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 Post subject: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:02 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
I don't know what led to this, but when I plug in my external HDD to access the data, it keeps displaying the same error message: "You need to format disk in drive H: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?" I don't want to lose the data, how can I access it without formatting? Thank you in advance for helping.


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:15 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5267
TestDisk might be able to rebuild the partition so you can access it.


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:01 pm 
Thunderbird
Thunderbird
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:17 pm
Posts: 854
Location: Phoenix, AZ
My guess would be that you pulled the drive prior to a write being completed. Select the safely disconnect drive from PC and select the ext. drive. Then, power down the external device by disconnecting from its power and from the PC. Power down PC. Replug power back into both power and PC and turn on. Boot up PC. See if it fixed itself.

First I like TestDisk and LatiosXT is the one who brought it to my and others attention on another thread. There is a good bet it will work.

Before that though I would do a sector by sector backup. A sector by sector backup requires a empty formatted drive or partition at least as big as the drive being backed up and will take hours to backup.

I would also try another USB (assume) cable if you have one, and port hub.

Alternatively you could first see what Recuva sees. If it can't see anything, I'd try Testdisk.

If it fails, you can try a paid recovery service (free to check if it can see your stuff) like NTFS Recovery or GetDataBack for NTFS.


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:33 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
1. Powering down, restarting all doesn't work, have tried it with 3 different PCs.

2. Tried Recuva, but it can't access the drive. I guess like Windows it suggests the disk be formatted first.

3. TestDisk comes up with a baffling error.

"The harddisk seems too small!

4. How do I know if the disk was/is NTFS or FAT? Disk Management says it's Raw???

BTW, external drive is not encrypted and there is only one partition.


EDIT: UPDATE


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:44 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
Image


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:54 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5267
Ah, because it thinks the partition is a FAT16, which has a maximum space of 2GB. If I recall correctly, aren't you supposed to set which file system you think the drive is to recreate?


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:43 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
How do I set the file system?

Here's what I did, I followed these instructions:
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

Create
Proceed
Intel
Analyse
Quick Search


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:12 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
There is no option to set file system, if I do a search for partition, it will only search for fat file formats, which will produce the "disk too small error", so I am trying something else. Under "file utils" it seems to detect the ntfs boot sector, it says the boot sector is bad, so maybe I should try rebuilding it?


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:45 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5267
The last few sections, especially the deep search, looks more promising.

Sorry, I haven't used test disk in a while. I have used it before to recover a NTFS partition gone RAW.


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:54 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
The deep search (actually labelled "deeper search") can only be performed after QuickSearch is finished. After QuickSearch, I get the "disk too small" error, that means the "deeper search" option does not appear. Seems like I only have one option left: rebuild boot sector. I wonder if rebuilding boot sector is similar to formatting? Should I or should I not rebuild boot sector?


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:52 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:15 am
Posts: 40
Okay, I managed to change file type to NTFS, but then I couldn't rebuild boot sector, so I went back to quick search, and finally figure out how to use the deeper search function, only to get can't read FAT boot sector error.


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 Post subject: Re: External drive format disk error.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:58 pm 
[Team Member]
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Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 4:31 am
Posts: 11092
Location: Home Sweet Home
Have you tried to take the drive out of the case and hook it up direct to your motherboard? This should eliminate any hardware enclosure errors.

Nasty


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