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External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 07 May 2019, 14:47
by Eolis
Good day,

Three weeks ago my PC suddenly completely shut down, and entered into a boot loop due to (I presume) a short circuit. After I had manually turned off my PC and subsequently restarted it after a couple of minutes, my 7-year old external HDD (WD MyBook Essentials 3TB) wasn't recognized by Windows anymore. I suspected the casing may had become defective (wouldn't be the first time) so I carefully removed it and placed the HDD in a dock. I checked Disk Manager and noticed the drive had unfortunately become RAW. A Google search braught me to TestDisk: I had the disk analysed but it couldn't find a partition. I have since ran a deep(er) search and RebuildBS multiple times, tried changing type to NTFS (Testdisk recognizes EFI GPT) but ended up with errors such as:
  • Filesystem seems damaged
  • Partition doesn't have the endmark 0xaa55
  • Boot sector: Bad Backup boot sector: Bad Boot sectors are identical
  • Boot sector: Bad Backup boot sector: Bad Boot sectors are not identical
When I had log enabled it created a log file of over 115GB, then my disk space ran out so I stopped using the logging function. The Advanced option currently says there's a MS Data and MS Reserved but it can't seem to rebuild the boot sector. Ran PhotoRec as well but it only mostly recovered .swf and .mov files which I couldn't open; I need a bunch of .psd files the most but it didn't find any of those at all.

Also ran a partition check with other software (AOMEI and MiniTool) which didn't show any bad sectors. The disk doesn't make clicking noises either.

After 3 weeks of almost non-stop scanning and analyzing without result I feel I'm pretty much out of options, I tried searching the forums but no case seems identical to mine... So I'd like to know before I waste any more time on this: is there any hope left to be able to access the data on this disk?

Thank you very much in advance.

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 08 May 2019, 14:17
by cgrenier
There are probably bad sectors, otherwise the log file will not have grow so much.
Try to clone your disk to a new empty one using ddrescue as described in https://www.cgsecurity.org/testdisk.pdf

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 09 May 2019, 11:23
by Eolis
Thank you for your reply, Christophe. How would one use ddrescue on a Windows pc? It seems it requires GNU OS, unfortunately I have no experience with that. I have attempted to copy the old disk to a new one with AOMEI before but for some reason it got stuck at 51%...

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 09 May 2019, 13:31
by recuperation
You could use a Knoppix CD or a USB-stick containing Knoppix for example.
Any other live CD containing ddrescue should do.

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 17 May 2019, 20:47
by BrowniePockets
I am currently trying this method. My only problem is I need a 2nd HDD that is at least 1tb for the clone. I have two but one is RAW and one is in use. They are only about $30 on Amazon so I will know shortly.

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 03 Jun 2019, 10:46
by Eolis
Alright, so yesterday I finally made the time to look into this (on a 29ºC day, brilliant idea :oops: ). Tried using Knoppix but without success so I went with Ubuntu instead. I installed and ran ddrescue [GUI] and it copied the entire 3TB off my old damaged drive to my new 6TB drive without bad sectors, unreadable data etc. in about 11½ hours. Then I tried to mount it but it said something along the lines of, 'couldn't mount, partition possibly partially corrupted, use recovery tool'. Gparted said the partition could be expanded and asked if it should but I didn't want to risk anything so then I went back to TestDisk. It's currently analysing my new disk for about 6 hours now and at 56%, showing several comments:

Image

I'll report back once it's finished but any pointers so far? The drive's partition table was automatically recognized as EFI GPT so that's what I chose before analysing.

Thank you again in advance!

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 03 Jun 2019, 13:51
by recuperation
Eolis wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 10:46
Alright, so yesterday I finally made the time to look into this (on a 29ºC day, brilliant idea :oops: ). Tried using Knoppix but without success so I went with Ubuntu instead. I installed and ran ddrescue [GUI] and it copied the entire 3TB off my old damaged drive to my new 6TB drive without bad sectors, unreadable data etc. in about 11½ hours.
"without bad sectors" You can recheck that using smartmontools. If you post logs, please include them as a file attachment.
You can post the ddrescue-log as well - as a file attachment.
Image

I'll report back once it's finished but any pointers so far? The drive's partition table was automatically recognized as EFI GPT so that's what I chose before analysing.
The testdisk log file is strange. The GPT-type partition type seems to be broken as well.
Your external most probably contains one NTFS partition but not FAT as indicated by testdisk based on disk data.

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 03 Jun 2019, 17:44
by Eolis
Hi recuperation, thank you for your quick response :) I haven't enabled log file creation for TestDisk as it generated a 15GB+ log file last time and I don't have the space for that now that both my external harddisks are in use for recovery. I do have a logfile from ddrescue, I wanted to attach it but it doesn't support uploading .log files. Thankfully it's a very small file so I can just paste the contents here instead:

Code: Select all

# Mapfile. Created by GNU ddrescue version 1.22
# Command line: ddrescue -v -d -f -r 2 -c 128 /dev/sdc /dev/sdd /home/ubuntu/Desktop/logfile.log
# Start time:   2019-06-02 13:01:04
# Current time: 2019-06-03 02:22:50
# Finished
# current_pos  current_status  current_pass
0x2BAA1470000     +               1
#      pos        size  status
0x00000000  0x2BAA1476000  +
The analysing finished by the way, it's showing the following:

Image

The new HDD is now RAW as well, by the way... Seems ddrescue copied the boot sector etc. as well because I can't list (filesystem damaged) and says the status of both the boot sector and backup boot sector is 'bad'. I guess my data is really lost then, huh? :(

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 09:08
by recuperation
Eolis wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 17:44
The new HDD is now RAW as well, by the way... Seems ddrescue copied the boot sector etc. as well because I can't list (filesystem damaged) and says the status of both the boot sector and backup boot sector is 'bad'. I guess my data is really lost then, huh? :(
The ddrescue-log is perfect. ddrescue copies sector-wise. That means that it copies all logical errors as well - as it should do!
If testdisk fail and files are not being listed using the "P" key, there is still photorec left.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of photorec, you can still consider using a professional service.
It does not look like your disk has any physical dammage. That should keep the cost for professional recovery lower.

Re: External HDD corrupted after short circuit

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 12:42
by Eolis
I have tried PhotoRec but it recovered about 150 files at most out of hundreds of thousands... All of the recovered files I could view/open were UI images from WD Smartware, which seems to have been installed on a hidden partition I guess. I suppose I'll just store it somewhere for now in case I think it's actually worth spending hundreds of euros on data recovery at some point. I'm just kicking myself for not backing up the stuff I still need in time, I was even in the process of doing so. :cry: Ah well, c'est la vie I guess. Thanks for the help regardless!

Edit: I managed to fix the boot sectors but the MFT is still corrupt. I have tried pretty much all the recovery tools there are but they either find nothing or just the WD Smartware UI images.