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External Hard Drive has gone crazy and I'm all out of ideas


Shutterblink's Avatar
Shutterblink Shutterblink is offline
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04-May-2012, 03:00 PM #1
External Hard Drive has gone crazy and I'm all out of ideas
I have a 1tb Toshiba external hard drive that is no longer being read by my computer. The error messages vary from incorrect parameter, to volume does not conatin a recognized file system, and to format the disk. The problem started when the computer dropped the volume letter. I added it back through disk management and it worked fine for a few minutes. Then it dropped the letter again. When I again added the letter I now get these errors. I tried system restore and it is not working. I disabled the antivirus and it still doesn't work. The volume used to be a FAT32 one and now it says it is Basic and Healthy (Active, Primary Partition)
This is so far beyond my computer knowledge and I have no idea of what to do now. I am a wedding photographer and have to have the backup files. I did try the external drive on another computer and it is doing the same thing on it. Please help. I'm so far over my head I don't know what else to do.

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fairnooks's Avatar
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04-May-2012, 04:18 PM #2
When you say "have to have the backup files," do you mean those are the backup files or that those are your only copy of the files on that external drive?

If that is a backup drive then you should replace it with a new backup drive, making another copy from the originals as soon as possible.

If that is your only copy of the files you could be in trouble. You might try installing Zero Assumption Recovery and see if it looks like it can recover the data before purchasing it if it does.

If that is of no help and you are uncertain about how to remove the drive from the external case and hook it up directly to the system and/or the data is very critical to retrieve, then I would suggest a data recovery specialist such as
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MedicMorphine MedicMorphine is offline
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04-May-2012, 04:29 PM #3
As we are talking about an external drive (i'm guessing usb) the possible problems are 1. cable. Try a different cable. 2. Drive enclosure, internal electronics. 3. incorrect information on drive. partition information, boot sector corrupt. other than trying a different cable you are limited to getting the drive checked by someone who knows what they are doing. Getting your fifteen year old brother to have a play with it is not recommended as you have stated that the data on the drive is important.

Once you have established that the cable is not the problem. Go to the drive manufacturers website (seagate, western digital, toshiba etc) and download the appropriate software to check the drive.

If you post the information to this site we will have more idea as to what is going on.
fairnooks's Avatar
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04-May-2012, 04:54 PM #4
The only caveat to the above advice is if this is the only copy of the data and its critical data, trying a new cable is ok but working the drive any further than necessary could be doing more damage; you already have a cracked egg so to speak. If one of the diagnostic short test determines the drive is bad...well, maybe that's an acceptable risk to further damage, I don't know, something you have to decide.

If you have the original data safe, then yeah, make another backup to another drive and test and diagnose to your heart's content on the problem drive, you can even hit it with SpinRite and let it grind for days if need be to try and set the drive straight again.
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