Cannot copy files from External HDD to PC

Posted on 2009-12-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-30

I had a laptop which needed rebuilding so I copied all my photos off to an external hdd.  After rebuilding the laptop I've tried coping the photos back and it hangs.  I can view all my images on the hard drive but when I try to copy some of them the system hangs and eventually I get a timeout error.  

Does anyone know how to repair this or how to copy the files off as i really don't want to lose them.  Is there any software that will fix this?

Question by:Peter1985
    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    I dont see any issue here... maybe you have some weird problem with your os...

    did you try to copy those files to another machine?

    try to to copy files on command line "start run cmd"
    xcopy x:\myimages\*.*/s c:\Myimages
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I have tried it on other machines and I have tried xcopy but they don't copy.  It just hangs while copying a file.  I'm sure there is something wrong with the drive.
    LVL 47

    Accepted Solution

    >> It just hangs while copying a file.

    If this is one particular file then quite likely it is the disk.

    You may need to copy data a folder at a time, making notes of what folders get copied across.  If there are errors then don't copy that folder, just note it as not copied.

    Once as much as you can is copied then go back to those bad folders and start copying those files again.  Note which is copied and which errors.  If an error then restart the copy and don't copy the bad file.  In the end you'll get most of your data.

    Slow but tedious.
    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    can you open the file ;) probably not, your hdd is dying or that file is somehow corrupted...
    get the rest of files and after that chkdsk/scandsk on that drive...
    LVL 46

    Assisted Solution

    Take image of the drive first of all. See if you can get the image of it with any backup tool like Paragon, Acronis or Ghost. After that open the image (Paragon and Acronis can browse their images) and get the files exported from backup file.
    This is free:
    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    try this :  download and make a boot cd for a live Knoppix cd.
    now try to copy your files from usb to internal disk
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    Here is yet another link to bootable diagnostic tools.  This time you can put this onto a USB flash drive.

    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    I've seen this.  When you use an external USB drive, you're at the mercy of the miniscule disk controllerin the external device, and when it encounters a bad sectoron the disk, well not all the external HD makers hadle it very well.  Some goding dong dong ding offline/online and you're starting over, some just hang such as what you describe.

    In my experience,  if you can figure out what file it gets stuck on, and try copying or moving just that file, or even deleting it if need be, then the rest of the copy goes well, until the next bad sector is encountered.

    First, try SyncBack, it's free, and it will log what is being copied, so you will get a good idea of the last good file, first bad file, and SyncBack keeps retrying beyond the files it fails to copy

    Second, if you want to really fix the bad sectors, an external USB drive, especially the one you have evidently, is NOT going to cut it.  Most disk repair diagnostics are powerless to do anything to a USB drive, can't push a bowling ball through a straw.  You'll need to open the drive case, and attach the drive internally to the computer to run diagnostics.  You'll see if it's WesternDigital or what and can find diagnostics from the appropriate maker's website... or better yet, I highly recommend SpinRite 6.  SpinRite 6 can test drives fully, find bad sectors and potentially failing sectors, do it's level best to move that data to another spot on the drive, set them aside as bad never to be used again, before a more serious flaw causes a crash.

    The fact that Windows will record "disk" errors in the System Event Log, but do nothing else about it, no alerts, no pop-up messages "hey your drive is having errors" is so brutally bad and inexcusable of an operating system it is ridiculous!!!  event the BIOS SMART disk monitoring only tells you something after you reboot, pathetic.  I don't know if Windows 7 does anything about this yet, I don't think so, but that would be ME in the commercial cause this would be my idea! *har har  So I also recommend getting a hardware monitor app that sits in the system tray an monitors the power supply voltages, temperature, fan speeds, and hard disk.  These are the biggest clues and indicators of what if left unchecked results in catastrophic failures.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Try copying the files using Unstoppable Copier, I've used it in the past to safely move files from damaged hard drives to the network for backup.


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