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Problems with external hdd recovery

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September 3, 2011 5:27:59 AM

Hello,

I am trying to get data off a WD My Essentials 1.0 1 TB external hdd for a photographer friend who didn't back up her photos (roughly 300GB). The drive tipped over while running (although she says it wasn't much of a fall) and she couldn't get it working again (probably due to the mini-usb port being all messed up - no plastic inner piece and pins bent in all directions). So I opened the case and connected the bare SATA drive. All that windows shows is just unallocated space. Scanning the drive with PhotoRec got me a giant (272 GB) .rw2 file that won't open (tried irfanview, vlc, gimp with raw, etc.) - also a 17GB swc file that won't open.
None of the other recovery scanners I tried gave me anything (used all the one that are on Hiren's 14.0). Wrote an email to PhotoRec and asked about the giant rw2 file, they responded that PhotoRec doesn't restore the size of rw2 files, so sometimes they get reported as very large. However, it is odd that it would be about the same size as the amount of data she's missing - just a coincidence? I thought maybe it's a WD encrypted file system - though I don't know how to test that theory out without finding a clone of the original external hdd. Is there any hope for this drive? I'm out of ideas. Thanks in advance for your help.

AJ
September 10, 2011 2:53:00 PM

So, if I understand correctly, the data came through as one huge rw2 file because it was coming off an encrypted partition. So, to de-encrypt that data I'll need to put it behind a WD usb-to-sata bridge that matches the original. I guess it begs the question if it would have to be the original hard drive I'd need to put behind the bridge (meaning I'd need to open another WD external hdd) or could I copy everything onto the new WD drive and try to access it? My gut instinct is no on the copy, since I would need to partition the drive before transfer - meaning it would be doubly encrypted... but maybe I'm off on this assumption. So my question then becomes what are the next steps to help this lady get her data back? Hopeless?

Thanks!
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a c 271 G Storage
September 10, 2011 9:15:10 PM

If a replacement drive were to have any chance of working, you would need to "image" the original drive, ie you would need to make a sector-by-sector raw copy.

That said, I don't know if there is any unique property of the original drive (eg serial number) that is tied to the bridge board or to the data in the SmartWare area and beyond.
September 10, 2011 11:49:24 PM

Why don't you try some recovery program to search lost files?
September 11, 2011 3:29:03 AM

techeasy said:
Why don't you try some recovery program to search lost files?


Tech, thanks for the suggestion - my original post described the dilemma - which is that I have already used several recovery programs, but have had no success because the data is encrypted. Unless you know of a recovery program that can read through WD encryption, it won't help.
a c 271 G Storage
September 12, 2011 3:03:57 AM

If you are careful to match the pinouts, you could use a larger "B" connector and attach it with 4 individual wires, eg wirewrap wire. Then you could use a more robust USB cable.

See http://pinouts.ru/Slots/USB_pinout.shtml

September 12, 2011 12:22:17 PM

fzabkar said:
If you are careful to match the pinouts, you could use a larger "B" connector and attach it with 4 individual wires, eg wirewrap wire. Then you could use a more robust USB cable.

See http://pinouts.ru/Slots/USB_pinout.shtml


I thought about trying to replace the usb connector - I guess I shrank from it because the pins are so small and bent so badly (and I haven't picked up an iron since my first year at the university). Maybe I'll try looking at it again. As far as money goes, the photographer is pretty desperate to get the data back - so I think $80 for another hdd isn't too much of a barrier - especially if we can do the sector by sector copy so we don't have to crack the case (the WD don't take kindly to being opened... there's not much left when you're done). Thanks for the suggestions.
September 12, 2011 12:35:01 PM

Mu33rto said:
http://community.wdc.com/t5/External-Drives-for-Mac/MyB...

But its going to cost some $$$$$.I would find a mini-usb port that matches the one on the hdd and solder it back....Cuz who has that much $$$ to spend on data recovery.


Ouch, so my clever plan of copying is not going to happen - neither is the second bridge. I guess the only hope is to remember really quickly how to solder again and pray that the pins aren't as badly damaged as they look. Thanks for the help.
!