external usb hdd: not accessible, parameter is incorrect

I'm hoping someone can help with my situation.  Here's the breakdown:

WinXP Pro sp2, AMD Athlon 800mhz, 640mb RAM

While performing routine work on my computer, Windows pops a msg in the task tray and reported it had detected a corrupt file (identifies a specific mp3 file by name).  I located the file on my external USB Maxtor5000DV (G:) and deleted it.

I wanted to be sure everything was ok, since I had a Maxtor3000LE drive that had previously failed.  So first:
1) I set a restore point
2) Right-clicked on my HDD (C:\) and ran Error Checking, everything ok
3) Ran Disk Defragmenter on C:, everything ok
4) Proceeded to run Windows Error Checking>Check Disk on G: (Maxtor 5000DV, external usb drive) (also, I set the options to “fix file system errors” and “scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”)
5) Allowed pc to reboot (since that’s when Check Disk runs)
< - -  at this point that little voice in the back of my head says, “D’OH!”  - - >
6) Windows reboots, Check Disk doesn’t run
7) Next time I shut down, reboot, Check Disk runs.  The procedure takes a while since it’s a 160gb hdd.
8) After several hours, Check Disk stalls at some point in the progress bar.
9) Shut down, reboot
10) Attempt to access G:, receive msg, “G: is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect”
< - -  now I’m scared - - >
11) Attempt System Restore and receive msg, “Changes to drive G: after this point cannot by reversed because system monitoring was turned off, the drive was removed or …”
12) Shut down, reboot
13) Attempt to access drive G: again and receive msg, “G:\ is not accessible. The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.”
14) I check the drive properties for G:, Windows reports the drive is completely empty

So (once again) I have an external usb Maxtor drive that has failed.  ALL MY DATA is on there, I can’t get to it.  From what I can hear, the drive spins fine (no abnormal or clicking noises).  Please help.

Thus far, I've sent an e-mail to Maxtor and am awaiting a response.  Also, I've read previous postings and am aware of CrazyOne's long list of software solutions/data recovery services list.  I noticed the other postings I've read had similar error messages to mine, but since the error occurred differently for me, I figured I'd ask for my specific situation.  I've also run across other info that directs users to attempt data recovery via Knoppix (so I have those instructions handy as well).  The point is I'm asking cuz I just wanna know what would be the safest way to proceed and what methods to try first (so as not to render other possible solutions useless).  The data on the external usb drive is extremely important to me.  The data recovery services I've contacted have quoted prices of at least $600 to $2500 depending on difficulty.  So I'd like to try a low-cost alternative if possible.  THANKS!!!
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Have you tried plugging the device into another machine, that is if you have another PC to try! I would look into a program like ONtrack data recovery pro or others. To do a raw scan of the drive to recover any data.

Here is an option if the drive is in fact shot:
I just looked and the cheapest version is $200 I know there are others software solutions out there as well. I use this one and as long as the drive spins it works and recovers everything. Now the catch is I never used this with a USB drive.

What about taken the drive apart and hook it up up via IDE? is that an option for this drive (I wonder?)

and Finally  http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=http://support.microsoft.com%2Fservicedesks%2Fbin%2Fkbsearch.asp%3Farticle%3D323754

Reference that article and see if that will help.

some interesting reading here. no solution that I could tell within, but the suggestions I posted to you were mentioned here and worked.
yes, happened to me..........................take the disk out of the drive and put it on an open ide connector. You need to check the pin settings to how maxtor is setting it. probably is already ok. and as godd31 suggest get a good disc recovery program......do your research on software I suggest
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

santidiabloAuthor Commented:
the only other machine I have is a laptop.  I plugged it into that, reaction/response from the usb 5000dv is very slow.  Again, no clicking noises, just very slow to be recognized, very slow to right-click, etc.  Removing the usb drive from its casing is an option seeing as how Maxtor won't help, I just wanted to know if there were any other helpful options before doing that.

Properties (Maxtor usb 5000dv):
used - 0 bytes
free  - 0 bytes
(the pie chart displays the drive as full via the color associated with 'used')
file system - raw

I received a response from Maxtor telling me the partition is corrupt  They have no remedy other than to delete the partition and create a new one.

OnTrack link: if you say it works then I have no choice but to believe you.  I realize PC Inspector is free, so I think I will try that one first.
Microsoft link: states that the problem drive normally works again after waiting a little time before reattaching.  My usb drive won't work no matter how long I wait.  Also, it's a usb 2.0 drive connected to a usb 2.0 PCI controller card, so that also disqualifies me from the Microsoft article.
Cnet link: I have seen it before, but thanks for your thoroughness

pin settings should be typical, but I'll double check to be sure
Yeah by all means go the cheapest route possible. It's different when you have a corporation to pay for it all but when it comes out of your own wallet, it sucks terribly. I would definitely slave it and try that route then to recover the data. Sorry I couldn't give you more to try.
unles you formatted, your info is still there. Were you doing a fresh install and accidenly partitioned your usb drive? If so, if you have not formatted it you can still save the drive. You may have done something to your MBR?
mlaschiazza -

to anwser your post just read the initial 1st post.  ??
santidiabloAuthor Commented:
Status report: Some Success
Thus far I removed the 5000dv drive from its external enclosure and plugged it into an IDE cable in my desktop.

First attempted to read the drive while in Windows, but drive remained inaccessible.  
Note: While accessing items like destop icons, drive properties in MyComputer, and drive contents, Windows reacts slowly (just a couple seconds lagtime).  Only behaves this way when problem drive (5000dv) is connected.

Second, loaded Knoppix cd. Knoppix was able to read the contents of the drive. 4 of original 20 folders have been duplicated, 1 folder missing.  Unable to move or copy files/folders to a new drive, received msg "could not write hdd1\(folder/file name).  Did not attempt to burn because already had 3 disk drives & 1 cdrw taking up all the IDE space (Knoppix CD must remain in at least 1 cdrom drive).

Third, rebooted, loaded winxp, ran PC Inspector.  PC Inspector is able to read contents of drive as Knoppix did.  I notice new duplicate folders created "Found.000".  This new folder contains files Found0000.chk, Found0001.chk, etc.  File description is "Recovered File Fragments."  <-- I don't know if these Found folders were just created, or if I'm just now noticing them. -->  But I am able to save root folders to another drive -- I'm still doing this.  Only snag so far, attempt to save 1 specific folder caused PC Inspector to exit.

Godd31, do you think the OnTrack recovery program would be able to recover the files that are still missing?

I will let you guys know more as I progress . . .
I have seen the Ontrack recovery work and not work. It  sounds like your file system was corrupted. hence the found.000 etc.  If it is just corruption then the recovery program should be able to back up the RAW data. (there is an option in the software to recover every file but the folder structure will not be there, that recovers all RAW data) If there is physical damage then the software will only be able to recover what it can. It's a great program I wish it were cheaper. Have you tried running CHKDSK /R /F while the drive is slaved? It might be able to fix the corruption if that is the case.  Also If that is the case ONtrack should be able to get it all.

Let us know
another thing that might work is to install Windows on the slaved drive. do not format it at all but just do the setup and all the windows stuff will be overwritten but the data folders will remain. Just a thought.
one other thing if you have bad sectors on the drive you may have lost some data. Depending or not if your data was in a damaged block. ok thats it.
santidiabloAuthor Commented:
Status report: Progressing

I'm currently running the "Find Lost Data" feature in PC Inspector.  The program is now scanning every individual cluster (the process is incredibly slow like watching water evaporate).  This will take a few days, I will let you know more then.

Other than the moment at which the drive initially failed, I haven't tried running CHKDSK again.  I wanted to try other recovery methods first.  But if PC Inspector fails to recover the last few files I want, I may try OnTrack, then I'll probably let Windows do another CHKDSK.

I don't know about installing WinXP on the slave, I may try that if all else fails.  Bad sectors are definitely a possibility.  Physical damage not as likely (drive never shaken, never dropped, no abnormal noises, 13 months old)
OK well hopefully it will work, then it will be worth the wait..  Good luck and let me know afterwards.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
santidiabloAuthor Commented:
Well, I ran the "Find Lost Data" feature in PC Inspector, but the progress bar got stuck at just below 50%.  I then tried "Find Lost File", which also couldn't proceed past 50% on the progress bar.

I tried CHKDSK, but Windows will not run it because it identifies the file system as Raw, and says it can't run chkdsk on that file system.  I also tried running CHKDSK
santidiabloAuthor Commented:
(sorry, trigger happy)

... I also tried running CHKDSK in DOS, but I got the same error, that it can't run it on a Raw file system.  I think the next step will   be to delete the current partition, create a new one, reformat the drive NTFS.

At this point, I've retrieved a considerable amount of my data.  Most importantly my pics, artwork, and music.  I think if PC Inspector hadn't worked, I would have definitely paid the $200 for the OnTrack program.  But it seems that $200 may not be logical anymore for attempting to retrieve a couple more folders/files.  Like godd31 said, too bad the OnTrack program's not free.  Some of those files were important, budget, log file of work incidents, serial numbers.  But, I can recreate 2 of those, so I guess it's not too bad.  The other files, I can't remember.

So, unless there's another solution to retrieving that last bit of data, I will probably stop here.  Like I said, I got back the files that were REALLY important (irreplaceable).

Is there anything I can do with those Recovered File Fragments?  Or are they totally useless?
santidiabloAuthor Commented:
The answer to the question was my own comment of  Date: 03/28/2005 09:29AM PST.  But I would like to award godd31 with the points.  Even though I answered my own question, godd31 was very thorough and always followed up.
I had an error popup message saying corrupt file. I then tried to check my external seagate barracuda 250 gig hdd and it said
" drive is not accessible" "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"
When I first plugged my external hdd in,The computer found it,but only as a mass storage device in device manager.
I then used Partition Magic to create a logical NTSF but it wouldn't let me. So I created a logical FAT then coverted that to NTSF.
After that I checked my computer and the new external hdd drive was there and working fine. I transferred 70 gig to the new drive and all was fine. Left the computer running overnight then a small popup appeared saying a certain file was corrupt.I thought no big deal easily fixed.
I then went to check the new external hdd directory know as Huge (k).Somehow the directory changed  huge (k) to  local (k). I clicked on local (k) and then got that error " drive is not accessible" "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"
I then right clicked/properties and checked space the on local (k) and it said it was empty and had over 236 gig free space.I thought oh no all my data is lost.
I then went back to partition magic/ checked the new 250 gig hdd I converted to NTSF  and noticed it was now named ?0?(k)  instead of
huge (k)
Next step i went to reformat it using partition magic and clicked yes so it was a job pending. I then clicked on  ?0?(k) again in partition magic and noticed the 70.1 gig's were still there. When I checked the properties of the new directory now known as ?0? (k) in partition magic and logical (k) in my compter in windows it said nothin but RAW and everything else was unknown.
All i'm interested in now is how to obtain data from a external hdd i can't access. I'm sending this hdd back to the seller and he is okay about it. But my data  was made up over a great deal of time.
here my operating sytem details

AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3200+ (2.20GHz)
512MB PC3200 DDR
Hard Drive
80 GB 7200RPM Ultra DMA
Optical Storage
Double Layer (8.5GB) 8x DVD+R DL, 32 x DVD - ROM,40 CDR 24 x CDRW, 40 CD-ROM
NVida GeForce FX5200XT 3D AGP Graphics with 128 MB DDR and TV-out port
Special Features
Front acces 9-in1 Digital media reader,3 USB 2 ports, 1 Firewire port, 1 headphones, 1 Line- in and 1 Mic-in

Sorry about my pelling in my last post :-)
LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hello post_card_bandit,

Please create your own question by clicking this link:

It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.