent:
Sorry to hear about your problems. As suggested above, by Spunk you need to attempt some basic repair on the drive outside of the hard drive enclosure on the drive itself. It's very likely the hard drive has partially failed; all the symptoms you describe we see here on a daily basis.

Frozwire suggests that you test the drive with the Seatools utility and this will be helpful, as if it fails that test, the hard drive has failed and you will then be in data recovery mode which I will discuss next.

I too live in a rural area, and am 1 hr. 30 min. away from the closest computer chain repair shop. With no car available to you that shrinks your options. But, here's what I suggest to you. If the suggestions by Spunk do not yield results, AND if the Seatools shows the hard drive has failed, you probably need to consider forensic Professional Data Recovery on that drive. This is very, very expensive and starts at $250 and goes up from there. There are only 2 companies in the U.S. that do this sort of thing reliably, post back and I will tell you who they are once you get to this point after your testing we suggested above.

Both of these recovery companies will accept you shipping your drive directly to them, so as long as you have access to the U.S. Mail Post Office or UPS or Fed-Ex (we have all of these here and we are a town of 20,000 or so), you can get your drive to them to pursue the data recovery. One of the companies, it's going to be a little more difficult since people normally have to go into their store to fill out waiver paperwork. But, there are some workarounds I can suggest for you, though they may cost some cash.

Since you are a professional and are using this data for your business, I'm guessing the cost of recovery is but a fraction of what those files are worth, right? I have several friends who are professional photographers as well, so I understand your dilemma all too well. If you have a Client job waiting on getting the files off that drive, I wouldn't bother testing the drive at all or even attempting your own data recovery. If you make 1 mistake you can hose the MFT (Master File Table index) on that drive, and then that's it! You're data is toast until you send out for Professional Recovery as mentioned. If you have a time-sensitive deadline here you are working against-post back tomorrow, and I will give you the names of the companies, and you can get your data back in 3-9 weeks. If that is going to be too long to meet your Client deadline, I suggest you confess your situation and beg for a deadline extension. In my 27 years of business operation, I've had to do this several times; it doesn't always work, but, sometimes it does, so it's worth a shot.

If your Client can't give you an extension, then in my experience it just wasn't meant to be--and that's not someone you want to continue to do business with anyway. You may read this and say that this is your top client and you do $200,000 per year with them, you cannot afford to lose them. It doesn't matter, it's your error, not theirs so if they don't want to play ball with you, it's beyond your ability to fix; suck it up and move on.

This may seem a bit harsh; but you understand I've been in your shoes many, many times before. AND, if this is your top client I'd be spending about $100 for Overnight Fed-Ex AM delivery of that drive as soon as you get my information to whichever of these 2 companies you wish to try! AND, both these companies will do a post-recovery RUSH SHIP BACK TO YOU FOR A PREMIUM FEE--probably another $100 or more to get to you. You WILL have to ask them for this service. I had to use it on 1 or more occasion and it can speed things up by 1-2 weeks.

Hope these insights prove useful. Post back if you have more questions. I've been doing data recovery for 27 yrs. as I said, and have some experience.

Good luck,
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:41 AM   #5
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Hey everyone, thank you very much for reading and for your helpful responses.

Here are the updates since yesterday (all of which occurred before the first response to this thread, so I apologize for not taking these replies into account while attempting to solve this issue yesterday, but certainly will not and have not discounted them - and after hours of research ended up coming to the same or similar conclusions as mentioned in these responses).

(Once again, apologies for the length of the following post )

First, I called my PC technician (his specialty is actually in Macs but he runs an independent business dealing with the repair of both Macs and PCs) and relayed to him everything I said in my original post.

He had four recommendations:
  • First, disassemble the external HD, get another external enclosure and put the hard drive in there as he said the USB component or something similar may be the issue and putting the drive into a new enclosure may make it work again.
  • Second, disassemble the external HD and install it as an internal HD instead by running a cable down to the motherboard directly, but he was iffy about this because he said that clearly the computer is at least partially recognizing that the drive is there so part of the USB circuitry is working so this may not help (and I believe this also applies to the first option).
  • Third, going to "data recovery people" who would take it to a "clean room" and physically take the drive apart and rebuild it, something that he said would cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 (I called him again later and he told me his previous estimate was actually very low and that it'd likely cost "several times that." For the record, anything in the five-to-six digit price range is something that would be very hard for me to currently afford, despite the value of this data.)
  • Fourth, he suggested ejecting the drive, unplugging the external hard drive entirely (USB and the power source so it doesn't spin up anymore at all) and buying/downloading the "best reviewed Data Recovery Software you can find online" and then once that's downloaded and ready, plug the new 3TB external hard drive in (which is brand new and thus empty) and then plug the old 3TB Seagate backup drive back in and use the Data Recovery Software to back up the data from the old 3TB Seagate external HD to the new 3TB drive.
I went with option 4. First, I tried Piriform's Recuva. I downloaded and installed Recuva, plugged the original 3TB Seagate Hard Drive back in and then plugged in the new 3TB Hard Drive to recover the files to. I followed the instructions on Piriform's website for recovering files from damaged disks and after clicking the drop-down box to specify the drive (G) I discovered that it wasn't there. I unplugged 3 of my other external HDs just to make things easier and when I went to Computer and viewed the drives it listed all 6, including the failed/failing 3TB Seagate Expansion G: drive. Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/S9w42ib.png

C: is my SSD and E: and F: are my internal hard drives, the three of which are all almost full, G: is the failing backup 3TB External Hard Drive I'm trying to recover the data from, H: is just a portable external drive, and I: is the new 3TB hard drive I'm trying to back up the 1.6TB of data to from the G: drive.

However, when I go to select the G: drive in Recuva it lists the other 5 drives but no G: drive. Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/0bANaJ5.png

As you can see, C:, E:, F:, H: and I: are all there, but no G:. Instead, there's:
Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume1)
Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume2)
Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume4)
Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume6)

For each one I went into Options - Actions and selected everything so it would be as thorough as possible. Here's a screenshot of the options I selected for the scans: https://i.imgur.com/xWk8SJj.png

I started with Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume1), expecting a very long scan, but in less than a few seconds it came back with a list of 61 files, none of which I recognized. Here is a screenshot of the scan results: https://i.imgur.com/2kuVpkm.png

I have no idea what any of these scan results are, but considering the vast majority have "Last Modified" dates years prior to December 2012 (when I first bought and installed the 3TB Seagate Expansion Drive) I'm assuming they have nothing to do with the 3TB G: drive I'm trying to recover from.

I then tried the same scan on the other three: (Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume2), Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume4) and Local Disk (\\. \HarddiskVolume6)

Each time I did a scan on these I got this error result: https://i.imgur.com/ziKTPzZ.png
So, unless I'm missing something, it seems I exhausted all options with Recuva and there is nothing that program can do to help me.

I called my PC Technician back again, and first asked him how much he would charge if I mailed him the failing 3TB HD and the new 3TB HD to back up the file onto, and he told me he would have to charge me a $100 minimum regardless of whether they could recover any data or not but that he would also not charge me any more than $200 even if the recovery process was successful and took days due to me being a frequent patron of their independent business. Though I have no doubt he's a professional, rather than potentially losing $100 plus two-way shipping and coming up empty handed, I'd honestly be more concerned about his attempted recovery of the files somehow botching the drive permanently so that no other solution would be possible afterward. I also asked him what method he used for Data Recovery (he had to check with another one of the Technicians) and came back telling me it was a program called Stellar Phoenix. Though he claimed that his version of the program was a "commercial license" that cost him "over $1,000.00," and had once taken 8 days to recover all data from someone's hard drive, he also sounded pessimistic about the prospect of him being able to successfully recover the data from my drive.

Besides Stellar Phoenix, the other two paid Data Recovery Software options his company recommended were R-Studio and Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional.

After my failed attempt with Recuva, I moved onto the paid Data Recovery Programs, or at least the trial versions of them (which are functionally the same, they do all the same things and will show you what they're able to recover, they just don't let you actually recover the files without paying.) First I tried the program that my PC repair technician uses for his own clients for Data Recovery -- Stellar Phoenix Pro. It at least recognized the G: drive, but after doing a lengthy scan of all 5860507648 sectors of the hard drive it came back with exactly zero results for any files on the drive at all. Screenshot of Stellar Phoenix Pro's "scan results," i.e. "Total: 0.00 bytes in 0 file(s) in 0 folder(s)" - https://i.imgur.com/7ERa71c.png

After that I tried another feature of the program, "Drive Status." Here are the results of that: https://i.imgur.com/TzgMrVk.png

Note that under "Hard Drive Status" the size for the G: drive (Number 4) is listed as being 0.00KB. Though it wouldn't let me expand the window, the other 5 drives all had the normal amounts listed for size (465GB, 223GB, 1.81TB etc.) - it was only the G: drive that had 0.00KB listed for whatever reason.
You'll also notice, however, that at the bottom of the screen under "Volume Information" it has the correct size listed, with a total of 2794.51GB and 1163.633 left to use. So again, unless I'm missing something, it doesn't look like Stellar Phoenix Pro can do anything either.

So then I moved on to the next paid program, R-Studio, and after reading the instructions I figured I needed to right click on the G: drive and select either "Open Drive Files" or "Recover Files." This option was available for every other drive, but not for the G: drive. When I selected either option for the G: drive I got this error message: https://i.imgur.com/p7PG3rT.png

So I did as it told me to and tried the Scan method instead. After an hour or so (getting up to something like 5GB scanned out of 1.6TB) with over 76 hours remaining, every single attempt had failed, saying "Read disk G: at position (long number) (longer number) failed after 1 attempts. The parameter is incorrect (87)". After an hour of nonstop failure messages I decided to give up and cancel the scan. Here is a screenshot of the scan results: https://i.imgur.com/kIAgPmT.png
(Note that in addition to all the identical error messages in the scan log at the bottom, the shade of green shown in the "Scan Information" graph indicates "Unrecognized" according to the legend beneath it.)

Also, if it's any help at all, here are the "Properties" listed by R-Studio for both the malfunctioning G: drive and the healthy new I: drive (G: on top, I: below it), so maybe some info could be garnered from that: https://i.imgur.com/bSAZoO2.png

At this point I decided it was too risky to keep the failed/failing G: drive spinning and decided to skip trying Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional since the first 3 data recovery programs had all failed (unless I'm missing something and used all 3 improperly) but IMPORTANT NOTE: before disconnecting the drive I decided to open it up in Windows Explorer once more. It was then that I actually discovered that I'd made a mistake the other day and happened to open folders that were supposed to be empty and selected files that I thought were supposed to be gigabytes in size but were in fact really supposed to be KB in size - I didn't open every single file or check every single folder back then because I wanted as little interaction with the drive as possible to prevent further failure, but after checking it again yesterday in Windows Explorer I determined that the folders (which are very similarly named) actually did contain the subfolders and files they were supposed to and that the files that actually are supposed to be GB in size were still listed in Windows Explorer as being the correct size. However, it still remains true that none of the files will open. A video file will not open, an image file will not come up in preview, etc etc, so that part of my original post is still very much an issue, just ignore this part of my original post as it was an unknowing mistake on my part:
Quote:
...it showed all my folders and the files in the drive, but when I opened up any folder it would say the folder was empty. This is something I know not to be true, as those folders contained hundreds of gigabytes worth of data previously, now it just says every folder is empty. Furthermore, it still lists the files in the root directory of the hard drive (G:/) but for example, when I right click and select Properties on a video file I know to be 13GB in size, it’s now listed as being 28.7KB in size instead.
So basically, the folders/files are still there and *not* empty or KB in size (I just mistakenly assumed that, due to similar file names, empty folders were supposed to contain something when in fact they weren't and that the KB-sized files in the root directory were supposed to be GB in size when again, that was actual the correct size and the GB-sized files revealed themselves when I viewed the directory using the "Details" view. However, the fact still remains that, while the correct files are still there in Windows Explorer, none of them will open and I still have no access to them.

One final thing I should mention; when originally purchasing this Seagate 3TB hard drive from Amazon in late 2012 I also purchased a SquareTrade 2-Year PC Peripherals Warranty ($75-100) for the drive and since it hasn't been 2 years yet, that may still be worth something. It promises "Fixed or receive full replacement cost in 5 days or less - guaranteed" and "Free 2-way shipping for repairs" - obviously I don't care about a "full replacement cost," I need the drive fixed/recovered to another drive, but if they are indeed able to repair it or recover the data for free then that would be great, I'm just a little skeptical about this claim. It also says, "send us a valid repair receipt for your item and we will reimburse you within five business days." I'd need to read the fine print, of course, but if this means the only solution is sending it to a "clean room" Forensic Data Recovery service and it ends up costing thousands of dollars does this mean I could send SquareTrade the repair receipt and they'd reimburse me all of those thousands in repairs? The "most helpful" reviews on their Amazon page are all quite negative (I distinctly remember this *not* being the case when I purchased it for the drive back at the end of 2012) but it seems their main complaint is that the SquareTrade warranty doesn't go into effect until after the Manufacturer's Warranty expires -- and in my case, the Seagate warranty for this particular drive expired in February 2014, supposedly meaning I'd have an additional 2 year warranty through them until February 2016 if this is true. The other problem is that I don't know whether the "($75-100)" part of their warranty refers to the price of the product itself (this is what I assumed when I purchased the drive, as it was then on sale for $99) or if that's the amount of money they are willing to repair for or reimburse repairs for, which wouldn't mean much if a professional repair ends up costing thousands. Again, maybe grasping at straws here, but I figured it worth mentioning.

So...assuming a SquareTrade repair/recovery/reimbursement is not possible, I believe I have 4 options at this point (correct me if I'm wrong, of course).
  1. I could mail it to my PC Technician's business and have him try to recover the data for me. However, it kind of seems doubtful they'd get much further than I did, as they admitted the Data Recovery Software they use is Stellar Phoenix which is the same program I tried with no luck whatsoever. Granted, my PC tech claimed that his version of the program was a commercial license that cost him over $1,000 and I tried a trial version of the $99 Professional version, but the Stellar Phoenix website did claim that it did have all the data recovery capabilities for a USB NTFS external HD like mine across all versions and that the trial was just as effective as the paid version, the only difference again being that while it would find the files for you, you had to buy the paid version in order to actually recover them...and it found zero files whatsoever after my lengthy scan.
  2. I could send it to the "dreaded data recovery people" as my PC tech put it, or "clean room" people with "space suits" as he also put it, or "Forensic Professional Data Recovery" company as BIGBEARJEDI put it in this thread (I believe you're both talking about the same companies or at least the same types of services), but the issue there would be price and the time involved in getting the data back, though it definitely seems like the safest option to go with.
  3. TestDisk. This is an option I came across repeatedly in my own research yesterday (along with the similar PhotoRec) and, while free and highly recommended amongst the tech-savvy internet populace, reading through the instructions for using it makes it seem like a pretty daunting task, not to mention a lengthy and risky one since it requires a knowledge of Linux and the like which I do not possess whatsoever. Even following the instructions to a "T," I'm afraid I might royally screw something up by going this route.
  4. Seatools. Though specifically designed by Seagate to help with this kind of thing, one thing I was repeatedly told over the phone with my PC tech as well as have read online (including the instructions for the R-Studio Data Recovery Software) is that once a drive starts behaving like this, it's best to disconnect it immediately and entirely until a good solution can be found, as the more you mess with it/the more it spins, the less likely you are to be able to get data off of it. I don't know much about Seatools by Seagate but unless there is a considerable likelihood (50%+) that it can fix this drive/recover the data, I'm hesitant to reconnect the drive and try it out. This is not the first Seagate hard drive that has failed on me (and, perhaps uncoincidentally, the *only* hard drives I've ever had fail on me have been Seagates...) and I originally tried posting this thread on the official Seagate forum (https://forums.seagate.com/) but, in a darkly ironic fashion, their own forum is currently broken and has been down this whole week, giving me the error "https://forums.seagate.com is down for maintenance. Sorry for the inconvenience. We'll be back shortly" for at least 5 days now. So my faith in Seagate and their products is unfortunately not terribly high at the moment at the moment, leaving me hesitant to try to reconnect the drive and use Seatools on it, unless there's a lot of documented proof of it fixing drives that have reached this state.
I suppose a 5th possible option would be to send it to a local computer repair company that I'm unfamiliar with/haven't used before and hope that they can successfully recover it, but a quick Google search didn't bring up many results and the few it did bring up are far away and all un-reviewed (again, I live in a rural area, so this is unsurprising).

Once again, all this being said...what are my best options at this point?

Again, thank you so much for everything!
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Urgent Recovery View Post
3. TestDisk. This is an option I came across repeatedly in my own research yesterday (along with the similar PhotoRec) and, while free and highly recommended amongst the tech-savvy internet populace, reading through the instructions for using it makes it seem like a pretty daunting task, not to mention a lengthy and risky one since it requires a knowledge of Linux and the like which I do not possess whatsoever. Even following the instructions to a "T," I'm afraid I might royally screw something up by going this route.
To clarify, the instructions I found for using TestDisk yesterday were considerably more exhaustive than the ones I read just now in spunk.funk's TestDisk link. The instructions I found yesterday were longer than both of my posts in this thread combined and included terms like "UNetBootIn, Linux Mint 17, Synaptic package manager, gnome-disk-utility, of=/media/8a76eb31-7ed1-481b-a005-da6518e348ea/baddisk.img, dd if=/dev/sdb of=/media/gooddisk/baddisk.dd bs=16M" and so forth which, not being a programmer or someone at all familiar with Linux, is what made it seem so daunting. spunk.funk's link to TestDisk in this thread and its instructions seem considerably easier to follow, although it appears at least in that list of instructions it simply restores files to the existing hard drive (something I've been advised against) rather than copying/recovering them all to a new one as I'd like to do.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:54 PM   #7
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We suggest TestDisk because it is the only totally free version of data recovery software. With all data recovery software, including TestDisk, you need to restore your files to a different drive then the one you are trying to recover. Their instructions may be daunting, but the link I attached earlier makes it easier.
As your computer guy and I have advised you, the USB Controller inside the enclosure is failing, and if you want to recover the data, you must disassemble the drive enclosure and remove the HDD, you then can attach the drive internally to a desktop computer, or via a USB Adapter or put it into another USB Enclosure with a power adapter. You won't be successful in recovering your data until you do this. There are YouTube Videos explaining how to do this.
The Best Data recovery software for me is GetDataBack, it's free to scan and tell you what files it can recover, you must pay to restore your files.
Once you have backed up your drive you can use your warranty to have them Replace your HDD.
If all else fails, then your only other option is to send it to the Very, Very Expensive Data Recovery Specialists. Most people can't afford this options.
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