TechSpot

HDD Recovery options?

By madboyv1
Aug 27, 2007
  1. After reading the "Lost for good?" Thread, still feel compelled to ask. First, the situation.

    I have a Maxtor 250 GB PATA drive that was a secondary drive for about a year old, and currently is an external drive, now for about 2 days. about 6 hours ago I got an error saying that both paritions in this drive have become corrupted and I should run chkdisk. I tell the system to schedule a check for both of them next time I restart my computer. so, about 15 minutes ago I restarted my computer, and low and behold, chkdisk didn't start. I figured that was odd so I checked My computer to see if they were there. nope. I then checked the Logical Disk Manager, and I suddenly have 232 GB of unallocated space. Considering that this drive is about 65% full in total, and a lot of it has not been backed up yet (I pulled it out of a dead machine to start backing up), its rather important to me.

    So, any ideas, free/inexpensive recovery programs, or tricks of the trade?

    edit: Playing the part of a newbie I just realized there is a giant thread of links above with plenty of diagnostic and recovery tools. I'll keep them in mind but would still like suggestions to going about fixing this.
     
  2. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    Refit the drive as an internal drive as the system may not have detected the external drive in time to run chkdsk on it. Handle it very carefully as if it is dying you may not get many more chances.
    Download the Maxtor hard drive diagnostic tools from Seagate once you have recovered your files - this will tell you if there is a problem with the drive.
     
  3. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    As a note, Seagate has combined the sea Tools and Powermax into a super Sea Tools, which covers both drive types and then some. Unfortunately I do not have a desktop currently available, but I'll get one hopefully tonight. On a side note, I have two drives in the same type of enclosure. The problem drive does not show up in during/after POST, but the other one does. Either way, Sea Tools does not understand a USB enclosed drive so I'll need to move it into a desktop computer regardless.

    edit: Running Active@ Partition Recovery Demo version finds the partitions with the quick scan, but they are in bad shape. I am assuming the partions just got trashed pretty bad, and I am hoping everything is still recoverable. I still will not try anything until I get the chance to run the drive through Sea-Tools. I'll update when I get it down.
     
  4. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I have a question. I will have a desktop computer available to me tomorrow, and will be able to run Sea Tools on that.

    However, letting Active@ Partition Recovery run a super scan, it was able to "find" everything that is supposed to find. Should I go ahead and attempt to recover using Active@ Partition Recovery, or should I wait till tomorrow? I mean I can do either one, but which would you think will be safer, both in the logical data sense, as well as physically?
     
  5. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    If after running Active Partition you can access the files you want, make a copy of them onto another drive. I would then run Seatools to check the drive and maybe reformat it if it tests OK.
     
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    hmm, I must be doing something wrong. I attmept to fix the drive partitions, the program tells me the drive has not been initialized. So I initialize it in the Logical Disk Manager, then I recover both paritions, Active Partition says that it was successful, but the system (before and after a restart) says that both drives are corrupt and unreadable, Properties says that there is 0B used, 0B free, and chkdsk aborts because it is "unable to determine volume version and state."

    Oh yeah, Active Partition still says that the data is still there, so there is some hope yet.

    Any ideas?
     
  7. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    The only thing I can think of is that AP is not leaving the partitions in a state that windows can access them.
    Try using seatools on the drive but don't let it format the partitions if it can see them.
     
  8. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    A word of warning. External hdd caddies are NOT designed for continuous use. Hard drives, when running, produce heat which poorly vented cases cannot release therefore the drive fries.

    Ive had 3 friends that all lost hard drives to externals. 2 binned everything and the 3rd with my help fitted a fan to his external and it has cured the problem of heat completely.
     
  9. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    madboy - are you running this in an external caddy?? You need to run this as a slave to your usual hard drive to be able to work with it properly (see my note in this thread #2)
     
  10. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I was pretty sure I was making it clear I was using, for the most part, a hard drive enclosure, though I understand if you may have thought I had already moved my HDD to a desktop computer. =)

    At anyrate, I do know about the issues with enclosures without proper ventilation, so I turn off drives I have enclosed whenever I am not using it, or when it is becoming hot to the touch. Also, Setting a drive in an enclosure as slave has never worked for me, at least with my Adaptec enclosures. Its gives results not unlike plugging a Floppy cable in upside down.

    I will try seatools today, as I have access to a spare computer.

    Oh, and the system can see the hard drive in its enclosure during/after post now.
     
  11. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    So... I ran Sea Tools, both long and short tests, and everything came up clean.

    What to do, what to do... =(
     
  12. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    Then it must be file structure. How you address fixing it from here depends on how precious the files are. You could try running a File Recovery program over it - they are not destructive so no harm done if nothing is found.
     
  13. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    One partition on this drive I could probably scrap if I had to. the other, well thats why I am going through this trouble. I am open ears. ^^;
     
  14. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    The problem might be the partitions themselves - kill one and you kill them both. If you can access them in any way, I would still try a file recovery routine of some sort to pull the files off.
     
  15. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    Could you recommend a program or set of instructions to do this? the stickied thread in this forum sorta lacks in file recovery, its mostly partitioning, partition recovery, and the such.
     
  16. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    google file recovery and take your pick.....there are freebies if you look for them. The software I use cost money so I have never had to look for a free on - sorry!
     
  17. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I tried scanning using Active@ File Recovery and it says the Master File Table is invalid... PC inspector sorta see's things, but 600 minutes is a long time to wait for it. Also it thinks that both partitions are the size of the entire drive. perhaps my MBR is also heavily damaged.

    Any ideas?

    edit: PC inspector lists that the MFT entry for every file I've let it scan for is -1, and I am pretty sure that isn't right.
     
  18. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    try file scavenger or getdataback ntfs
    read help files for instructions let them run
    if drive has not been written to and is not damaged IE: head crash bad platters
    you should be able to get back almost all your data

    PM for additional info on data recovery of important data
     
  19. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I am using GetDataBack right now and I am getting hundred, probably will be thousands of errors, they are still happening as I type this.

    Error 2: in G: during ReadLogicalLBA: LBA=[LBA number], CHS=-1x-1x-1, Cnt=1
    Error 2: in G: during ReadLogicalLBA: LBA=[LBA number], CHS=-1x-1x-1, Cnt=64
    Error 2: in G: during ReadLogicalLBA: LBA=[LBA number], CHS=-1x-1x-1, Cnt=1
    Error 2: in G: during ReadLogicalLBA: LBA=[LBA number], CHS=-1x-1x-1, Cnt=64
    etc.

    it happens over and over and over again.

    could this be the fact that my hard drive has two partitions, and that GetDataBack thinks that they are each the entire size of the drive?
     
  20. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +622

    did you fuss with the BIOS settings for LBA? these look like large block errors.
     
  21. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I haven't been in my laptop BIOS for a long long time (at least a year), and even then I leave HDD detection to automatic, rather than manually setting them.
     
  22. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    I canceled the GetDataBack scan to try file scavenger. I do not have 16,000 files that are under 1 MB on that drive, and everything higher only adds up to 12 GB. I have yet to try to actually recover anything yet.

    I'll try running GetDataBack again and skip the sectors that were giving me problems. =/
     
  23. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    if anyone is curious on how I am doing, I am VERY SLOWLY recovering the data on my hard drive.

    I am using GetDataBack for NTFS, and using Noel Danjou's Media Checker as well as Nero burning DVD images to help confirm data integrity. It is a very slow pace, but so far its working.

    Sometimes data is not correctly restored causing CRC errors or errors in reading the file. Re-recovering it using GetDataBack sometimes works. I have had to re-download some files due to their size, and I tried using All Media Fixer, but the freeware version sucks. =/
     
  24. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    not sure ,should be a box that allows to set ignored file sizes
    anything under such and such size will be ignored same with file ext.
    hope you get most of your stuff back
    thanks for updates sometimes after helping we don't see or hear end results
     
  25. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,333   +267

    So... my primary Hard drive (the one with the boot partition) has suffered catastrophic failure. It spins and is recognized by the system. but I think one of the heads are broken, as I cannot read or right from the drive, nor can anything even access it (explorer, Disk management, they all lock up until I forcefully disconnect the drive). =(

    I'll try reading it on a linux system since I've heard of drives that could no longer be read in windows could be in Linux, but it probably won't help.

    The good news, is that before the hard drive died I had made a Norton Ghost back up of the IBM service partition on it a day or two before it failed, and I have a 3 month old ghost backup up my Boot partition. The work I had done over the past couple weeks are basically scrapped.

    I'll recover eventually. at least the data on the trouble drive that this thread was made for seems to be okay still. =)
     
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