Questions

How to retrieve files from a drive needed to be re-formatted?

+
1 Votes
Locked

How to retrieve files from a drive needed to be re-formatted?

Healer
I have a portable drive that has some files in it. Somehow all of a sudden the files in there are not visible or retrievable. Connecting it to a computer USB port, I can only see a message saying the drive needs to be formatted.

If I follow the prompt to format it, I can imagine I would lose all the files in there. Is there any way I can go around it? I wonder!
  • +
    2 Votes

    Yes

    mikeadams1137

    Portable USB drive...If you're being asked to reformat it...then it means Windows is not able to read it's original formatting..Was it formatted as NTFS or FAT32? Did you use it on a Windows computer or MAC? When did it last work, what changed since? ie: Cables, USB Ports, New Drivers etc...

    There is a way to access raw data but it requires certain tools. I recommend looking around the Internet for a CD/Tool called "Hirens"...or an "ERD" CD...these are great and valuable IT tools used on a daily basis.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks! Hiren's Boot CD sounds good for a lot of problems. It seems to be free too. I am not sure if it could fix my hardware problem without losing any files though.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    The portable drive was used without formatting. So it must be whatever default format it came with. I suppose it would be FAT32 like USB in spite of its size. Am I right?

    Anyway, what is the significance of it being NTFS or FAT32? Are files on FAT32 easier recoverable?

    +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Is that the drive was disconnected without being dismounted. This can be OK 99 times out of 100 but you are eventually going to hit that 1 in a 100 time that the partition Tables go south.

    What to do here all depends on just how "IMPORTANT" the data on the drive is. If it's "IMPORTANT" stop using the drive IMMEDIATELY and pack it up and send it to a Data Recovery Specialist Now.

    However if it would just be Nice to recover the data and you can afford to loose it all there are several things you can try but you need to remember that every time you unsuccessfully do something it's just that much harder to recover anything at all and if you then send it to a Professional Data Recovery House you will have drastically increased the costs as well as reducing the chance of getting a 100% recovery.

    If you just disconnected the drive without using the Safely Remove Option you can go the Run Command and enter chkdsk /r for the Drive letter that the External Drive should be and hope that Windows can repair the Partition Tables. It may or may not work but what the **** it costs nothing and it just might work.

    If that doesn't work look here for a list of Data Recovery Software

    http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/questions/101-342724?tag=content;discussion-table

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sending it to a Data Recovery Specialist would be very expensive.

    I will certainly try "chkdsk /r" when I get hold of it again. It is not my drive, just my friend's.

    Thanks for the list of Data Recovery Software. I didn't know that "chkdsk /r" and data recovery software would work on "unformatted" disks though.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Both Chkdsk & Data Recovery Tools will work with a drive like this.

    I do a lot of Data Recovery Work and I have yet to find a Utility that required the drive to be formatted.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Col,

    Are you saying that data recovery utility software doesn't usually require drive to be formatted before they can retrieve lost files?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Yes the drive doesn't need an active partition on it.

    Though it must of at one stage had a Active Partition on it.

    The reason you have been asked about the Partition Type is because it depends on what Software to Attack the Drive with.

    Currently there are 2 type of Data Recovery Software the first type recovers Files from a HDD the second Type Rebuilds the File Structure on that HDD. To use the second type you don't need an active readable partition.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I apologize. I didn't see your latest comment until today. I like the previous forum format better, it is clearer.

    I don't quite follow the two types of data recovery software. Don't they both recover from hard drives? How do we identify which type of software?

    +
    2 Votes
    the edidas

    Assuming you haven't formated it yet, try connecting the drive on a different USB port or on different computers. It happens very often that the lower than needed voltage of the USB ports makes Windows unable to read the file system of the removable hard drives.
    Try also a USB cable with double connector, that should fix the issue if the file system in the drive is still intact.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I have also tried it on a different computer.

    I don't quite follow using a USB cable with double connector. I don't know what is a double connector of a USB cable.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    the two A connectors in the cable in the link I posted will sufficent power the portable hard drive, the other end type might be different for your drive, if not type B micro USB, you can buy these cables with an A connector on the other end as well... just do a search for it. Hope this helps.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    and just one more thing, if the doublepowered UCB cable doesn't fix reading your files in your portable hard drive, then your drive file system is really damaged, so follow the data recovery procedures as per OH Smeg's suggestions.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks for the picture of the USB cable with double connector. What is the purpose of using it? Are we supposed to connect the drive to two computers?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    The correct term is Y Cable

    +
    0 Votes
    jamie.parisi

    I have used this program many times on damaged formatted drives. It takes a while but will if the drive is not damaged too badly recover data.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks!

    When I googled it, I found more than GETDATABACK for NTFS/FAT. I got the Recover My Files as well.

    +
    0 Votes
    mikeadams1137

    Let us know what your findings are.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sorry,

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sorry, let you know how what works?

    +
    3 Votes
    OH Smeg

    It has 2 USB Plugs which plug into 2 different USB Sockets on the Computer to give the correct Amperage to the External Drive.

    Each USB Port by Design is supposed to supply 5 V DC at 500 Milliamperes. That is the Apple design but with the move of USB to the PC some makers think that they know better and have reduced that 500 Milliamperes. Granted this mostly happens with NB's and is claimed to increase Battery Life by their maker but it's a Short Cut which hurts the system and really shouldn't be taken. It also occasionally happens on Desktops where that USB Socket is in a Fly Lead so read that as Front USB Sockets and the like.

    If you carefully look at a Y Cable you'll see that the Middle Connector has a standard Cable but the Cable to the second USB Plug is thinner than the other cable. This is because the second USB Plug only supplies the Current to drive the external drive so it has fewer wires in that part of the lead. There are no Data Wires just Power Wires.

    You can plug one of these cables into 2 Different USB Sockets on a computer or into 2 different USB Sockets on a Powered USB Hub. If you do not use a Powered USB Hub you are not getting the full benefit of the Y Cable as there will not be enough Amperage available at the Hub.

    I hope that helps you understand.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    This is a very good explanation. Thank you!

    I have a question about the data recovery utility above asking if such utility does not require hard drive be formatted.

    +
    0 Votes
    jmcorn01

    I applaude all those who replied with information on how to recover data. Kudos to you all for sharing your experience. However, this "Y- Cable" issue is another story.
    Per the USB specs (USB Power Delivery Specification Revision 1.0 Version 1.1 dated 31 Octobber 2012 available @ www.USB.org), section 2.3 states in part <i>"There is only <b><u>one</u></b> Source Port and <b><u>one</u></b> Sink Port in each PD connection between Port Partners."</i> The purpose of this statement is so the Source port can advertise its' capabilities to the Sink port and the 2 ports can properly negotiate all necessary power issues (including "low-power" devices).
    By using the Y-Cable applying 2 Source ports, you <i>may</i> temporarily get around a problem <b>IF</b> the issue is insufficient power. However, you have also just told all the non-electrician techie-wanna-be's how to potentially damage otherwise perfectly good equipment.
    In future, I suggest that <b>IF</b> you give out this kind of information, please also include any & all necessary caveats. In my 30+ years experience, I have found that only telling part of the story frequently is worse than not helping at all.

    JMC01

    +
    0 Votes
    Alphyrjl

    My computer speed has been greatly compromised after I having been getting the message High Disk usage from the Norton Antivirus. I have run basically all the maintenance procedures available all the informations obtained is that everything is working okay but my computer continuously freezes and becomes unresponsive most of the time. It is really a nightmare for me and since i not have much knowledge on these troubleshooting issues I am really stranded. Window experience index has degraded from 5.9 to 2.9 but when I run it using HP troubleshooting tools the window experience is always 5.9. I do know that with microsoft troubleshooting tools the information is correct since my laptop has slowed down tremendous even if I had only use 388GB free of 444GB for local disc(C:). How do I solve this problem since I have already tried to restore it the date that it was working properly but this turned out to be a useless exercise.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Your have to start a new thread.

    Perhaps re-install the computer from scratch might help you.

    +
    0 Votes
    parvez

    I had the similar situation. The device was used on a MAC and it got unusable on a PC. What I did was that I formatted it and then used the RecovrMyfiles program to recover the data. I was able to recover every thing from tha USB device.

    Parvez 29-11-2011

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Wouldn't it have been easier and considerably faster to

    Just install the Partition Type that is used by the MAC onto the PC so that the Windows OS could read the MAC Drive?

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Hi Col,

    Is Partition Type a piece of software to be installed on a PC for use by MAC?

    Are you also saying that data recovery utility software doesn't require drive to be formatted before lost file can be recovered?

    Thanks!

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    No by default Windows only reads Windows Partitions. When you plug a External Drive or any Storage Device into a Windows Computer it needs a Windows Partition Type on it to be readable.

    To get around this it's possible to install a piece of software that allows the Windows System to read different Partition Types. There are several of these but the most commonly used is Mac Disc

    http://www.macdisk.com/mden.php

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    KenMos

    Probably - have you tried Disk Management? In W7 (admin) right click My Computer, select Manage, then Storage, Disk Management and you will probably see your drive as an item in the list. Volume will be blank, but check in the Capacity column, If there, select the drive, right click the blank Volume, and select Change Drive letter, then choose accordingly. It should then appear as normal. I've got a drive that shows this behaviour every time I retrieve it from storage!
    Hope this works for you (a no cost solution!).
    Ken

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks!

    I tried but it didn't fix it.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    So Healer, what have you tried from all the suggestions here so far? Have you been lucky in any way reviving it?

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I have tried everything except buying a piece of data recovery software.

    So far I have no luck.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    I have used Active@ UNDELETE and Active@ File Recovery with very good results in the past, give it a try... you can download a Demo for both and see if it reads your drive first. For more: http://www.file-recovery.net/products.htm

  • +
    2 Votes

    Yes

    mikeadams1137

    Portable USB drive...If you're being asked to reformat it...then it means Windows is not able to read it's original formatting..Was it formatted as NTFS or FAT32? Did you use it on a Windows computer or MAC? When did it last work, what changed since? ie: Cables, USB Ports, New Drivers etc...

    There is a way to access raw data but it requires certain tools. I recommend looking around the Internet for a CD/Tool called "Hirens"...or an "ERD" CD...these are great and valuable IT tools used on a daily basis.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks! Hiren's Boot CD sounds good for a lot of problems. It seems to be free too. I am not sure if it could fix my hardware problem without losing any files though.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    The portable drive was used without formatting. So it must be whatever default format it came with. I suppose it would be FAT32 like USB in spite of its size. Am I right?

    Anyway, what is the significance of it being NTFS or FAT32? Are files on FAT32 easier recoverable?

    +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Is that the drive was disconnected without being dismounted. This can be OK 99 times out of 100 but you are eventually going to hit that 1 in a 100 time that the partition Tables go south.

    What to do here all depends on just how "IMPORTANT" the data on the drive is. If it's "IMPORTANT" stop using the drive IMMEDIATELY and pack it up and send it to a Data Recovery Specialist Now.

    However if it would just be Nice to recover the data and you can afford to loose it all there are several things you can try but you need to remember that every time you unsuccessfully do something it's just that much harder to recover anything at all and if you then send it to a Professional Data Recovery House you will have drastically increased the costs as well as reducing the chance of getting a 100% recovery.

    If you just disconnected the drive without using the Safely Remove Option you can go the Run Command and enter chkdsk /r for the Drive letter that the External Drive should be and hope that Windows can repair the Partition Tables. It may or may not work but what the **** it costs nothing and it just might work.

    If that doesn't work look here for a list of Data Recovery Software

    http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/questions/101-342724?tag=content;discussion-table

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sending it to a Data Recovery Specialist would be very expensive.

    I will certainly try "chkdsk /r" when I get hold of it again. It is not my drive, just my friend's.

    Thanks for the list of Data Recovery Software. I didn't know that "chkdsk /r" and data recovery software would work on "unformatted" disks though.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Both Chkdsk & Data Recovery Tools will work with a drive like this.

    I do a lot of Data Recovery Work and I have yet to find a Utility that required the drive to be formatted.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Col,

    Are you saying that data recovery utility software doesn't usually require drive to be formatted before they can retrieve lost files?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Yes the drive doesn't need an active partition on it.

    Though it must of at one stage had a Active Partition on it.

    The reason you have been asked about the Partition Type is because it depends on what Software to Attack the Drive with.

    Currently there are 2 type of Data Recovery Software the first type recovers Files from a HDD the second Type Rebuilds the File Structure on that HDD. To use the second type you don't need an active readable partition.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I apologize. I didn't see your latest comment until today. I like the previous forum format better, it is clearer.

    I don't quite follow the two types of data recovery software. Don't they both recover from hard drives? How do we identify which type of software?

    +
    2 Votes
    the edidas

    Assuming you haven't formated it yet, try connecting the drive on a different USB port or on different computers. It happens very often that the lower than needed voltage of the USB ports makes Windows unable to read the file system of the removable hard drives.
    Try also a USB cable with double connector, that should fix the issue if the file system in the drive is still intact.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I have also tried it on a different computer.

    I don't quite follow using a USB cable with double connector. I don't know what is a double connector of a USB cable.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    the two A connectors in the cable in the link I posted will sufficent power the portable hard drive, the other end type might be different for your drive, if not type B micro USB, you can buy these cables with an A connector on the other end as well... just do a search for it. Hope this helps.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    and just one more thing, if the doublepowered UCB cable doesn't fix reading your files in your portable hard drive, then your drive file system is really damaged, so follow the data recovery procedures as per OH Smeg's suggestions.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks for the picture of the USB cable with double connector. What is the purpose of using it? Are we supposed to connect the drive to two computers?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    The correct term is Y Cable

    +
    0 Votes
    jamie.parisi

    I have used this program many times on damaged formatted drives. It takes a while but will if the drive is not damaged too badly recover data.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks!

    When I googled it, I found more than GETDATABACK for NTFS/FAT. I got the Recover My Files as well.

    +
    0 Votes
    mikeadams1137

    Let us know what your findings are.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sorry,

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Sorry, let you know how what works?

    +
    3 Votes
    OH Smeg

    It has 2 USB Plugs which plug into 2 different USB Sockets on the Computer to give the correct Amperage to the External Drive.

    Each USB Port by Design is supposed to supply 5 V DC at 500 Milliamperes. That is the Apple design but with the move of USB to the PC some makers think that they know better and have reduced that 500 Milliamperes. Granted this mostly happens with NB's and is claimed to increase Battery Life by their maker but it's a Short Cut which hurts the system and really shouldn't be taken. It also occasionally happens on Desktops where that USB Socket is in a Fly Lead so read that as Front USB Sockets and the like.

    If you carefully look at a Y Cable you'll see that the Middle Connector has a standard Cable but the Cable to the second USB Plug is thinner than the other cable. This is because the second USB Plug only supplies the Current to drive the external drive so it has fewer wires in that part of the lead. There are no Data Wires just Power Wires.

    You can plug one of these cables into 2 Different USB Sockets on a computer or into 2 different USB Sockets on a Powered USB Hub. If you do not use a Powered USB Hub you are not getting the full benefit of the Y Cable as there will not be enough Amperage available at the Hub.

    I hope that helps you understand.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    This is a very good explanation. Thank you!

    I have a question about the data recovery utility above asking if such utility does not require hard drive be formatted.

    +
    0 Votes
    jmcorn01

    I applaude all those who replied with information on how to recover data. Kudos to you all for sharing your experience. However, this "Y- Cable" issue is another story.
    Per the USB specs (USB Power Delivery Specification Revision 1.0 Version 1.1 dated 31 Octobber 2012 available @ www.USB.org), section 2.3 states in part <i>"There is only <b><u>one</u></b> Source Port and <b><u>one</u></b> Sink Port in each PD connection between Port Partners."</i> The purpose of this statement is so the Source port can advertise its' capabilities to the Sink port and the 2 ports can properly negotiate all necessary power issues (including "low-power" devices).
    By using the Y-Cable applying 2 Source ports, you <i>may</i> temporarily get around a problem <b>IF</b> the issue is insufficient power. However, you have also just told all the non-electrician techie-wanna-be's how to potentially damage otherwise perfectly good equipment.
    In future, I suggest that <b>IF</b> you give out this kind of information, please also include any & all necessary caveats. In my 30+ years experience, I have found that only telling part of the story frequently is worse than not helping at all.

    JMC01

    +
    0 Votes
    Alphyrjl

    My computer speed has been greatly compromised after I having been getting the message High Disk usage from the Norton Antivirus. I have run basically all the maintenance procedures available all the informations obtained is that everything is working okay but my computer continuously freezes and becomes unresponsive most of the time. It is really a nightmare for me and since i not have much knowledge on these troubleshooting issues I am really stranded. Window experience index has degraded from 5.9 to 2.9 but when I run it using HP troubleshooting tools the window experience is always 5.9. I do know that with microsoft troubleshooting tools the information is correct since my laptop has slowed down tremendous even if I had only use 388GB free of 444GB for local disc(C:). How do I solve this problem since I have already tried to restore it the date that it was working properly but this turned out to be a useless exercise.

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Your have to start a new thread.

    Perhaps re-install the computer from scratch might help you.

    +
    0 Votes
    parvez

    I had the similar situation. The device was used on a MAC and it got unusable on a PC. What I did was that I formatted it and then used the RecovrMyfiles program to recover the data. I was able to recover every thing from tha USB device.

    Parvez 29-11-2011

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Wouldn't it have been easier and considerably faster to

    Just install the Partition Type that is used by the MAC onto the PC so that the Windows OS could read the MAC Drive?

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Hi Col,

    Is Partition Type a piece of software to be installed on a PC for use by MAC?

    Are you also saying that data recovery utility software doesn't require drive to be formatted before lost file can be recovered?

    Thanks!

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    No by default Windows only reads Windows Partitions. When you plug a External Drive or any Storage Device into a Windows Computer it needs a Windows Partition Type on it to be readable.

    To get around this it's possible to install a piece of software that allows the Windows System to read different Partition Types. There are several of these but the most commonly used is Mac Disc

    http://www.macdisk.com/mden.php

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    KenMos

    Probably - have you tried Disk Management? In W7 (admin) right click My Computer, select Manage, then Storage, Disk Management and you will probably see your drive as an item in the list. Volume will be blank, but check in the Capacity column, If there, select the drive, right click the blank Volume, and select Change Drive letter, then choose accordingly. It should then appear as normal. I've got a drive that shows this behaviour every time I retrieve it from storage!
    Hope this works for you (a no cost solution!).
    Ken

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    Thanks!

    I tried but it didn't fix it.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    So Healer, what have you tried from all the suggestions here so far? Have you been lucky in any way reviving it?

    +
    0 Votes
    Healer

    I have tried everything except buying a piece of data recovery software.

    So far I have no luck.

    +
    0 Votes
    the edidas

    I have used Active@ UNDELETE and Active@ File Recovery with very good results in the past, give it a try... you can download a Demo for both and see if it reads your drive first. For more: http://www.file-recovery.net/products.htm