Corrupt/lost data on external HDD


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Hi,


Firstly sorry for the long post but i thought i'd give as much info as possible..........


I recently purchased a Barracuda ST3000DM001 HDD for use as storage within an external Thermaltake 5G USB3 enclosure.

I connected it directly to one of my PC's and installed Win 7 (32bit) onto a 1.4TB partition with the remaining space partitioned up to the 2TB limit, therefore making the partition approximately 600GB; (I was not aware of the limits at the time!!!), to be used as a data with no operating system installed. The remaining data above the 2TB limit did show up within the Disk Manager!

I transferred all of my data onto the drive and decided then to do a fresh install of Win 7 on all of the other drives.

Once I had done this I connected up the external HDD only to find that the data could not be accessed; Win 7 was saying that the HDD needs formatting.

I then tried it on a different PC with the same results.

I also tried it within a Startech USB2 enclosure and directly connected to SATA (on two different systems) all with the same results in addition to trying it on a Win XP system.

One thing to note that the 3TB HDD DID boot several times prior to the HHD’s being reformatted and reinstalled with Win 7; I only checked the data was there, I did not check that anything was corrupt at this point. The fact that it started and everything was present without any obvious errors was enough at the time (hindsight’s a wonderful thing!!).

Finally I have used Get Data Back (GDB) software to try and recover the contents, which I was able to partially do but there seems to be extensive corruption with many files unreadable. I am currently running GDB under XP (it takes 30+ hours!) having already run it under Win 7; just to try and see if there are any different results obtained.

I have also tried Recuva and Panda Recovery which neither work as they both claim that the drive needs formatting.

An extremely curious issue is that within the photos that are recovered via GDB, many of them are not the original photos but the same photo four times (but not always!!) i.e. the correct photo on the first file and then three copies of the same photo BUT with the original (correct) file name. Also the preview image of the file when going into is quite often incorrect; corrected by deleting the Thumbs.db and then refreshing though.

The same effect has happened with my MP3 files; the song playing matches the track name but then the same song for track 2, 3 and 4; again with the track name being the correct one. Then it starts again with song 5 matching the track name but then track 6, 7 and 8 still showing the correct track name but upon opening playing song 5.

Excel files upon opening are, generally but not always, not the files that they should be but a different file maybe that was next in the list or nearby, with many being corrupted.

The files contain accounts data for a friends company so are rather important; as are the personal photos.

I do have some backups (made with Genie Backup) and these were moved temporarily onto the 3 TB drive (hindsight again……..) for the short time that I formatted the other drives.

It will take a long time to sort through the current files and the backups (the ones that haven’t become corrupted), to find what is and isn’t useable; and I know that some of the data is older than the current data that has been lost.

Please can anyone advise what can be done to safely recover the data.
 
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Digerati

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Sorry for you problems but short of taking the drive to a data recovery service, which can be VERY (into the $1000s) expensive, I don't see any additional options for you. You tried the drive on multiple systems with no luck. You tried several data recovery programs with only partial success. I suspect you were lucky to recovery anything. :(

Clearly, as you noted, hindsight tends to be 20/20 and next time, I suspect you (and hopefully, EVERYONE READING, will make a current copy of all their important data BEFORE attempting such a project again, and keep that data in a safe space.

Sorry I could not be of further help.
 

TrainableMan

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It was a long time ago now, before 2TB drives, but I had a bad hard drive and I was able to recover most of my data with software from Stellar Phoenix. What I liked about their product back then was that it told me the names of all the files it could recover before I had to buy the software. I haven't tried their updated software but the website says support for drives over 2TB so ...

I think it might be worth your while to download their latest software and if it turns out it can help you then it may well be worth the cost.
 

Digerati

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Stellar Phoenix sound promising. If the $50 version actually recovers files (instead of telling you it can, then prompting for more money) then it seems worth a try.
 

TrainableMan

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Well, back when I used it, most of the competition would say "we can recover x,xxx files" but Stellar Phoenix would list the filenames of the files it could recover. It did THAT much from the free download. Now I seem to remember that, back then, for $69.99 you got the full version and in my experience it did what it promised: I got my files.
 

Digerati

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and in my experience it did what it promised: I got my files.
And for many, that money is well worth it.

Good to hear they did not treat you like some malware removal or registry "optimizers" do and find 1000s of so called "errors", then scare you into paying for their product to fix them.
 
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TrainableMan

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If a hard drive's file index is corrupt but the read/write heads still move then there is a good chance data can be recovered if it was not overwritten. On the other hand, if the hard drive is frozen with the read/write heads locked into one position then this cannot be fixed by software alone; that is when specialist have to take the drive apart and move the platters to another shell and then run the recovery software - this is that very pricey recovery Digerati mentioned.

This software also isn't like Best Buy where you pay whether they can help or not. Best Buy can help in the first situation but are still more expensive than this software (or at least they were) and they would do the exact same thing. In the second situation Best Buy will charge you their fee (about US$99 for doing basically nothing) and then offer to ship it away to have the hard drive rebuilt and recovered for around US$2200 more.

In this OPs case the hard drive read/write heads are definitely working so the recovery program should be a viable option.
 
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Digerati

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f a hard drive's file index is corrupt but the read/write heads still move then there is a good chance data can be recovered if it was overwritten.
The problem is not just if overwritten, though that is a very real problem. But if the tables are corrupt, then it is a serious challenge, if possible at all, to determine the first sector of any recovered file. Without the first, you don't know the second and so on, and you may not know what file type it is either.

You may end up with 1000s of fragments, recovered as separate files with file names of 05022013000001.txt, 05022013000002.txt, 05022013000003.txt, and so on, that when opened, look like a bunch of wing-dings.

It is similar to recovered "lost clusters" when you run chkdsk.

Everything depends on how much you value the data versus how much you want to spend (in time and money) on recovering it. And that's a personal question.
 

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