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External Hard Drive Recovery

Posted on 2014-04-08
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Last Modified: 2016-06-26
I have western digital hard drive that was inside of an external enclosure.  The USB port on said enclosure is broken.  I have hooked it up to 2 different computers and I can see the partitions but I cannot assign drive letters.

I found this so far on the internet:
 
http://superuser.com/questions/624830/drive-and-all-partitions-detected-in-disk-management-but-assigning-a-drive-lett

The second reply in that posting talks about how the controller card for the external enclosure has some of the geometry or partition table info or MBR and I want to know how to get around that.

I have
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Question by:ingeniious
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by:pgm554
ID: 39987650
OS and size of drive.
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by:ingeniious
ID: 39987667
1.5TB and Windows 8.1  

Were you able to read the 2nd reply on that posting?   Pretty sure that is the issue, that the controller card for the external enclosure has some of data that is needed but I of course cannot use that.
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by:pgm554
ID: 39987695
W8 does some goofy stuff with new drives at times because of the security features .
Also check out the bios settings on your win 8 machine and see if they are in legacy sata and not uefi.
Try getting a Linux distro boot disk and see if you can access the partitions that way as a test.
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by:ingeniious
ID: 39987704
Thank you, I will try that.
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Author Comment

by:ingeniious
ID: 39987719
No joy, Ubuntu and Windows 7 both resulted in same results.  I can see the partition but I cannot assign it a drive letter and access it. Like something is wrong with the partition table. I tried using TestDisk and that did not help either.

I think my only solution is to delete the paritions, create 1 new one and then use RecoverMyFiles to recover data.
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pgm554 earned 167 total points
ID: 39987756
Don't delete anything or recreate ,I would just run the recovery as raw first.

Have you tried downloading WD tools and running their hardware tests?

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=612&sid=3
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by:garycase
garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 39987831
You do NOT want to delete anything -- that can complicate recovery significantly.

Attach the drive to a SATA port on another (preferably NON-W8) system, and boot to a demo copy of Boot-It BM [boot to the CD; select CANCEL, then OK; then click on Partition Work]; and post the EXACT details of what it shows for the current partition structure on the disk.    This will likely provide the clues needed to access it.

To create a bootable CD, just download the demo; extract the files; and run the included MakeDisk program.   http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm
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by:nobus
ID: 39988046
did you run the WD diag on that drive?  please do so first
http://support.wdc.com/download/#diagutils
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Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 166 total points
ID: 39988148
Take a screen shot of Windows Disk Management with the drive connected and post it here.
Also, connect the drive - run GetDataBack http://runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm
and let it scan the volumes on the drive. You do not need to delete the partitions and create new one for data recovery purpose.
As for the link you gave with the post. If the HDD is 3TB then you could consider these answers reasonable because the enclosure has its own driver to emulate the GPT structure. But with 1.5TB disk it is not needed. So most possibly you have partition structure corruption and it is recommended that you copy out the data (if possible) as soon as possible.
Give a chance to GetDataBack. It is pretty smart.
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by:ingeniious
ID: 39989031
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Author Comment

by:ingeniious
ID: 39989076
Doing a RecoverMyFiles on it and appears to be finding most of the partition as the files have names instead of LostFile9228827.jpg etc.  

Doing this, copying it off, then remaking the partition and testing the hard drive seems to be the easiest.  Thank you for all your comments!
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39989133
for data Recovery, i found the best  -by far -  is getdataback   http://www.runtime.org/
run the trial, and see what it finds - normally, it keeps the file names
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 39989167
second get data back.
saved my butt many a time
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by:garycase
ID: 39989698
Sounds like you're recovering everything okay, so no need to complicate things by suggesting other approaches at this point.    Post back if things change -- remember that the #1 rule of data recovery is DO NOT WRITE to the disk you're trying to recover from ... anything you recover should be written to a DIFFERENT disk.   I presume that's what you're doing with RecoverMyFiles.
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by:nobus
ID: 39990862
i suppose it's not ok, since he said :  and appears to be finding most of the partition as the files have names instead of LostFile9228827.jpg etc
that's why i suggested GDB
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by:garycase
ID: 39990897
He said the files have names -- NOT just "LostFile..." designations.   In other words, it's recovering the files :-)
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by:noxcho
ID: 39990985
pgm554 - why second? Thirds :) Or do only I see my own comment?
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by:skullnobrains
ID: 39991016
i'm pretty curious no know what happened with a non-windows OS. the author claims to have used ubuntu. obviously "cannot assign a drive letter" does not apply. gparted should produce decent information.
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Author Comment

by:ingeniious
ID: 39996423
I used Ubuntu Live CD and was not able to access the drive in any way nor see it in gparted.  Using recover my files was able to see the lost partitions and recover the data with their files names, that I then recovered off that drive, deleted and recreated partitions, tested the drive and put the data back on.  Thank you for all your help!! :-)
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Author Closing Comment

by:ingeniious
ID: 39996425
Thank you so much for your help! :-)
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by:skullnobrains
ID: 39997014
thanks for sharing your experience. i assume that enclosure stores information (likely RAID data or drive ID) at the beginning of the drive and hence the partition table ends up pushed one or a few sectors away from the regular place. it's always a pain to find external enclosures that don't do such foolish things. good to see you got the data back
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