A day ago, the drive would fail to copy certain files and had thought that this was a problem of the OS; later however, the system would only recognize the drive at certain times and so had to constantly unplug and plug the drive back in for the OS to recognize it. However, later on, the OS would fail to load the drive, and would even lockup until I disconnected the drive. Now, I've just tried removing the enclosure and connecting the drive internally, and although recognized by the BIOS, the system won't load the OS if the drive is connected (otherwise, if connected via its enclosure, Windows will detect that a USB device has been connected but won't load the drive and locks up -- it also displays a "Drive F needs to be formatted" with format/cancel parameters).

So, my question is... what do I do? This drive has over 1TB of useful data that I can't lose. Do I send off the PCB for replacement, run Spinrite or do something else which I'm unaware of which could resolve the issue?

Also, a similar problem to this has happened before with the drive (but was resolved after reconnecting the power cable) where the OS would return a "drive F needs to be formatted" prompt.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


First, do as little to that drive as possible. Install the drive as a secondary drive on a system that boots (in other words like a D drive). Then try to image it booting to DOS. I recommend trying to find a copy of good old Ghost 2003, using this start up "ghost -ia -fro" (-ia forces a sector-by-sector copy, and -fro ignores bad blocks).

Then you can do whatever you want to try on the copied drive. If you don't manage the copy, at least you have done no more damage to the drive if you decide to send it to a professional data recovery service.

  • Ahh, okay... damn, I'll have to buy 2 1x TB drives now... damn! – user784446 Jun 22 '11 at 0:55
  • 2
    +1 for doing as little as possible and GHOST sector copy. – Dave M Jun 22 '11 at 1:36

In addition to items mentioned by @KCotreau you might try freezing the drive for several hours. Put it in a ziploc type bag with as little air as possible. Freeze for at least several hours and then connect as second drive(or in enclosure) as quickly as possible. This allowed me to recover a large amount of data on a drive that reported similar issues. Had to freeze for several days and try a couple of times but all was recoverd.

  • This has been successful at work, but I've never had any luck with my personal drives. – i_grok Jun 22 '11 at 1:51
  • Hmm, I've tried this with another drive before but was wondering if this would ultimately brick the drive once the temperature drops -- I mean, wouldn't it result in the ice/whatever liquidating, thereby resulting in water in the drive? – user784446 Jun 22 '11 at 5:16
  • The drive is somewhat sealed. Since the drive is a problem anyway, the risk is low. It does not always work but worth a shot is the data is important. Use the ziploc bag. – Dave M Jun 22 '11 at 20:49
  • Apologies for the bump, but could it be that the PCB is faulty and needs replacing? – user784446 Feb 26 '12 at 12:34

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