Corrupted Hard disk drive

I have a clients hard drive that mechanically seems to be working OK.  There is a minor partitioned drive that seems to be readable but the major data partition is not readable.  Whenever I try to read it in file explorer it comes up saying it needs to be formatted.   I have tried to read it in GetDataBack for NTFS but it will not detect the drive even.

Has anyone had any success with any other software or process in being able to read a drive that says it needs to be formatted?
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
have you tried the hard drive manufactures hardware test ?
If that was initially a formatted window partition, you could try connecting the HDD to Mac as external HDD. I managed in the past to save some data with Mac. A similar solution can be for Win 7 - Win 10 HDD opening with XP.
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
First I would run tests over this HDD, e.g. using Hiren's Boot Live CD. If it will show any errors, backup as much as you can and get a new HDD.

Last time I got this error, CHKDSK solved my issue, but you should consider it. But still, backup everything you can before running this tool.
Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

mbellettyAuthor Commented:
David - i have not tried the hardware test but will that maybe fix the formatting will it?  Or will that only tell me if the hard drive is mechanically good or not??

Bocevski- as it is NTFS format i would havd thought the MAC would not read it properly,  but will see if i can give it a go....just need to find a mac
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
If you are looking for 3rd party software, you can try MiniTool Power Data Recovery. I have a great experience with MiniTool tools.
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
Is it an external HDD? If yes, try all USB ports and see if there is any change in access.
Mac can read NTFS for sure
what drive model is it?  if WD use the lifeguard tool

this will tell you if anything is wrong with the drive or not

once it is considered OK - run chkdsk on your  whole drive ( all partitions)
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
It is a Seagate ST31000524AS
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
I just cannot get the computer to recognise it as a drive.  It does for a little while in Computer Management, then after a minute or so it dissappears.  I wonder if it is the board on the HDD that is the issue?  If so, I wonder if I can change it with the same board on another drive and get it to read?  Anyone done that?

I have tried all the software tools above but none of them recognise it as a drive
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
When this happens to us, I usually run some test over the HDD, also try another computer, maybe two (just in case). If the test shows any error or the HDD cannot be detected, we just replace it. We have a backup so we don't care.

Do you see this HDD in BIOS? Is is plugged into MB correctly?
Try to unplug it from MB and plug it back.

As I said before, run CHKDSK.
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
When i restart the computer it is connected to the computer will not boot.  Comes up saying non boot disk error. So the BIOS can see it i presume.

I would run chkdsk on it if i could get the computer to read it.  Also chkdsk  can only work when it shows as a drive letter, right???
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
Put it as a secondary HDD to another computer and see if you will be able to access it.
then use the seatools for windows or DOS for testing it:
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
Comes up saying non boot disk error. So the BIOS can see it i presume.
Not necessary, I guess. Before the error shows up, get into BIOS and check, if your disk is visible or not.

First you said you cannot access the drive, now you cannot boot from it. Did I miss anything?
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
Have only connected it as a secondary drive the whole time.  Original computer is was in was not booting.  Did not even try booting to it in original comp as owner purchased new comp so i was intending on connecting as slave and copying data but found partition not readable.
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
Re changing logic board - it is possible, but the way modern drives work means that you may not get reliable data from the new combination.
When manufactured each individual disk’s storage surface profile is recorded on the logic board
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Have only connected it as a secondary drive the whole time.  Original computer is was in was not booting.
The drive is dead and moreover it blocks the system check which is done before Windows start where the system goes through hard drives and looks for boot files on them. That's why your PC is not able to start which this drive connected. Even as slave drive.
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
Thanks noxcho that explains something for me.

But why is it sometimes i can see the secondary small partition and sometimes not
David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
My brother fixes Windows machines + several tricks he uses to recover drives.

Drives are dirt cheap, so I'm guessing you're only interested in getting this drive to work, so you can pull off most recent data.

1) Place drive in an bare drive dock + connect it to a Linux machine + see if drive can be read.

If you can, backup data + throw away drive.

2) If drive becomes massively hot, then put it in a plastic bag with flexible cable connector. Seal the bag well. Immerse bag in cooler of ice + if drive becomes accessible, then backup data + throw away drive.

Again, read drive on a Linux machine, so Windows boot sequence, doesn't get in the way.

3) After you've pulled off your data, while still connected to your Linux machine, reformat the drive as an MSDOS partition.

Then reconnect drive to Windows machine + reformat to NTFS.
>>But why is it sometimes i can see the secondary small partition and sometimes not <<  WHY is the question you can only answer After the cause  is found - not before
who knows what problem the disk has...bad sectors? bad MFT...etc
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
But why is it sometimes i can see the secondary small partition and sometimes not
To answer this question you need to understand what the system and drive do when loading the PC.
The BIOS will send requests to all HDDs in the system to read their master boot record, partitioning table and when correctly answered read the active status of the partitions on these drives. Then, if an active partition is found the boot files on this partition will be looked for. When found - Windows will start loading.
The information about master boot record and partition table is stored in first 63 sectors of the drive. If these sectors are corrupted or got unreadable for some reason - the drive will repeat the attempts to get information about these sectors several times. If not succeeded - it will stop loading. If succeeded it will get the necessary information and jump to the next drive.
Now about the bad sectors. Not all bad sectors are really bad. We can say for example that some sector is 20% bad and another one is 60% bad. So the 20% bad sector can behave different by different start times. Once it reports itself as bad and once not. This is the explaining why do you somehow get the drive recognized and somehow not.
There can be one more possible reason for such behavior - the logical board issues, which is actually a rare case. Where the drive does not get stable power to start and word all the time. Due to malfunctioning logical board. But I have only once seen such case. Most of them are caused by bad sectors or even the heads falling on the HDD plates (you hear noise in this case coming out of the drive).

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
and run the seatools diag, as asked first, to be sure the drive operates ok
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
Seatools does not recognise it as a hard drive to test.

I think I am going to have to call this one as DOA
Hello ThereSystem AdministratorCommented:
If your data are really important, you can give it to specialists and they should be able to tell you how much data they are able to extract.
But it's not cheap.
mbellettyAuthor Commented:
Yes that will be the next step I will be recommending to the client.  I just like to make sure I have done as much as I can in order to avoid such a big cost for them!
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
If the failure happens already at BIOS level then there is nothing you can do to help the customer. You can try getting absolutely similar drive with the same firmware and exchange the logical boards. There is no guarantee that this will help. This try and check is what the data recovery companies do. That's why the put the price of new drive into the bill as well.
If exchanging logical boards does not help they open the drive and see if parts are moving properly. Next step is taking out the plates from bad drive and putting them into new drive. If this won't help then most of the companies report -not recoverable.
perform these steps first :
-look if the drive is seen in the bios - with proper name and size
-then run GDB -  it will shwo for free what it can recover      
-if needed- pay for storing the recovered data
SysToolsData Expert - Recovery,Backup,MigrationCommented:
If you have fixed got the solution for your query then please mark the solution as accepted. In case problem you haven’t got the solution yet. Then you should visit: -

You can also take help from the video:
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Curiously asking, why would a suggestion of data recovery tool become most of the points for the drive which is not even being detected by a PC?
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I dont think the point splitting is correct.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.