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GAC
03-03-2012, 06:53 PM
I bought my daughter, whose in college, a WD My Passport 1T external HD at Christmas. While home she transferred approximately 450GB worth of pictures, music, and school homework onto it mainly for backup storage because she had to format her computer.

This past week she plugged it into her laptop (Windows 7 OS), and tried to access the data, in which you also have to provide a password to unlock it. When she does this though it unlocks it but won't access her data. It doesn't matter if we left click on the icon in MY Computer or right click and select "open", she gets a screen that says "drive must be formatted to be used".

She came home this weekend, and we've tried it on a couple different computers to see if I could access it. I have two computers with XP and Vista OS. I kept getting the same results. So I called WD tech support, and they tried to access the data using a different route, but still the same message. He told me that if the USB drive is unplugged from a computer, after transferring data, without first clicking on a icon that tells you it's safe to disconnect it, it can corrupt the drive. I've used external HDs before and never heard of such a thing. My son uses one all the time and never has heard of this. So I don't know if this tech guy knows what he's talking about, and was just stumped at a solution.

So I thought I'd submit it on here, and hope some tech savvy person may be able to provide me with a way to get that very valuable data, especially the photos, off this drive, or if it's a lost cause. My daughter is simply furious.

dougdirt
03-03-2012, 07:44 PM
He told me that if the USB drive is unplugged from a computer, after transferring data, without first clicking on a icon that tells you it's safe to disconnect it, it can corrupt the drive. I've used external HDs before and never heard of such a thing. My son uses one all the time and never has heard of this. So I don't know if this tech guy knows what he's talking about, and was just stumped at a solution.



He is right. It doesn't happen often, but it can and does happen. Always use the option of "ejecting device XYZ" before unplugging it.

KronoRed
03-03-2012, 09:28 PM
The data is likely still recoverable though, try Recuva

http://www.piriform.com/recuva.

GAC
03-04-2012, 04:13 AM
Thanks Krono. I'll give it a shot because I have nothing else to lose. My daughter is really upset because there is 3 years of pictures from college that she doesn't want to lose.

fearofpopvol1
03-05-2012, 12:14 AM
I hope you're able to recover the data. That sucks. I guess now we need backups of backups.

dougdirt
03-05-2012, 02:06 AM
I hope you're able to recover the data. That sucks. I guess now we need backups of backups.

We have always needed back ups of back ups. I have gotten into photography a lot over the past year and a half. Most people I know have the same pictures on their computer hard drive, an external drive and another external drive or an online back up place.

Roy Tucker
03-05-2012, 08:52 AM
Burn them to CD or DVDs. That's what I tell my daughter to do. Then I put them in the same storage area as the rest of our old-fashioned photo albums. And that's also what I do with computer documents that I really want to keep (tax return PDFs, etc.).

Or you can do cloud backups, but that costs money.

Having done file system development work, there always is a very small window of opportunity when your index and header and other file system files are in a volatile state. If you catch it just right (or wrong), you can get "things" in an indeterminate state when file headers are being updated and something pulls the rug out from under them in mid-operation and hose up something. Usually, the file data is still on the disk, its just that the OS/file system has lost track of where the file data blocks are (like what happens to me with my tools in the basement, I know they are there somewhere, I just forgot where).

Like Krono pointed out, there are lots of tools available to try to patch things back together. Generally speaking, they do a pretty good job of finding things. Have you tried running chkdisk on the drive?

GAC
03-22-2012, 06:04 AM
Have you tried running chkdisk on the drive?

Tried that this morning using Command Prompt, but it says "the type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

Roy Tucker
03-22-2012, 11:48 AM
Tried that this morning using Command Prompt, but it says "the type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

Hum. Kinda figured it would say that.

Basically what its saying in that Windows can't make hide nor hair of the file system on the disk and is dropping back 15 yards and punting.

You're in "using recovery tools" territory now. Krono recommended Recuva. I've heard good things about Minitool Power Data Recovery as well. Lots of these kinds of tools out on the net.

GAC
03-25-2012, 06:05 AM
You're in "using recovery tools" territory now. Krono recommended Recuva. I've heard good things about Minitool Power Data Recovery as well. Lots of these kinds of tools out on the net.

I downloaded Recuva, but when I browse it only finds the WD Unlocker, and only shows those files associated with that program....Extras, WD Smartware, autorun, Unlock, WD Quick Formatter. And it lists it as a CD Drive. What??

So I took another route. I right click on My Computer, then manage, and then Disk Management, which brings up all the drives. In the listing (Disk 1) it shows the 465 GB (the data I'm trying to access), it's online, but shows no drive letter associated with it, and that it's unallocated. It also lists the WD Unlocker under CD-ROM2. I can't open or access Disk 1. I've also gotten a message saying that drive must be formatted in order to use. But if I do that I'll obviously loss the data that's on there.

My son just told me there's a new computer store that opened up here in town, and they specialize in lost data recovery. Gonna give them a call. Rachel has almost three years of college pics on there, and I'd hate to see her lose them.

bigredmechanism
03-25-2012, 07:44 AM
He told me that if the USB drive is unplugged from a computer, after transferring data, without first clicking on a icon that tells you it's safe to disconnect it, it can corrupt the drive. I've used external HDs before and never heard of such a thing. My son uses one all the time and never has heard of this. So I don't know if this tech guy knows what he's talking about, and was just stumped at a solution.

To be honest, I always thought the whole "Click to safely remove hardware" thing was bogus. I never click it, and never had problems. Just pull my flash drive out and go.

I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like the HD has some other problem that corrupted the data.

Sorry your daughter lost her stuff; that's the worst.

GAC
03-26-2012, 05:01 AM
To be honest, I always thought the whole "Click to safely remove hardware" thing was bogus. I never click it, and never had problems. Just pull my flash drive out and go.

Don't quote me on this, because I'm no expert either, but I think a flash drive operates differently then an external HD though. But my son, who uses an external HD all the time, says the same. He says he has never used that "click to safely remove hardware" option, and never had a bit of trouble. But I told my daughter "Yeah, but if they tell you to do so, and there's a reason they tell you to do so, then you should have played it safe and done it.

But this younger generation is too busy and doesn't have the time. ;)


I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like the HD has some other problem that corrupted the data.

I'm gonna try and find out. That's what really burns me though. I really did the research on reviews, and this WD HD was highly rated. It's still under warranty, and WD will replace it; but that's not going to help me recover the data.

My daughter is under the "curse" of the Clark women when it comes to electronics. They're simply murder on the stuff. LOL No matter what it is... laptop, TV, DVD player, stereo, camera, etc.... something is always going wrong with it, and I'm either fixing or replacing it. I just got her Canon Sure Shot camera fixed, which had hardly ever been used. Super nice camera too. Better then mine. And in this household she's the only one, in my cellphone plan, that I carry insurance on because over the last several years she's had 6-7 phones. A few years back I found one laying out in the driveway, as I was leaving for work. And of course it had rained all that night. LOL

Roy Tucker
03-26-2012, 10:53 AM
I downloaded Recuva, but when I browse it only finds the WD Unlocker, and only shows those files associated with that program....Extras, WD Smartware, autorun, Unlock, WD Quick Formatter. And it lists it as a CD Drive. What??

So I took another route. I right click on My Computer, then manage, and then Disk Management, which brings up all the drives. In the listing (Disk 1) it shows the 465 GB (the data I'm trying to access), it's online, but shows no drive letter associated with it, and that it's unallocated. It also lists the WD Unlocker under CD-ROM2. I can't open or access Disk 1. I've also gotten a message saying that drive must be formatted in order to use. But if I do that I'll obviously loss the data that's on there.

My son just told me there's a new computer store that opened up here in town, and they specialize in lost data recovery. Gonna give them a call. Rachel has almost three years of college pics on there, and I'd hate to see her lose them.

Ugh. Sounds like visiting the computer store is your best bet.

Generally speaking, if there hasn't been some kind of catastrophic hard disk error (head crash, electronically zapped, etc) where the disk cannot be physically read, the file blocks are still on the disk. Its just that the file system (NTFS, FAT, whatever) has lost track of both the files and the blocks that belong to those files on that disk. At least hopefully. No guarantees though.

I haven't mucked around with this stuff for a while, but there are an increasingly more sophisticated set of forensic disk recovery tools where an experienced and knowlegeable person can stitch back together files on a disk like yours. Sometimes its easy and sopmetimes its hard. Just takes time and $$$. Depending on how bad you want the files will dictate how much money you want to spend.

GAC
03-27-2012, 05:46 AM
Ugh. Sounds like visiting the computer store is your best bet.

Sometimes its easy and sopmetimes its hard. Just takes time and $$$. Depending on how bad you want the files will dictate how much money you want to spend.

My son took it to that new computer store that just opened up recently and the guy said he could recover the data, but it would cost anywhere from $200 to $400.

I wish I could have been there personally to laugh in his face. :lol:

Wonderful Monds
03-27-2012, 06:16 AM
My son took it to that new computer store that just opened up recently and the guy said he could recover the data, but it would cost anywhere from $200 to $400.

I wish I could have been there personally to laugh in his face. :lol:
To be honest that can be a very modest total for data recovery. A couple years ago, the OS software corrupted on my laptop's hard drive. I tried every way I could to get it back, even trying a service in that price ballpark to recover. It was still corrupted no matter what.

In the end I sent it off to a company who disassembled it and manually spun the heads and extracted it magnetically. I did get my data back, but it wasn't cheap; set me back about a grand...

GAC
03-28-2012, 04:58 AM
Yeah, you're probably right. I guess it all boils down to just how bad you need to retrieve that data.