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I've an external harddrive.

  • It shows up in Device Manage
  • I see drives E: and F: when plugged but no info on them. There were really two partitions before. I believe one was NTFS and second FAT32.
  • Disk management (also Recuva, TrueImage, Testdisk) fails or freeze on start when disk is plugged
  • Minitool Partition Wizard starts and reports the proper disk size, but says bad disk and operations are disabled.
  • Partition Master shows the HDD and show partition unallocated. Can't recover partition.

Is there anything more low level I could try? Even linux tools could be favorable.

There is a 0,001% chance its the hard drive with 7500 bitcoins, I share the profit ;-)

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To start clearing things up, you ought to find another hard disk of the same size or (better) larger, and from Linux, run a bit-by-bit copy of the damaged disk to the new disk as a image file using dd.

If it works, all well and good. If it does not, retry using ddrescue instead of dd. If it does not work, try a professional service.

Supposing it worked, you now have a disk image and most tools are able to work with that. Do not use the original disk anymore (keep it for the professional service's tender hands, if needs be).

One thing you can do to recover a Bitcoin wallet is to look for the binary file signature in the multi-gigabyte dump. It will take some time (around one hour for typical disk sizes).

For those utilities that do not support image files, you can install the appropriate OS into a VirtualBox virtual machine and connect the image file as an external drive. Now the file will be seen as a hard disk. There are utilities to do so straight in Windows (e.g. DiskMount), but verify that they allow writing to the virtual image disk (some are read-only).

But whatever you do, once you have a disk image you can copy it and work on the copy, and be sure that whatever you do, your chances of recovering data won't vanish.

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