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External USB drive not recognized after reboot

Posted on 2004-10-05
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello.
Here's the deal.

1-PowerMac g4 running OS 9.2.2
1- External 80gig Maxtor USB drive
1-very impatient user with limited knowledge of own G4

details:

The external drive was used as back up drive. The user was trying to copy or backup some files but apparently was not able to. Before she started I asked her to not do anything until l arrived. Needless to say she went ahead anyway. From that point I have no idea what the truth is. when I arrived, I had to force quit a couple of programs in which files from both the local drive and the external drive were open in Quark and other programs. Some could be saved, others could not no matter how I tried. In trying to do so, I got a dreaded -127 error ( http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=9805 ). When it popped up she told me she kept getting that error. I knew at that moment we were at the top of a downward spiral of being totally screwed.

I quit all programs and went straight to disk utility. It was futile. The USB Maxtor drive was not detected. I rebooted and now I get:

"This disk is unreadable by this computer. Do you want to initialize the disk?"

Basically saying I need to reformat the disk. I can't. The external drive has all this ladie's graphic work and archives of years past. I'd say a good 35 gigs worth. I have tried Disk Warrior and  http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=21103 but to no avail. Will not detect.

Now here's my idea. I can send it off to a recovery lab or format the drive and try a 3rd party utility to recover the volume on the external drive. Either way I feel it's a 50/50 shot on both one costing more than the other.

Suggestions on the 3rd party utility?

I'd really hate for this lady to lose all the info and I'm trying to do everything I possibly can for her, but in the end, she did something very wrong and it does not look good.

AS far as the OS issues created by her at the time have all been resolved so the OS is sound. No hardware problems. I feel once the drive is formatted it will work like charm. BUt what are the odds of recovering the data?

I have had luck with disk warrior on some bad external USB Lacie drives, but this Maxtor is showing no love whatsoever.

ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Thank you,
AJ
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Question by:Mobiltech
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8 Comments
 
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
weed earned 672 total points
ID: 12235167
Last shot, try Norton Disk Doctor. It's the only thing you havent tried short of sending it in. I suspect she did something like disconnect the drive while docs were open or somesuch. Bad bad bad but NDD is worth a shot.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:jonkreisler
ID: 12236884
You can also try this:
Unplug the external drive from the USB chain.
Start Disk Utility. Keeping Disk Utility as the front-most application,
plug in the USB cable of the external drive.
That way, Disk Utility grabs the disk before Finder does. Sometimes this works.
Another 3rd-party utility you can try is TechTool Pro.
Norton Utilities Disk Doctor, though, is usually enough to make some sense of a disk with a corrupted directory structure.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:marcmitc
ID: 12240453
A few more things to try to see if the drive shows up. (not in any particular order)
1) Log in using another account.
2) Try starting up from a DiskWarrior CD, then connect the USB drive
3) Try starting up from an install CD or a FireWire drive with a working System, then connect the USB drive
4) Try connecting the USB drive to another Mac
5) It's possible that zapping the PRAM on the G4 will clear the USB port and allow the drive to show up.
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Author Comment

by:Mobiltech
ID: 12242174
Thank you all.

I tried Jon k. suggestions and the drive is detected by DiskWarrior and Disk first Aid but Norton will not detect it. The drive is detected but cannot be repaired or rebuilt because in both programs it says that the drive is not a macintosh (HFS) drive.

So, what are the odds of formatting the drive and recovering the data?
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:marcmitc
marcmitc earned 664 total points
ID: 12242310
It seems to me that formatting the drive will probably destroy some of the data and make it very difficult for Drive Savers or some other company to recover data. I would call Drive Savers, then let the client decide if the data is worth the price they charge.
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:jonkreisler
jonkreisler earned 664 total points
ID: 12250437
One more utility may be worth trying.
Data Rescue.
You can download a free trial and the scan option will let you know if anything can be recovered and if it is worthwhile to purchase the full version to do the recovery.
If it will work, it would probably be less costly than Drive Savers.

http://www.prosoftengineering.com/products/data_rescue.php
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