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"E:\ is not accessible.  The parameter is incorrect" results when accessing E:\ drive. disk management shows no filesystem and 100% free space

Posted on 2004-03-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I recently reinstalled windows, only to find that my E:\ drive was no longer accessible even though windows still sees it.  I tried to run a chkdsk /r on it and it fixed a bunch of indexing errors, but then got stuck on the 4th check for about 20 hours (this is a 200 gig disc, so I understand that it will take a while, but it never got about 50% the entire time so I didn't think it was doing anything and I stopped it). I looked at the drive with Guidance Software's EnCase, and the directory structure appears to be there, but even when I browse the folders there are some files that are not present that I'm certain were there before this ordeal happened.  I'm just wondering what could have happened and what I might be able to do about recovering my files from this drive.  I was thinking the partition table might have been messed up somehow, but I've never really encountered anything like this to know what to do to fix it.  In a worst case scenario, I can get another hard drive to transfer files to, but I was hoping there'd be a way to just restore this one.  I really can't afford to lose this data, so if anyone can help, I'd really appreciate it.
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Question by:spidy999
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by:Callandor
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How many physical drives do you have, and how are they split up?

Here are disk utilities from the manufacturers that you can run on your specific brand hard drive:
Maxtor/Quantum http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
Fujitsu http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic
Samsung http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html
Seagate http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/
www.westerndigital.com
IBM and Hitachi http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT

Check if it shows errors.
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by:Callandor
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For actual data retrieval from the lost drive, try one of these utilities from CrazyOne's list: http:Q_20900970.html
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by:spidy999
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I have 4 physical hard drives with one partition each.  Only E:\ has a problem.  I tried using the western digital tool to check the drive for errors, but it didn't work and gave me an error code 199 which said the drive needs to be tested with their data lifeguard tools which is what I'm going to do now.  Also, under the capacity I see it's 134.22 Gigs.  This seems strange because the drive should be 200.  I assume that it's only seeing the 137 gigs as that's a limitation, but I never had a problem with that at all of it before.
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by:spidy999
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Ok, I ran the check and it reported no errors on the drive.  The size problem has been fixed as well.  Still have no access to my files... and recovery programs have been giving me some strange errors.
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by:multihull
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HI,
Maybe silly but if you have 4 drives and 2 partitions you have 8 drive names, if you have cd as well the 9th may not be seen.
Have you added cd or dvd as well?
multihull
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by:Callandor
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If you are using WinXP, sp1 will get you around the 137GB limitation.

I would try switching the actual cable connector that the drive is attached to, to make sure it's not a cable problem.
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cdeme123 earned 500 total points
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Spidy,

I'm going to make some assumptions.  I am assuming that you have your drive formatted NTFS and that the partition is 200GB (the full size of the drive).  It could be that the Master File Table got corrupted or altered during the Windows reinstall.  If that is the case, there are some software applications that claim to be able to recover the MTF, boot sectors and even files and folders that have been deleted.  I have yet to find one that works consistantly.

Another thought is were any of these folders or files encrypted or compressed?  If so, you may need to ensure that Windows is setup to read encrypted files.  By default it is.

Another thing I would try is switching the drives and cables around in your machine and see if the problem follows the drive, cable or the IDE slot.  If the E: drive the master drive on it's IDE channel switch it so slave with a different ribbon cable and see what happens.

You have 4 hard drives in the system.  Are you using an IDE expansion card to have access to the E: drive?  If so, try installing it directly to the motherboard socket to rule out the expansion card.

I look forward to seeing what the final resolution is.
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by:spidy999
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It is on an IDE expansion card right now.  I'll try to switch things around and see if that helps anything.  There were no encrypted or compressed folders on the drive.  One thing I noticed is that even though windows recognizes it as 200 gigs in disk management, the recovery programs I've tried can't seem to get past that nasty 137 gig size limitation.   All the ones I've tried have recognized it as 130 some odd gigs and refuse to scan past that.  Even if I do manually specify the sectors it should be reading, as soon as the program think's it's past the end of the drive I get an I/O error reading sector.  One of the freeware programs testdisk scanned through all the cylinders and found no partitions, then reported everything was OK.  Would it be worth it trying to use the FixMBR command from the recovery console, or would that just make things worse?
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by:spidy999
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Ok, changing ide connections around made no difference.  I completely wiped my system drive  (C:\) and reinstalled XP on it since I was having some weird glitchy things going on, and now the drive gives a different error when I try to access it.  It says "E:\ is not accessible. the semaphore timeout period has expired."  I'm ot sure what to make of this.
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by:Callandor
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The disk size limit is probably due to being booted up in DOS.  This timeout problem points to some kind of signal problem.  Have you tried the disk without anything connected to the same IDE cable, in case it's interference?
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by:venishjoe
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Hai,

   If the disk management shows no file system and windows identifies the drive there is bright chance to recover the file since the problem lies only in thepartition table and not in the data area.Use the following software and see if the software shows files in the E:\ Drive.If it shows post a comment so that I can specify the other software to recover the files.(The specified software is demo version and so it can only show the lost files and cannot recover it)

www.stellarinfo.com/phoenix.htm

You can also contact me at: venishjoe@sify.com

Awating for your comment
Regards
Venish
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by:Callandor
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venishjoe, keep in mind it's against site policy to put your email address in a post.
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by:venishjoe
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Sorry! Iam new to this site and it won't happen again.
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by:spidy999
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Well, I plugged another drive in on the same IDE cable as a slave and now magically the drive appeared again and I can access the files, but about half of them are corrupted... it was probably the chkdsk /r I did at the beginning... maybe I shouldn't have.  At this point, I guess I just need to salvage what I can I guess.
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by:Callandor
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Sorry to hear that - I recall that Western Digital drives have two distinct jumper settings on their drives that others don't: one is master alone, and the other is master with a slave attached.  You can try the utilities in my second post to try to get back your data.  I have used GetDataBack with success.
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by:spidy999
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Yeah, I was using GetDataBack, and I had extracted files with it and found that many had errors in them.  Now that I can access my drive again, it seems that the same files have errors.  I think this probably means I'm out of luck.
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by:Callandor
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So it seems that you had a jumper in the wrong position, and all that was required was to move it.  I should have seen "Western Digital" and recognized that after you posted the brand - sorry for letting you down.
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by:spidy999
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Maybe it was a jumper issue, but I'm not entirely convinced since that still doesn't explain why it worked fine for nearly a year before deciding to die.
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by:wickedz
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I know this article is old and points have already been awarded.  I thought I would add my 2 cents since I ran across it when looking for other articles.

Just a thought on the data corruption...  If you had a 200gb drive functioning correctly in one OS, and then reloaded the OS but did not have the correct service packs or registry hacks for winXP to properly address BIG LBA (>137GB)  then you will have corrupted good data by working with the drive in the new OS. The ChkDsk /R in the OS that doesn't support BIG LBA most certianly would hang part way through,  it would reacht he 137GB point and then get confused and would result in corrupt data.  I have tested several scenarios in attempts to successfully recover data from this type of loss.

Cheers,
Z
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by:Garstud
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Hi  spidy999,

I've had this exact problem.  Problem occurs with this unique combination:
1)  Western Digital hard drive greater then 137GB.
2)  Promise Ultra TX2 controller card.
3) Windows XP.

Solution is to install a specific driver from Western Digital for your Promise controller card.

Download it here and follow their installation instructions:
http://support.wdc.com/download/downloadxml.asp#8

I hope this helps you.

Gary


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by:enaille
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www.runtime.org  - worked for me when I had a drive do the same thing.
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