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RandmTask asked on

Suspected Hard Drive Corruption

Hi

I had a problem with my 6 month old external 500gb Western Digital MyBook

It just suddenly got corrupted, with most folders now consisting of corrupted filenames of ridiculous size, dates that range from 1980 to 2080 and weird characters ie ¹@hzÂ.±.п¨ (See attached JPEG)
folders that are corrupted like this cannot be opened

I made the mistake of running chkdsk /f and a lot of the folders got converted to files of 32kb size even though they have several gigabytes of photos and video clips in each

How can I get back my data (Would love a freeware solution if possible) and hopefully restore directory structure and filename extensions etc? as this was my backup drive there is a lot of archived photos and emails that i need to get back! The drive is only about 6 months old.

The drive is its initial formatting which is FAT32 and my OS is Windows XP. The only thing i recall doing is setting up a sharing folder on this drive with my Macbook air and trying to transfer files, could this have caused it?

Antivirus AVGFree didnt reveal any viruses (and that probably would have affected the other two hard drives too)

System:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
512mb RAM
Windows XP SP2
Maxtor Internal Hard Drive 250gb NTFS
Seagate Internal Hard Drive 320gb NTFS
Western Digital 500gb MyBook (External) - only one affected


any help would be greatly appreciated!
snapshot-hard-disk-1.jpg
Windows XPStorage HardwareStorage

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Last Comment
BillDL

8/22/2022 - Mon
Gary Case

I'd say the Macbook initiated the problem;  and running Chkdsk made it worse.

The best thing to do now is STOP !!  The #1 rule of data recovery is DO NOTHING.

I assume you're certain the formatting was FAT-32 ==> in that case, download the free demo of GetDataBack for FAT [http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm ];  install it on your PC;  then connect the MyBook drive and run GetDataBack against it.   It will show you what it can recover ... hopefully there is enough structure left that it will be a reasonable amount.   If you're satisfied that it's a reasonable % of what you'd like to recover, then just buy a license ($69) and it will do the recovery for you.

There are a few freeware applications you could try => but GetDataBack is the best utility you can use here [unless you want to pay significantly more] ... so I'd simply start with that.   Remember the "do nothing" rule --> letting other utilities try first could notably reduce the likelihood of success.
ASKER
RandmTask

GetDataBack didnt work

It only shows the data I can already retrieve. All the hundreds of gigabytes of photos, documents, videos etc arent showing up

Any other suggestions?

ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Gary Case

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willcomp

Well, garycase showed up while I was delayed on phone calls :-)

ERD Commander is still worth a shot if you can find a copy.
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Gary Case

willcomp => Agree ERD Commander is worth a shot if he can find a copy.   But I believe it was a WinInternals product, not SysInternals.   Of course WinInternals was ALSO acquired by Microsoft :-)
willcomp

Winternals and Sysinternals were two arms of the same company (Mark Russinovich). And, yes, ERD Commander was on the Winternals side.
Gary Case

Thanks ... if I knew that, I'd forgotten it :-)   [Old-timers disease I suspect]
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ASKER
RandmTask

OK,

The strangest thing has happened. I restarted my computer and it started doing a CHKDSK and making folders with many gigs in them into 32kb files. I unplugged my external hard disk as soon as I saw this happen and left it that way for about a week.

When I connected it again all the garbage subfolders are gone and I have been able to access the most important of my data.

However any folders that were 'fixed' by chkdsk into a 32k file are still unaccessible. Is there anyway to undo that? Will ERD Commander (provided I can find a copy) revert chkdsk changes?

I havent written anything to the hard drive. While this is a huge annoyance Im glad Ive recovered my most important things!

cheers
Gary Case

Glad you got most of your important data back => I presume you've already done so, but I would absolutely copy it to another drive ASAP.

As for recovering the data that Chkdsk stored ... short of examining the various chkdsk segments, I'm not sure what else you can do => perhaps willcomp has more insight on this (but it may require ERD Commander).

When you're satisfied you've recovered what you can, I would reformat that external drive to be sure it's got a "clean" file structure ... then copy what you want back to it.   If you need to use it on both your Mac and PC, use FAT-32 for the formatting.   Windows won't let you format a drive that large in FAT-32, but you can use this free utility to do it:  http://www.compuapps.com/download/swissknife/Swissknife.htm

... for future reference, one "rule" I always observe:   ALWAYS assume that at least one of your hard disks is going to totally crash in the next ten minutes ... so any important data should always be on at least two (physically different) hard drives.
willcomp

ERD Commander can sometimes reconstruct the directory and file structure, but not always. It is definitely worth a try if you can find a copy.

Also, rescan with GetDataBack and see what it finds now -- after you backup files, of course.
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ASKER
RandmTask

Thanks guys, I managed to get some of my data back from your tips. really appreciate it!
BillDL

Thank you RandmTask