Questions

Windows Vista not showing external drive

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Windows Vista not showing external drive

Shonam66
Hi,

I am not very tech savvy, so would really appreciate if answers could be kept simple/easy to follow.

My old laptop - Toshiba Sattellite M100, recently crashed/died/went kaput/went to calculator heaven - Windows Repair did nothing, I really need to retrieve the data from the old lap top, so brought a "Big Ant 2.5" External Enclosure" so I could attach the hard drive to my other lap-top - a Dell Studio 1555.

Have attached it (via usb ports) and though it registers as a USB device, I am unable to view/access it, it does not show in the "Computer" panel.

The Dell is running Windows Vista Home Premium, the Toshiba was also on Windows Vista (pretty sure also Home Premium, but not 100% on that)

As I'm not in the position to pay hundreds of dollars to a specialist retrieval company, and I REALLY need the data from the old lap top, I would really really appreciate any help.

I know I should have done an external back-up of the data on the Toshiba, but sadly I didn't get round to it in time (I have already made an external back up of the Dell), but believe me, I have learned my lesson the hard way
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    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for was useful and I almost thought I was going to have success......but sadly I didn't get the option to rename, only initialise (which I haven't done)

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    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    Peconet Tietokoneet's answer above is correct, however I have experienced that sometimes you will not be able to do so, Windows will ask you to format the hard disk before it can be used.

    Should this happen, you have two options:
    1. Get a file recovery program such as File Scavenger ($49) this can find files on most damaged disks.http://www.quetek.com/download.htm
    2. Go ahead and format it, then use www.piriform.com's "Recuva" file un-eraser to get them back.
    I have done it both ways, 80% effective.

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    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Personally I would run Check Disc on the External Drive and if the Partition Tables are corrupt Windows can repair them. Cheap and no possibility of problems as it's part of Windows but of course the Drive Management has to see the drive first which is also true for any Recovery Software.

    Col

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    Shonam66

    Thanks - when you say 80% effective in what way is that? 80% of data is recovered?

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    0 Votes
    colin.kennedy13

    As already suggested, map the drive to another letter. I have always found that z: usually sorts this problem out.

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    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Thanks - unfortunately it's not letting me rename it at the moment

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    0 Votes
    dave

    Also, I've had some problems with certain drives using the external enclosures. Do you have another drive you can test it with? Try a different USB port on your Dell. I once had desktop that failed to support external drives when you used the front USB ports, but the rear ones worked fine.
    For Linux, try Mint or Ubuntu.

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    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Thanks - I tried a different USB port, would've loved it to be that simple :) sadly....no good.

    Sorry to sound stupid but not quite sure what the Linux is all about, will my data still be safe?

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    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Yes your Data will be safe if you use a Live Linux which runs off the Optical Disc not the HDD itself.

    The big advantage of Live Linux is that it doesn't rely on having a working OS installed on a system it can allow you to access the HDD without the installed OS running. It also has the ability to read all current HDD partition Types unlike Windows which can only read its own kind of Partitions.

    You can download a Live Linux from here

    http://www.livecdlist .com/
    remember to remove the space from between livecdlist and the .com for a working link.

    I personally prefer Knoppix but really any of those listed here will do depending on how well you know Linux/Unix systems. If you have no knowledge at all I would stick with Knoppix as it's easy to use and Remember to run it off the Disc not install it to the HDD.

    Col

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    Shonam66

    Not sure how to reply to Col's message below, so putting it here - please forgive me. :)

    I would say it's safe to say I know nothing of any use about Linux, you mentioned that Linux has a Live version that I could use, I take it from your comment re the disk & Knoppix that Knoppix does not have this option available?

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    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    I provided a link to a Live Download Web Site where all of the listed Linux's are Live.

    In response you your question Knoppix is a Live Distribution that can be installed if you so desire. I use it as a Service Tool to repair Broken Windows Systems.


    Col

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    Shonam66

    OK, I thought I'd double check to make sure that what I thought was the external drive (from defunct Toshiba) so I checked in Computer > Manage > Storage > Disk Management & Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Device Manager > View Hardware & Devices, with & without the drive attached - this link contains the screen shots (sorry couldn't figure how to, or if you can, post a picture in here)
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4MegF7UslCtyx5XWAqhyCglO990cYU7MxvsIn5gsqBE?feat=directlink

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    jqbecker

    Shonam66:
    That drive is toast.
    You will need to use the free demo version of Disk Scavenger. It will scan the disk an give indication of how much can be recovered. If it can it will tell you how much. Then you decide if it's worth $49 to actually do the recovery.
    If there is physical disk damage, then you will get nothing.
    JB

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    Shonam66

    @JB please don't take wrong way as not meaning to be rude, but how can you tell that from the screen shots? (I'm genuinely curious)

    Also can disk scavenger find the drive if it's not listed/shown?

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    jqbecker

    Shonam66:
    Your screenshots show the connected drive as "unallocated". This means the drive is unreadable by Windows. The machine knows everything about the drive, except that it has any data on it: to the PC, it appears as if it is a brand new blank disk. I have seen this screen a gazillion times in one of two situations: 1) toasted hard disk [or] 2) brand new unformatted disk.

    Your data is probably still there, but the machine does not know how to find the files and re-assemble them. I repeat my original suggestion, download and run Disk Scavenger free demo - it will scan your disk and show you which files could be recovered. If it finds any, you will not be able to recover them until you pay for full version. It is a no-risk, no-cost way to determine whether you ant to spend the $49.

    One last note: the longer you mess around with a corrupt disk , the more it becomes corrupted. Time is of the essence, the sooner you start getting files off, the more you will be able to recover.

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    0 Votes
    Charles Bundy

    Looks like you lost your partition table.

    This might help

    http://www.salingfamily.net/trav/linux/lost_partition.html

    Hope this helps!

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    0 Votes
    dave

    Did it actually power on or was it just flat out dead? Did you see the Toshiba (BIOS) startup screen shortly after power on? Did Windows even attempt to load if it got that far? Also, when you plug in the external drive in to the Dell can you actually hear the drive spin up? Any clicking noises after it does?

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    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Hi Dave thanks for your time

    It did power up, I did get the start-up screen (where down the bottom have option to press F1 and F12 I thinkit is)
    Windows did try & load/run start-up repair(?) but this didn't work and it would just loop back - sorry if this is bit vague but this happened almost 2 weeks ago so can't remember exact details.

    It doesn't spin so much as I can hear a faint 'humming' sound (similar to sound Dell laptop makes when it's running) & the red power light on the USB casing is on. I can't hear any clicking noises.

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    0 Votes
    ansiroi

    First thing first do not format the hard drive under any consideration as you would make the retrieval of your files very hard.
    I would suggest you purchase a copy of Spinrite at (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) burn it to a CD and boot your computer with it.
    This program is simply amazing, it is created by Steve Gibson.
    I feel certain that you should be able to recuperate unless your hard disk is totally toast.
    Good Luck.

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    once it is reinstalled in the original system
    you need 2 tools
    A> get a memory testing tool. eg. WMD (Windows Memory Diagnostic)
    - bad RAM can cause an HDD and or the data written to it, to become corrupted
    B> the Manufacturers HDD testing tool
    - in this case you need Hitachi DFT (Drive Fitness Test)
    DFT can be got from here:
    h t t p : / / h g s t . c o m / s u p p o r t / i n d e x - f i l e s / s i m p l e t e c h - l e g a c y - d o w n l o a d s # D F T

    DFT will tell you if the HDD is baked physically
    eg. if there are bad sectors and there are no more spare sectors, etc.
    but may not expose interface problems

    the Disk is appearing in Disk Manager as
    > not initialized
    > unallocated

    this indicates that the partition table and/or MBR is partially or completely destroyed
    either by software error or there is a failure on the PCB which in turn caused the partition table to be corrupted
    thus the data may not be recoverable by anyone other than a data recovery house with specialized tools for doing PCB swap, head swap, or Platter Analysis

    +
    0 Votes
    r_widell

    While the drive MAY be toast, it may also just be a case of a corrupted MBR due to a viral infection. The cheapest way to confirm this is with a program called TestDisk.

    You can get it (and the sources) from: http://www.cgsecurity .org/wiki/TestDisk (remove the extraneous space before .org in the URL).

    This program is included in most of the recovery CDs (Hiren's, UBCD, UBCD4Win, Knoppix, etc.) and is very powerful and flexible, IFF you're comfortable using the command prompt and you're knowledgeable about disk structures.

    Read the docs before you start. If you're not comfortable with this approach and your data is important to you, get local professional help.

    ron

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    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    r_widell,
    The screen shots show unallocated disk, if it was just mbr, it would still show up as a disk drive letter with folders and files, Shonam66 has neither to work with.

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    0 Votes
    Charles Bundy

    jqbecker

    ron is right, a screwed up MBR would basically leave you with no logical info on how the disk is partitioned.

    +
    0 Votes
    laura_sunny

    Hi.. I feel that your drive might have crashed, but dont worry, by using a recovery software you can recover your drive files. I know one such good software called Drive Recovery Software.It helps you to recover all your files from the drive. it can even recover files from removable drive. for more details about the software, just click here:
    http://www.removabledriverecovery.com/files.html
    You can try the trail version and thes purchase it. To download trail version, just click here:
    http://www.removabledriverecovery.com/download/removabledriverecovery-windows.exe

  • +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for was useful and I almost thought I was going to have success......but sadly I didn't get the option to rename, only initialise (which I haven't done)

    +
    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    Peconet Tietokoneet's answer above is correct, however I have experienced that sometimes you will not be able to do so, Windows will ask you to format the hard disk before it can be used.

    Should this happen, you have two options:
    1. Get a file recovery program such as File Scavenger ($49) this can find files on most damaged disks.http://www.quetek.com/download.htm
    2. Go ahead and format it, then use www.piriform.com's "Recuva" file un-eraser to get them back.
    I have done it both ways, 80% effective.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Personally I would run Check Disc on the External Drive and if the Partition Tables are corrupt Windows can repair them. Cheap and no possibility of problems as it's part of Windows but of course the Drive Management has to see the drive first which is also true for any Recovery Software.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Thanks - when you say 80% effective in what way is that? 80% of data is recovered?

    +
    0 Votes
    colin.kennedy13

    As already suggested, map the drive to another letter. I have always found that z: usually sorts this problem out.

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Thanks - unfortunately it's not letting me rename it at the moment

    +
    0 Votes
    dave

    Also, I've had some problems with certain drives using the external enclosures. Do you have another drive you can test it with? Try a different USB port on your Dell. I once had desktop that failed to support external drives when you used the front USB ports, but the rear ones worked fine.
    For Linux, try Mint or Ubuntu.

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Thanks - I tried a different USB port, would've loved it to be that simple :) sadly....no good.

    Sorry to sound stupid but not quite sure what the Linux is all about, will my data still be safe?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Yes your Data will be safe if you use a Live Linux which runs off the Optical Disc not the HDD itself.

    The big advantage of Live Linux is that it doesn't rely on having a working OS installed on a system it can allow you to access the HDD without the installed OS running. It also has the ability to read all current HDD partition Types unlike Windows which can only read its own kind of Partitions.

    You can download a Live Linux from here

    http://www.livecdlist .com/
    remember to remove the space from between livecdlist and the .com for a working link.

    I personally prefer Knoppix but really any of those listed here will do depending on how well you know Linux/Unix systems. If you have no knowledge at all I would stick with Knoppix as it's easy to use and Remember to run it off the Disc not install it to the HDD.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Not sure how to reply to Col's message below, so putting it here - please forgive me. :)

    I would say it's safe to say I know nothing of any use about Linux, you mentioned that Linux has a Live version that I could use, I take it from your comment re the disk & Knoppix that Knoppix does not have this option available?

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    I provided a link to a Live Download Web Site where all of the listed Linux's are Live.

    In response you your question Knoppix is a Live Distribution that can be installed if you so desire. I use it as a Service Tool to repair Broken Windows Systems.


    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    OK, I thought I'd double check to make sure that what I thought was the external drive (from defunct Toshiba) so I checked in Computer > Manage > Storage > Disk Management & Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Device Manager > View Hardware & Devices, with & without the drive attached - this link contains the screen shots (sorry couldn't figure how to, or if you can, post a picture in here)
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4MegF7UslCtyx5XWAqhyCglO990cYU7MxvsIn5gsqBE?feat=directlink

    +
    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    Shonam66:
    That drive is toast.
    You will need to use the free demo version of Disk Scavenger. It will scan the disk an give indication of how much can be recovered. If it can it will tell you how much. Then you decide if it's worth $49 to actually do the recovery.
    If there is physical disk damage, then you will get nothing.
    JB

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    @JB please don't take wrong way as not meaning to be rude, but how can you tell that from the screen shots? (I'm genuinely curious)

    Also can disk scavenger find the drive if it's not listed/shown?

    +
    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    Shonam66:
    Your screenshots show the connected drive as "unallocated". This means the drive is unreadable by Windows. The machine knows everything about the drive, except that it has any data on it: to the PC, it appears as if it is a brand new blank disk. I have seen this screen a gazillion times in one of two situations: 1) toasted hard disk [or] 2) brand new unformatted disk.

    Your data is probably still there, but the machine does not know how to find the files and re-assemble them. I repeat my original suggestion, download and run Disk Scavenger free demo - it will scan your disk and show you which files could be recovered. If it finds any, you will not be able to recover them until you pay for full version. It is a no-risk, no-cost way to determine whether you ant to spend the $49.

    One last note: the longer you mess around with a corrupt disk , the more it becomes corrupted. Time is of the essence, the sooner you start getting files off, the more you will be able to recover.

    +
    0 Votes
    Charles Bundy

    Looks like you lost your partition table.

    This might help

    http://www.salingfamily.net/trav/linux/lost_partition.html

    Hope this helps!

    +
    0 Votes
    dave

    Did it actually power on or was it just flat out dead? Did you see the Toshiba (BIOS) startup screen shortly after power on? Did Windows even attempt to load if it got that far? Also, when you plug in the external drive in to the Dell can you actually hear the drive spin up? Any clicking noises after it does?

    +
    0 Votes
    Shonam66

    Hi Dave thanks for your time

    It did power up, I did get the start-up screen (where down the bottom have option to press F1 and F12 I thinkit is)
    Windows did try & load/run start-up repair(?) but this didn't work and it would just loop back - sorry if this is bit vague but this happened almost 2 weeks ago so can't remember exact details.

    It doesn't spin so much as I can hear a faint 'humming' sound (similar to sound Dell laptop makes when it's running) & the red power light on the USB casing is on. I can't hear any clicking noises.

    +
    0 Votes
    ansiroi

    First thing first do not format the hard drive under any consideration as you would make the retrieval of your files very hard.
    I would suggest you purchase a copy of Spinrite at (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) burn it to a CD and boot your computer with it.
    This program is simply amazing, it is created by Steve Gibson.
    I feel certain that you should be able to recuperate unless your hard disk is totally toast.
    Good Luck.

    +
    0 Votes
    Who Am I Really

    once it is reinstalled in the original system
    you need 2 tools
    A> get a memory testing tool. eg. WMD (Windows Memory Diagnostic)
    - bad RAM can cause an HDD and or the data written to it, to become corrupted
    B> the Manufacturers HDD testing tool
    - in this case you need Hitachi DFT (Drive Fitness Test)
    DFT can be got from here:
    h t t p : / / h g s t . c o m / s u p p o r t / i n d e x - f i l e s / s i m p l e t e c h - l e g a c y - d o w n l o a d s # D F T

    DFT will tell you if the HDD is baked physically
    eg. if there are bad sectors and there are no more spare sectors, etc.
    but may not expose interface problems

    the Disk is appearing in Disk Manager as
    > not initialized
    > unallocated

    this indicates that the partition table and/or MBR is partially or completely destroyed
    either by software error or there is a failure on the PCB which in turn caused the partition table to be corrupted
    thus the data may not be recoverable by anyone other than a data recovery house with specialized tools for doing PCB swap, head swap, or Platter Analysis

    +
    0 Votes
    r_widell

    While the drive MAY be toast, it may also just be a case of a corrupted MBR due to a viral infection. The cheapest way to confirm this is with a program called TestDisk.

    You can get it (and the sources) from: http://www.cgsecurity .org/wiki/TestDisk (remove the extraneous space before .org in the URL).

    This program is included in most of the recovery CDs (Hiren's, UBCD, UBCD4Win, Knoppix, etc.) and is very powerful and flexible, IFF you're comfortable using the command prompt and you're knowledgeable about disk structures.

    Read the docs before you start. If you're not comfortable with this approach and your data is important to you, get local professional help.

    ron

    +
    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    r_widell,
    The screen shots show unallocated disk, if it was just mbr, it would still show up as a disk drive letter with folders and files, Shonam66 has neither to work with.

    +
    0 Votes
    Charles Bundy

    jqbecker

    ron is right, a screwed up MBR would basically leave you with no logical info on how the disk is partitioned.

    +
    0 Votes
    laura_sunny

    Hi.. I feel that your drive might have crashed, but dont worry, by using a recovery software you can recover your drive files. I know one such good software called Drive Recovery Software.It helps you to recover all your files from the drive. it can even recover files from removable drive. for more details about the software, just click here:
    http://www.removabledriverecovery.com/files.html
    You can try the trail version and thes purchase it. To download trail version, just click here:
    http://www.removabledriverecovery.com/download/removabledriverecovery-windows.exe