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Portable Hard Drive Unreadable

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Julieanna, Jul 23, 2010.

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  1. Julieanna

    Julieanna Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
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    Hi. Does anyone know what might make a second hard drive (for a Toshiba laptop computer)
    unreadable? I moved from the Czech Republic to Poland recently, and noticed that my portable hard drive is apparently "empty" of all data. I know that's not possible, because it was working fine before I left Czech and there's a lot of stuff on it.

    Basically I have all my course material for the past 10 years stored on this portable drive! (I am a history professor). I certainly did not delete anything, so where could all of my data have disappeared to?

    I went to a firm in Warsaw an they told me it would cost me $1,300 to recover my data using their
    company! However a computer science major here in Debrcen told me that date rcovery from them would be there are data recovery programs on the web that can help me rescue my data.

    If you can offer me any pointers on type of proble, I would surely appreciate it! :)

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Julieanna
     
  2. father-brown

    father-brown

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    23
    Julieanna,

    I am sorry to hear you are having problems with a hard drive! Anything involving data can be extremely stressful. Unfortunately, I know first hand how difficult it can be.

    Here are some things recommended to me by others that have really helped.

    First, make an image of the problem hard drive. You can use the Free Clonezilla (if you are a techie) or Easus Todo Backup (also free). To make a complete copy of the drive. That way, if you do something wrong when you are using another program to recover the files you can go back to where you started.

    Here are few pieces of software that I have used:
    System Rescue CD is an linux based livecd with many different options for hard drive recovery.
    Easasus Data Recovery Wizard (free for the 1st Gig of data) This one very simple to use. You will have to pay $70 if you end up needing to recover more than a gig of data though. And it can take a long while to look at files.
    Recuva will check for deleted files. This may be a good place to start once you've made the backup.


    If you can see the drive, can you run a check disk on it? You can do this through windows explorer: mycomputer> right click on the drive in question> properties>tools>error checking>"check now" or through the command prompt chkdsk <drive letter> /r

    Also, when you go into disk management (right click on "my computer">manage> click on "disk management in left sidebar"
    what information does it give about the drive?

    I am still learning when it comes to these things, so perhaps one of the other members has more input than I do.
    Whatever happens, don't lose heart! And don't panic!

    FB
     
  3. Julieanna

    Julieanna Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for your kind reply. I can't seem to even read the disk! When I hook up the USB cord to the portable hard drive, that separate drive does not even show up on my computer (i.e. the "E" drive).

    I'm not a techie, so I don't know how to go about using the programs you mentioned.

    All I know is, I can't afford to pay $1,300 for data recovery. Is there not a firm that might recover
    my data for less that that price, do you think?

    Julieanna
     
  4. father-brown

    father-brown

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    23
    I'm sorry I forgot to include the more user friendly Todo Backup in my previous post. But first, the drive!

    What sounds does the drive make when you power it on? Normal "whirring" sounds, or is there a constant "clicking" noise coming from it? Does it power on at all?

    If you look for the disk in disk manager does it show anything? (instructions for getting to disk manager here)

    As for data recovery, that can be quite expensive. If there is physical damage, they need very specialized facilities and technicians, so 1300 does not sound too high a price. Depending on what drive you have, you may be able to get a discount. For example, Western digital customers receive a %10 discount from OnTrack Data (the link is to their site for poland). Most reputable firms have a system where they take a look at the drive and tell you if they can recover anything or not before you pay. So that may be an option, just to see if you can get anything off the drive.

    I would talk to that computer science major again and see if he knows any friends who would be willing to do basic troubleshooting for you.

    FB
     
  5. Julieanna

    Julieanna Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Dear FB,

    Hi again. I was able to go into Disk Management. The C drive is "healthy," and for the portable hard drive, it says "unknown" and "not initialized." But it says 37,25 GB.

    Does this give us any clues? Do you think the 37 GB is the amount of space used up, or the total capacity of the disk? If it is the amount used up, might that mean that my data is still there?

    Please let me know. Thank you very much for your help.

    Julieanna
     
  6. father-brown

    father-brown

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    23
    Julieanna,

    I'm not sure if your data is still there, but at least the drive is appearing. If it is not initializing, there may be something wrong with the way it is partitioned. The first thing I would do is try and backup the drive using Easus Todo backup. Then, try Data Revoery Wizard. If those programs do not start, I would use Test Disk, but only after you have backed up the drive.
    If you run into any problems, go ahead and take a screenshot and post it up.

    I just recovered some data from a seemingly corrupted drive, so have faith!

    FB
     
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