I have a Seagate 3.5" 500GB SATA2 HDD that I put in a USB case (vantec) that failed recently.


  • At first it started except that attempts made to browse certain folders resulted in "Data Error (Cyclic Redundancy Check)".
  • Then when I tried restarting the HDD, Windows 7 reported a RAW partition and said I need to format it.
  • I also tried connecting the HDD directly using SATA in a desktop PC and Windows 7 stuck at "starting windows" for about half an hour before I gave up on it. In the BIOS, it seems to detect the HDD model correctly, something like STA3500xxx
  • I also tried using TestDisk as suggested by jaclaz on MSFN and it did not find any partitions

What could I do now?


Try mounting it as a slave drive (non-booting) in a different computer that has its own operating system.

A major failure of Windows is not providing tools to deal with issues like this; most of the time the best it can do is ask you to reformat it (do not do this!), so I'd suggest using different tools to try to correct the error.

Since Windows recognized it as a RAW partition, it means the partition table was probably over-written or corrupted. Don't worry; there are ways to fix it without killing your data.

Try booting into Knoppix and using cfdisk on it to inspect and re-write the partition table (also, learn Linux). This will solve most problems and won't touch your data. There are also other tools to inspect the file system on the disk from Knoppix.

Another option is to buy a tool like SpinRite and have it inspect the data surface for damage.

Also, if connecting the hard drive to the computer causes it to boot-hang, why not wait until the computer is already booted up? Both USB and SATA specifications are hot-swappable, by the way.

  • 4
    +1 for both the Linux solution and the Spinrite suggestion. Both methods have saved my bacon more than once on hard drives that had apparently failed. – TechParadox May 13 '10 at 13:37

(Shot in the dark but) I've had some success with Spinrite getting hdd back just enough to get the data off.


I had similar problems caused by some bad sectors.

If you download SeaTools for DOS (download the bootable ISO image) and reboot to it you can run a full scan which will try and identify and disable any bad sectors.

This will prevent the bad sectors from being seen by the OS. The capacity of the drive will be reduced by the number of bad sectors.

This will lead to data loss though so ensure you have explored all avenues to recover any data you need beforehand.

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