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WD 1023 Ext USB HDD-Cannot be accessed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by LoveGoldens, Feb 18, 2015.

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  1. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    Larry
    Something happened today (Feb 18, 2015). I tried accessing my Western Digital "Elements" 1023 USB 500GB External Hard Disk Drive and my Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OS reported:
    There were no other options other than: [Format? or Cancel?). Typical MS senseless info.

    I use the following:
    -- "Safely Remove and Eject Hardware Media" tool.
    -- "Intel Rapid Storage Technology".
    The E: Drive is recognized by Windows (Hardware Manager) and Windows Explorer. It just cannot be opened.

    I think the problem 'may' be related to any of these:

    -- The drive is full (CRC) errors. (Note: I saw that somewhere while trying to find a solution).
    -- I saw a pie-shaped image showing that my E: Drive was "FULL" but, I am almost certain that it couldn't be because I added too much data to it. I use it only for a variety of backups and also for keeping a spreadsheet containing User ID's, Passwords, etc. I don't want all of those on my local C: Drive for security reasons. I have no viruses nor malware on my system. It's all up-to-date and working perfectly except for this issue.

    It was working fine this morning.
    I dread the thought of losing all the important backed-up info, and yes... I know I should have had several backups in a variety of places :eek:. Currently, I have no working CD/DVD recorder. It failed too (a week ago) and, I haven't yet found nor decided upon a quality replacement, if one actually exists.

    So, my question is "How can regain access to that drive in order to recover my data?"
    Are there specific "tools" which can bypass the access-block to that drive? I have written no new data to that drive since the problem occurred (obviously because I can't even access it). I didn't want to overwrite any sectors, etc.

    The drive is only 2-years old, with not a lot of use. But, the data upon it is extremely important to me! The thought of losing all of it by formatting the drive is causing my heart to flutter.

    Please, if any of you know specific steps or software to accomplish this, I need your help soon.
     

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  2. plodr

    plodr

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    What update would that be? Check your history and post what KB was installed today.
    The updates were issued on Tuesday February 10th.
     
  3. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    Thank you for your reply and for mentioning that about MS Updates. It was my mistake. But, I did notice that I've received updates ranging from Feb 12th through Feb 13th. They were mostly a lot of "Security" updates for my Windows 64-bit system. The sudden 1-minutes disk activity I noticed while doing something else made me 'think' that it was a MS update. At this point, I'm not sure what it was... maybe my Internet Security was updating? Don't know now. Doesn't matter now. I'm glad to know it wasn't MS.

    NOTE: I edited my original post to remove the incorrect references to MS Update, etc.

    My primary concern still remains. I have irreplaceable info stored on that external drive and really want to be able to access it and then create several backups and keep them stored safely. Suggestions appreciated.
     
  4. plodr

    plodr

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    First where are you planning to put the items you pull off the external hard drive? You need to purchase something to put it on.

    If you are familiar with linux, run a live CD/DVD on your windows computer, connect and mount the problem external hard drive and the new external hard drive then copy (do not attempt to move) the data to the 1TB or larger new external drive from the old drive.

    If you are not familiar with linux, ask around and find someone who is and might be able to do this for you.
     
  5. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    I mentioned already that I still need to get another CD/DVD drive to replace the dead one. I just don't know which brand and specific model to purchase for my system. Almost every review I've read has more negatives than positives. Plus, I'm hoping to buy another HDD. I have plenty of open bays left inside my huge case. Being on SS income only, it's taking longer than I hoped to accumulate the funds.

    Just out curiosity, are there no other (affordable) programs beyond linux-based ones which can do what I need to do? I live in a small marina on my boat and, there is nobody here who uses linux. I have no clue how to use linux. But, I will keep your suggestion and hopefully I will find someone, eventually. The main problem is that I need access to some of the data stored on that drive on an almost daily basis.

    Thank you again for your help.
     
  6. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    I found a solution for only a few of my important files myself by digging through Windows with Windows Explorer. (Note: I'm using Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit).

    C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice\4\user\backup

    The only problem is that they are related only to OpenOffice ".bak" files.

    I tried for several more hours to find any/all files with the extension of "*.bak" to see if Windows itself saved any of the other kinds of files I had worked on. I had no luck, and I have no idea why Windows does not keep *.bak files of everything I've done, such as my own saved graphics, videos, and more.

    Does anyone know if there's some way to locate backup files (on my current C: drive) so that I can then load them into the appropriate Program which created/used them where I could then save them with a new extender (onto my local C: drive, since the external drive is now useless)? That's how it did it easily with the ones for OpenOffice files.
     
  7. plodr

    plodr

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    I hope you aren't thinking of burning data DVDs of all the files on a 1 TB harddrive! You'll go broke buying DVDs.
    1DVD holds about 4.7 GB. You never get exactly 4.7GB on it because of the file sizes you are putting on.
    1 TB is 1000 GB so you'd need more than 213 DVDs!
     
  8. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    I don't know where you got the idea that I had a 1TB hard drive. My External hard drive is only 500GB, which I stated already in my original post and, it wasn't even filled (as far as I know). It's only inaccessible. My current Internal drive is 500GB. The reason I mentioned a CD/DVD drive is because I have 'some' backups on CD's already, although they are out of date, but they are still rather recent ones.

    I will probably buy a 1TB External drive and a 1TB (or more) Internal drive when I can. Of course, I'll also have to replace the CD/DVD drive.
     
  9. trogdo

    trogdo

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    Here is a guide on how to create a USb flash drive with the same functionality as a bootable CD/DVD.
    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows

    Download the ISO for Ubuntu here:
    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    After you have created the live USB, set your BIOS to boot from USB. Select Live/Try/Test (it's been a while since I booted into Ubuntu from USB) and when it's loaded, the shortcut to your WD Elements should be on desktop.

    I recommend Ubuntu because a lot of people find it a good place to start with Linux, but it can be Mint or Debian or one of dozens smaller distros.
     
  10. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    trogdo, thank you for your reply. It sounds interesting although I don't understand the Ubuntu part completely.

    --- Substituting a USB flash drive for a CD/DVD drive won't allow me to insert CD's/DVD's which I already have, with data on them. And, occasionally, I'd like to be able to copy some of my homemade videos which I have created onto a DVD to send to my brother. Just simple things like those which I couldn't do with a flash drive.

    --- For the Ubuntu method, I don't know if -it- would help me to actually 'open' my 'locked' External hard drive, or not? It may show the icon on my desktop, but I already have icons and other references which "see" that I have the External E: drive as "functional", etc. -- I just cannot 'open' that drive to see any folders or files. That's the problem.

    --- And, I'm still hoping somebody will answer my question about finding ".bak" files which I would hope were created while using certain other software programs. I don't know if ".bak" files are always created by Windows or if they are created ONLY if a software program is programmed to create them for its own use.

    Thanks again for your reply. I hope you can help me with some of these things which I don't understand.
     
  11. trogdo

    trogdo

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    Apologies Old_Fart, I am still new to explaining things properly. I don't propose never replacing your broken DVD drive - the things are useful and sometimes hold advantage over USB drives. I am suggesting using a USB flash drive because the DVD drive is bust.

    Will Ubuntu help you access the WD? Very likely, it has helped me a few times in the past, and I hope it helps you too. Ubuntu Linux is an Operating System, like Windows or MacOS or Android, and it works better in quite a few ways, and dealing with various file systems is one of those ways.

    Give it a go, and ask if you need more advice.
     
  12. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    Since Ubuntu is another Operating System, what is going to happen to my Windows 7 OS? I do not want to lose it nor lose anything related to it. It's working about as good or as bad as MS can manage. It has many problems which MS will never fix. Yet, I have programs and files which require it.

    You said "...it works better in quite a few ways, and dealing with various file systems is one of those ways."

    Granted, it may work better in dealing with file systems. What happens if I can't get to the file systems? Can Ubuntu actually OPEN/ACCESS my external HDD "hardware" to see any files if the disk is reported as "Full" (as it is now)? You weren't clear on that point. I have no idea if the disk is full of actual, useful data or if it is full of zero's (0's). I won't know that unless I can open it for reading/copying the files. Very frustrating. I'm certain one of the US Government agencies could open it within a few minutes (at least, according to the science fiction shows I've seen on TV). LOL There must be software TOOLS which can do that. Maybe Ubuntu is one of them?

    Please let me know how installing and using Ubuntu "might" corrupt my current system. Note: I cannot create a backup nor a bitmap image file of my system. I have only one hard disk drive (currently). And, I'm not sure how much space Ubuntu would require for its installation? I may not have enough available disk space even to create a separate partition. I don't know.

    A couple of years ago, I tried using MS's "Backup" to duplicate my C: drive over to my External E: drive but, Microsoft in their "infinite wisdom" couldn't do it. Constant errors... no troubleshooting information, etc. I gave up after 20 attempts. For me, MS has lost all focus on common users and is focused primarily on developers and business products -- for profit. I'm very discouraged but, I won't give up trying to glean my own data off of my own external drive. I just need expert help to figure out how to do it.

    Thank you for your reply. I'm awaiting your reply to this post.
     
  13. Crazy10

    Crazy10

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    Since it's a live USB, it won't affect your Windows 7 install unless you want it to...
     
  14. trogdo

    trogdo

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    Aplogies for the delayed response.

    As crazy10 says, it won't affect your system unless you do it on purpose but to be absolutely safe, you can disconnect your windows system HDD. Ubuntu will not install, but will run perfectly well from the USB drive without modifying your system at all. It's quite the marvel: the Live USB drive will contain an operating system complete with drivers and applications and will work without any other drives present.

    When it's loaded, just plug your WD in and see if you can access it. Linux generally can access a drive when it contains errors, whereas windows will play safe and dig its heels in in refusal.

    I hope this helps, ask more questions and keep me posted.
     
  15. LoveGoldens

    LoveGoldens Thread Starter

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    If I disconnect my Windows system C: HDD, then my computer won't boot-up since I'll have no OS. Won't I need to have my Windows OS running in order for it to recognize and manage my USB ports? Or, do I first go into my BIOS and tell it to boot from a USB port? As you can see, having never done this before, I'm confused and very cautious before I attempt it. I hope you understand and, I apologize if I haven't understood.

    Also, since my Ext hdd "may" be holding 500GB's of data, what size USB drive (in GB's) would I need to purchase in order for it to hold both Ubuntu (with its drivers and applications) plus the data from the current External HDD? Obviously, I cannot copy all 500GB's from the USB stick into my 500GB hdd. But, I can copy at least "some" of the more important files I want to keep.

    Finally, assuming everything works wonderfully well and I manage to get the info off of my Ext hdd and onto the USB stick, then what would be the reverse process?
    For instance, if I want to transfer the files from the USB stick back onto my Windows C: drive (into folders in Windows Explorer), how do I do that since plugging in the USB stick will attempt to boot-up because it has auto-boot OS on it? Heh heh. It may be much more simple than what I'm imagining! But, having good knowledge and steps to follow before beginning seems wise, to me.

    Thanks again, all of you, for continuing to help me with this matter. Much appreciated!
     
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