I started to encounter a weird issues with my HDD recently. Random objects (files and/or directories) on my disk are vanishing/being corrupted on a boot time. I have noticed objects disappearing only from my HDD, the SSD is fine. It does happen only on boot time though. During the normal work on my PC, everything is fine. I can put it to sleep & wake up for days, no problem. The problem appears when I shutdown my PC completely.

After boot up, I open my daily apps as usual and from time to time I can realize some files are missing (I can tell that by the errors coming up from the apps being corrupted, compiler complains about missing files, directories I cannot open etc.) these are random objects on the disk, not necessarily the ones I used recently.

My drives are:

  1. Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series (main, Windows 10 drive)
  2. Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3,5 (ST2000DM001) (the one I have problem with - used for files)

What is important to note here is, I'm able to see the files & directories in the windows explorer, as well as the command line dir command. However I'm unable to open, rename, copy or maintain them in any way.

If I try to open a damaged directory I do get an error saying that:

The File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable

If I try to open a damaged file, I get error saying that the file doesn't exist.

The only way to fix this, is with the help of the chkdisk. However, the chkdisk scan is removing the damaged objects permanently.

Till now, I was able to recover most of the essential files myself using the external, synchronized drive. However I have now lost some really important files that I had no time to backup and need to get them back (I'm still able to see them in the explorer - that is until I restart my PC).

Some facts:

  • Windows version: Windows 10 Pro compilation 1809,
  • My PC is about 5 years old,
  • Problem started to appear ~two months ago,
  • I haven't been opening my PC & touching anything,
  • There are no errors during boot time,
  • diskmgmt.msc shows that the disk condition is fine,
  • I have been defragmenting a disk but that doesn't solve the issue

My questions:

  • Is this the symptom of a damaged disk?
  • How can I recover (the access) to my files?

Any help attempt will be greatly appreciated.


HDTune tests

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Error scan

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  • Possible hard disk failure. Check your hard drives for SMART errors How can I read my hard drive’s SMART status in Windows 7?, and What is the easiest method of checking SMART status for your hard drive?. Report back with the results. – DavidPostill Jan 19 '19 at 23:05
  • @DavidPostill Thanks, will attach the results to my question once done – Lucas Jan 19 '19 at 23:08
  • 1
    “I have been defragmenting a disk but that doesn't solve the issue” - Stop writing to the new disk. Your disk is about to fail, backup your disk to a new disk, and retire the failed disk – Ramhound Jan 20 '19 at 0:10
  • Windows is removing random files/directories no, Windows doesn't do that. If the drive is not corrupted then it's caused by some programs running in your PC – phuclv Jan 20 '19 at 1:55
  • Windows 10 had a bad update that was doing just that. They pulled it from circulation, but you may accidentally have it from before they pulled it. 2 months sounds about right. One of many reports on the issue - howtogeek.com/fyi/… – Tetsujin Jan 20 '19 at 8:15

My questions:

  • Is this the symptom of a damaged disk?
  • How can I recover (the access) to my files?

It is possible your Seagate drive is experiencing failures. Whether they are local to some part of the internal spinning disk due to external factors or disk-wide is something that cannot be asserted (and should not be your priority).

Why I point the disk could be failing is due to your SMART data. Let's look into it:

  • Attribute '(05) Reallocated sector count' is zero, which supposedly is great, as it means there is no corrupt data that could have been saved by means of copying said data into another sector (part) of the disk. However this does not count for other errors.

  • Attribute '(BB) (unkown attribute)' can be mapped to Reported Uncorrectable Errors which for you is of 44715 (disregard current, worst and threshold for this one, stick with data). This means that 44715 sectors have been detected to be failed and could not be corrected by means of ECC. But this does not count for sectors that have not been yet tried to be read.

  • Attribute '(BC) (unkown attribute)' can be mapped to Command Timeout which for you is of 131084 (again, disregard current, worst and threshold and stick with data). This means that 131084 commands (reads, writes, pulling data from smart, firmware stuff, ect) that could not have been completed in a timely manner and therefore the firmware in the HDD has decided to 'pull the plug' on those requests. While there is a number of reasons that do not involve a failing unit for commands timing out, forcing a drive to read a failed sector will do imply a timeout, because no data can be retrieved no matter the number of retries (sometimes fails happen because reasons, and sucessful retries are made within the timeout window).

  • Attribute '(BD) (unkown attribute)' can be matched to High Fly Writes which for you is of 51. This means that for 51 write attempts the head that actually records the data into the HDD was misaligned by being too high to actually write the intended data successfully and was noted by firmware. This points to a posible defect on the disk surface that makes the head 'jump' (potentially spreading the defect) and miss the write.

Also, you do not disclose, but due to the fact the HDD is a 3.5'' factor one I will take it is not a laptop which could have explained some of the oddities of your SMART data. What this means for you is that you probably have a failing drive.

What you can do now?

My advice is, as you seem not to need that drive to boot or operate windows, that you physically disconnect the drive after a proper shutdown of the computer (not hibernation) - therefore being able to keep using windows without risk; get a live linux OS and try ddrescue to get as much data as possible out of the HDD without racking up failures which will probably happen if you just try to copy data over on Windows.


  1. You will need another 2TB drive to clone your current HDD to - a lower size drive will not disallow you running the command but will not get all correct data out (i.e. a 1 TB disk will only allow you to extract the first 1TB out of the 2TB disk).

  2. Do not run any commands on a linux terminal without fully understanding what will happen. LINUX WILL NOT WARN YOU IF YOU COMMAND IT TO DESTROY YOUR DATA!

  • Appreciate the answer! Will do as suggested. – Lucas Jan 20 '19 at 20:36

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