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I've lost a drive!

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help' started by xero, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    I have lost access to one of my drives, one half of a partitioned HDD.
    In Computer it is displayed, but the blue bar showing how full is not there. When I click on it I am told that it needs formatting before I can use it.
    The error message reads:
    "E:\ is not accessible
    Data error (cyclic redundancy check)"

    There are things on that drive that I don't want to lose so how do I get access again?
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Note the blue bar appears only when you have "Content" or "Tiles" selected as your "view" option. So make sure you view settings have not changed causing confusion.

    It does sound as though the drive's partition tables are corrupt.

    I would try to use a data recovery program first to see if you can copy any data off it. A lot of people have had good success with Recuva from the makers of CCleaner. Once you have backed up any recoverable data, I would run Error Checking on each partition.
  3. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi Digerati,
    Thanks for that. I have Recuva and will give it a try in the morning.
    At the moment I am backing up files from the other partition on the same drive. Are these likely to be at risk, or am I just being paranoid. It is my music files and if I lose them I would cry. :(
    I will let you know how things go.
  4. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    If one partition on a drive is having problems there certainly is a greater risk other partitions are at risk too - depending on the cause of the initial problems. I would certainly back up the entire drive.

    Nobody wants to lose their files but if you don't have a viable backup of ALL your files on all your drives, then you are just asking for trouble. ALL DRIVES WILL FAIL - eventually. And note ideally, the backup files should be safely stored off site, in a secure location, like a bank safe deposit box, a trusted neighbor's house, or perhaps cloud storage. Someplace safe in case your house is robbed, flooded, or burned to the ground.
  5. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Recuva was able to see the files on the E drive, but the drive remains inaccessible. Actually it found the "ghosts" of files and most were unrecoverable due to being overwritten with the files I actually want to get at.
    The message this time is "the parameter is incorrect."
    Any more apps you know of that will recover an inaccessible drive? And how can I find out if the other partition is vulnerable? It is the one I am backing up now.
    Point taken about the backup off site of all files. I do have some of the music backed up to DVD and they lived at my mum's house, but she has since moved away, and DVD would be too slow to use for everything. I have around 3.7tb of stuff spread over three 2tb drives. I have an Acronis backup of the C drive, but only 1 tb of external HDD. I don't know much about cloud storage, it is not something I have paid much attention to, perhaps that should change. I know Adobe charge money for it, and have heard that cloud storage is the default choice for Office 2013, do Microsoft provide this free? I had a hotmail account which had a "Sky drive." It was only 20mb at the time and uploading to it was painfully slow, but that was a while back.
    Any pointers on how to recover the E drive, and alternate backup options would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  6. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    There are a few free cloud storage services. Both Google and MS provide them. Google's Google Drive provides 15Gb free and Microsoft's SkyDrive provides 7 free. Google is in the advertising business so I would expect more privacy and less ads on SkyDrive. I trust files saved in the cloud will never get lost completely - there will always be several copies on redundant servers and backup locations - even if you delete it - intentionally wanting all copies permanently deleted.

    However, I don't trust that I will never lose access to my files. I might get locked out of my account, for example, or a DDoS attack will block my access. I don't trust cloud storage providers will never be compromised (infected or corrupted) by badguys (again!). I can never trust files and folder marked as "private" will never be accessed (viewed or copied) by people I never authorized access.

    So tax, insurance, banking and other personal documents I personally would not put on the cloud. But I know many who do.

    If recuva does not retrieve all that you want, it is not likely any program will at this point, and your only alternative is likely professional forensic data recovery services - services that can cost many $100s into the $1000s. Anything else you do further risks corrupting and destroying more data.

    If paying for professional services is out, then I suggest the previously mentioned Error Checking. While it is not likely to cause further corruption, when dealing with corruption - especially due to a failing drive, anything can happen.

    You might also run the drive maker's diagnostic program on it. See Hard Drive Diagnostics - listed by maker.
  7. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi Digerati,
    The drive is a Hitachi, however I could not use the files in the link, they were all 32 bit and wouldn't run as my system is 64bit.
    Windows continues to say the drive in inaccessible so I could not use the tools in the Properties dialog box.
    I ran chkdsk E: in a command prompt window. The results were:
    "73% Error detected in index $130 for file 5." And then: "Errors found. CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode.
    Suggestions? I am bamboozled.
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Oh? I don't think so. Did you try it? The vast majority of all 32-bit programs will run fine with a 64-bit OS. That's exactly why it took so many years for developers to make 64-bit versions of their software when virtually all hardware already supported 64-bit for years. When Windows 7 was released, more 64-bit Windows 7 were being sold than 32-bit Windows 7. Plus, more computers were being sold with more 4Gb or more of RAM and users started demanding their software take advantage of it.

    That said, there is an option to create a boot disk with the diagnostics. Then it does not matter what OS, if any, is installed. See Pre-2013 Drive Fitness Test.

    As for chkdsk, did you run it from an elevated command prompt? That is, as admin? And what switch did you use? If you simply entered chkdsk with no switches, then that is read-only. You need to run chkdsk /r to allow chkdsk to repair items it found - if it can. Just remember, on a large drive, chkdsk can take many hours to complete, often appearing to be frozen. Just let it run. I typically let it go overnight but have seen large drives take more than 24 hours to finish.
  9. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi Digerati,

    Yes I did try it, I tried all three of the options and the message that opened was "cannot run on this system, check with your supplier to see if you need x86 or 64bit". That is not verbatim, but the gist of what happened. I tried running the ISO, the floppy would not work as I have no floppy drive and the third option was also no go.

    I only ran chkdsk in read-only, it has been a long time since my DOS days, I was impressed that I remembered that much. I will try the chkdsk / r and see what comes of that.

    I have removed the HDD from the machine and tried connecting it via usb. That was following suggestions at a link given to me by friend (http://www.wikihow.com/Recover-a-Dead-Hard-Disk) and designed to eliminate the possibility of the issue being motherboard related rather than HDD. No change, it is still telling me that the E drive requires formatting before use. Turns out that the drive is a Western Digital, not Hitachi. So I will first go to the Western Digital part of the link you sent me and see if Data Lifeguard is more successful.

    BTW you may recall a thread some months ago where I said I was putting fans on all my HDDs. Last weekend we had temperatures in the 40° range for four days; the highest temp I saw an any HDD was 42°, and that after a full scan with Avast that took ten hours. The fans work. Last summer with temperatures like that I had to shut down after 60 - 90 minutes use.

    Thanks for your help so far, and I will post again when there is something to report. I am kind of resigned to losing the data, but won't give up just yet.
  10. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Note the syntax - there is no space before the r. It is chkdsk /r. If you enter chkdsk /? you will see all the switches. Note that /r "implies" or includes /f. So you don't need to use the /f switch.
  11. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi Digerati,

    Thanks for clarifying the syntax, I did wonder.

    I did the scan with the Western Digital Lifeguard. That showed every sign of taking 24 hours itself. However it quit after about 10 hours and gave me a fail: "too many bad sectors." This is not very encouraging, but I will not give up just yet.

    A couple of questions. First, a bad sector cannot be fixed by reformatting the drive, correct? Second, while running chkdsk /r can I do other things on the computer while the scan is running, eg play music that is on another drive?
  12. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    I would go back to WD and check the warranty status of your drive.

    The fact WD's tool could not fix the drive is warning enough for me to not trust the drive to store any of my data. I would move to replacing it.

    Q1 - "Some" bad sectors can be fixed during a "full" (not quick) format, but the better, more thorough fix is chkdsk /r.
    Q2 - chkdsk will run during the reboot process so no, you cannot use the computer. This is why I said above "just let it run" "overnight". Even if you can still use the computer, you shouldn't. chkdsk is lifting data, checking/repairing the disk and the data, then rewriting the data. Using the computer at the same time may result in conflicts and more corruption.
  13. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi again Digerati,

    I don't think that the disk is under warranty any more, it may have had 12 months or something like that but it is a good deal older than that. My 10,000rpm system drive came with five years, and it should have; it cost as much as the 2 tb drives.

    I spent this afternoon running chkdsk /r, and was expecting it to take all night and most of the morning, however ...

    The last 31 attempts by the command to replace bad clusters got the following result: "The disk does not have enough free space to replace the bad clusters." Then an unspecified error: <6e746673638b2e b34>. And it is back waiting for a command. I don't know how much data chkdsk uses to replace bad clusters, but I think that the partition is a write off. There was quite a bit of free space on that drive back when it worked. Let me know if you agree that the disk, or the partition more accurately, is gone forever.

    Yesterday I bought a 3tb Seagate to use either as a replacement disk, or for back up if the drive could be salvaged. It looks like I will be using it as a replacement, and retrieving data from the uncorrupted partition. After a full format that drive might be useful, but I agree; with those results I would not trust it. Maybe after a full format (Acronis does a full 4 pass DoD overwrite) and then chkdsk /r, we will see. eRecycling I think is the likely fate. In the morning. This has all been a tiring process, and I will have to think hard on what I do to back up the data I still have. Google Drive sounds good, but I have around 3.7-3.8tb to back up, and that won't be free.

    Thanks again for your help, very much appreciated.

  14. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    As I noted above, I would not trust that drive and would just replace it.
  15. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi Digerati,

    Okay that makes a quorum, I will format the partition then replace the disk. I am hopeful of perhaps being able to salvage something. Not optimistic though.

    Thanks again for your help and advice, and I wish you, and all at the forum a very Merry Christmas and an even better New Year. :)
  16. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Thanks and same to you and yours!