cant access external hd

By akifennec ·
just now i was deleting things off my external hd when out of no where the widow closes and the computer shows that its been disconnected, i checked the cords and all was fine, so i restarted and it froze on boot-up. i unplugged the hd and it booted up fine. now everytime i try to plug the hd in it freezes my computer till it is unplugged. I also got this error $bitmap is corrupt and unreadable.

when i plug it in I can here it start up like it always does and the computer recolonizes it to some extant when its plugged in

all i know about the hd is that its a 250g maxtor
is there anyway to fix it

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by seanferd In reply to cant access external hd

is what NTFS uses to keep track of used clusters on the disk. Something occurred which corrupted the NTFS volume. Basically, Windows doesn't know the correct size of the drive, and therefore doesn't know where to look for data. Your problem is a bit like MFT corruption.

See if this will help:

It also sounds like your computer might be set to boot from USB devices before internal HDD. You need to go into BIOS setup, and check the boot order. For now, make sure that CD\DVD\optical, floppy, and HDD are set to boot before USB devices.

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still locks up when plugged in

by akifennec In reply to $bitmap

I changed the boot order but as soon i plug it in it freezes every thing till its unplugged

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External hard drives should NEVER be connected at boot

by OldER Mycroft In reply to cant access external hd

Not unless you are intending to boot from the USB hard drive and the BIOS has been set accordingly.

For the majority of cases, external USB HDDs should be treated in exactly the same way as USB thumb drives and shutdown using the 'Safely Remove Hardware' method prior to shutting down the PC itself.

Nor should an external drive be used continuously (as you would with an internal hard drive) because they were never intended for this purpose, despite what common knowledge would suggest.

External hard drives are highly susceptible to trauma from knocks and desk vibrations that would never affect an internal hard drive unless you were to constantly pick up and move the entire PC tower unit while it was still running.

They also tend to overheat due to inadequate ventilation when fitted to plastic cases without cooling fans. Their main purpose in life is for storing backups which are only needed occasionally.

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did not know that

by akifennec In reply to External hard drives shou ...

Oh I did not know this and uve been doing it for years now, so as soon as i get the money i guess im going to have to invest in a upgraded internal hard drive so i dont have to run programs off my external. thanks for the info. but for now hopefully i can fix my external

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RE: can fix my external

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to did not know that

Best guess is Maybe.

This sounds like some kind of failure so start off with the easy things replace the Data Lead and power Lead if there is one.

It is unlikely to do anything but it just may so it's worth a try.

What is however far more likely is that the Electronics inside the case have failed so this leaves 2 items that may be faulty. The Interface card between the USB Lead and the actual HDD or the Circuit Board on the HDD.

If replacing the Data & Power Leads doesn't fix the problem then you have to open the case and remove the HDD and fit it as an Internal Drive to a suitable computer to run the Makers Testing Utility. Of course if it continues to cause the Lockup when fitted internally there is not much point in continuing the drive itself has died and gone to Silicon Heaven.


If the Data is important places like On Track can recover it for you


But this comes at a price so you should be prepared to spend lots of money. And no I do not work for them but I do use them whenever I need to recover Data off a HDD for a customer as they are the best place that I have found to do this type of work. Naturally the faster that you need the drive recovered the more expensive it is but I have had drives recovered in under 24 Hours for some customers. If needed they offer an excellent service.


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by akifennec In reply to RE: [i]can fix my externa ...

ok im not to sure what you mean by data and power lead but Ive tried moving the hd to a new enclosure.

Ive tried leaving the hd plugged in and came back and it was unfrozen so im able to access the command prompt now and the device manager shows that it is connected. so is there still hope on fixing it myself and if so what is the next step.

I did a chkdsk but im not sure if i did it right.

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OK if you can access the Drive run the Makers Testing Utility

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to hmmm

you can download it from here


Just click on the HDD makers Name and you will be prompted to download the correct Utility.

Now for your other bit Data Lead is the USB Cable and the Power Lead is the lead from the Mains Adapter if there is one fitted.

If there is no Mains Lead you need to use Both of the USB Connectors in the Computer if you look at that end of the USB Lead the wires tot he 2 Plugs are different one is Power Only and the other is Power & Data. USB Ports on Modern Computers Can Not supply enough Current with just 1 USB Plug so you need to make sure that you plug them both into different USB Sockets or into a Powered USB Hub with at least 500 MA available.

If the Test comes back as correct and you can access your Drive you will be OK but if the Drive passes the Test but is not accessible you need to use some form of Data Recovery Software to recover your Data if it would only be Nice to have back. It it MUST be recovered do not touch the HDD take it directly to a Data Recovery Specialist as the more you mess with it now the more that the professional will be unable to recover your Data and this is a Fact that more it will cost you to have the Professionals try to recover your Data.

But if it would just be nice to get back you can try on of these applications














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.


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linux to the resuce

by akifennec In reply to OK if you can access the ...

thank you for all of this it seems to be useful. but i have update and i am not sure if i still need these or something else.

while waiting for your response, i read that knoppix has help a few people with the same problem so i tried it out. Everything worked great there was no freeze and i was able to access and use my data on the hd.

widows manager shows a healthy drive with no used space.

Now my question how do i get it to work on widows do i use what you have just given me, or should i wait and buy a new hd and back this one up. Do i need to buy a new hd and if so what do you recommend?

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RE: widows manager shows a healthy drive with no used space.

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to linux to the resuce

This means Absolutely Nothing at all. You need to use the HDD Makers Testing Utility to make sure that the drive is actually OK.

As for what to do now I would use Knoppix and copy your Data to something else like a DVD and burn it under Knoppix then when you have it all saved and you have double checked to see that it is actually on whatever you copied it to reboot Windows go to the Drive Manager and format the drive from there.

When this is finished copy your Data back to the Drive and then Always use the Safely Remove Option whenever you want to unplug the drive.

I would also suggest a HDD Enclosure like this one from Antec


Which is actively cooled and it far better for any external drive as it can not overheat. Though this dose nothing to protect the Drive from not shutting down correctly or Vibrational Damage.


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