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I'm running Vista 64 with all the latest updates, and am having trouble accessing my external Seagate FreeAgent XTreme 1.5TB drive. It shows up in the provided Seagate Manager software, and in Windows Explorer, but I can't get to the files.

With chkdsk, I get this:

c:\>chkdsk k:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Unable to determine volume version and state.  CHKDSK aborted.

In Seagate Manager, I went to Settings and ran Test My Drive, which succedded. However, before I could do this, I did have to change the connection from eSata to USB (per the Seagate help). Under, Drive Info, the volume name is random unicode characters.

Using the PC-Doctor Hardware Diagnostic Tools that came with the PC, I ran the test (random seek, funnel seek, surface scan) under Storage Devices for the drive and it passed.

When I run Computer Management and look at Storage\Disk Management, the K: drive is listed as file system RAW, and not NTFS.

I have been looking for some recovery software, but they all seem to scan for and find files, but they don't have the acutal filenames (probably for the same reason the drive can't be seen)

I should note, I have a lemon PC that will often lock up and require a hard power down (check out this almost 300 page thread of the HP Support Forum: HP Elite e9150t Feezes/Locks up.) My guess is that the external drive didn't dismount clean and something is messed up.

I'm looking for help or pointers to any software that can fix the NTFS data.

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I ended up just reformatting the drive, since it was a only a backup. – Kevin Hakanson Dec 6 '09 at 23:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've had good results with GetDataBack. It claims to support scenarios like yours, but honestly I've never needed it for that. It's not cheap ($80), but does provide a trial version that you can use to see how well it will recover your files.

Note that depending on the state of the drive, any file recovery software may have trouble recovering filenames. This is just because of how the filesystem works and what damage (if any) it may have sustained.

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I had a situation similar to this happen to me. A drive with 200GB+ of stuff from college, including videos we recorded while there suddenly started showing up as RAW and not NTFS which it really was. This was horrible as 80% of the stuff on there was not backed up anywhere (thankfully I learned my lesson and now back everything up).

I tried a lot of the paid solutions out there to get the data back and amazingly the thing that finally worked is free. The name of the software is Recuva. When you run it make sure you do a deep scan. All the other solutions I tried (including GetDataBack which I saw suggested by ~quack) failed but Recuva got everything back. Some of the video files were 20GB+ each so it was amazing that there was no corruption across such a wide span of data. Give it a try and good luck, I hope it works for you.

Oh, and yes, it gave me filenames for the files also. It's possible your NTFS index is corrupted but it might still be able to pull in whatever is still there. For me, pretty much everything came with it's original filename even though windows kept telling me that the drive needs to be formatted and kept flagging it as RAW.

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