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Thread: Why does my hard drive need to formatted again?

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    Question Why does my hard drive need to formatted again?

    Evening all!

    For some reason, when I plugged in my hard drive today (external 1tb, full of my files) it is recognised as an unformatted disk and the only option I have with it is format.

    Please can you help me get it back to being a normal external hard drive! The files are valuable to me - photos and what-not so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    $eamonk3y

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my hard drive need to formatted again?

    I'm not entirely sure but pulling the drive without safely removing could cause that.
    You could try Photorec ,which is also available on the System Rescue CD, to recover files if you have somewhere to copy them: http://www.sysresccd.org/Download and/or TestDisk, which is also on the CD, to recover the broken partition.
    Also, I'd recommend checking the HDDs SMART data and running chkdsk D: /r (replace D with your drive letter) when you have your files back to check if the disk is bad.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by watercooled; 11-07-2009 at 01:47 AM.

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    Re: Why does my hard drive need to formatted again?

    Chkdsk is a good starting point, but if the drive isn't recognised, you may have problems. Is it appearing as a drive letter?

    Otherwise you could run a linux live CD and see if you can get anything off it that way.

    If those don't work, then it is either restore from the backup (you DO have a backup - don't you?) or start investigating some data recovery tools. If you do go down that route, before doing anything else clone the hard drive (take a bit image of it) and work from the clone. The data is still there, but whne you start low level tinkering you can easily make a bad situation worse. At least if you are working from a cloned copy and you mess up, you can always start again by cloning from the original again.
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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my hard drive need to formatted again?

    The programs I suggested are recovery tools, which are free and work even on drives with a corrupted partition table ie unformatted. AFAIK Photorec is non-destructive so it should be safe to use anyway. TestDisk can write to the HDD so be more careful with that.

    Under Linux, to create a bit image, you could use dd if=/dev/sda* of=/dev/sdb** bs=4096 conv=notrunc,noerror

    Don't include asterisks obviously
    *Replace sda with the hard drive path you want to back up
    **This command copies the drive to another drive exactly, replace sdb with the output drive which must be equal or greater size than the original. To backup to a file replace dev/sdb with a path of your choice ie of=/home/fred/backup.bin

    This will take a LONG time though!

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