I have an unresponsive Iomega 1TB NAS drive. The only way I can even see the drive is by conecting direct to a PC main board. See my detailed symptoms and steps to fix below...
I have 2 matching NAS drives, both Iomega 1TB. Drive 1 has the data I need to recover. Drive 2 is my backup, but the backup software has failed an I still need to recover data from Drive 1.
• When I realized I was in serious trouble yesterday, I copied the photos from Drive 2 to our desktop PC HDD, so those are backed up now.
• The fan in Drive 1’s enclosure is not running. This seems really bad, especially since it sounds like the disks are spinning.
• Attempted using Windows (Vista on the desktop and 7 on a laptop) to see the bad drive on the network, no luck.
• Attempted using the Iomega connection utility to reconnect the bad drive, no luck. Will not recognize that there is a second NAS enclosure connected; sees only Drive 2.
• Swapped the drive enclosure positions on the network to rule out bad switch / hub / wiring etc. PC can detect Drive 2 when plugged into Drive 1’s jack, but not vice-versa. Appears to mean this is definitely a physical problem with Drive 1 (or the enclosure) and not a network or software issue.
• This morning I got really crazy and, hoping that it is the enclosure hardware (drive controller, power supply or whatever) that is failing and the drive itself is basically okay, I tore down both enclosures and swapped the drives, mounting Drive 2 in Drive 1’s enclosure. I got the same symptoms, with the PC not being able to identify that a drive is attached, either through Windows or the Iomega utility. I was really really really hoping and thinking that this would work. I swapped everything back, and got the expected results: Drive 1 is okay, Drive 2 is running but not detected.
• My last attempt was to get a SATA cable and connect the drive directly to the PC main board. My understanding is that if it does recognize that a drive is connected, it may not actually be able to read the data because Iomega uses Linux for partitioning (I really don’t understand any of the details of this). However, if I can get the drive to be seen, I may be able to use some recovery software to pull data. I really feel this is a stretch, but I’m not sure what else to do. THE DRIVE IS IDENTIFIED BY MODEL NUMBER IN DEVICE MANAGER under disk drives, but I am not able to see it in My Computer. Am I on the right track, and if so, where do I go from here?
While it's not a complete diagnostic of whether the physical drive is failing, one way you can quickly check if the drive is completely dead is to connect it directly to your computer via SATA. While the computer is booting, open the BIOS menu and check to see if the drive is listed there and detected. Often times computers will also support SMART error detection. There should be an option to enable this in your BIOS somewhere in the menus around where you can look at the connected hard drives (if your motherboard supports it.) This should enable SMART to read the health status of your hard drives as well.
If the hard drive is detected in BIOS, then the drive COULD still be functional, but not one that can be accessed by Windows due to the type of formatted partition used. You can also see a disk which is healthy but "unreadable" using the Windows Computer Management tool for Disk Management. There should be a drive listed in there with no drive letter and no available partitions. Otherwise, the hard drive could potentially have a fatal failure.
Recovering the data (if the hard drive itself is still good) is another thing. You will most likely need to follow the steps to use a Linux live boot CD to mount the hard drive and copy the data to another destination. It's not the easiest thing to do really, but it can be done at home for free.
I have the bad drive mounted to a PC internally via SATA cable, and Windows Device Manager can see the hardware and read the model number but Windows does not assign a drive letter and cannot read the data.
I can install Ex2explore or Diskinternals Linux Reader and that may allow me to access the data on the drive, which can then be copied to a good drive.
Okay, so I ran Ext2explore, but got only a blank screen- no drives or files shown in the program's windows. I assume that means this will not work.
I haven't heard of the Ex2explore program before, but from briefly reviewing it, that might work, as most likely your drive is formatted in the native linux EXT2/3/4 format. Diskinternals Linux Reader looks to be the same way. You should be able to mount and view files in a drive with those partitions. Give that a shot, and see if you have any luck. And let me know!