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[SOLVED] Seagate External HDD Not Accessible

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Seagate External HDD Not Accessible within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My 1TB external harddrive has approx 750gb of data on it after around a year of use. It was formatted


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Old 05-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #1
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My 1TB external harddrive has approx 750gb of data on it after around a year of use. It was formatted correctly before use (I believe), only had one partition and has never encountered any physical impact.
The first problem started a few months ago when I attempted to access certain folders and was presented with "Drive is not formatted, format drive yes or no", this happened only with the same particular folders containing data and nothing else was affected. Of course, I chose not to format.
Alongside this problem, I noticed while navigating through any other folders by opening via double click or back and forward buttons, access to the drive was very slow at times. I ensured the drive was fully scanned for viruses and found no problems.
I decided to use the CKDSK facility on my XP OS to search and correct any problems, which it detected and corrected a number of 'bad sectors'. Thereafter, the drive was much improved and I regained full access to the previously mentioned folders causing the "Drive is not formatted" message and the speed problem seemed to have been cured.

Forward to present day, I performed a full reinstall of XP on my desktop PC. I hold all of the required drivers and 3rd party programs for a fresh XP installation in a folder on the external HDD in question. I plugged the HDD in via USB, navigated to a few folders and.... the dreaded "Drive is not formatted" message appeared yet again. I clicked 'No' (not to format) and continued searching for the required drivers until the drive simply froze. I unplugged the USB cable, re-attached to all available USB ports only to find the drive did not appear in the 'My Computer' menu. If I tried to reboot the PC with the HDD still attached, this would cause the windows load-up logo screen to remain in a loop until I detached the HDD.
I reattached the HDD once XP had rebooted and looked in device manager, this showed the HDD was detected, drivers installed correctly, but still nothing shown in 'My Computer'.
I downloaded the Western Digital diagnostics tool which simply wouldn't recognise any external HDD attached.
I removed the HDD from it's external casing, hooked up internally via SATA and once again run the CHKDSK facility; I believe it stopped at approx 75% with the message "Too many unrecoverable bad sectors" or words to that effect.
I then hooked up to the desktop via USB again after a reboot and found the HDD was now recognised in My Computer so re-run the Western Digital tool- this complained of too many bad sectors and was of no use also.
Last of all, on a friendís advice, I used the Paragon partitioning utility (not sure how well known this program is) to see if that could provide any information on what the problem is.
This picture Untitled shows my faulty Seagate drive at the top (now attached via SATA) showing as 'Basic Hard Disk 0' and just below that is my healthy C drive.
As you can see, for Disk 0, the large green 815GB portion shows as 'free', this I believe is where all of my data is held. The maroon coloured portion is shown as unformatted- this 116GB section I believe to be the amount of space I had left on the HDD before the crash had occurred.


The picture below shows one of the drop-down menus with available options relating to Drive 0.
Untitled

Obviously my need is to recover all of my data! I made an effort not to alter any data since the problem, aside from CHKDSK and have not attempted to re-partition or repair the partition.
Please offer ideas as to where I go from here, any suggestions welcome!
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:47 AM   #2
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I am confused your running WD diagnostics on a Seagate Drive ? Why not use the Seagate Diagnostics see my signature anyway based on what you have reported the drive is failed with too many bad sectors. Its going to be very very difficult for a software based recovery program to recover any data what you need is a very expensive hardware based disk imager that the DR pro's use to get the data off that drive at this point.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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Hi, I actually confused myself with another drive- the problem drive is actually a Western Digital, sorry.
I did come across some answers to similar situations on other forums such as these;

"The NTFS filesystem is corrupted, that's why Windows is trying to format it before it can use it. there is an option: Linux distros do not require any special formatting to access a drive. I would download a bootable CD image with Ubuntu on it and then run it from CD (boot with CD-rom as first boot device). you can skip the installation, as you can run Ubuntu from the CD to "try it out" (not that is limited or anything, it has full functionality like that; it just allows one to run it without installing it on the HDD). After bootin up in Ubuntu, you'll notice the interface is very user-friendly, like Windows. You can connect your external drive to your system and try to access your files from there, saving them on a different media."

And...

"The best stratedgy to recover data from a drive with bad sectors is to attempt to take a sector by sector image copy of the failing drive onto a good working drive. For this you need an application that can image a drive but skip over the bad sectors. One of the best for this is r-studio.com

When the imaging process completes you can then use data recovery tools on the image to save your data.

I use a similar technique when I work on client drives in my remote data recovery service. And from my experience you can usually achieve a greater than 99% recovery rate using this technique."


Are these realistically worth trying do you think?
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
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I stopped trying to get people to make a sector by sector image because they don't have the $$$ to buy another drive to image to. By the way that is the safest/best way to perform Data Recovery every drive that comes into my shop is imaged first bu I have the expensive hardware to make it happen. You can try to get an image but with bad sectors the software image programs. DD Rescue "may" get it and many of the linux distro's have that already installed
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Too many unrecoverable bad sectors
With too many bad sectors, there is a 50% chance of full recovery. It might work or it might not. As networks said the best option, if you have another drive of the same size or larger, make an image file of the bad drive. You can do this with R-Studio I have had the best luck with GetDataBack which you can scan or make an image. You can also use the free TestDisk program. You will need another drive of the same size or larger to Restore your files to.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:51 AM   #6
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Hi, thanks for the suggestions.
I ended up buying a 2tb drive and partitioned into two drives with the intention of imaging the old hdd with GetDataBack NTFS to the first partition, then transferring the required data to the second partition.
I successfully created the image via a laptop and USB converters for the bare hard drive. When it came to recovering the data, as the program prepares the image into a legible file system, a progress screen froze and after a number of hours crashed the program on numerous occasions of trying.
I then moved the drive to my desktop (with far more RAM) and after an hour or so on the progress screen (just before step 3 of the recovery phase on GetDataBack) the files were available!
I'm in the process now of checking and moving files across to the second partition and not a single lost file yet.
Thanks again for the guidance and I hope this scenario may help others in the same predicament.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Glad to hear you are able to recover your files. If this solved your problem please mark the thread Solved in the Thread Tools at the top.
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