Windows prompt to format when opening an external partition

By Spam killer ·
I have an external hard drive, used as backup storage, when I connect it to my laptop and try to open it, windows prompt that this partition is corrupted and I have to format it, but I cannot do that, there are many files there, what should I do? I cannot loss the data!

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Need some history here.

by seanferd In reply to Windows prompt to format ...

The partition on the external HDD was created with what OS? What OS is on the Laptop?

Can you access the drive if attached to a different computer? If it is a drive in a USB case, also try connecting the drive directly to the computer.

Test the drive with the manufacturer's testing utility, found at the mfgr's website.

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Er, you seem to be the partition expert

by seanferd In reply to Windows prompt to format ...

from reading your prior posts.

Let me guess. You are suddenly going to find the solution, right?

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you are right, but still need help

by Spam killer In reply to Er, you seem to be the pa ...

you are right, I also searched other place and found this article http://www.hdd-tool.com/hdd-repair/fix-fat-ntfs-partition-boot-sector.htm It seems that it is boot sector error, but it relats to a commercial tool, is there a free utility? thx.
In fact, I'm strange that I did nothing to this external drive, why the boot sector changed?

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Check OH Smeg's post, but

by seanferd In reply to you are right, but still ...

I don't think it would be a boot sector problem, as there is no boot sector unless the OS is running on it.

If there is, you use the OS recovery tools to fix that. E.g., Windows Recovery Console.

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Well provided that this drive worked previously on this computer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Windows prompt to format ...

And you have tested it with it's Makers Testing Utility to confirm correct operation of the HDD in question which you can get here


The obvious thing is that the user Has Not used the Safely Remove Option under Windows and dismounted the External Drive which has lead to the corruption of the Partition Information on the drive. If that is the case and this Data is Important there is only one option and that is to take the HDD to a Data Recovery Specialist and pay to have the data recovered.

If you mess with this drive and can not recover the data all that you have achieved is lesson the chance of a Professional being able to recover the Data and making it even more expensive for the Recovery Job itself.

But if the data would only be Nice to get back you can use one of the many Data Recovery Programs available.

Here is a short list of the better ones














While the last 2 are from the same company they are very different products. Win Hex should only be considered foe 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.

Or you could try running the CHKDSK/r option on the drive from your Windows Boot Disc to attempt to repair the Partition Tables.

But of course if the data is Important just take it directly to a Data Recovery House like On Track or a similar organization.


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