The drive slipped off my desk and dropped out of a USB-HDD 2.5" SATA caddy while I was copying some files, and now it won't recognize properly in Windows. It does show up in Testdisk but before trying to recover things that way I want to know if there's a way to fix the filesystem as Testdisk is messy and unpredictable.

Edit: Sorry, the drive is 500gb, formatted to NTFS. OS is Win7 64bit.

I tried running CHKDSK on it, but it said

`C:\Windows\system32>chkdsk f:

The type of the file system is NTFS.

Unable to determine volume version and state. CHKDSK aborted.`


You may have one of two types of errors:

  1. Logical errors in the file structure, because the write process was interrupted. Indices and directories may no longer be in sync with the actual data written to the files.

  2. Damaged physical sectors on the disk because the heads crashed into the platters when the disk hit the floor/desk.

For (1) any software 'fix' tool will work, like Windows chkdsk.

For (2), in order of thoroughness (which generally also indicates the time they will take to run), I recommend one of:

  • Run Seatools for DOS (not the Windows version; download the ISO), and choose the 'LONG Test'. This program is free.

  • Run HDD Regenerator. This program is not free ($99 US).

  • Run SpinRite (running the executable under Windows will extract an ISO that you can burn). Choose level 4 for through testing. This program is not free ($89 US) and is the only one that I know that can often recover data from damaged sectors; this may take a long time though. It comes with a money-back guarantee.

All three programs scan the hard disk at the physical level, and should be run from a bootable CD.

Strictly speaking you should try the repairs in order (2) then (1) because the software mentioned for (2) could recover actual data that is necessary for (1).

You may of course decide to do only (1), maybe that fixes enough for your purpose - but note that changes made by (1) are (also) irreversible, so (2) will not turn up more data after that, it will just fix any bad sectors.

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  • Please see my edit and advise what to do? – warsong Jun 25 '13 at 13:47
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    Start with any of the options for (2). Then try chkdsk again. Then, if that won't work, Google for any other programs that will let uou repair your logical disk sector. In that scenario, searching for "Unable to determine volume version and state. CHKDSK aborted." may get you started. – Jan Doggen Jun 25 '13 at 14:59
  • I've got the ISOs ready, but I wondered if you think it would make a difference to run these programs with the drive in a USB caddy, or directly plugged into the SATA port on my laptop? – warsong Jun 25 '13 at 16:30
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    Better put it directly into the SATA port, the recovery sometimes can do more when the signals don't have to travel over USB. – Jan Doggen Jun 25 '13 at 17:49
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    Maybe HDD Regen will go through those sectors again, but then probably faster. Note that you cannot estimate how much time the entire process is going to take because the bad sectors take time; the good one hardly. I know of cases where SpinRite took weeks. And how much will be salvaged is also unpredictable. – Jan Doggen Jun 27 '13 at 17:52

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