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My hardware doesn't seem to like me anymore :-/

I have a 500 GB external HDD (NTFS) which contains a "standard" (= not hidden) TrueCrypt container of 400 GB of which about 100-150 GB are actually used. I can mount the crypted volume to an arbitrary Windows drive letter and can also see this volume in my Windows Explorer. But I can not access it (error says it's a corrupt file system). Therefore, I can't run chkdsk or anything on it (which is what TrueCrypt tries to do with it's built in functionalities)

What I tried

  • TrueCrypt also offers the option to restore the Volume Header, but that didn't get me any points either.
  • Tried TestDisk. It recognizes it as a NTFS volume, but won't list files etc. (same error as above). I ran the option to restore the boot sector which took forever but finished without errors. Next I chose the 'Repair MFT' option and TestDisk said it can't read the MFT.

So I guess my question actually is/are:

  1. Is it possible to restore a corrupt MFT somehow?
  2. As I can mount the volume, is there a chance I can get my files back via a data recovery tool (Recuva or something like it; which would be your top choice?)

Any help greatly appreciated!

System Details

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • HDD: Toshiba 500 GB (NTSF)
  • TrueCrypt: version 7.1, 32bit
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As I can mount the volume, is there a chance I can get my files back via a data recovery tool (Recuva or something like it; which would be your top choice?)

Yes absolutely, this is your best bet. Since obviously enough of the volume was not affected in order for you to be able to mount it (it could detect you used the correct password), there is a chance that some of your data has survived. Do as you suggested and any surviving files will be revealed.

I used to use OnTrack data recovery but the truth is different tools work best for different data types. You may wish to try several for the best results - just make sure you mount your container as read only to prevent any further damage. Good luck!

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