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Laptop doesn't recognise external hard drive

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October 24, 2007 5:33:27 PM

hi

In some serious bother here. I formatted my hard drive and installed fresh copy of windows. I backed up "my whole life" photographs, home videos, music etc. on my external hard drive Western Digital MyBook. Now I can't access the hard drive. I may have deleted all the partitions on my laptop before I installed Windows. But I thought this wouldn't matter as everything is in the external hard drive. Now I've attached the external hdd onto another computer and it's the same. Please don't tell me that the contents are not accessible now? I really need advice here please as I have no other backup and all my stuff is on here. Eagerly awaiting reply. thanks
October 24, 2007 5:45:43 PM

also, there is no drive letter presented. Cannot access the ext. hdd. although if I go to device manager it is under disk drives alright
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
October 24, 2007 6:09:33 PM

Are you plugging a USB 2.0 device into a USB 1.1 port?
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October 24, 2007 6:13:55 PM

no plugging it into the same usb ports i've been using for the past year.
a b G Storage
October 24, 2007 6:30:06 PM

Go to start->settings->control panel->administrative tools->computer management->disk management and assign a letter if it is missing.

Some times the "enclosure" goes bad and the hard disk is fine. You could take the hard disk out of the enclosure and try it in another computer.
October 24, 2007 6:40:47 PM

hi. when i did this it says disk 0 which is my (C:)  is healthy and disk 1 which is my ext hdd is Unallocated. What does this mean? I can't seem to give it a drive letter
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
October 24, 2007 7:02:48 PM

Hmmm, something wiped out the partition table. If you don't have anything really sensitive on it, you may want to take it to a local shop that has disk recovery tools that can rebuild partitions. Partition Commander and Partition Magic are examples of this software.
October 24, 2007 7:31:39 PM

is it possible to recovery it myself. I do have alot of tvshows, movies and all my family snaps on it. Nothing really sensitive on it thank God :) 
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
October 24, 2007 7:48:23 PM

Yes, you could use one of these to do it yourself. Read the manual carefully first, and be very careful when committing any change that might destroy data.
October 24, 2007 7:51:57 PM

thank you for your help jtt283. really appreciate it. will let you know what happens. ;) 
October 25, 2007 11:03:01 AM

Hi guys, just came back to let you know I've fixed the problem. The partition table had been deleted. This is what I did to solve

Go here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
and download a free utility called TestDisk (I downloaded the latest NON-beta version). It's a zipped file, just extract all files to a folder of your choice leaving the option "Use folder names" checked. Then, go to the folder where you unzipped the files, go to the Win folder, and run the testdisk-win.exe file. It runs in a DOS window, even though it says it's a Windows app, but it doesn't really matter at all.
So, start the app (you must run it with administrator privileges), wait for it to recognise all the drives, it will take 5-15 seconds. Choose the external drive. Confirm Intel/PC partition. Analyse it. Proceed. Enter to continue. Write on the next menu. Confirm. Quit the app. Disconnect USB cable from the device following the safe hardware removal procedure. Reboot your pc. Re-connect the device and it should be properly recognised, and the whole thing doesn't take longer than a couple of seconds!

Thank you guys for the advice and I hope this help others also :) 
!