HDD Died - Shows only RAW Data

By bman2005 ยท 12 replies
May 20, 2009
  1. Good morning. I woke up yesterday morning to a "S.M.A.R.T - Failure" on my primary HDD. So much for advanced warning. the drive was dead as dead - not complete booting to windows etc. I have since replaced the drive and reinstalled my OS to get back up and running ASAP. I do have a few questions:

    I didn't loose a lot of data from my primary HDD (I do back up - yeah!) but there are things I would like to snag from the pile of data just to make my life a little easier - things like FireFox Bookmark backup.... and a few config files that map the backups from my backup utility software.

    I have placed my HDD into a external enclosure and the drive after some time will be recognized but only as "Local Disk" and the space shown is "0" bytes and the data is RAW (versus NFTS)

    Is there any way to get back in to this drive? My understanding from what I have read is that the Partition Table or the MBR has been corrupted or deleted. What do I need to do to see the data again?


    Broken Drive : WD740GD-00NLR1 (74GB Raptor)
    Windows XP + SP3

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  3. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Well at least you think there is a chance!

    The drive seems really dead and the RMA deadline will kick-in in the next couple of weeks so I need to get what I can while I still have the drive.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523


    I even think its a high possibility. :)
  5. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Well, stay tuned to this thread :) Well see what comes of it. Any time I see 0 bytes / RAW... it scares me.

    However, this is the "most dead" I have seen a drive. Usually there is some level of corruption that I can get around, pull of whatever I need and then move on. This one seems a bit more complicated for whatever reason.

    I will try it out this evening and keep you posted. Thanks for your help!

  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I have successfully recovered nearly all Raw filesystems (ie the data) using ZAR above (and I only used the free option ;))
  7. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    I did check out the link to ZAR. It looks pretty useful.

    It seems just getting the software over that first hurdle to actually recognize the drive is the key. Apps like Acronis don't want to have anything to do it with it.

    Some have offered to grab all the data for a fee - so I do have confidence that I can get it one way or other. I will send you a beer if I can get it with ZAR.

  8. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    ...as a side note:

    software company: I need to know if you were using Windows or another?

    software company: And what happened when this occurred?

    visitor: SMART Failure (bad sectors out the wazooo)

    visitor: SMART Failure gave me the notice during POST and that was all she wrote.

    software company : ...adds links to software...

    visitor: will either of these rebuild the MBR ?

    software company: That is a hardware failure and software cannot recover from hardware problmes.

    visitor: my biggest hurdle is getting the apps (any at this point) to recognize this is a logical drive since it currently reading RAW

    visitor: yes, certainly hardware..

    software company: And nothing will rebuild an MBR.

    visitor: I see..

    visitor: alright, thanks for your efforts, much appreciated

    software company: Let me get someone to quote you.

    Really? Or is this a ploy to get business?
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I've said it a thousand times before (not to you, but all over the web)

    Sales support is not Technical support

    Salesman sell things
    Techs fix computer faults

    They should never mix ;)
  10. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Kimsland - I am back...

    This is what ZAR tells me "It is not possible to process this device because its size appears to be zero. Make sure the device is properly installed, connected and that the media is inserted. If all else fails, try to change the disk access mode in Advanced Configuration, "Disk and partitions" tab.

    Indeed it does read 0 bytes.... but I already knew that. Not sure how to get around it.

    This is the same reading whether on motherboard directly sata or external enclosure.

    Any other thoughts?
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    The directly Sata would have been the next idea, but you have done that
    Can you download and Create and Run (from bootable disc) the Gparted live boot CD and let me know if Gparted picks up the drive at all
  12. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Yes I can! I had to cycle the power on the exterior carrier a couple time to get the HDD to wake up and GParted finally recognized the drive.

    It had a ! - warning that the NFTS was double referenced and needed to be fixed with chkdsk f:/

    What next? I can't run CHKDSK from windows as I get the error message "Cannot open volume for direct access".
  13. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Update - I was able to get to CHKDSK through the recover counsel and it gave me message:

    "This device appears to have an unrecoverable error" - or something very close to that message. I think I am going to resign myself to the fact that it's toast.

    Some other forums are noting to try MHDD and run some sort of scripts but I don't about all of that business...

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