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  1. #1
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    Yes, it was a surprise. The venerable Seagate 250gb PATA drive, with fewer than 5,000 POH, which I trustingly had named "Backup", appeared very unhappy. While running in its fan-cooled USB2.0 enclosure, the XP Professional system decreed the drive was "unreadable", and invited me to format the drive. After a shocked pause to catch my breath, I refused-- surely all was not lost, and data could be saved.

    So far, so good.

    Since this "format invitation" has happened before with other drives on USB external enclosures because of poor USB cable connections, I did not panic but presumed the drive would read properly after I shut down, firmly disconnected and reconnected the USB cable and rebooted. The only problem is my next step-- fearing if I disconnected before rebooting, I might lose a partition and/or further scramble the data files, I merely (gently) pushed the USB cable in more firmly, but left the drive connected to the system during reboot.

    Of course, on reboot, the system went into an automatic chkdsk operation on the drive, and soon enough, I was left with 10,000 recovered chk files. Of no value, obviously, but even more worrisome, now, I cannot run any of my more advanced utilities on the drive to correct / repair whatever caused the original "unreadable" condition. Everything is now a chkdsk-digested, undifferentiated mess of 10,000 files.

    Any suggestions about how to recover from a very bad chkdsk session which probably made matters worse?

  2. #2
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    Hard to say for sure but it sounds like the index was off so chkdsk interpreted all files as being "off." You can take a look at the drive with the software from Runtime.org or the free version (buy the full if it looks like it will work) of EaseUS recovery. That may work best if the drive is removed from the enclosure and hooked up directly PATA. You can also send an email to Scott Moulton at Myharddrivedied.com and see if they think its worth an evaluation.
    Ultimately though it may be the best course of action to get a replacement drive (if the one knackered now is done for) and restore the backup from the original data. Sometimes it works in reverse like that where the original data bails out the backup.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Hard to say for sure but it sounds like the index was off so chkdsk interpreted all files as being "off." You can take a look at the drive with the software from Runtime.org or the free version (buy the full if it looks like it will work) of EaseUS recovery. That may work best if the drive is removed from the enclosure and hooked up directly PATA. You can also send an email to Scott Moulton at Myharddrivedied.com and see if they think its worth an evaluation.
    Ultimately though it may be the best course of action to get a replacement drive (if the one knackered now is done for) and restore the backup from the original data. Sometimes it works in reverse like that where the original data bails out the backup.
    Thanks, Byron. I went to both sites. It appears GetDataBack 4.01 requires pre-purchase for $69, without option to try a full recovery on a trial bases. MyHardDriveDied.com may be more promising, so I'll let you know.

    To be frank, once the chkdsk ran automatically, the options are limited.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Hard to say for sure but it sounds like the index was off so chkdsk interpreted all files as being "off." You can take a look at the drive with the software from Runtime.org or the free version (buy the full if it looks like it will work) of EaseUS recovery. That may work best if the drive is removed from the enclosure and hooked up directly PATA. You can also send an email to Scott Moulton at Myharddrivedied.com and see if they think its worth an evaluation.
    Ultimately though it may be the best course of action to get a replacement drive (if the one knackered now is done for) and restore the backup from the original data. Sometimes it works in reverse like that where the original data bails out the backup.
    As I said I would, I checked out Scott Moulton of MyHardDriveDied.com. Moulton, who normally runs a computer tech road show out of Atlanta, Georgia (I believe), very kindly gave me a quick tip on USB-- that format, he said, is terrible for handling important data. If anything goes wrong with a USB external HD, only transplantation of the HD to the full (IDE) data bus offers adequate diagnostic and recovery measures. That is why in many instances, the only remedy is to remove the USB drive from its factory enclosure (as arduous and warranty-killing as that may be) and install the drive on a full IDE bus.

    In all cases, Moulton said, never, ever let Windows' chkdsk have its own way with a USB external HD, or it may make unrecoverable hash of the data.

    So, for the original, offending HD, I took Moulton's advice, installed it on the IDE primary, and instantly was able to see and access all data structures,as if nothing had happened. While this was a great relief to me and a vast improvement over the Windows system message "The disk in drive X is not formatted. Do you want to format the drive now?", I am now on notice I probably have a persistent problem with the USB ext HD enclosure-- its USB stage may be failing (as a check, I already have swapped USB cables).

    Now, to find a more reliable archival device than USB. Since I do not completely trust DVDs or CDs, either, the best remaining archive device is another HD, mounted on the IDE primary, but removable. The industry still makes these, and while they are not "hot-swappable" as is USB, all that matters is removable, high-density storage.

  5. #5
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    You may have a disk problem as well / instead. Check it with a diag program from your computer manufacturer.
    I have seen USB drives running for years without problems, but you are right about recovery.

    cheers, Paul

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