Recover Data from a 1.5 Terrabyte Drive

In the interest of not mucking things up, I'm writing here first. I've done a fair amt of recovery but not yet successfully when the partition table (MBR vs GUID) is unknown and and I am second on the scene.  

I plugged the 1.5TB SATA drive into another computer's USB via a USB device.

A message popped up asking for Windows to 'initialize' as MBR or GUID (if over 2 TB).

I cancelled and went to computer > manage > disk management, and saw the space as not initialized.

I installed Recuva recovery software and of 'course it isn't seeing anything yet.

What is my best next step?
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Michael FowlerSolutions ConsultantCommented:
Have a look at "Recover My Files"

I have used this software a number of times and it has done a great job of recovering. It is not free but personally I believe it is worth the cost.

Some other options available are

If cost is an issue here are some free options

frugalmuleAuthor Commented:
The first thing I want to do is choose the correct partition table.  Will initializing cause a problem if the 'correct' table (GUID or MBR) is chosen?
Just do a simple raw read test, direct, without a USB bridge. Symptoms indicate you have a catastrophic media failure.  The USB bridge chip is giving bad information because they do not propagate errors properly due to the SCSI protocol conversion.

But gut feeling ... if you want the data back you'll have to pay somebody $500+ to do it at a recovery lab.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Any writing to the disk may make recovery impossible.
There is a full trial of Get Data Back
It is worth it and has never failed me 80 dollars for a life use is worth it, grab all your old HDD and recover them.
How I do it is I bought an 2.5" 3.5  external HDD enclosure  with Sata and IDE
It uses it's own power

If it helps
Was this a win 8 OS?
frugalmuleAuthor Commented:
W7 maybe, not certain
i always connect suspect drives directly to the sata cable of a working PC - just to aboid the USB interface problem, as said
i have recovered several drives with HDDregenerator :      

but first, would make sure the drive is functioning ok, with a quick test from it's diag (use the one for your disk brand) - you find all of them on the UBCD
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
 i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP :

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)                        ultimate boot cd             download page
As I stated before, but need to emphasize, you simply can not do any diagnostic or testing with a USB bridge in the middle. Chances are good the HDD failed, period.  The USB bridge chip will give false information.  It has to.  There is no mechanism for the bridge to propagate errors properly when a device is not ready or hangs.

(And if that is the root cause, you are wasting your time. There isn't a product on the planet that can fix this that doesn't involve disassembly in a clean room by humans in bunny suits.)
frugalmuleAuthor Commented:
I've looked at all three products:

Recuva - must find a drive letter before it can recover anything
HDDregenerator - appears that it must check for bad sectors first, appears to require 8+ hours which were interrupted
Recovermyfiles - looks like it might work
GetDataBack- has a 4 hour run-time on 1.5 tb.

GetDataBack appears to have the most promise. I ran the NTFS version but that was an assumption. I also ignored a warning to change a setting in the BIOS (for better performance). Now it is running the FAT version and did not produce the BIOS warning.  I noticed when it was running, it seemed to be 'locating files', but then said that the file system could not be found and suggested the FAT version. I would doubt that it would be FAT on a 1.5 TB drive but could have been.  I am second on the scene.

It also appears that redefining the partition structure (GUID vs MBR) would have to be determined before the file system (FAT, FAT32, or NTFS), so something seems backward here but I am letting GetDataBack run on the FAT version as opposed to the NTFS version just to see what it finds.

Assistance is still greatly appreciated.
In the newer BIOS of the machines that are running W8,the disk boot is set up as UEFI as a standard and any disk attached is no longer set up as MBR ,but GPT.

Make sure the BIOS is set to AHCI or it's equivalent.
frugalmuleAuthor Commented:
The machine that the drive is currently connected to is running W7.
Check in the setup BIOS just to make sure.

As for the FAT thing,a great many USB disks come formatted as FAT32 STANDARD as some earlier versions of some OS's don't play well with NTFS.
"GetDataBack run on the FAT version as opposed to the NTFS version just to see what it finds" lol good luck, remember it is a trail fully functioning though and you get to preview your files, well like most folks I had to buy it then.
You can download both
I do wonder if you can run ntfs if the partition is fat? visa visa
I did the same any errors I just ignored them but I used ntfs for my ntfs it found everything
worked a treat on any ntfs drive/s My Book USB's and Laptop top drives I had put away after upgrading from computer to new computer bets tool I have ever used, I even keep my dead drives like a security key no one can access a dead drive unless they use the GDB.
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Thank you :)
and good luck!!!
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