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External Hard Drive Went Crazy...Help...10 Years Worth of My Life Lost :(


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catman72 catman72 is offline
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25-Jun-2012, 11:49 PM #1
External Hard Drive Went Crazy...Help...10 Years Worth of My Life Lost :(
I was recommend this site and wanted to see if I could find some help. I have an external hard drive I store my files, all my stuff since I got a computer in 1997 I have on this hard drive. I'm in FL and we're having all these storms and I was wondering when the power went out if that had something to do with it, but I haven't looked at my hard drive in days so not sure but it's been plugged in and connected to my pc for over week so it happened within the week.

My disk drive name is when I click properties Buffalo external hdd usb device

It's working the light indicator is on, but when I enter the drive all my files have disappeared and replaced with strange ones I never seen or understand, when I put the cursor over the icon for my disk drive in "my computer" it still shows the amount of space my files are taking up and it's the same amount it's always been, but they're not showing up.

My files have disappeared and now replaced with three, one is "m" and another is "n", and the other is named "1/2>1/2>C", and the C has that French letter on it that I cannot do on this computer, and then there's 9 icons that look like sheets of paper and when I right click to see what kind it is it justs says "type - file", and they're named one just a dot ".", two have weird symbols with @symbols, and the others are named "8", "m", "t", and two both named "s". There's also another that looks like a word pad icon with a wheel named "autorun", when I click these icons I get the box asking me what program I want to use to open them but I don't even know what they are or what's going on so I don't know, and when I click the auto run a window opens says "[Autorun] icon=Icon1.ico"

The 3 files, when I click "1/2>1/2>C" I get red x warning "location is not available...the filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect"

For both the "m and n files" I get red x "location is not available...it could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location"

My external hard drive is 465gb and I had 242mb more or less free space, and it still shows that when I place cursor, but everything is gone

My computer is Dell Inspiron 1525 I got in 2008 or 09, I think it is Windows Vista

I tried putting the disk drive on another computer and it's does the same thing
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26-Jun-2012, 12:02 AM #2
External hard drives are the most unreliable of all storage methods.

Files that are not backed up are files you should expect to lose.

The file system has been corrupted. Chances are that the files have been lost.

Generally speaking, you should never run chkdsk on a drive from which you hope to recover files. Chkdsk itself, if given incorrect data about the partition, can scramble files irretrievably. Recovery should be attempted first.

But this case may be an exception. I would still try some recovery apps (like Recuva), but chances are that the only way any files will be recovered is if the file system can be repaired by chkdsk. So, try recovery. If you still don't see any normal file names, run chkdsk /f, being aware that the files will most likely never be seen again.

You could even try Testdisk to see if a recovered partition table allows the files to be viewed normally.

You could also see what is accessed by the NTFS-3g driver in a Linux-based OS, like the Parted Mgic boot disk linked, or even an Ubuntu live CD.

Free (If the free ones don't find anything at all, I wouldn't bother with the pay ones, either):

Paragon Rescue Kit
Parted Magic (The best boot CD. Includes data recovery to CD/DVD, network, or USB, Testdisk for partition recovery, audio tests, and much more)
Testdisk Documentation
Testdisk Download
Minitool Partition Recovery
Easeus Partition Recovery
Diskinternals Partition Recovery
Partition Wizard Boot CD
DriveRescue
Testdisk Boot Disk
Partition Find & Mount
Free DTIData NTFS Partition Repair Tool

Commercial:

Diskinternals Partition Recovery (Demo)
Active@ Partition Recovery
Bootmaster Partition Recovery
ZAR Partition Recovery
DIY DataRecovery DiskPatch
Partition Table Doctor


Free recovery applications:

Paragon Rescue Disk Free Edition (Undelete partitions, boot corrector, file recovery)
PCInspector File Recovery
Dr. Freeware Boot CD (also has partition tool, drive cloner and imager)
DiskDigger & NTFSWalker
Pandora Recovery (Free for personal use)
Smart Data Recovery
Recover Files
Roadkil's Undelete
Recuva
Restoration
Free Undelete (NTFS only)
Softperfect File Recovery
ADRC Data Recovery Tools
Undelete Plus
Data Recovery
DriveRescue
Ultimate Data Recovery
Disk Investigator

Commercial:

O&O Disk Recovery
Paragon Mount Everything (Mounts any file system, CD/DVD burning, File Manager, Partitioner)
GetDataBack (For FAT or NTFS)
Ontrack EasyRecovery Pro
File Scavenger
Recover My Files
RecoverPlus Pro
Zero Assumption Recovery
Active@ File Recovery
Final Recovery
Recover4All Professional
Easeus Data Recovery Wizard
NTFS Recovery
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Last edited by LauraMJ; 21-Jul-2013 at 01:08 PM..
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26-Jun-2012, 07:17 PM #3
Well I did several means of recovery and then Chkdsk and nothing so I guess I lost everything, so couple of questions I have...

how did this happen? A virus? When the power went out could that of messed up my hd?

And what about the hd itself...it still usable, or it's no good now? I really don't want to spend another $100 for this to happen again
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26-Jun-2012, 07:27 PM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by catman72 View Post
how did this happen?

Mechanical devices fail. It's a question of "when" not "if".
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27-Jun-2012, 12:58 AM #5
If you have things you want to save put them on a cd or dvd and with proper care they should last a long time.Saving things to an external harddrive or usb flash drive isnt a good idea as those can fail without warning.
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27-Jun-2012, 01:57 AM #6
Not sure if this is a option. But Geek Squad can perform data recoveries at "Geek Squad City." It starts at $249.99 and can go upto $5,000.00 depending on how complex the labor is pulling the data off each plate.
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27-Jun-2012, 02:33 AM #7
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Originally Posted by Krumbz View Post
Not sure if this is a option. But Geek Squad can perform data recoveries at "Geek Squad City." It starts at $249.99 and can go upto $5,000.00 depending on how complex the labor is pulling the data off each plate.
Money won't get anything from that drive. Love, either.
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27-Jun-2012, 02:39 AM #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by catman72 View Post
Well I did several means of recovery and then Chkdsk and nothing so I guess I lost everything, so couple of questions I have...

how did this happen? A virus? When the power went out could that of messed up my hd?

And what about the hd itself...it still usable, or it's no good now? I really don't want to spend another $100 for this to happen again
Probably not a virus. A power surge, a drop or some even mild impact, improper removal (though that would usually damage only a few files), cosmic rays (not a joke - they could conceivably erase information in the MFT or partition tables, or even change it) or background radiation, or something else.

Not sure what you mean by the $100, but it will happen again, and again after that. External drives fail, just like all drives, except more often.

You could run the manufacturer's test on it, repartition and reformat, and use it if it makes it through all that. But chances are that you will lose its data again (just like you will lose everything on your main hard drive), so that is why we say that backups are needed. You sould have a full backup of your main system, kept fresh and recent, for when that drive fails.
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black-wolf   (David) black-wolf is offline
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27-Jun-2012, 05:26 AM #9
I too live in Florida and over the years I lost a lot of PC equipment due to lightning strikes, power outages and surges. A few years back I invested in a couple of good UPS units, although they cost $150 -$200 each they have saved me money in the long run both on equipment replacement and data loss.
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27-Jun-2012, 11:35 AM #10
I might have some stuff saved on discs but the most valuable to me were family photos I didn't put on disc, I had 4,000 plus music cds that when I lost my job I sold them on Ebay to pay bills but I uploaded on the hard drive but now all gone, but those family photos I lost were more precious to me. And today is my 40th birthday, we were supposed to spend the week at the beach but my neighborhood is flooded under 4ft of water and the highway is shut down for 3 days. Still could've been worse...I live on a hill and still have electricity.
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27-Jun-2012, 02:29 PM #11
As long s the drive is still running you can connect it to another computer and get your files off it.
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27-Jun-2012, 08:17 PM #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by black-wolf View Post
I too live in Florida and over the years I lost a lot of PC equipment due to lightning strikes, power outages and surges. A few years back I invested in a couple of good UPS units, although they cost $150 -$200 each they have saved me money in the long run both on equipment replacement and data loss.
In addition to UPS, I'd also recommend good surge protectors. I've lost quite a bit of equipment, too, during storms, even with surge protectors in use. And they aren't cheap if you want to use them on all your equipment (surges occur all day long and gradually damage electronic equipment even if it is not noticeable - surges up to 800 volts are a common occurrence).

Then, I saw a deal on Ebay for a $75 whole-house surge protector. I installed that and have had nothing go bad on me since and it has been several years. Since a single surge protector can cost almost that much, I'd highly recommend the whole-house approach. It's neater, too, when you don't need to have those things all over the place.

They aren't going to protect you from a lightning strike, or even a strong sympathetic discharge from a nearby strike, but they will prevent the most common types of damage. And don't forget to protect the phone line, too.

Last edited by Elvandil; 27-Jun-2012 at 08:22 PM..
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black-wolf   (David) black-wolf is offline
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27-Jun-2012, 08:26 PM #13
If you have FPL in your area they will install the whole house surge protector, they currently will install for free, but it will be $10 a month charge on your bill.
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27-Jun-2012, 08:34 PM #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by black-wolf View Post
If you have FPL in your area they will install the whole house surge protector, they currently will install for free, but it will be $10 a month charge on your bill.
Sorry. What's "FPL"? Florida Power and Light? (a good guess ).
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black-wolf   (David) black-wolf is offline
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27-Jun-2012, 09:21 PM #15
Yep, Florida Power & Light, covers most of Florida.
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