Help with data recovery of WD ext. hard drive

How to use TestDisk to recover lost partition
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Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Feb 2013, 15:28

Help with data recovery of WD ext. hard drive

#1 Post by gizmo »

I am new to this forum, but have tried the TestDisk to no avail, mainly as I am too much of a novice to go deeper into the process used by this excellent program.

I have tried everything available as to the different hard drive data recovery programs, and cannot retrieve my storage data that is on a WD 2TB Ext. USB hard drive. I was told that the boot files used for USB connection are corrupted, hence the hard drive shows as "unallocated" disk space in Disk Management. It does not show up in My Computer and will not be recognized by any software data recovery unless the USB is plugged in on a new startup of computer. You cannot just plug it in and it will be recognized. This is where the corrupted files are, and the problem to why I cannot get to my storage data. The hard drive only has storage data on it, no OS is installed. I have tried two different computers for hard drive recovery, a XP 32 bit and a Windows 7 64 bit. Both would not recognize this hard drive in My Computer, and both did show this hard drive as unallocated in Disk Management.

I installed Acronis Drive Monitor and it also recognizes this hard drive, and shows it in a critical condition but not bad or unreadable data. Therefore my feeling as a novice is since I cannot recover the storage data with any commercial available hard drive recovery program due to this unallocated problem, I thought maybe I could fix the damaged "boot sector" files that were installed to a partition by WD that allows your computer to recognize the USB pluggin as a hard drive. Why I cannot get any programs to scan for lost partitions is beyond my knowledge but that is the situation, and a very nice person from LazeySoft Data Recovery has been helping me to no avail. I am now here after researching what to do next. TestDisk looks like an option but I need help. Would anyone please care to help me solve this dilema of not being able to access the hard drive, which is not making any strange noises physically and is showing as unallocated in Disk Management. How do I either go about fixing the recognition boot sector for lack of a better name, or retrieving my storage data on the disk drive? I did not partition this hard drive when first bought and used. I just plugged it in, and it automatically downloaded some software to my computer, then installed and my USB hard drive was recognized.

In hindsight, I might have corrupted these files by improperly unplugging the hard drive USB cable from my computer or from my DVD player, as I sometimes would plug it into the DVD player and watch movies directly off it. It started to first not being recognized on plugin, and then I would have to do a complete restart of my computer to get it to show up. Then it stopped showing up. That is the story, long and winded, but at least you know all the facts. Please help me as I would appreciate it, as there is much software on here that is not worth money, but can't be replaced due to time put in on some of the files. It is very valuable in that sense and I need to solve this problem.

thank you in advance for any help in using TestDisk if this is the way to go.


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Re: Help with data recovery of WD ext. hard drive

#2 Post by Fiona »

Don't remove your disk from its enclosure.
It's only a hint for a better diagnose.
How is your disk recognized in your disk management console?
Before you go to have a boot sector diagnose, your partition must be correctly in your partition table.
I'd need infos from TestDisk / Analyse (ist's your current partition table).
Normally if your disk is unallocated, then there will be no partition in your partition table.
To have a try to find your previous partitions, run Quick and Deeper Search using TestDisk.
If Testdisk hangs due to bad sectors, please let me know.
If any partitions are found, please check them and press p to have a try to list your files.
Please let me know.
Would it be possible to check your disk using Crystal Disk Info? ... dex-e.html

Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Feb 2013, 15:28

Re: Help with data recovery of WD ext. hard drive

#3 Post by gizmo »

The external hard drive was recognized by Disk management as unallocated drive. Now that I have rechecked to see if it is still seen, I find out that now in Disk Management it is not seen. I knew it has some critical sectors on it, as shown by Acronis Disk monitor, but now, they must have gotten worse. I have no idea what the condition of the hard drive is now.

I will check it out with the software you suggested and report what I find. I appreciate your help and any others, as the disk is slowly dying i'm afraid.

Posts: 3
Joined: 11 Feb 2013, 15:28

Re: Help with data recovery of WD ext. hard drive

#4 Post by gizmo »

Just an update on the critical hard drive. Now it is not recognized by Disk Management on Windows XP computer. I will try my other laptop with Windows 7 (64 ) on it and see if I get same results. If I do, does this mean nothing can be done to attempt to either recover the storage data or to write a new partition to some of the first beginning sectors of the hard drive to try to reinstall boot files that I can get from WD? This is a USB boot config set up that WD uses for these.

I did get a partition recovery in a program called Wondershare Data Recovery and it showed 3 patitions on the hard drive. The first partition was what I think was the boot sectors, the second was the data storage I have used, and I have no idea what the third partition was. I did attempt a recovery, but did not have enough disk storage space ready. I have not been able to get that program to uncover the partitions again, so I have stopped using it. The more stress i put on this hard drive the worse it gets. That is a known cause/effect, and that is what is happening. Will update when I try on Windows 7, but really doubt any difference so just in case, does this mean nothing else can be attempted to try and recover as this is beyond my knowledge, what little I have.

Edit to say it is recognized in Disk Management on Windows 7 computer.