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I recently plugged an NTFS hard drive which I believed to be functional into a Mac Mini via a SATA-to-USB adapter. The Mac did not appear to read the drive, and after waiting a while and giving up, I unplugged the drive, which caused several error messages to be displayed. Obviously, this means the Mac did read the drive, but for a mystery reason was unable to display its contents or show the drive in Finder's sidebar. Now, when the drive is reinserted, I am prompted to initialize the drive.

When it's plugged into a PC running Windows 7, the drive is only recognized by Drive Management as an unrecognized format. Windows prompts me to repair the MBR or Partition Table.

I need to recover this drive without deleting data. Windows Recovery Console does not recognize the drive, so I'm unable to use the fixmbr command. What options do I have? Will the built-in Windows MBR/partition table erase data from the drive in the process?

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Your Mac didn't touch the partition, unless you have the NTFS driver installed (which isn't installed by default). You probably have a dead drive, and using a third-party data recovery tool is your best bet now. – user3463 Jun 1 '11 at 22:20
The Mac I was using had both MacFUSE and TuxeraNTFS apparently installed. – moonslug Jun 1 '11 at 22:33
M. West makes a very good point, regardless. You need to determine whether your disc unit is actually faulty, or whether it is operating properly and it is simply the case that the partition/volume metadata on it have been overwritten/wiped. You need to use read-only tools to start from the basics and work upwards. Tell us what Device Manager says about the device. Show us the output of diskpart's list partition command. – JdeBP Jun 1 '11 at 22:53
When the drive is plugged in, Disk Management detects it as "Disk 2", but the type is "Unknown", and it states that I must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it. It gives me the option of initializing it using the MBR or GPT partition styles. diskpart does not detect the drive at all, after a rescan, after for example Disk Management can see that there is an unknown device connected. This is on a Windows 7 PC. (thank you all for your help!) – moonslug Jun 1 '11 at 23:02

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