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My external Hard drive has lost all data and says it is unformatted...

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My external Hard drive has lost all data and says it is unformatted...

josiejo.wales
Since last week my external hard drive says that it needs formatting - it says there are 0bytes used and 0 bytes free and all my data is lost.. is there any way of recovering the data?
ive tried pc inspector file recovery but it isnt seeing any logical drive on my external to recover the files from.
would it help if i format the drive and THEN try to recover the data?

Anyone know what is the best freeware tool to help me?
any help is incredibly appreciated as it has an awful lot of data on it
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    0 Votes
    unhappyuser

    Don't reformat as you can say goodbye to your data (unless you want to pay a lot of money to maybe get it back!).

    Do you have another computer that you can connect the drive to? It sounds like there could be a USB issue or an issue with the drive itself. If it comes up okay on another computer then your PC is the issue. Try a different USB cable if you have a spare. If not, it could be a power issue on the drive side - is it spinning up when turned on?

    Let me know what happens and we can go from there.

    EMD

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    0 Votes
    dryflies

    There are several tools, some open source, that can be used to read a disk. media tools pro by recoversoft is 399 but they have Data rescue PC where a personal license is $99. you can also use a live CD with disk editing tools to recover your data. Finally, look at the tools on sourceforge.net. there are over 20 open source projects dealing with the issue. Before you experiment, clone the drive.

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    OldER Mycroft

    Or have you unplugged this drive without using the 'Safely Remove Hardware' method?

    If you have done either of the above - therein may lie your problem. External hard drives are just the same as any other USB flash device in that they must be powered down in the proper manner.

    If you shut down your system with the external drive still connected, you are NOT shutting the external drive down properly - all you are doing is instantly starving it of power.

    Whenever you disconnect it without the use of the 'Safely Remove Hardware' method, there is every possibility that the partition information will become corrupted and eventually your computer cannot 'see' any details of the data contents.

    Also, external hard drives have never been intended to be connected constantly with the computer since their plastic cases are highly inefficient at dissipating any generated heat, and they invariably are not fitted with any form of cooling fans. The plastic cases are also rather sensitive to bumps and knocks.

    If your problem stems from the partition information being corrupted by any of the above means, your data is gone for good unless you are prepared to pay out a lot of money for forensic recovery methods.

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    0 Votes
    brian

    I have done some data recovery from corrupted hard drives similar to the problem you are describing. I love to use a program called Active@undelete. you can get it here: http://www.active-undelete.com/
    The program costs a little bit of money (I think like $50), but they offer a demo that you can try out, though you can only recover up to 64k of a file (but it gives you an idea if it may work for you). From the sounds of it, the drive partitioning table is corrupted, you may be able to get it working again by using scan disk (not recommended). BE SURE TO CLONE THE DRIVE FIRST BEFORE DOING ANYTHING!!!!!!!!

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    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    If you do not use this the Partition Information is going to be corrupted so you need to start using it.

    As for Formatting the Drive then attempting to recover any Data this all depends on the Software that you are using to attempt the recovery but I would suggest removing the Drive from it's enclosure and fitting to a computer as an Internal Drive here.

    Sorry I have no idea of any freeware apps that you can use as I have not found one that comes close to working well enough for Critical Data Recovery and here I would suggest if the Data is Important as apposed to just Nice to have back to send the Drive to a Professional Data Recovery Service but if it would just be Nice to get the Data back you can try one of these

    http://tinyurl.com/273ay5

    http://tinyurl.com/rmvrv

    http://tinyurl.com/yvrsl

    http://tinyurl.com/yyk8cm

    http://tinyurl.com/382vm

    http://tinyurl.com/ynwnel

    http://tinyurl.com/nc4kx

    http://tinyurl.com/2wox7l

    http://tinyurl.com/374d8b

    http://tinyurl.com/djw6u

    http://tinyurl.com/f73se

    http://tinyurl.com/8bd3f

    http://tinyurl.com/afu2j

    While the last 2 are from the same company they are very different products. Win Hex should only be considered for use by someone who knows Hex Inside Out while Davory is a great cheap General Purpose Application.

    Personally I prefer the On Track Option but it's anything but cheap. However because I use this type of software a lot it's paid for itself many times over by now, for a cheaper option Spin Rite from Gibson Research or Stella have both very good reputations by other TR members.

    You may find that it's better to spend a few $ and buy Davory which works quite well though unfortunately it only recovers Data by File Type and can not rebuild Partition Tables.

    You can Google Data Recovery Software to Rebuild Partition Information and there may be something usable found which is what you really need here.

    Though you need to understand that any External HDD shouldn't be used full time it should only be used to Backup & Recover Data and then you always use the Safely Remove Option on the Task Bar to shut down the External Drive before you shut down the computer. You should Never leave any External Device connected to a computer unless you are attempting to boot off it.

    However if you want to use an External HDD a lot you need a Actively Cooled Case like the MX1 that Antec make

    http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NDc=

    A case like this will prevent the HDD inside it overheating and suffering from Low Power but will do very little to prevent Vibrational Damage.

    Col

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    0 Votes
    wowl

    if you want to recover data from a formatted hard disk: http://www.applexsoft.com/howto/recover-formatted-hard-disk.html

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    0 Votes
    kiran.paul

    Josie,

    I was encountering the same problem with my external hard drive. I tried using the drive on another computer and it started working fine. Hope this helps. I am a layman in regards with retrieving data, but you could give this a shot and hope it works for you too.

    Cheers.

  • +
    0 Votes
    unhappyuser

    Don't reformat as you can say goodbye to your data (unless you want to pay a lot of money to maybe get it back!).

    Do you have another computer that you can connect the drive to? It sounds like there could be a USB issue or an issue with the drive itself. If it comes up okay on another computer then your PC is the issue. Try a different USB cable if you have a spare. If not, it could be a power issue on the drive side - is it spinning up when turned on?

    Let me know what happens and we can go from there.

    EMD

    +
    0 Votes
    dryflies

    There are several tools, some open source, that can be used to read a disk. media tools pro by recoversoft is 399 but they have Data rescue PC where a personal license is $99. you can also use a live CD with disk editing tools to recover your data. Finally, look at the tools on sourceforge.net. there are over 20 open source projects dealing with the issue. Before you experiment, clone the drive.

    +
    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    Or have you unplugged this drive without using the 'Safely Remove Hardware' method?

    If you have done either of the above - therein may lie your problem. External hard drives are just the same as any other USB flash device in that they must be powered down in the proper manner.

    If you shut down your system with the external drive still connected, you are NOT shutting the external drive down properly - all you are doing is instantly starving it of power.

    Whenever you disconnect it without the use of the 'Safely Remove Hardware' method, there is every possibility that the partition information will become corrupted and eventually your computer cannot 'see' any details of the data contents.

    Also, external hard drives have never been intended to be connected constantly with the computer since their plastic cases are highly inefficient at dissipating any generated heat, and they invariably are not fitted with any form of cooling fans. The plastic cases are also rather sensitive to bumps and knocks.

    If your problem stems from the partition information being corrupted by any of the above means, your data is gone for good unless you are prepared to pay out a lot of money for forensic recovery methods.

    +
    0 Votes
    brian

    I have done some data recovery from corrupted hard drives similar to the problem you are describing. I love to use a program called Active@undelete. you can get it here: http://www.active-undelete.com/
    The program costs a little bit of money (I think like $50), but they offer a demo that you can try out, though you can only recover up to 64k of a file (but it gives you an idea if it may work for you). From the sounds of it, the drive partitioning table is corrupted, you may be able to get it working again by using scan disk (not recommended). BE SURE TO CLONE THE DRIVE FIRST BEFORE DOING ANYTHING!!!!!!!!

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    If you do not use this the Partition Information is going to be corrupted so you need to start using it.

    As for Formatting the Drive then attempting to recover any Data this all depends on the Software that you are using to attempt the recovery but I would suggest removing the Drive from it's enclosure and fitting to a computer as an Internal Drive here.

    Sorry I have no idea of any freeware apps that you can use as I have not found one that comes close to working well enough for Critical Data Recovery and here I would suggest if the Data is Important as apposed to just Nice to have back to send the Drive to a Professional Data Recovery Service but if it would just be Nice to get the Data back you can try one of these

    http://tinyurl.com/273ay5

    http://tinyurl.com/rmvrv

    http://tinyurl.com/yvrsl

    http://tinyurl.com/yyk8cm

    http://tinyurl.com/382vm

    http://tinyurl.com/ynwnel

    http://tinyurl.com/nc4kx

    http://tinyurl.com/2wox7l

    http://tinyurl.com/374d8b

    http://tinyurl.com/djw6u

    http://tinyurl.com/f73se

    http://tinyurl.com/8bd3f

    http://tinyurl.com/afu2j

    While the last 2 are from the same company they are very different products. Win Hex should only be considered for use by someone who knows Hex Inside Out while Davory is a great cheap General Purpose Application.

    Personally I prefer the On Track Option but it's anything but cheap. However because I use this type of software a lot it's paid for itself many times over by now, for a cheaper option Spin Rite from Gibson Research or Stella have both very good reputations by other TR members.

    You may find that it's better to spend a few $ and buy Davory which works quite well though unfortunately it only recovers Data by File Type and can not rebuild Partition Tables.

    You can Google Data Recovery Software to Rebuild Partition Information and there may be something usable found which is what you really need here.

    Though you need to understand that any External HDD shouldn't be used full time it should only be used to Backup & Recover Data and then you always use the Safely Remove Option on the Task Bar to shut down the External Drive before you shut down the computer. You should Never leave any External Device connected to a computer unless you are attempting to boot off it.

    However if you want to use an External HDD a lot you need a Actively Cooled Case like the MX1 that Antec make

    http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NDc=

    A case like this will prevent the HDD inside it overheating and suffering from Low Power but will do very little to prevent Vibrational Damage.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    wowl

    if you want to recover data from a formatted hard disk: http://www.applexsoft.com/howto/recover-formatted-hard-disk.html

    +
    0 Votes
    kiran.paul

    Josie,

    I was encountering the same problem with my external hard drive. I tried using the drive on another computer and it started working fine. Hope this helps. I am a layman in regards with retrieving data, but you could give this a shot and hope it works for you too.

    Cheers.