Laptop is telling me I need to format my drive and its already formatted

By mummyspud
Jan 16, 2011
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  1. Evening all

    I recently purchased a Hitachi 250 GB drive. I have all kinds of things on it, including films for my son, photos, music and most importantly files containing assignments for a course I am completing. (Yes I know the latter probably shouldn't be on there, but my son has the knack of deleting things and is a whiz for an 8 year old. He has aspergers and computers is one of his 'special interests' and he has managed to override every type of security I have put on so far and I have tried a few e.g. cracking my password, going into control panel and turning it off and making himself an administrator and setting parental controls up for me, or pulling the battery at the back!! )

    I was trying to play a film for my son (Dumbo, which is what I now feel like) and it wouldn't load. I tried a few times and it then came up with scan files and fix errors so I said yes. Since I have done this it doesn't recognise the drive at all and says that it needs formatted. I don't know much, but I'm guessing that if I say yes it will wipe everything, so keep cancelling it. I have tried going into properties on the F drive and setting the sharing to everyone but it wont work as the drive needs to be formatted first.

    My brother (who set it all up for me before he left the country) has suggested I try connecting it using a different USB port, but it didn't work.

    Just wondering if anyone has any ideas as to how to solve this, bearing in mind that any explanation or suggestion would need to be REALLY simple and step by step. I can do all things involving word, power point, excel etc but when it comes to the real technology such as how the computer works and what the parts are called I haven't got a clue!!

    Hoping to hear from someone soon

    Spud
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    I take it this is an external drive yeah?

    First thing to check, is the drive plugged into another computer. I sometimes have this issue with my SD cards from my digital camera in Windows7. If I boot into Linux it works immediately without any issue whatsoever.

    It sounds to me like it was disconnected in the middle of a read/write operation and as such, something has corrupted, and is making the disk act like it needs formatting.

    It is most likely a boot sector problem, which is very hard to resolve in most cases. Given that you've made no comment about backups, I'm guessing you have none.

    You can try one of two things in my opinion:

    1. Click this link, read the information here and use the software to fix your boot record. You accept the risks, and if you lose data its not my fault.
    2. You can download a copy of Ubuntu, which is a Linux operating system, and burn the image you download to a CD. You can then use the disc to boot into Ubuntu, and if your lucky you can mount your hard disk that way, and then simply copy all the data over to your laptop hard disk, then boot back into Windows and format the hard disk, and copy the data back over once again.
    3. There is a third option, but not really recommended by me... that is to format the hard disk, and then immediately run a deep scan using Recuva to recover the previously lost data. Its pretty effective, but its likely you'll lose something - Its also crucial you do not write anything to the disk once you've formatted it, as anything overwriting the previously formatted data will stop it from being recovered.

    Other ways include removing records for the particular disk from the registry, which I won't recommend due to your own admission of it needing to be simple, and because you risk serious damage to your operating system should you do it incorrectly.


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