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WD Red Drive doesn't show the contents of the drive and wants to format

Posted on 2014-08-18
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Last Modified: 2014-08-21
Hello experts,

I had data on my WD Red drive (which was in an external enclosure).. Removed the drive from the enclosure and tried connecting it internally.

Windows recognized the drive but prompted me to format the drive to use it.

Disk Management
I removed the drive and put it back into the enclosure but get the same message. :(

Is there a way I could access my data?

Would appreciate any comments..Thanks a ton in advance.
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Question by:focus15
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24 Comments
 
LVL 99

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 200 total points
ID: 40269175
The drive could be damaged. Can you move the drive and enclosure to another computer and try in the other computer. If it does not work in any computer, you may need to use a recovery service or something like Get Back Data. I understand this is a decent recovery tool.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 600 total points
ID: 40269181
Two thoughts come to mind: (1) The external enclosure it was in had its own (non-Windows) file system. Most Network Attached Storage devices these days are like this — so if your enclosure was a NAS, this is almost surely the issue. (2) The disk could be corrupted/damaged, in which case this article may help:
http://html5.litten.com/how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/

Regards, Joe
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 600 total points
ID: 40269189
The drive is over 2TB and this means that your enclosure has special driver to allow all systems use the whole disk space.
As you took the drive out of enclosure you corrupt something on the drive. Did it ask for initialization?
If you right click in the drive - does it show "convert to gpt"?
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40269190
Thanks everyone..

@Joe: Thanks for the link. I'm in the process of creating a bootable CD and USB (if it works) as mentioned.

@noxcho.. Yes, it is MBR and I can convert it to GPT.. Should I? Will it format the drive?
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LVL 99

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40269196
If you try that and you cannot read the data, it might format the drive.

Do try in another computer to see if you can get the data back.
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Frosty555 earned 400 total points
ID: 40269199
It sounds like the partition table got corrupted.

Do not allow any tools to write to the hard drive in any way, save your data to another drive. IMHO the best thing for you to do right now is to try and recover the data off the disks to a safe place, and then you can reformat the disk.

I'd try to perform a recovery on the disk using a couple of data recovery tools:

Runtime Software's GetDataBack for NTFS
http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm

Piriform Recuva
http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

Minitool Power Data Recovery Free Edition
http://www.powerdatarecovery.com/download.html

If the problem is just simple damage to the partition table, these tools should be able to discover the filesystem and allow you to extract files off of it.
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 600 total points
ID: 40269200
As expected, things are bad. If you convert the drive back to GPT it will overwrite some bytes. And this can cause the recovery software fail. Put it back into USB box and scan the drive with GetDataBack tool from www.runtime.org
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40269206
Again, the problem ia that drive converted from GPT into MBR itself. I can tell if this can be fixed in next 8 hours. So if you want wait.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40269274
GetDataBack was barely able to retrieve 1 file.. Recuva and Minitool wasn't able to find the drive. :(
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LVL 99

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40269282
If this is the case, the drive is badly gone. Do you NEED the data or can you survive without it.

If the first case, you need to talk to a local recovery service.

If the second case, format it and move on.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40269285
Yeah, I think I'm gonna go with the second case that you mentioned, John..

I wonder what's the reasoning behind this fiasco so I could avoid this in the future..

So, I can't install a drive that was in an enclosure internally on a desktop if I want the data?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40269290
I use my primary drives in my two computers for storage and use Sync Back Pro to sync 50 odd GB of documents and files. Everything is backed up on another computer.

On my desktop, I have another internal drive to archive files. I add new files to it.

This means if a drive fails, I have a way home.

That is how I prevent fiascos at my end.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 600 total points
ID: 40269301
> So, I can't install a drive that was in an enclosure internally on a desktop if I want the data?

Not true. I've done it many times. In fact, it's the basic technique I use for cloning — put a drive in an enclosure (external), clone to it, remove it from the enclosure, put it in the computer (internal). Works fine. You can take a drive out of a standard USB enclosure and put it in a computer, typically with no problems. In this case, however, either the file system on the external drive is not something Windows recognizes or there's corruption/damage on the drive. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40269313
Thanks Joe.. That's good to know.

Since the drive was barely 2 weeks old, I'm gonna return it.  Are there any drives out there better than WD Red?:

Suggestions for a reliable Internal Hard Drive for Dell XPS Desktop?
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Expert Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 40269351
The problem with hard drives is that sometimes you get lemons. Even the best hard drives - even enterprise grade hard drives will sometimes go bad without warning. This is why RAID arrays exist - to protect you from downtime during the inevitable failure of a hard disk.

The only thing you can do is make sure you keep backups of your data.

For western digital, as far as quality is concerned, it generally goes (from worst to best):

   - WD Green/Blue
   - WD Black
   - WD Red / Purple
   - WD SE
   - WD RE / XE

The WD SE, RE and XE drives are enterprise class drives. The other ones are desktop class, with the Red and Purple series being intended for 24/7 use in a NAS or Surveillance system respectively.
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Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 600 total points
ID: 40269360
You're welcome.

I've never had a WD Red drive fail (have had numerous failures with WD Green drives), so I haven't looked for anything better than WD Red and do not know what to recommend. This article may help:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2089464/three-year-27-000-drive-study-reveals-the-most-reliable-hard-drive-makers.html

Note the link to the full study:
https://www.backblaze.com/blog/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/

Indicates that Hitachi has the best numbers. Their 3TB GST Deskstar 5K3000 had an annual failure rate of just 0.9%, while the 3TB WD Red was 3.2%. Regards, Joe
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 40269508
STOP !!    DO NOT do anything that may write to the drive -- hopefully you haven't done so yet.

Before you do anything else, connect the drive to your Windows machine; and install the free LinuxReader  [ http://www.diskinternals.com/linux-reader/ ]

Then see if it "sees" the drive okay.    If this was from an external NAS unit, the drive very well may be formatted in Linux.    Another possibility is that it was in a unit designed for a Mac -- in which case you'll need to install an HFS file system reader on your PC.   But you'd likely know if this was the case.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40269514
... as for the quality of the drives -- the WD Reds are excellent drives.   I've bought over 30 of them and never had a lemon.    Next bunch of drives I buy will be 6TB WD Reds.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40269580
i have had many drives return to readable state with HDDRegenerator -  worth a try :
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 600 total points
ID: 40269614
GetDataBack was barely able to retrieve 1 file.. Recuva and Minitool wasn't able to find the drive. :(
Why did you decide that the drive is bad?
The drive is ok. It is the partition table corruption because of the drive size.
If you erase the drive by writing zeros to it - the drive will be working and functioning well again.
Read above - the fact that you have this problem is that USB drive enclosure wrote to the drive its own bits. It is called SuperFloppy and means that the drive has no MBR. Often used in Game Consoles.
And the Windows after you connected the drive to it tried to read/write to this drive and created MBR (wrote to this drive) thus corrupting its partition structure.
GetDataBack cannot find any signs of partition structure because the drive is reported as MBR but its partitions are bigger than MBR can have.
Recuva and others can work only with solid partition tables.
You can put the drive back into USB enclosure and delete there this RAW partition. Then create new one.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40271741
Thanks so much everyone.

Used Linux Reader and this is what I got for that drive :(:

Linux Reader
Running HDD Regenerator:

HDD Regenerator
@noxcho: You're right. The drive was GPT and somehow became MBR when connected Internally and remained MBR when put back into the same enclosure :(

So you think the enclosure could have caused this?
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40271809
did HDDRegenerator run till the end?  results?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40271839
So you think the enclosure could have caused this?
The drive was formatted to work in the box. And it did work there. As soon as you connected it to PC internally the partition table was destroyed. Windows cannot see MBR partitions over 2TB like it does in your case.
You have no real way to get the data. In Windows try to convert the disk into GPT. Then scan the partition on drive with GetDataBack.
If it finds nothing (btw I am not sure if this software works with 3TB drives) then your only choice is to connect the drive back into USB Box, delete RAW partition from it and create new one.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40277801
@nobus: HDD Regenerator stopped halfway after going thru' 30GB and prompted an error message that it needs a restart :(

@noxcho: Yeah, that's what I ended up doing. Created a new partition..

Thanks so very much everyone for your insights..
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