I have an old external hard drive, some of the folders appear as "binary" work files and can't be opened (some other folders do not have problem).

The HD: Filesystem type: msdos

Concerned folder appear as:

Type: Binary (application/octet-stream)

I'm using linux ubuntu. How can I recover it?

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    What is the filesystem? Please edit and provide more details (output of ls -l in the parent directory, file troublesome_file). – Kamil Maciorowski May 6 at 10:31
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    This looks like a very old DOS disk. Try to use it on Windows, or on Linux you could try WINE. – harrymc May 9 at 8:48
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    @harrymc I previously try on a windows computer (from friend, I do not have access anymore) It was the same problem – Dadep May 9 at 17:25
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    If it wasn't like that before, then the next guess is that disk is corrupted. See recovery products. – harrymc May 10 at 17:12
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    Since it is so old it should be no so wide: create an image on your HDD. Then you can try to mount it and investigate without risking to increase damages on your old HDD. I'm afraid you can face some physical failures. Among the attempts you can try to mount the image on DOSbox, VirtualBox... if it worked under pure DOS you can always use a DOS virtual machine and mount the file as virtual HDD. Under which system did it work? – Hastur May 10 at 18:33

If you want to be sure not to lose your data, create a backup of the source device first.

Try the following command in the Linux terminal:

sudo apt-get install dosfstools
sudo dosfsck -w -r -l -a -v -t /dev/xxxx

xxxx is the partition you want to check.

  • -w means write to disk immediately.
  • -r means to do disk check interactively (ask you what to do to when encountering errors). On newer versions of dosfsck this is the default.
  • -l means to list the filenames processed.
  • -a means automatically fix errors. Do not use it, if You want to have more control over fixing possible errors.
  • -v means verbose mode. Generates slightly more output.
  • -t means mark unreadable clusters as bad.

You can find other solutions/tools here - https://askubuntu.com/questions/147228/how-to-repair-a-corrupted-fat32-file-system/147237#147237

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