XP no longer recognizes HDD size or File System, Can't Access

Posted on 2006-05-12
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I've had this HDD in a external enclosure on my computer for about a year now. It was connected to my computer through a USB 2.0 cord. Just today it kept getting Write delay error and I would have to restart the drive. It would work for a while again, then the error would occur again. Then it just stopped working all together.

I would plug it in and it would slow down my computer something awful then have it listed under "My computer" but I coudln't access the files on it. So I decided to put the HDD in my tower to see if it was a problem with the cord or the HDD enclosure. It still showed the drive but still couldnt see the files or the HDD size but it didn't slow down my computer as much.

Then I got it to the point where under "Computer Management" It knew the size of the drive, said it was healthy and of Basic type. But it couldn;t see it was formatted NTFS already and kept asking me to reformat the drive. Acting as if the drive was new and never partitioned and formatted yet.

I used the recovery programs GetDataBack, PC Inspector and Restoration all of which could see files on the drive. Problem is the HDD is larger than my main boot HDD so even if I could recover all the files on the drive I wouldn'y have enough room.

So what I need is some way to have windows just recognize the drive again as NTFS and that its already been prepared for use.
Question by:Dionysus187
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    I don't know of a way to do what you are asking, but I do have some general advice:
    there is a chance that this happened because the drive is failing, to determine this I would advise running the manufacturer's diagnostics on the drive.....HOWEVER, with a dying drive, the less activity, the better chance you have of recovering other words, if you do need to recover the files, do so prior to running diagnostics on the disk.
    good luck,
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    by:Nick Denny
    I would agree with tfjett that the drive does sound like it is failing.

    The best thing to do in this instance is to image the drive using something like Norton Ghost. Imaging takes a snapshot of the drive and copes it onto another.

    You will need to buy another drive (at least the same size).

    Like tfjeff states, try to keep activity on disk down. So imaging will make one more pass of the drive then you have a copy with which to work with for recovery attempts etc.
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    I have had the same issues these past 2 weeks, and this is what I did to fix it.

    I ran the CHKDSK on the hard drive or partition which is damaged, if that partition is being currently used by the system then it will run after you restart the system.

    Go under the My Computer and right-click on the partion/HD which is damaged and select Properties
    Select the Tools Tab and click on the Error-Checking, then make sure you makr both checkboxes and run it.

    If the system is locked then it will ask you to schedule a Check disk on the next boot, select Yes and restart the system.

    If you don't get one then allow it to run all 5 phases until its done, this might take quite a while so do it before you go to bed, restart the system and check the partition. Once you are able to access it (YOu will) then copy your files to a new hard disk (USB or IDE) and then format that parition, since it's damaged and if you leave it as it is the problem will return.

    Good luck!

    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Also if you can´t get a bigger drive to copy to then just copy what you need the way is to copy small bits from the big drive to the system one and then burn them on to cd.
    but it´s up to you.
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    Setup the drive as primary and standalone in system! then use XP OS CD to do repair console see if it helps out.

    Author Comment

    Actually I'm pretty positive its not crashing. The write delay errors have been happening for quite some time it just increased in frequency lately and right before I could no longer access it.When i ran this dos based program called TestDisk, it could recognize the drive size and such, but just reported it was healthy. When I tried to list the files on the drive with the program it said it had some input/output error on the drive and could not do that.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Did you tried to run a CHKDSK /F /R    ?

    I usualy use R-Studio and even if the partition is corrupted it wil list all the files inside it, once they are listed, move them to a new partition. Yes, you wil need to purchase a new hard disk (USB or your choice) after moving the files, format the partion and use it, but becareful.

    good luck?

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Try the drive on a different computer to see if the problem is the drive or your computer.

    Author Comment

    Well I am trying chkdsk through the command prompt and it is making progress, unlike doing it through "My computer" which did nothing. Its at stage 4 of 5 right now and crawling along but making progress.

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