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Hard disk directory gone.  How to recover hard disk directory?

Posted on 2014-08-25
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Last Modified: 2014-08-26
I have three large hard disks that I backup my system to in a round-robin fashion, a different disk each day.  Yesterday, I was checking the disks for errors using chkdsk and smartctl.  The computer is laid out on a work table: mobo, PSU, and 7 hard disks, all blown upon by a very large fan.  For lack of room, one hard disk was on top of another, and when I lifted off the top one to read the S/N of the one underneath, I heard the three tones twice as the upper disk went offline and then back on.  Apparently either the power or the data connector is intermittent.  Now, Disk Manager says "Disk 4, Basic, 931.51 GB, Online, unallocated."   The hard disk (Q:) no longer appears in File Explorer.   EaseUS Partition Manager says Disk 4 has a MBR, but no directories, also 931.51 GB, and nothing else.   File system is NTFS, and NTFS keeps a duplicate MFT.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can recover the file system on this disk?
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Question by:Charles Elliott
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Expert Comment

by:Brad Groux
ID: 40283305
You will have a tough time recovering all of the files on these drives. Even all of the driver recovery utilities will probably only be able to recover a partial index of the drive and many of the files will be corrupt and un-openable. Unfortunately the data is probably already corrupted due to one of the platters going offline - which is much harder to recover from than a simple file delete.

If you search there are some major file recovery programs, but your best bet at actual recovery would be a recovery specialist - where you ship the drive off and the grab off the contents as much as they can. Unfortunately, that option is far from cheap and even more so not guaranteed to work.

This is the perfect public service announcement reminding people of the dangers of moving platter drives once powered on - especially exposed drives.
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Author Comment

by:Charles Elliott
ID: 40283415
Thanks for your help.
I am looking at GetDataBack, the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.  Do have any reason to have faith in this program to recover my data?  I can buy an whole new hard disk for only a few pennies more.
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by:Brad Groux
ID: 40283441
I've never had great results with any software-based recovery, I've been lucky to get 25% of the files back as readable.
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Get free NFR key for Veeam Availability Suite 9.5

Veeam is happy to provide a free NFR license (1 year, 2 sockets) to all certified IT Pros. The license allows for the non-production use of Veeam Availability Suite v9.5 in your home lab, without any feature limitations. It works for both VMware and Hyper-V environments

 
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40283921
GetDataBack is free to try.  If it shows results then purchase it.  It is one of the better recommended data recovery products and I use it.

You may also wish to look at the Active Partition Recovery util at http://www.partition-recovery.com/ as well.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40285004
did you check with disk manager if there was a drive letter assigned? if not, assign one
this is probably only what you need !
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noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 40285064
You need to use Undelete partition operation on this drive.
You can do it either with this tool: http://www.active-undelete.com/howto_restore_part.htm
Or use a trial version of Hard Disk Manager 14: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hdm-personal/features.html
Once you install it - start it - switch to full mode - right click on your free unallocated space and select Recover lost partitions.
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Author Comment

by:Charles Elliott
ID: 40285638
I did check with Disk Manager, and it said the disk was blank, unallocated, and would not assign a drive letter.

noxcho's soln worked, and I could not make GetDataBack trial version to say it could do anything.  The cost of Paragon's Hard Disk Manager Suite 14 was $50 though; the trial version identified the problem and went through all the steps until the final "Apply changes," which it would not do without registration.

It's been a good day; thanks hugely to all those who offered advice.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40285724
Thanks for feedback
Take care
Nox
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