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External drive uninitialized, data error CRC

June 20, 2009 at 08:06:43
Specs: Windows Vista

My Hitachi external USB drive died suddenly and could not be detected by My Computer. I went to Computer Management -> Disk Management, and it is listed there as "Not Initialized" and "Unallocated". I tried to initialize it as MBR but it threw up a "Data Error (cyclic redundancy error)". The HD doesn't have a drive letter assigned to it so most of the disk checking programs out there can't work. I know CRC comes about when data transfer screws up. May I know if there is any way to solve this problem? My aim is to get the HD fully formatted. Data recovery is not as important as complete data destruction. I have important banking information in there that I can afford to lose but can't afford to have other people retrieve them. On the other hand, I don't want to have to buy a new one and own an expensive brick, however pretty it is. I'm hoping it's still possible to get it working again. Any help would be greatly and sincerely appreciated! Please and thank you.

PS: Actually, if I can get a consensus that there is NO WAY in any form of forensic data recovery to retrieve any of my data from my HD, I'm happy enough. I think my warranty's not up yet so I can probably get an exchange. I just want to be sure that when I pass my HD over, there is no way anyone can get my data.


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#1
June 20, 2009 at 08:54:56

When I get that sort of error with an (internal) HDD, I generally give up and smash it (reason explained later on).

My preferred smashing routine includes taking the lid off, putting it on an AT power supply, spinning it up and taking assorted hand tools to the platters. Afterwards, drilling holes is not uncommon also.

Why destroy it?
Data can ALWAYS be recovered from a hard drive as long as it physically is not damaged too much. If the platters inside still exist, the data on them still exists.

That said, this will not help you if you are hoping to exchange it on warranty. The sad truth is though, there is nothing you can do to eliminate your data which will not void the warranty, UNLESS someone is able to advise you how to get the drive working again (I don't know how, but it's probably possible...though again, warranty voiding could be an issue).

Good Luck


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#2
June 20, 2009 at 08:55:34

Well, first off you could try to recover files or possibly repair the partition.

Then you could use something like killdisk to wipe the drive. There are programs to write 1s and0s to the drive multiple times. That said, if someone with the latest tools wanted to they still may be able to recover some data. The casual user would be foiled by one run of killdisk.

Post back if you want to try any recovery.

IMO storing sensitive data on a hard drive is not a good idea. With the amount of data you have you could probably fit it on a CDR or for sure a flash drive. If you wanted to be sure to destroy one of those media it is quite easy. Shredder or scissors and hammer.


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#3
June 20, 2009 at 09:06:22

OtheHill

Just as an FYI - I've one-passed a drive using Killdisk and proceeded to immediately recover old files using another commercial program afterwards (forget the name). I may not be the casual user, but the casual user does have access to recovery software.


Edit:

it is worth noting, however, that unless someone is specifically targetting the OP, the chances of anyone attempting to recover data are pretty slim...and also that if the drive is sent in on warranty it will likely be 100% rebuilt which is almost as good as being destroyed.


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Related Solutions

#4
June 20, 2009 at 09:19:25

kishkizle
That is good to know. I just viewed the killdisk download. There is the free version and then the paid version. Looks like the paid version can do the job.

http://www.killdisk.com/


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#5
June 20, 2009 at 09:43:08

Have you tried removing the HDD and installing it as a Slave in a Desktop Computer. Its possible you can access the info and run Hitachi diagnostic Software.

http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

REASER, freeware, does a good job of wiping HDDs. Total wipe is not as important if you can RMA the Drive.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.


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#6
June 20, 2009 at 09:47:21

Chances are pretty good as soon as you open the case the warranty is gone, but depending on the design it might be possible to do without leaving evidence.

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#7
June 20, 2009 at 10:12:03

You may not need to remove the hard drive from the enclosure. I think you might leave evidence of tampering if you try to open the enclosure.

You could try using a live version of Linux, like Knoppix to access the drive. Or one of the free data recovery programs.

Or try to repair the formatting using something like testdisk.

CRC errors can occur if you improperly disconnect the drive while data is still being written. Also can occur if the drive was formatted with FAT32 and certain programs attempt to write files larger than 4GB to it.

Had that happen copying video (TV) files that were written by ATI AIW software using their propietory format. Supposely it could save files larger than 4GB to FAT32 partitions. That was true for the original file. Cut and paste was a different story though.

edit

You statement about voiding the warranty is incorrect. If you don'topen the case you shouldn't have any problem with warranty. I do believe you need to run certain tests even on an external prior to getting an RMA from the manufacturer.

Using wipe software shold not void the warranty but you can read the fine print.


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#8
June 20, 2009 at 10:23:13

OtheHill, I'm referring to how you must physically destroy a hard drive to 100% guarantee the data cannot be recovered. Even the most effective software solutions aren't as effective as physically destroying it, which of COURSE will void the warranty.

It's correct that software solutions will not void the warranty except possibly some very odd situations that I can't even imagine happening, such as software instructing the drive to spin down and then drag the heads across the platters anyway...stuff like that (pretty much impossible).


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#9
June 20, 2009 at 15:27:30

I think the best way to make a drive that works unreadable is to
write a file containing random data after initializing/formatting.
Most of those processes use patterns. Recovery reads the
residual data and subtracts the pattern. If you write a random
pattern their would be no pattern to subtract. Do at least twice
changing storage format.

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