I need Data Recovery suggestions

Posted on 2009-04-27
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I have a 160 GB that just went out on me one day and now as I set it up as an external drive to recover the data it is not recognized by the o/s.  It shows as a USB Device under Disk Drives in Hardware Management and also under certain recovery software it shows as 2.0 TB size.  The file system does not show up either.  I have tried a few recovery programs so far it either does not show or comes up as a 2.0 TB drive and when I scan it nothing comes up. Please help.
Question by:srjoest
    LVL 35

    Accepted Solution

    You may want to try TestDisk:

    This is a free and very powerful tool, but not intuitive. So please make sure to read the documentation.

    Here's a step by step instruction page:
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    Another good commercial tool is Spinrite:

    If neither TestDisk nor Spinrite show any positive results, and the data on this drive are important, I'd suggest professional recovery, like Gillware ( or Ontrack (

    Note: In grave cases, software recovery tools may even do further damage to a drive and kill it for good.
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution


    I've had some success recovering files using Knoppix Boot CD.

    Create the boot cd and if you can access the faulty disks files just plug in a USB drive and copy what you need off.
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    I assume this is a IDE desktop drive? I assume the drive motor is spinning (you can tell by picking it up and rocking it GENTLY - you should feel the precession effect) and that it is not clicking repeatedly.. What happens when you connect the drive directly to the motherboard of a desktop computer and let the BIOS auto-detect it? Usually, if the BIOS can't see it, and provided you are supplying enough power, and it is cabled correctly, then the drive itself is defective.. If the data in the drive is very important, you might want to consider a data-recovery service.. That can be really expensive, but you can sometimes get the drive to initialise by repeatedly starting, tapping very gently etc.. Worse case, you can swap out the circuit-board with an identical drive - MUST be the same revision etc.. Good luck!!
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    For best results, connect the drive directly as a slave or secondary SATA drive in another desktop.  USB enclosures have electronics that can interfere with recovery.  GetDataBack ( will let you try to detect the data and if it can, you will need to pay for the product to save it.  It does not write to the drive, so if it fails it will not make it worse.  You will need another drive to copy the data to.
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    When you connect it as internal drive to the original PC and then try to boot the PC from Knoppix CD is the drive detected of real size?
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    Hey, if the drive won't identify to the OS, you can't use ANY recovery software to get it back.

    You must do hardware repair on the drive of some sort.

    You can try replacing the circuit board under the drive with the EXACT MODEL & FIRMWARE revision you are currently using.

    That may work, if it's a Circuit board issue.

    (Otherwise it's time for an expert to fix it for you)

    Sorry for the bad news,

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    >Hey, if the drive won't identify to the OS, you can't use ANY recovery software to get it back.

    Yes, but he said "I set it up as an external drive to recover the data" and "It shows as a USB Device under Disk Drives in Hardware Management".  Connecting it directly to the motherboard without a USB enclosure may allow a program to successfully retrieve data.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Why You Should Analyze Threat Actor TTPs

    After years of analyzing threat actor behavior, it’s become clear that at any given time there are specific tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that are particularly prevalent. By analyzing and understanding these TTPs, you can dramatically enhance your security program.

    Suggested Solutions

    AWS Glacier is Amazons cheapest storage option and is their answer to a ‘Cold’ storage service.  Customers primarily use this service for archival purposes and storage of infrastructure backups.  Its unlimited storage potential and low storage cost …
    The article will include the best Data Recovery Tools along with their Features, Capabilities, and their Download Links. Hope you’ll enjoy it and will choose the one as required by you.
    This video teaches viewers how to encrypt an external drive that requires a password to read and edit the drive. All tasks are done in Disk Utility. Plug in the external drive you wish to encrypt: Make sure all previous data on the drive has been …
    This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to reformat your flash drive. Sometimes your flash drive may have issues carrying files so this will completely restore it to manufacturing settings. Make sure to backup all files before reformatting. This w…

    737 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    17 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now