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I have a 120GB IDE drive connected to my MacBook via a IDE-USB adapter. I formatted it fresh with a single full-size HFS+ partition and backed up a bunch of stuff.

Unfortunately, upon reconnecting the drive to my MacBook, the drive showed up as unrecognized, and in the Disk Utility the disk shows up as a different capacity than it actually is. To make matters worse, it seems to come up with a different size each time I reconnect it.

I have poked around with TestDisk, and it's accompanying PhotoRec, but have been a little paranoid to make any changes. PhotoRec kept failing because it would not detect the drive size correctly. Are there any other worthwhile non-destructive options?

Given I know the actual drive size, should I be able to recover the partition by manually resetting the partition table? Any ideas on how to accomplish this? I know TestDisk can do this, but given that it doesn't detect the correct drive capacity, I've been very hesitant to make any changes as I do not want to lose this data if I can help it.

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Have you made progress with this problem? The question was bumped to the front page today. – Daniel Beck Jun 3 '11 at 19:16
Took a while to recover my old desktop, but I finally had some success. With the disk connected directly to the motherboard IDE port, and the desktop running Linux, I was able to recover 95% of the data on my desk with photorec. It ran for about 3 straight days, and completed happily. – mattcaffeine Aug 11 '11 at 5:24
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try another USB-IDE adapter.

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I have tried two, two different brands, same result. Go figure. – mattcaffeine Jul 29 '10 at 3:14
The only other suggestion is connect it directly to PC motherboard with IDE, if you have one. How important is the data? – Moab Jul 29 '10 at 14:11
I'd be disappointed if I lost the data, but it won't ruin my life. :) I had not thought of that. I will have to locate a system with an IDE port, as I retired my desktop a long time ago. – mattcaffeine Jul 29 '10 at 17:00
Moab, as I mentioned in the comment above, using the onboard IDE port, instead of a IDE adapter, the disk behaved a lot better, and managed to finish a photorec scan. Thanks for the suggestion! – mattcaffeine Aug 11 '11 at 5:25

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