I haven't lost anything but.....

May 12, 2009 at 07:45:26
Specs: WIn XP SP2, 2 Go
A strange thing happen to my external hard drive (a WD My Book 1 TB ).

Whatever the type of connector i choose (eSata, USB or Firewire), Windows no longer access the drive and present me with a dialog box asking if i want to format this drive.

Of course i choose no since i have over 600 Gigs of stuff i really don't want to loose on it.

I then try to retrieve data from it using a recovery software (getdataback) and surprise, the software has absolutely no problem accessing everything with their proper name. So the drive seems to have no bad sector or reading problem.

I guess i'm gonna copy everything on my C: drive and start backing up on dvd.

So my question is why does windows doesn't recognize the file partitions anymore and ask to re-format ? I have that drive for almost a year now.

Thank you in advance for any help or input you might have.

See More: I havent lost anything but.....

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May 12, 2009 at 08:38:48
Have you rebooted?


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May 12, 2009 at 08:40:32
I have done more than that. I tried the drive on 3 differents computers running different versions of windows, same thing.

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May 12, 2009 at 10:10:40
The file corruption may have resulted after improper removal of the drive. You should always use the Safely Remove Icon to disconnect the drive before shutting off or unplugging.

You may be able to repair the file system and not need to format.

You obviously don't have backups of the files so making those prior to attempting a fix would be prudent.

You should ALWAYS maintain at least TWO copies of any files you wish to keep.

Post back after the backup process for help on repairing the file system.

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May 12, 2009 at 10:50:53
Oh, yes, that could be it.

You are right about the "safely remove hardware" process. I forgot it a couple of times under windows 2000. But i thought that it was not necessary under windows xp.

After backing up everything, how will i be able to repair the file system ? What part of it ? I thought the file system was fine since every filename was found with my recovery software.

Thank you.

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May 12, 2009 at 10:55:55
File recovery software by its very nature doesn't rely on the file structure.

I think you should wait until you have backed up all the irreplaceable files. There is always the chance that actions you take will make things worse and the files won't be accessible at all.

There are a number of things to try. Do you have a WinXP CD?

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May 12, 2009 at 12:07:43
I have had that problem 4-5 times. I also was able to recover the files, but two of the drives turned out to have a problem and I had to dispose of them. The others I had to repartition and format. They worked fine after that.

I agree that forgetting to use safely remove hardware could cause the problem. That wasn't the case with mine, because they are permanently attached. My suspicion is a bug in XP, that is 'sometimes' brought about by a disk error, causes the MBR to get messed up.

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May 12, 2009 at 12:12:30
Another problem with external drives is users not using folders and writing too many files to the root directory. That can cause corruption.

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May 12, 2009 at 13:06:24
That's right, and it's also applicable to interior drives.

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May 12, 2009 at 16:22:29
Ok. Thank you everyone. That's clearer for me now.

OtheHill: I do have the win XP cd but i'm curious as how this cd could help for an "external" hard drive and not the drive which the OS is installed.

In the meantime, i already started to make some backups on dvds. 600 Gb is gonna takes forever...grrrr....Unless i bought another unit, i could copy everything there...i'll see....

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May 12, 2009 at 17:19:49
I would like your opinion on this program, could it be a life saver for my drive without having to backup everything ?


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May 12, 2009 at 18:36:49
I have never used that particular software but a similar one that I have used is 'testdisk'.

Would say normally if XP asks to format the partition it is due to a corrupted Volume Boot Record (VBR), but of course can be other problems. Testdisk will compare the primary VBR with its backup and if different will give an option to write the backup to the primary VBR. Testdisk can also recover lost partitions.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/index.htm... be sure to read the How-T0-Use. It will not write to the disk without you telling it to, so you can use it just to see what it says about the VBR before deciding your action.

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May 12, 2009 at 23:25:13
Testdisk is one of the solutions I had in mind. I was trying to encourage you to back up you files. If you succeed in fixing the drive this time you will eventually lose all your data due to some kind of failure.

You have been given a reprieve and don't want to use it. Good luck to you.

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May 13, 2009 at 01:58:23
Oh no, i just wanted more info on how to proceed.

Of course i will backup first, we never know...and , as i said before, i really don't want to loose these files at any cost. Many of these are precious family memories and things that i've worked hard on for a long time.

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that i will backup entirely before attempting to repair the mbr.

In fact, i already started, but it will take days...i wlll keep you posted.

Thank you all very much for your inputs.

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May 13, 2009 at 06:35:05
In the future if you backup things like photos directly to DVDR whenever you have enough to fill a disk you won't face the large task you have now. You still should always maintain at least TWO copies of any files that you can't replace from elsewhere.

I use a packet writer and CDR media to instantly back up that kind of file as I create them. Nero has one called InCD. Roxio calls theirs Drag to Disk. They work as the Roxio name implies. For convenience sake you need to tie up a burner drive because ejecting a disk is time consuming (30 to 90 seconds). InCD requires Rewritable media while Drag to disk can use CDR.

I also save a copy to My Documents. I still perform regular imaging of each of my four partitions and also have an external and a second hard drive.

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May 13, 2009 at 09:52:22
Better heed Othehill's excellent advice, or you will eventually regret that you didn't.

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