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External drive not initialized

Posted on 2016-09-07
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Last Modified: 2016-09-12
I am trying to retrieve data from an external WD drive.  When i plug it in it does not show up.  When i go into Disk Management, it shows up as Not Initialized.  I cannot reinitialized it as its full of important data.  I have included a pic below.  

I do know that its not a question of changing ownership rights as i have tried that and it cannot retrieve the previous owner.   I have downloaded the MiniTool partition wizard free version.  It does see the disk but when i choose said disk, all choices to fix are all grayed out or not available in the program.  A pic is attached.

Any ideas on what to try next?
MiniTool.PNG
DiskManagement.PNG
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Question by:gdinunzio
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by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 41788166
Get a copy of PMagic and make a bootable USB drive.  Connect your external WD and connect the bootable USB drive and boot from USB.

The tools available within PMagic will allow you to mount the drive and possibly extract all of your viable data.  Windows tries to hide too much behind the scenes.

If, in Disk Manager, in the lower right, when selecting the WD drive, it indicates the disk is in RAW mode, you may need to purchase recovery software.

ZAR has a good track record of data recovery from WD drives in RAW mode - generally RAW mode indicates part of the partition table definition (simplifying here) has become corrupted.  From within a MyBook USB enclosure, ZAR can recover at a rate of approximately 100 GB per hour.  You will need to have a sufficiently large enough target drive to recover data to.
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by:rindi
ID: 41788181
If you have important data on that disk, you will have backups of it. So just forget the failed disk and restore the data from your backups. If there are no backups, the data can't really be of any importance at all.

Otherwise install Getdataback to your PC and scan the disk with it. If the data is seen, repister (pay) for the utility so you can copy your data off.

http://runtime.org
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Author Comment

by:gdinunzio
ID: 41788353
Rindi...Getdataback does not see the drive.  Any suggestions other than your needless commentary?

WalkAboutTigger - I will try that when i get home.
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by:rindi
ID: 41788358
If getdataback doesn't see the disk, your only option is to send it to a professional recovery agency like Gillware:

http://gillware.com

but be prepared to pay $$$...
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by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 41788369
@gdinunzio, PMagic usually starts in "forensic" mode.  It will not make changes to the drives attached to the system.  Ideally, you will want to get the data off the drive and, once that is done, reformat the drive, run a SMART scan on it then restore your data to the drive.

@rindi, your opinion fails to take into consideration that this may BE the backup and the primary died.  Additionally, it is not at all appropriate to make judgments concerning the importance of others' data regardless of their habits.

If data that is not backed up is unimportant then how would you explain the reasons there are so many data recovery companies?
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by:rindi
ID: 41788389
If you have valuable data, then you also backup to more than one media. Besides, it is very unusual that both the original disk dies, and the backup disk, at the same time.

The recovery companies are there mainly due to the foolishness or ignorance of people who don't backup. Backups have always been the most important task in anything to do with data, and I can't stop preaching it's importance.
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Author Comment

by:gdinunzio
ID: 41788433
Thanks RIndi for easing up on the speeches!  

FYI the drive isn't mine, as it belongs to my friend who i am helping out.  And yes i have suggested everything you have said (in a much nicer way) to the point of being blue in the face.  At the end of it all the those suggestions were ignored and, ta-dah, here we are!
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by:rindi
ID: 41788468
Who doesn't listen, has pay, I suspect he'll have learned his lesson for next time.

Anyway, I've used getdataback and other tools many times, and Getdataback was the only one I can really recommend, if it can't recover your files, no other tool can. So if it doesn't see the disk a recovery agency is the only option.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41788622
I suspect the drive has failed.

Your first graphic shows a MBR disk of size 0.00 Gb.  If that is it's size it is dead.
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by:nobus
ID: 41789066
what model is the wd drive? if the cable is separate, try another usb cable - and port
here's how to open a mybook :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DEFdA4--Xw
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by:noxcho
ID: 41789152
Maybe it is a USB drive controller which failed. Take the drive out of the enclosure and connect it directly to one of the free SATA ports on your workstation. Check if it gets initialized this way.
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Author Comment

by:gdinunzio
ID: 41789291
Thanks for your help
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by:dbrunton
ID: 41789299
Were you able to access the drive with Partition Magic and recover your data?
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by:nobus
ID: 41789302
what was the final solution gdinunzio?
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by:noxcho
ID: 41789340
I would like to know the solution as well.
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by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 41789956
@Rindi, I am reminded of stopping by the side of the road to help a young lady change a tire.  As I am kneeling down to undo the bolts, I take note of a grey box with a shiny lock on it.  I change the tire, send her on her way and walk over to the box.
To make a long story short, the box and the subsequent 6 boxes I found over the next 3 miles, had dropped out of a data storage company's truck the same day and they were filled with backup tapes.
Contacting the data storage company resulted in a $250 reward per box.  I had somehow managed to get all but one of the boxes.
Yes, sometimes backups fail at the same time the primary data storage fails.  Usually this is because someone was diligently making backups of their data but failed to keep said backups someplace other than the primary data's location - fires, floods, tsunamis and viruses happen.
If you're backing up to USB drive, you should have at minimum 3 such drives.  They should only be connected when actually performing a backup.  They should be encrypted if the backup contains sensitive data (i.e. tax returns, accounting information, etc.).  One should ALWAYS be offsite - work, a sibling's house, your best friend's house you visit once per month, etc.  Keep one at the office or in the car in a vibration-dampening container.  The third is the one you're currently backing up to, which is the reason it is at home or work.
Data backup is not a nice-to-have.  It is an inexpensive investment in the integrity of the data.
And @Rindi, please don't think my opinion differs much from the one you stated.  It is not the time, however, to say such things when people are in the grip of trying to recover data.  Before or after, and threatening them with refusal of all help unless they follow your recommendations and instructions?  Absolutely!  "If you don't get an online streaming data backup solution in addition to these USB hard drives, don't come crying to me when you lose your data!" is most definitely the right comment.
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by:rindi
ID: 41789983
I never refused any help. I gave them the link to the best utility available for this, and since that didn't work, the best professional recovery agency.

I'm just trying to make it clear that there is nothing more important than backups. Besides, even the Asker told his client to make backups before this happened, so really it is purely the fault of the client for not listening, In another Question at EE when I told the Asker to restore from the backups rather than trying to recover the data from the failed disk, the Asker actually remembered that he had backups and was able to recover his files from there. Sometimes you have to remind people about that.
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41791046
@walkaboutTigger - you might want to look at a persons EE Certifications as your latest missive smacks of "Teaching your grandmother how to suck eggs".

As rindi said Backups are important, as most Storage experts will tell you, but we continually see post after post after post here on EE where people don't do Backups, people who do not realise the value of doing backups and people who try to do backups on the cheap.

Most of these people do not have a Business Continuance plan and have never thought through all the disaster scenarios (boxes dropping off the truck being one of them) and how much not having backups can cost them.
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by:noxcho
ID: 41791141
One learns only by burning himself with hot milk. This is the human nature. :)
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by:serialband
ID: 41791332
@Gerald Connolly
After a certain point, EE Certifications are just an indication of time spent on the site.  It does not necessarily mean that a person is more knowledgeable than another.  Some people just spend more time responding to questions than others.

While I understand that many people here are from countries where English is not the first language, the author's response to Rindi seems to be one of annoyance, and Rindi's answers seem to be of more reproach than just assistance.   That's not necessarily useful to the author, when he's only assisting someone else and asking for options.  Everyone has off days.
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Author Comment

by:gdinunzio
ID: 41792778
OK so i have Pmagic up and both in Disk Health and Partition Editor the system does NOT see the drive in question...
Any other ideas in Pmagic?

My next and last idea is to physically remove the drive from the housing and then try to connect it directly to the PC.  Beyond that i am going recommend to my friend that he take this to the pros...

Thoughts, gents?
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by:serialband
ID: 41792824
That's probably the best course of action.
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by:noxcho
ID: 41792917
If it did not work then why have you accepted an answer above? This will mislead others who have the sams problem and by google search come to EE.
I recommended you to take out the drive already.
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by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 41793090
I, too, would recommend removing the drive from the USB enclosure at this point.  If you are not familiar with the process, I would HIGHLY recommend you leave it to the professionals else you further damage the drive.

I, too, would agree with @noxcho - if PMagic didn't resolve the issue, it doesn't make much sense choosing my answer as the solution.

@Gerald Connolly - I am going to take your comment and merge it with @serialband's comment.  While I would like to have a job where I get paid to answer questions on EE all day long, I do not yet have such a position.  Instead, in my free time, I try to impart my knowledge and answer questions where I have hands-on experience.  That free time is extremely limited, considering I have been on EE for a long time.
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by:nobus
ID: 41793132
i posted how to remove the drive for a mybook - but he did not even post his model
if he cannot get the drive seen, he'll need a data recovery service
look in your neighbourhood, or use gillware :
http://www.gillware.com/
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Author Comment

by:gdinunzio
ID: 41793262
I don't see how to change the accepted solution...
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by:nobus
ID: 41793278
just use Request attention - and ask a mod, they'll help asap
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41793328
@Gerald Connolly - I am going to take your comment and merge it with @serialband's comment.  While I would like to have a job where I get paid to answer questions on EE all day long, I do not yet have such a position.  Instead, in my free time, I try to impart my knowledge and answer questions where I have hands-on experience.  That free time is extremely limited, considering I have been on EE for a long time.

All the experts on EE give their time for free answering questions for those who do not have the experience or skills required to solve the problems they post.
I personally don't have the time to answer questions on EE continually, i do what i can on topics i have some knowledge (sometime considerable Knowledge) in, but i do try not to teach/preach to other acknowledged EE experts on topics i know they have some skill in.

Subject closed!
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by:noxcho
ID: 41794270
Still no explaining what exactly did help you.
You write yourself
OK so i have Pmagic up and both in Disk Health and Partition Editor the system does NOT see the drive in question...
Any other ideas in Pmagic?

My next and last idea is to physically remove the drive from the housing and then try to connect it directly to the PC.  Beyond that i am going recommend to my friend that he take this to the pros...

Thoughts, gents?
Then accept several answers including the originally answered one - which did not help. It is the same as deleting this question.
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gdinunzio earned 0 total points
ID: 41794391
I'm sorry let me be more exact...

The suggestions were all good and in the end not helpful in getting back the data.

1. I downloaded the runtime.org software to see if it could work but it was not able to see the drive.
2. I then downloaded pmagic and it was also not successful in seeing the drive.
3. I then removed the drive from its enclosure hoping that it was an issue with the circuit board in the enclosure and not specific to the drive itself.  This was also unsuccessful.

So I am recommending to my client that he take the drive to a service that deals with this kind of thing.  I am going to suggest either drivesavers.com, who i have used myself (and were successful and very pricey) or gillware.com as suggested in the comments.

I tried to give credit to people who gave suggestions in saving this data without going to one of the services mentioned above, which i knew was a definite possibility given the low probability that one of these suggestions would work.
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by:noxcho
ID: 41794404
Ok, at least now we know the end of the story. Thanks.
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