Serious Hard Drive Problem (Volume appears to have unrecoverable problems)

By laguy03 · 11 replies
Apr 25, 2009
  1. Hi everyone,

    The other day I was uploading some pictures from my digital camera to my laptop. All of a sudden, the computer just shut off. When I attempted to restart it, it would keep shutting off and restarting. I kept getting the screen when it asks you if you would like to start in “Safe Mode” or with the “Last Good Configuration” or “Normally.” I’ve had the same problem with another computer of mine, so I booted the system from my OS CD. I ran a CHKDSK and a message came up that said “The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems.” When I looked it up online, I saw a lot of websites that said the hard drive was probably dying.

    So I went to Best Buy and bought myself a Rocketfish Hard Drive Enclosure in the hopes that I could recover files to the desktop computer that I have (as I have done twice before). When I finally got it all set up, I couldn’t access the drive (E:). I went to My Computer and then when I clicked on my E Drive I got the message “E:\ is not accessible. Incorrect function.” And when I try to right click on the drive, nothing happens. I even tried to search through the drive but I got the Incorrect function message again.

    I’m really desperate now and I’m willing to do just about anything now to recover at least some of the files. I don’t care if I can never use the hard drive again but I just want to get the pictures that I had on the computer. Is there any way I can go about doing this?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) Does this enclosure come with its own AC adapter? Make sure its connected powered on

    2) Interestingly enough see this link about check the cable jumpers as well
  3. laguy03

    laguy03 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    1) The enclosure comes with a USB cable (two A-male type connectors - one connector is for data and bus power and the other connector is for additional power, if needed.) The power was definitely on. The computer recognized the device.

    2) I'm not sure what the cable jumpers refers to. That might be something that only comes with a 3.5" enclosure kit. I used a 2.5" enclosure kit.
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    There are three jumper settings on the back of your hard drive (if it is an IDE/PATA hard drive), master, slave and cable select. As suggested in the link, try moving the little jumper to cable select (CS).
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I'm not exactly certain but i think you're saying "connector is for additional power, if needed." but power was on so you didn't need it???? In which case, my answer is NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! Make sure the AC adapter cable is both plugged in and swiitched ON! (as some come with ON/OFF switches as well)

    => Simply being "powered on" means its getting power. That DOESN'T mean it's getting enough power
    => It takes much less power to simply detect a USB device at the hardware level (this is done via solid state parts over the USB bus) then it takes to control/read a disk that must keep spinning and at consistent rates!
    => In fact, my advice is to avoid issues with external USB drives is NEVER buy one that doesn't come with its own AC adapter and ALWAYS keep that adapter plugged in!

    Unfortunately, i'm not saying keeping AC adapter plugged in will 100% fix your problem. But i am saying that it can absolutely cause similar symptoms for some drives/situations. (Your symptoms can also have other root causes too, unfortunately, but keep it plugged in at least rules this one out)

    /* EDIT */
    While we're at it... have you also tried a different USB cable? Is it possible this is an older USB 1.1 cable vs 2.0? (if you're using the one you just bought with drive, should be 2.0. But still try different cable) In any case, cables with poor shielding (a trait of USB 1.1 cables) can also cause these symptoms. Try a different cable. AND the shortest cable you have as well
  6. laguy03

    laguy03 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I just checked the back of the hard drive. It is currently set to cable select. Should I try moving it to master or slave?

    The enclosure does not come with an AC adapter. It is only a USB cable. That is what I use to power the unit.

    And the USB cable is 2.0.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) You may as well finish testing with current enclosure after you try changing cable settings. But i'll let someone else advise on those settings

    2) Whether cable settings fix the problem or not (and especially if not) i'd strongly advise you return it and buy one that comes with an AC adapter.
    When everything is right the computer USB port is fine to supply the power to the external USB device. But certainly with computers there can be many things that can go wrong where the port provides power but not ENOUGH or inconsistent power causing external device failures.

    Geting an enclosure that as an AC adapter and you always use the adapter is just one less variable to ever worry about. I've been there!

    /* EDIT */
    This includes situations where it provides enough power to support hardware detection (and you see a power light on the device) yet not enough power to allow the disk to spin as needed
  8. laguy03

    laguy03 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your help! I'm going to try it with an enclosure that has an adapter.

    By the way, when I hooked the enclosure up to my desktop computer, and it was checking the corrupted drive, I got the message "File record segment XX is unreadable" about 27 times. I searched around the web and one thing I saw a lot was the recommendation to use something called Hiren's Boot CD. Do you know anything about that?
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    a Boot CD (any boot CD) is of particular help when your computer no longer boots and you can't access your hard drive. You boot from the CD which contains a number of tools you can then use (once booted) to help you try recover your system.

    Boot CDs are very hepful for just that purpose. But in your case you're more interested in the tools vs. the CD which allows you to boot a system to use the tools (since your drive is now attached to a computer that can boot). I don't know just which tools are on the Hiren Boot CD but I would think of particular interest are Partititon/Data Recovery tools if in fact the issue turns out
    => Not a power issue and
    => Not a jumper issue but
    => Is a disk data corruption issue (where Windows gets past the hardware/device detection steps but can't read a valid disk format on your drive)

    I thought i already refered you to these:
    => USB Device Problems? Check for Windows Updates
    => See this Guide Troubleshoot: Windows Won't Recognize Your USB Hard Drive

    but i see i hadn't yet. You can review Part1 of the Guide to confirm the 2 drivers are installed (if they are it isn't a jumper issue). Also see Part1 regards Partition / Recovery Tools. Of the ones referred to you might want to download the EASUS tool and give it shot to see if reports anything regards reading/identifying data and issues with the drive

    /* EDIT */
    I see why i didn't mention those links before. You said you saw “E:\ is not accessible. Incorrect function.”. That had sounded as tho was a device detection rather then a disk data format issue. My mistake then.
  10. sripalkumar

    sripalkumar TS Rookie

    Dear LA guy,
    I read your post on this forum. I seem to have a similar problem as yours. Were you able to fix it?

    In short, my laptop (sony vaio) crashed yday. I cannot even boot into safe drive. I removed the hard drive...bought a rocketfish 2.5 hard drive enclosure kit. The problem is my desktop (a compaq presario) doesnt recognize it. There is a "F" drive...but I cannot click it or do anything with it. Please help.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    If your hard drive has failed, placing it into an enclosure does not necessarily bring it back to life. If it was dead before, it's still dead. That said, try the freezer trick. Put the hard drive into a plastic zip lock bag and into the freezer overnight. Quickly hook it up and see if it will work long enough for you to copy your important files.
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    It's not clear from your post but you may have any of several different issues going on

    1) If the problem is the disk itself then the freezer trick may help to make it readable again
    2) But the Rocketfish enclosure itself might be part of the issue. This is a USB high-powered device meaning you may have issues simply by virtue of USB power issues, limitations and the enclosure you're using
    >> You can see posts [post=759735]in this thread to better understand USB issues (including issues of USB low- and high-powered devices)[/post]
    >> IMHO you're better off to at least be using either
    >>>> an enclosure that has its own AC adapter and/or
    >>>> A USB hub that can supply USB port power that EXCEEDs the USB spec of 500mA
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