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How can I fix my External Hard Drive that says it needs to be formatted?

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December 26, 2013 5:34:57 AM

Hey guys,
So I have a Seagate 3TB External Hard Drive that all of a sudden tells me it needs to be formatted. All I did prior to this happening was restart my PC, the same way I do every day.

I have 2.8TB of files, pictures, videos and more on that drive with no backups of it anywhere and I really need everything back.

I have read many threads similar to this one but others don't seem to have exactly the same problem that I do, in that when connected, my EHD constantly appears and then disappears in My Computer with a pop-up message.

This means that no matter which data/partition/HD recovery software I use, it doesn't allow me to select the EHD as it keeps disappearing from the list.

So basically, when it is plugged in, every 10 seconds or so it disappears and then reappears with this pop-up message:

"You need to format the disk in drive G: before you can use it.
Do you want to format it?"

Obviously I don't want to format it as that means I lose all my data.

Also, it uses USB 3.0 and is connected with a USB 3.0 cable into a USB 3.0 port.

I have tried:
- Changing the letter of the drive

In terms of recovery software, I have tried a few and another thing that makes it difficult for me to use (besides my EHD disappearing all the tim) is that I don't really know which options to choose.

For example, iCare Data Recovery has 4 sub-menus:
1. Lost Partition Recovery
2. Advanced file recovery
3. Deep Scan Recovery
4. Format Recovery

To me, it would be between 1 and 2, but I don't really know. In the help PDF, it showed this:
- http://prntscr.com/2e2754

These are the ones that seem like they are appropriate:
- http://prntscr.com/2e27h8

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
- Daniel


a b G Storage
December 26, 2013 5:45:23 AM

Hello... I would first try removing the HD from the enclosure... and trying a direct connection to a MB... to determine if it's a enclosure/USB3/Cable problem, before trying to force any type recovery on your DATA.
What was the Drive ORIGINALLY formated at and # of partitions/sizes?
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December 26, 2013 5:59:34 AM

Ironsounds said:
Hello... I would first try removing the HD from the enclosure... and trying a direct connection to a MB... to determine if it's a enclosure/USB3/Cable problem, before trying to force any type recovery on your DATA.
What was the Drive ORIGINALLY formated at and # of partitions/sizes?


Thanks for the very fast reply!

I'm not sure why I didn't mention this in the original post, but this has happened before to this same EHD. And I fixed it. I just can't for the life of me remember how.

I recall using software that wouldn't work on my PC and so I connected my EHD to a laptop and did it on there and then when it was finished, it worked. However, I don't think I had the issue with it constantly disappearing and appearing. I also vaguely remember the interface of said software to be that of similar appearance to the CMD's interface (it wasn't TestDisk).

Regardless, I'd rather not physically open up anything unless it is 100% absolutely necessary as I don't want to inflict any physical damage where it isn't needed.

Is there anything else you can suggest I try?

Also, is there a way to find out what the drive was originally formatted at & the number of partitions?

Sorry about this, I'm not really technologically savvy...

Thanks again
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a b G Storage
December 26, 2013 6:07:28 AM

Hello... My point is this, Most externals go bad due to the electronics in the Enclosure... and if you have important DATA, then you need to get to that DATA fast and Back it up, it is a Standard Hardrive in it, and easily un-plugs... If you try recovery with a BAD ENclosure/Data connection, you will run more of a chance to lose your important DATA...
Look close at the case, there will be screws and maybe some plastic "push/hold Tabs" to get the cover off or pull the drive out.
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December 26, 2013 6:18:23 AM

Ironsounds said:
Hello... My point is this, Most externals go bad due to the electronics in the Enclosure... and if you have important DATA, then you need to get to that DATA fast and Back it up, it is a Standard Hardrive in it, and easily un-plugs... If you try recovery with a BAD ENclosure/Data connection, you will run more of a chance to lose your important DATA...
Look close at the case, there will be screws and maybe some plastic "push/hold Tabs" to get the cover off or pull the drive out.


I see...

Alright so I have unplugged it, let it cool down a tad and flipped it over to find no screws or tabs whatsoever. There seems to be no way to open this.

The EHD is a 3TB Seagate Expansion External Drive, Product Number: 9SEAN3-500

Not sure if it's glued on or anything like that but it seems 'un-openable'.
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a b G Storage
December 27, 2013 9:09:54 PM

Hello... I Just wanted to show you How they are not glued together, and the typical plastic Tab/catch thing works, if your so inclined to try.
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February 21, 2014 6:22:45 AM

Daniel543M said:


I'm afraid not. They are different drives with different ways of opening them.




I am curious to know if you resolved this as i am having a similar issue. My 1tb seagate drive connects and is recognised but then disappears after 5 mins. To get it to reapear i need to power ot off and ob again. Ive had the format message also but do not want to loose all my files!
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Best solution

February 22, 2014 10:32:43 PM

Steph1405 said:

I am curious to know if you resolved this as i am having a similar issue. My 1tb seagate drive connects and is recognised but then disappears after 5 mins. To get it to reapear i need to power ot off and ob again. Ive had the format message also but do not want to loose all my files!


I have fixed this on my own and in fact the same issue happened again yesterday which I have already fixed.

The way I fixed it was just to connect it to my laptop and leave it connected. Just that simple. After a while of disappearing and re-appearing and it telling me to format it, it just connects and all the files are now accessible as if it's new.

Good luck mate

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April 18, 2014 9:26:51 AM

Try this:

Start: All Programs: Accessories: Right click on Command Prompt, run as administrator...

at the prompt type:
chkdsk (Your problem drive letter here no parentheses): /x

hit enter.

wait.

this will fix the most likely cause for windows to be crying for you to format a good drive... corrupted data... you maybe didn't wait for a write to finish or lost power to the drive... this will find and correct this... if it doesn't work then you're gonna need another 3 TB HDD to save your data to when you use the recovery software the choice to try first would be lost partition recovery, if that doesn't do it... deep scan. probably chkdsk will fix you up though.
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April 22, 2014 7:36:11 AM

uchetil said:
Try this:

Start: All Programs: Accessories: Right click on Command Prompt, run as administrator...

at the prompt type:
chkdsk (Your problem drive letter here no parentheses): /x

hit enter.

wait.

this will fix the most likely cause for windows to be crying for you to format a good drive... corrupted data... you maybe didn't wait for a write to finish or lost power to the drive... this will find and correct this... if it doesn't work then you're gonna need another 3 TB HDD to save your data to when you use the recovery software the choice to try first would be lost partition recovery, if that doesn't do it... deep scan. probably chkdsk will fix you up though.


Thanks much! This helped me.

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May 14, 2014 1:51:32 AM

This is a terrible piece of advice. Do not follow it for this particular kind of problem...

uchetil said:
Try this:

Start: All Programs: Accessories: Right click on Command Prompt, run as administrator...

at the prompt type:
chkdsk (Your problem drive letter here no parentheses): /x

hit enter.

wait.

this will fix the most likely cause for windows to be crying for you to format a good drive... corrupted data... you maybe didn't wait for a write to finish or lost power to the drive... this will find and correct this... if it doesn't work then you're gonna need another 3 TB HDD to save your data to when you use the recovery software the choice to try first would be lost partition recovery, if that doesn't do it... deep scan. probably chkdsk will fix you up though.


If your drive has problems being recognized, partitions appear empty, RAW, or otherwise in a state that doesn't easily allow you to browse your files as you would normally, YOU DO NO WANT TO ALTER THE DATA ON THE DRIVE IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER.

This means not doing disk check or using any programs that may try to modify data. Do not reformat or re-partition the drive. Especially if this your main drive where your operating system lives, stop using programs. Don't even turn on the computer. You'll need to pull the drive and access it elsewhere (more true for the accidental deletion of files).

And never open the actual hard drive itself, removing the enclosure is just fine though. Disk checks are best reserved for when the file system is corrupted due to a bad shut down or removing bad blocks... but if the part that reads/writes to the drive is bad, you may just be damaging your data further.

Or feel free to do it anyway.... but know that you take this at your own risk and there may be no going back after you've done it.
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July 17, 2014 10:43:51 AM

hi, i have a very difficult problem. my external hard drive fails to respond when i connect it and it also slows the whole system down and sometimes freezes the system, but any time i disconnect the hard drive, my system returns to normal state. please i need help badly.
i initially connected the hard drive without using the safe remove tab, before this incident happened. help!!!!
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July 18, 2014 6:05:11 PM

I have a 750 GB Lacie external HD that has suddenly lost its mind. It's mostly full and now it thinks it's not and wants to reformat all the time! It displays as Local disk ( G: ) on the laptop, but it was ( M: ) on my desktop computer. Takes forever for the Windows XP to recognize that there's even a drive there. Doesn't go thru the scanning of the drive when started anymore. I tried attaching it to a different computer [a Windows Vista laptop] with no success. About 3 weeks ago, we had a brown out which lasted just long enough to power down everything. The following day we had a full on blackout. I have lost 3 hard drives and a DVD Rom drive since then...My main Win XP drive which I managed to limp back to life is still iffy. I had to replace the DVD drive. The other two drives are the Lacie that brought me here and another external which now is working after hooking to the laptop [but still is unrecognized by the desktop...].

Any idea as to what I can do with these? As per usual, I don't want to lose the data...

Thanks,
Dave
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