I have a seagate external USB hard disk(500 gb). One day it was working fine and the other day when I plugged it into my Windows OS, it was listed as Local Disk instead of Expansion Drive which is its usual name. Also, no information about the disk was displayed(like the one which says 'x GB free of y GB'). If I click onto the Local disk, the windows explorer stops responding.

So, I turned to Ubuntu for help. When I inserted the disk into the USB port, the disk was listed as Expansion Drive but it didn't open which it should have automatically. So I clicked on the Expansion drive to mount it and the following error came:

DBus error org.gtk.Private.RemoteVolumeMonitor.Failed: An operation is already pending

After waiting for much long, it said that it couldn't mount the drive with the following error:

    DBus error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoReply: Did not receive a reply. Possible causes  
   include: the remote application did not send a reply, the message bus security policy 
    blocked the reply, the reply timeout expired, or the network connection was broken.

Now, I checked the fdisk -l option in the shell and this is what it printed as output:-

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xd610bb10
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 206848 157573119 78683136 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2 157573120 876421119 359424000 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3 876423166 976771071 50173953 5 Extended
Partition 3 does not start on physical sector boundary.
/dev/sda5 876423168 884234239 3905536 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6 884236288 976771071 46267392 83 Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107859968 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773164 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x569f2049
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 63 976768127 488384032+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

Also, I used GParted. It gave me the complete info about my hard disk. I attempted data rescue using GParted but no file systems could be found there. can anyone tell me any other way to get my data back from that hard disk(Few videos and docs are really important). Thanks in advance.

Update: I am now able to mount the disk. But when I open the disk, no folders are visible, though a space of 298 gb is being utilised. What should be done?

  • If you are unable to mount the device you won't be able to recover the data. If there is no file system then data recovery will be nearly impossible. – Ramhound Jun 24 '13 at 17:34
  • @Ramhound...I don't know how but somehow the disk got mounted to /media...Any ideas now? – Avinash Kumar Jun 24 '13 at 18:19

There are various free applications that can probably recover your data.

I would first try to read the partition using the "Analyze" feature of Testdisk. If that doesn't work I would resort to using the partner application PhotoRec.

I have used both with great success. Can be run from either Windows or Linux. It recovers all kinds of file types. Note that files recovered by PhotoRec will not maintain their original filenames.

Also, I recently found the application Recuva but haven't tried it much yet. It may be more user-friendly.

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Hard disks, USB sticks, etc....fail all the time. And these type of questions are asked all the time. This is why you should be vigilant and keep periodic backups so that you can go back to them at some point. This will save you significant time and angst.

I keep external disk backups of my internal drives at significant checkpoints. I also log all changes to my configuration in a log book. So I know if a disk fails where I am short between my last backup and now. Makes recovery a lot easier.

I also subscribe to an online backup service so that my absolutely critical files are stored additionally outside my house.

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  • +1 for online backup. I had a situation where my backup drive and internal drive both failed (power surge during storm that got past my battery backup, line conditioner and two surge suppressors). Online backup is now my primary backup solution, with local external as my secondary. – BBlake Jun 24 '13 at 17:22

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