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External Harddrive forgot it's got stuff on it

By mathisbrogers
Feb 3, 2008
  1. Hi all. I'm new to this forum. I found it by searching for a solution to my problem. I did find a few people here with my problem, but seems that their solutions might be different than what mine will need.

    1st of all, I have Windows XP Pro. A Maxtor 80 GB HD and a Western Digital 80 GB harddrive. I have a 40 GB Western Digital HD that I purchased an external USB case for a few years ago. It's formatted FAT32. I only use it for saving music that I've either downloaded or copied from LPs.

    Secondly, I have an RCA Digital MP3 OPAL player. I discovered that when I connect the OPAL to my computer, my computer forgets that the External WD is connected.

    Therefore, I didn't want to lose anything off the EWD, so I started using the Safely Remove option on the EWD, before plugging in the OPAL, but the computer never did let go of the EWD, so I just turned the EWD off before plugging in the OPAL, then after removing the OPAL, turned it back on.

    Well, a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't used the OPAL for a while, and I went to access the EWD and it says "The drive needs to be formatted."

    So, I turned it off, turned it back on, and it still says the same thing. Then I removed it and plugged it into my laptop and booted up and it says the same thing.

    My IT person at work suggested that I plug it into my desktop as a slave and see if that helps. It sees it, but wants to format it.

    I have most of the songs on CD by now, but there are several that I hadn't gotten around to burning to CD yet and there are some comedy audio files I didn't get burned that I can't get back. I didn't pay for them; they were free downloads, but I'd hate to lose them.

    A friend of mine has just recently opened his own computer repair shop and I am wondering if I should just look for a PC Doctor type program onine and do it myself, or let him see if he has something that will save it? He charges by the hour and thinks it might take two hours to anylize it and isn't sure he can save it.

    Thanks in advance for any advise you may have.
    Mathis B. Rogers
    Plainview, TX
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    He will plug it in as Slave just like you can.

    He may run CheckDisk on it, if it allows run
    And he may also check the partition is OK
    You have selected to download gparted-livecd
    http://downloads.sourceforge.net/gparted/gparted-livecd-0.3.4-11.iso?modtime=1197927842&big_mirror=0

    He may try to recover the files:
    Recover My Files 3.9.8.5891 Download
    http://www.techspot.com/downloads/201-recover-my-files.html

    Then he'll give it back and say sorry mate (no only joking, please try the above)
     
  3. mathisbrogers

    mathisbrogers TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info, Kimsland. I'll see what I can get done with this and will let you know what happens.

    Mathis...
     
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,311   +617

    never force disconnect a USB hd

    I think you've lost it all by the brute power off.

    Safe Removal requires that
    1- there are no windows open to browse ANY directory on the disk
    2- in fact, not even open on the root of the drive, eg E:\
    3- no program is running from that drive
    4- no file is open on that drive from a program on you boot hd​
    which is to say, there is noting accessing the E:\

    The job of Safe Removal is to flush the buffers in memory to the media and
    disconnect (unmount) the device.

    NEVER FORCE DISCONNECT a USB HD, but if you must, use system SHUTDOWN!
     
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,648   +521

    I had a similar problem, but mine was due to dropping the physical external hard drive off my desk while it was being accessed, it wasn't even reformatable, I used PC Inspector File Recovery and was able to recover half of the files off of it. Luckily I bought it from Best Buy and was able to exchange it, the reasons for the malfunction were not disclosed but now it is in my pc secured with screws. So try the program i mention, I think it was free, I'm pretty sure if it can work on a hard drive that fell 4 feet that it could get something off of your drive.
     
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