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I've had this external HDD for around 3 years give or take 6 months. For the last month or so, it was pretty slow but it worked. A few files couldn't be copied onto my system but files could be copied onto the HDD. I last used it a week ago, and then gave it to a friend. She told me that it wasn't being detected by her computer.

So I took the HDD back and run a few tests that I found on Google:

Here are the results of HD Tune:

enter image description here

I've tried chkdsk /f f: chkdsk /f /r f:

A few times it'd display this :

Sadly, I'm not able to reproduce the error. So I'm going to recollect what I saw.

CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
20992 file records processed.
File verification completed.
22 large file records processed.
0 bad file records processed.
0 EA records processed.
0 reparse records processed.
CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 5)...
<An additional line over here with 21090 files done of 23084 files - numbers are inaccurate, but it would freeze here and go no further.>

and the other times this :

C:\Users\Torcellite>chkdsk /f /r f:
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

This usually occurs after the previous step where-in I run chkdsk but it freezes, so I close the cmd window and try running it again.

Now it shows this and my cmd window was unresponsive for around 8 minutes:

enter image description here

The HDD was filled to around 400GB of the 470GB.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Is it possible to retrieve all the data on my HDD? Or is it completely lost?
  2. If not all of it, is it possible to retrieve a certain chunk of it? Either a chunk I can choose from or a general chunk which isn't a bad sector? (Is the HD Tune scan accurate?)
  3. If I can't retrieve the data, can I format the HDD and re-use it? What are the risk factors? Obviously, I did try formatting it, but there seems to be no response. I've never used the format option that is prompted by Windows when my device is recognized but can't be read. I've used the format option by right clicking and on cmd, both times I unplugged the device when it seemed to do nothing.
  4. If the HDD is actually dead, is there any other use I can get out of it? Perhaps make a certain chunk of it something like a Flash-RAM?

Please feel free to add information to this thread. I would like to know more about this.

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1 Answer 1

It looks as if the disk was slowly deteriorating up to the point where critical bookkeeping info got hard/impossible to read. That's why chkdsk now chokes on it (sees it as a RAW disk).

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on HDTune reported 100% damaged; it probably could not access the disk and so failed on every try to read.

The question is: is it only a matter of damaged sectors in critical areas or are other hardware parts damaged?
The first may be salvageable with Spinrite. It's commercial software ($89 IIRC) but I've seen it work wonders on damaged HDs. It's in my standard software 'arsenal' (and no, I have no affilition with it).

One thing is worth trying when using SR: Can you take the disk out of its enclosure and mount it in your computer on the SATA connectors (you might have to buy a cable). That way SR does not have to communicate with the disk over USB and can work better with the disks' SMART interface.
[And there is the unlikely chance that just connecting the disk to the SATA might bring it back beacuse only the USB part was damaged].

Note: SR operation can take hours, days, even weeks, because it keeps rereading bad sectors in an attempt to statistically recover the data from that sector (By adjusting the way the read heads approach the sector it manages to read portions of the sector).

If you want to spend the time and money I would try this.
BTW GRC has a money-back guarantee.

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Thanks for the reply! I'll definitely try out spinrite in a a week or two. Exams :/ Although I have a question, what did you mean by mount it on the SATA connectors? I'm using a SATA USB port at the moment. –  Torcellite May 11 '13 at 12:36
    
I did not know such a thing existed - I'm not a hardware guy ;-) I assume this is what Wikipedia calls eSatap (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp) (found Googling 'sata usb port'). Then you probably can avoid moving the drive and try it in its original enclosure. –  Jan Doggen May 11 '13 at 14:02

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