Seagate External Crashed, Won't Recognize, Bad Sectors.

By 0kyz ยท 13 replies
Aug 10, 2007
  1. The external hard drive isn't recognized anymore. I used the SeaTools and did some disk analysis and it told me that it couldn't continue after discovering over 20 bad sectors. This external is very important and I need all or almost all of the files. Is there anything I can do to repair this hard drive? I tried going through the properties and doing an error check but it won't even start. It shows up in My Computer but it reads as 0 bytes and asks me if I want to format it if I try to open it. I really don't want to format it. Please help.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Does the drive make any odd noises like squeeks? There is a program called HDDRegenerator that can sometimes fix bad sectors if the drive isn't physically damaged. There are also some more advanced techniques you can try off a live linux cd.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    With a little luck, you can take the drive out of the external inclosure, and install it jumpered as a slave in a desktop machine which has a hard drive jumpered as master.
    Often you can rescue data by drag and drop or a recovery software disc. This often works the drive as a slave, when it will never work as a bootable disc. But you have to keep going once you start because whatever caused the failure could be getting worser. For instance, if the magnetic material is curling or peeling off the plates, or if a plate is cracked.
    If the bad drive is jumpered as slave, and you still cannot see it, you are usually out of luck.
    External hard drives are very fragile, due to the many lateral impacts they get while the drive is spinning. The floating reader device doesn't float so well after that impact on the drive surface.
  4. 0kyz

    0kyz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Just makes clicking sounds here and there. It has always made that noise and didn't really think much of it. I'm using PC Inspector File Recovery to recover files and then possibly format the drive afterwards. Would that even work? I'm saving the files off the Seagate External to another External. I'm wondering if I should save it to my physical hard drive on the desktop but I don't have enough space. Also, I have a bad habit of screwing things up when I take stuff apart.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    If the second external has its own power supply, and USB 2.0, you are probably as good as you are going to get. The only real advantage of the desktop drive is that it is receiving a better supply of power, and shorter transfer distance, that can then be copied to a CD if you have a burner.
    If your drive is usb powered, you just don't have enough power for it to be fully reliable.
    Since you don't have enough space, it might be time to buy a bigger desktop hard drive... but otherwise, what you describe is the only answer.
  6. 0kyz

    0kyz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I think the File Recovery crashed due to the bad sectors. Would using the HDDRegenerator delete any files or would it simply try to repair the hard drive?
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    It will usually overwrite files, or repair files. I will not normally destroy anything... It has the ability to detect physical bad sectors on a hard disk drive surface and fix them, or many (but not all) magnetic errors on the hard drive surface.

    HDD Regenerator claims it does not change the logical structure of a hard disk drive, but it creates problems of its own. Your file system may have bad sectors marked earlier bu Womdpws, and other utilities such as Scandisk will detect bad sectors even if the hard drive is successfully regenerated by HDD Regenerator. You have to remove thes non-existent, but reported, bad sectors from the file table, by repartitioning your hard disk drive or by using something such as the retest features of Ghost, Partition Magic, or Acronis. These make it even less free.

    The program will also help create a bootable regenerating diskette to start the regenerating process under DOS (the option is supported by Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/2003). The diskette can be used if you cannot start the regenerating process directly under Windows or if you cannot boot your computer to Windows such as when no operating system is installed on your computer or the operating system is too badly damaged.
    But it can also begin regenerating the install on the drive using a process directly in Windows for 95, 98, or ME, but not W2K or WXP.
    Since bad sectors of various types are what make the drive unreadable, even though there is critically important information there. Not to mention, any critical data you have there.
    Don't expect this to be easy, but the HDD Regenerator will often but not always "regenerate" the hard drive by what they like to call magnetic reversal. As a result, not readable damaged information will be restored. With all this going on, the existing information will not be lost!.. provided that is possible to do.
    Reformating the drive is the preferred way to deal with this issue if you do not need that data.
    There is software you can use to recover your hard drive product ID or product Key... which you may need. If you need that, get back to us.
    The program, which costs money, is called HDD Regenerator, and they are often successful in regenerating hard disk drives exclusively at physical level. The program ignores file system and can be used with FAT, NTFS or any other file system, and also with unformatted or unpartitioned disks. During regeneration, your disk structure is usually (at least unintentionally) unchanged. The existing data is not intentionally affected, but it depends on the damage done. It is far from perfect and does not alway work, but it is a pretty good last resort.

    You can first download their demo, to try to regenerate the first bad sector it finds. The rest is up to your wallet. The demo version will give you a reportabout what is possible with the full paid version. You can assume that if the first bad sector is recovered, you might get lucky on the rest.

    I guess you can say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Note what I said earlier about the error messages about bad sectors that may no longer exist.
  8. 0kyz

    0kyz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Would there be anything freeware? I don't really feel like paying the $60 for a license to fix an error on a hard drive.
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    If you are unable to get HDDregenerator to work, that is a very good sign that your hard drive is too bad to use.
    It doens't matter what you feel like. There is no such freeware. Do a Google search and you will see.
    Your only chance is likely going to be replacing the hard drive, installing Windows, then installing your current drive jumpered as a slave.
    You are into an area where repair shops, hard drive manufactures, and computer manufacturers make their money. There is not much chance that anyone will ever do this for free when the average cost that a technician charges is somewhere between $150 and $250.
  10. 0kyz

    0kyz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I got the HDD Regenerator working, just takes forever just to get to 1GB. It's at 897Mb and I started it like 3 hours ago. I got the full version but would it pick up the pace or is it going to take forever?
  11. 0kyz

    0kyz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I guess what I mean is, if I took the HDD out of the Seagate External casing and plugged it in as a slave, would it run faster?
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    sorry. hardware failure in hard drives is almost impossible to recover from. ALWAYS back up hard drives with important files to secondary device. formatting will not recover bad sectors or data, in fact - it will make data recovery even more difficult.
    If the drive is not recognized in bios, you are really up s*its creek. If it is, try some freeware file recovery programs.
  13. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Any such software as HDDRegenerator is extremely slow in performance. The expensive professional versions can easily take 36 hours for similar tasks... Count on it running overnight, in most cases.
    It does do what it promises to do... but that is sometimes not up to the satisfaction of the users who have not worked with such software.
    It is one tool we use, and we like it, but it is not fun.
  14. Nishin

    Nishin TS Rookie

    another seagate ext drive failure

    I had a similar HDD failure a few days ago... a 500GB Seagate ext drive too actually...
    I downloaded the HDD Regenerator demo to give it a go but since it's USB I thought I couldN't use it... it seemed to me HDD Regenerator was meant to be used on internal bootable drives ?? How could you use it on an ext drive?

    Anyhow, I now use Stellar Phoenix which works great (but very slowly too) to restore my lost data and copy it on another drive... it's taking forever so I'm just doing a few files/day ... but I was also wondering... as my data is safe, will I be able to maybe reformat that drive and still be able to use it?
    It's still under guarantee so I guess I could try to have it changed for another one... but in the process of trying to understand the failure, I did open its case and broke a little piece of the fan, nothing important but it will prove I opened it and I probably lost my guarantee because of that... so how does one format an external drive? Do I need to use it as an internal drive (it's IDE)?
    Ps: I do have the s/n on the receipt...
    Thanks for your help.
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