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External Hard drive missing half my files! Help!

Last response: in Storage
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April 15, 2011 1:34:30 AM

Just the other day, when i plugged in my 1.5 TB external hdd, i noticed that all files from the letter
A to L loaded up fine and appeared but I couldn't find or see any files/folders that started with the
letter M to Z! They are just missing!

But my memory usage is still the same so nothing got deleted or overwritten. It's as if though it just became invisible and I can't find anyway to access or find those files to retrieve them!

Does anyone know what happened or how I can retrieve those files?

Notes:
-I've checked the show hidden files / system files box
-I'm running on win xp
-I've tried connecting the ext hdd to another pc and same result (m-z do not show up)
-I can still transfer data to and from the ext drive without any error messages, but anything named
with the letter M to Z will disappear the moment it goes into the external hdd.
-I tried chkdsk and error fixing options and both said after a few seconds of scanning there was an unreadable or corruption part?
-the external hdd is 1.5 years old
-I've used up 1.1 TB of space out of the 1.5 TB total. That hasn't changed at all, so the data must still
be on the hdd, I just can't see it or find it anymore.
a c 311 G Storage
April 15, 2011 1:30:44 PM

1) Back up what you can see immediately, in case you lose K and L too.

2) Use scanning software to read the entire drive and see what files can be recovered. These utilities work even better with a corrupted directory structure than with a dying disk. Try Clonezilla. I haven't used it, but it seems to be mentioned here pretty frequently.

3) Always keep backups, just in case.
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April 15, 2011 2:44:37 PM

Yes, I'm using Active Undelete FULL version and it was able to show me all the files from M to Z. I'm able to retrieve them but the only problem is any file larger than 71.44mb ends in "error" and I can't save those files. I can only save the ones that are 71.44mb or less in size. Why?

So I've saved A - L and backed it up on another hdd and saving some of my M - Z now but can't retrieve anything larger than 71.44mb :( 

But doesn't this mean good news for me? The fact that something is making it stop at 71.44mb? It sounds to me that my files aren't actually damaged or corrupted, but something else is corrupted like information that is telling my hdd or program that it can't read or transfer anything larger than 71.44mb?

It sounds like what you said, "a corrupted directory structure" than a dying disk.
Any other ideas how I can retrieve files larger than 71.44mb?
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April 15, 2011 3:49:48 PM

Quick update: by using something like Activie Undelete where I can "see" my M-Z files, I am able to manually access for example my movies. If I open windows media player and simply type in the URL address of where my movie is and press OK, it opens the movie and plays it without any error! I just can't seem to find a way to copy it safely out of my external hdd to another hdd.

So to confirm, my files are not corrupt or damaged since I'm able to access them manually and play them, but I can't seem to transfer them since they are "invisible" or don't show up.
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a c 311 G Storage
April 15, 2011 7:43:58 PM

Joe23

I have never heard of a case like this before.

I just had an out-in-left-field thought: How is your antivirus software? This sounds more like someone playing a joke on you than any filesystem corruption that I've ever read about.
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April 16, 2011 2:16:13 AM

Yeah, I am trying to look it up on the internet but can't seem to find much info about missing files such as letters M-Z but A to L are fine.

I actually don't have any anti-virus running on my system now. I just use anti-malware bytes occassionally to clean my computer.
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November 6, 2011 8:11:57 PM

had the same exact issue!

run chkdsk

go to a cmd prompt type in

chkdsk c: /r

NOTE if the drive is g or whatever than instead of c: type g:

it will take a while wait it out it will fix it all
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November 14, 2011 8:24:46 AM

thankfully the issue was resolved...i can't remember exactly what it was that solved it lol...been a few months now....i think it was the chkdsk thing.

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June 17, 2012 7:56:50 PM

I recommend that everyone first try "Hilly's" advice (copied below):
I used it yesterday on two of my WD 1 TB portable hard drives, and it brought back all of my files beautifully.
It took over five hours per portable hard drive, but thankfully I have my files back.
Now, to see if they stay back (I have Windows XP, which, according to another blog, has problems accommodating large portable hard drives).
John, Milwaukee


hilly1 11-06-2011 at 11:11:57 PM .had the same exact issue!
run chkdsk
go to a cmd prompt type in
chkdsk c: /r
NOTE if the drive is g or whatever than instead of c: type g:
it will take a while wait it out it will fix it all
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June 17, 2012 8:00:43 PM

Hilly, I cannot thank you enough.

I used your advice yesterday, and it brought back the files on two of my WD 1 TB portable hard drives.

Now, to see if they'll stay visible (on another blog someone wrote that Windows XP has problems accommodating large portable hard drives).

Thank you again!

Sincerely,
John Nehmer
Milwaukee, WI

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July 10, 2012 7:18:44 PM

I had to register just to say "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!" you just saved me a huge headache and helped me to recover nearly 1.5 TB of data from my external hard drive. CHKDSK recovered every one of my "orphaned files". Thank you again, you are a life saver....
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July 10, 2012 7:42:46 PM

hawkicompufix said:
I had to register just to say "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!" you just saved me a huge headache and helped me to recover nearly 1.5 TB of data from my external hard drive. CHKDSK recovered every one of my "orphaned files". Thank you again, you are a life saver....





hawkicompufi,
I've never been on a message board before so I am not sure if you are responding to me or to Hilly, but either way, you not only made my day, you made my week!
I am so glad that Hilly's advice helped you.
I wish I knew how to put Hilly’s advice out on another wider-reaching forum on the Web to help others with this problem!
I am so glad that his advice helped you!
Respectfully,
John Nehmer, Milwaukee



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August 16, 2012 8:40:40 AM

hilly1 said:
had the same exact issue!

run chkdsk

go to a cmd prompt type in

chkdsk c: /r

NOTE if the drive is g or whatever than instead of c: type g:

it will take a while wait it out it will fix it all


hi hilly,
i did this but my files are not back in my driver! :(  help!
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October 5, 2012 10:20:42 AM

i check my external hard drive it's ok. but i did not see my file? what happened to my external hard drive?
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October 30, 2012 11:53:54 PM

I tried the chkdsk fix and got the following error message: The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. Thoughts?
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October 31, 2012 1:21:39 AM

Thanks for the response. I've tried data recovery software and partition fixing software. Neither can see the files individually, tho disk management clearly shows the drive as being half full eg all the files are still there. I tried tools/error checking/fix now or whatever and the window popped up and instaclosed. Can't figure that one out either.

Still need help!
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March 26, 2013 7:23:13 AM

Same thing happened to me but i managed to recover the files using "Piriform Recuva".
Do a Deep Scan and check the option to show Non deleted files too...
Hope this helps.
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April 2, 2013 2:13:36 AM

My problem is... if my external hard drive i put in my computer i can not see the logo of USB. what happen to my external hard drive? i try all the computer but did not work can you send me for my problem?
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April 27, 2013 8:27:46 PM

Hi Hilly,

I got the same problem... I tried chkdsk but message appeared - Access Denied as you do not have sufficient privileges. You have to invoke this utility running in the elevated mode.

What should I do next.... please help me....
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April 27, 2013 8:49:51 PM

Hi Hilly,

I got the same problem... I tried chkdsk but message appears "Access Denied as you do not have sufficient privileges. You have to invoke this utility running in the elevated mode."

What should I do next.... please help me....
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May 26, 2013 12:47:23 AM

joe23 said:
Just the other day, when i plugged in my 1.5 TB external hdd, i noticed that all files from the letter
A to L loaded up fine and appeared but I couldn't find or see any files/folders that started with the
letter M to Z! They are just missing!

But my memory usage is still the same so nothing got deleted or overwritten. It's as if though it just became invisible and I can't find anyway to access or find those files to retrieve them!

Does anyone know what happened or how I can retrieve those files?

Notes:
-I've checked the show hidden files / system files box
-I'm running on win xp
-I've tried connecting the ext hdd to another pc and same result (m-z do not show up)
-I can still transfer data to and from the ext drive without any error messages, but anything named
with the letter M to Z will disappear the moment it goes into the external hdd.
-I tried chkdsk and error fixing options and both said after a few seconds of scanning there was an unreadable or corruption part?
-the external hdd is 1.5 years old
-I've used up 1.1 TB of space out of the 1.5 TB total. That hasn't changed at all, so the data must still
be on the hdd, I just can't see it or find it anymore.


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May 26, 2013 12:57:36 AM

Hi joe23,

please try these command to recover your missing files

attrib -s -h /s /d

first you go to command prompt ( start then click run and type cmd or command on the textbox)

next, the command prompt will appear..
you need to find out what the drive location of your external HD..

then type this..
for example your external hard drive on F:

f:attrib -s -h /s /d

then enter
...
and wait after few minutes and the files will recovered..
sometimes you will see the folder with no name ..what you can do is to open it..your files is inside..

i think it will help you to out.. ^_^
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November 11, 2013 5:40:57 PM

The files could be just hidden for some reason, so try to show hidden files
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-sg/windows/show-hidden-...

If the files still does not show up, it means that the files are deleted for some reason, try to recover them with data recovery tool
http://goo.gl/Mj012l

do not use the external hard drive before you get back all your files. The reason is that continue using may cause files relocation, or new files to be saved to external hdd, which may causes space of deleted files to be overwritten, which will make those files unrecoverable.

If still got problem, you may try scan hard drive with data recovery tool. If have one on your computer, try to update the virus definition, if not, you can use free avg
http://free.avg.com

Norton is also famous
http://www.norton.com

After you've got back your data, you can do a low level format of hard drive to clear out all the rubbish so that you can continue using it.

Next time remember to backup your files. It is good practice to always got your important files backed up so that you will have peace of mind.
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!