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Using Recuva or seeking professional help?

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November 23, 2012 9:40:56 AM

Hello,
New to this board and computer novice so advice needed please. Briefly, I have looked through previous answers about dysfunctional external hard drives. Could someone clarify for me: if I reformat my corrupted hard drive, will recuva or restore help retrieve data after reformatting? As a beginner, should I try this myself or find a local professional? Am also not clear about warranty as drive only 4 months old.

Back story; My Hitachi Touro 2TB desk external hard drive packed up yesterday. When I switched on yesterday morning it made a whirring sound - like a cd does going round in a player. Since then it appears on my computer as a local drive G: whereas before it identified itself as Hitachi G: The data shows as RAW check says the drive is working. Originally I was getting an error message that said something like 'cyclical redundancy' but now that's gone too. The message now is that I need to reformat.

Hitachi's website support give instructions on removing the partition and reformatting. I understand from this forum that it means the data is lost, but Recuva and Restore have been mentioned. Is this a situation where programs such as these could get my data back? How likely is it? Is this manageable by a complete beginner or should I take it into a local computer shop?

Any advice (spelled out in simple terms please) would be much appreciated. Thanks
a b G Storage
November 23, 2012 5:28:16 PM


Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

I also posted this into your other thread in General UK Discussions - whichever sub-Forum - it matters not so long as you get an answer. :D 

I think the thing to do first is to run Checkdisk on the drive, in Command Prompt and using the syntax chkdsk /r (including the space). The /r switch will find and fix any disk errors Windows finds and the RAW report may change back into NTFS after that five-stage process runs its course.

As to Recuva, I've had a lot of success with it in my customers' systems. I've even allowed a format to go ahead - usually a Quick Format if offered - knowing Recuva can find and recover quite a large percentage of files so long as the drive hasn't been written to since deletion or loss.

It is, however, preferable to fix the disk first and not format unless really pushed.

November 23, 2012 6:08:02 PM

Thanks - I'll give it a go.
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a c 272 G Storage
November 23, 2012 6:26:56 PM

DO NOT format, initialise, partition or do anything that writes on your drive. This will only make data recovery a lot harder.

Do not allow CHKDSK to "fix" any errors, if they are related to bad sectors. In most cases, CHKDSK will only make the problem worse.

Instead, clone your drive, sector by sector, using a utility (eeg ddrescue) that understands how to work around bad media. Then use data recovery software on your clone.

That said, given that you are hearing unusual noises, it may be that your HDD has internal physical problems, in which case data recovery software will be useless.
a b G Storage
November 24, 2012 5:58:01 AM

fzabkar said:

Do not allow CHKDSK to "fix" any errors, if they are related to bad sectors. In most cases, CHKDSK will only make the problem worse.



I don't post advice I haven't tried myself and I've never produced a bad result from running Checkdisk in probably something approaching a thousand occasions of doing so.

a c 272 G Storage
November 24, 2012 6:04:36 AM

I've been watching the HDD Guru forums for the past three years. The data recovery professionals routinely advise people not to allow CHKDSK to repair any problems related to bad media. By all means, run CHKDSK in readonly mode to determine the extent of any problems, but if there are numerous bad sectors, then the prevailing advice is to clone the drive using a tool that understands how to work around bad media.
a b G Storage
November 24, 2012 8:12:15 AM

I take all that on board - one of the reasons I come here is to learn - but maybe I've just been lucky. It's also possible the gurus err on the side of caution and it's the Cavalier in me that makes my living. :D 

If there are sectors or entire clusters Checkdisk can't repair, the data thereon is gone for good but if it repairs the crucial bits that get the system running, recovery isn't necessary because the data can be shipped out to another disk.

Windows is far more precious over disk quality than Linux and I can often mount a disk using a Linux LiveCD where Windows can't so you're right to be too trusting of Windows own repair fix but I can only go by my own experience.

!