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How to fix the master file table

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
I had a1TB eGo Portable Hard Drive USB 3.0. I stored all my important information there and it used to work fine till yesterday.

Now when I access this drive, Win 7 response that the drive is not formatted and ask me do I want to format it. I contacted Iomega and they cannot offer any help except a replacement.

I tried the Seatools but it cannot even recongize the problematic drive. I also tried R-studio and i-care data. To recover the disk, it need to scan the whole drive. Even with my PC has a top i-7 CPU and 8 GB ram, it takes an hour only finish around 0.1%, It is projected to take 3 weeks to finish the scan.

As I think that this only because some index file got screwed up, is there any quick way to recover the master file table ?

I think about fixmbr but it need to run at recover-console. Isn't it  and why ?
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Question by:mmylun
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by:Randy Downs
ID: 36546244
You might try removing the drive from the case and see if it will work as an internal drive

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvUvz5Qb4vw
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by:nwtechdesk
ID: 36546256
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392

Bootrec /fixmbr from the windows 7 RE

You can also use 3rd party tools within Ultmate Windows CD boot disk
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by:Randy Downs
ID: 36546275
This is a good video on recovering data.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCgfXeb_k7E&NR=1
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by:mmylun
ID: 36546671
nwtechdesk:
I read this method from microsoft support. I just want to confirm before I start the work. The external drive I am going to recover only has data and there is OS installed.
Does it mean I still need to start my PC as recovery environment ?

To fix the MFT, does the bootrec need to scan the whole drive which takes more than 10 hours
Thanks
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by:nobus
ID: 36547640
try testdisk :  http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
and read the step by step guide to get used to it
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by:twohawks
ID: 36547796
testdisk is pretty darned invaluable (agreeing with nobus).
While I cannot answer your last questions, I would also toss this out there...
..when I have been faced with total foobar situation I have found active@ tools and easus 'data recovery ' to be mighty helpful in pulling off the raw data into an image I could later mount and scan for files.

Also, not knowing the physical state of the drive, something I have also had to do in certain circumstances where the drive was (clearly suspect of) physically failing either internally, or the controller board, ...stick in the freezer (and I have even run it with cold packs (insulated from any wet, of course).  Sometimes you get just enough time to scrape files out.
Yes, its actually a tool in any old geek's toolkit ;^)

Good luck.
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by:nobus
ID: 36548361
i should add : i did not use it myself, but saw many problems resolved with it here on EE
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by:ReneGe
ID: 36549902
Had a similar issue recently. I did a silly tryout, by pluging it to an XP Pro PC, and I was able to read it's content.

Hope this helps
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by:mmylun
ID: 36551286
I tried test_disk and it cannot even recognize my external drive while most other recovery software do. I am quite surprised on it.
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by:marcustech
ID: 36551647
I would definitely advise removing the drive from the case as Number-1 suggested so that you can physically examine the SATA connections on the drive.  Could be the simplest thing, a loose connection in the external caddy.
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twohawks earned 500 total points
ID: 36552499
Hey mmylun, I was a little bleary-eyed when I first read you post and responded, I am confused..

you state: "The external drive I am going to recover only has data and there is OS installed."

I now realize the statement is contradictory.
If its only a data disk, then there's no OS on it, and you do not use it to boot from... so therefore, I don't think you will even be using the win7 tools mentioned earlier for this type of job.  

Regardless - you need to stop messing with that drive and try to get the raw data off it - or you may never see that data again.

#1) see what marcustech stated

#2a) don't try to do any repair on that drive until you have imaged it.  Out of 10 of the best tools available, maybe all 10, or only one of them ...may be able to access your data - you never know.  Check over at getdata, and/or search on the words
getdata forensics
...and create a path toward copying off the raw data  and making a plan for somehow being able to mount the image later.

You may need to download and test any number of tools before you find one that for some reason works where others failed.  Getdata and the others I mentioned, plus a few more out there should have a good shot at it if its possible.
You need to get the drive out of that case and get it hooked up as intimtely as possible to your main machine, preferably directly to the motherboard with a sata cable.

While testing, do not ever write to the drive. Getting the data off it is the #1 priority.

#2b) after you have peeled off the data into an image (it could take a day), and can affirm there is data in it, then you can attempt repair of the drive with impunity.  AGAIN, You need to get the drive out of that case and get it hooked up as intimtely as possible to your main machine, preferably directly to the motherboard with a sata cable.
Here's a weird "for instance"... if there's a weird power issue that is part of the problem, the drive may never (or only rarely/intermittently) be mountable via USB again.  

When you begin repair attempt, Try using TestDisk first. All others second.

#4) If you cannot recover the $mft, but can still image the drive, you will be able to recover your files with one of the professional tools mentioned (probably the one you imaged with), or some other one you may be having luck with.  You do not need the $mft to get the files.
*you do need to be able to access that drive, and its possible only grade a/b tools may be able to do it - while its hooked up "right".

#5) if all else fails, and you cannot even image the drive, your only option would be to pay a professional recovery agency (or forensics expert) to do it for you.  It will cost.  Beware of idiots claiming to be experts who might try installing the drive on their computer, thinking they are recovery experts.  Make sure its a pro agency, and have them explain their process.

I hope this helps.  









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Author Comment

by:mmylun
ID: 36552708
twohawks:
I am so sorry I missed the word 'NO'
I mean "The external drive I am going to recover only has data and there is NO OS installed.
I will try a few more tool to see which can see my drive
Thanks
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by:nobus
ID: 36553305
>>  tried test_disk and it cannot even recognize my external drive    <<  many diag programs do not recognise usb devices - that is why you need to connect the drive directly to IDE or Sata connector
USB works under windows - only a few Dos programs have it
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by:mmylun
ID: 36574218
twohawks:
I tried the software 'Rocover My file' or getData and it can recover the files and directories as the same structure originally. Plus it took only 6 hrs for the software to scan through all the blocks in the 1TB drive. I am happy with the performance

However, it seems that the software cannot fix the drive. I need to copy the files to somewhere else. If I want to re-use the drive. I need to format it and copy the files back to it.

I am not sure is it a good idea to use this external drive. As this drive is still under warranty and Iomega agreed to send me a new one as the replacement.
The question is : what is the safest way to clean up the drive before I send back this drive to them.

thanks
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by:nobus
ID: 36574900
>>  what is the safest way to clean up the drive   <<  if you want everything securily erased, you can use DBAN (free) : http://www.dban.org/
or BCWIPE : http://www.jetico.com/wiping-bcwipe/
this will also wipe free space
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by:twohawks
ID: 36582434
Glad you could get your files.
I agree with nobus, dban is is pretty darned popular.  So is bcwipe (I use that).
Active@KillDisk is popular too.  They are a good software company.

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by:twohawks
ID: 36919643
Thank you, mmylun.  I hope it worked out positively for you.
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