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I have an old external 750GB Western Digital hard drive which has quite a bit of important data on it. when I connect it to my computer, I am able to see the device recognized but once when I click on it, I am not able to access any of the files inside. Problems starting creeping up some time back and as I result I was able to sporadically get access to the files but now I am not able to access the files at all.

I am not sure what is causing the problem and was wondering if you could help me diagnose and fix the problem.

I have tried using the dd command in my ubuntu distro to create a backup.img but is taking too much space. Is there an easier way to restore the hard drive to working condition or at least get the data off the hard drive? Any comments on the start of the hard drive?

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TestDisk or dd will do the job... – Breakthrough Jan 2 '13 at 4:23
TestDisk seems to be working. Thanks – lordlabakdas Jan 2 '13 at 4:43

You can compress dd output

dd if=/dev/hda conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | gzip -c  > /mnt/sda1/hda.img.gz

This will save the backup image as a gz file. Your device names may be different. This is a workaround for the 'no space' problem you have making a copy of the disk image.

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Thanks. Is there any way I could check to see if the drive is malfunctioning because of software errors or a hardware failure? – lordlabakdas Jan 2 '13 at 4:26
It has to be either firmware issues in the controller or more likely: problems with one of the disk hardware components. You really should NOT try to "fix" it. Get another disk to copy to, or copy it off to a safe place. You can also pay major money to one of the disk recovery places. – jim mcnamara Jan 2 '13 at 4:31

Theres a brill product called SPINRITE thats designed to refresh your hard disks and in some cases bring them back from the brink. I don't think it's free but if the data is important enough it maybe worth the small investment.

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