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I have been given a hard disk that needs some data restore. Let me explain the situation...

The HDD's owner says the disk cannot be mounted in Windows, I suspected a power problem but verified that the disk spins up and Linux (using a USB-to-SATA cable + power from plug) sees the partition.

However, Linux refuses to mount the partition as it says it's broken (it's NTFS, as in the subject). I can use Photorec to restore the most common file types, however I would like to try first to restore the partition, and only after that go with the brute force option.

Linux suggests me to run chkdsk /f, but unfortunately Windows, while detecting the peripheral actually refuses to detect any partition.

If I succeed in chkdsk the HDD's owner might be happier.

Thank you

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Disk utilities in general much prefer to work with a directly mounted device. If at all possible, always make a sata (or IDE) connection.

Once you have the drive properly connected, run Testdisk, make a copy and try to repair the partition structure. This might be all you need to do to regain access to the files and it's much quicker than running PhotoRec if it's just a case of a broken partition table.

Note that if the disk is in poor shape, the "make a copy" mentioned so blithely above might best be done with a utility such as Spinrite or DDRescue.

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