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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I have a 160GB Freecom external hard drive which I use to store files on (mainly music) and has about 150GB of data on. Yesterday when I plugged it in to my laptop (running Windows Vista, Home Premium edition) and tried to access it, I received a message saying that it needed formatting and giving me the option to format it, which I cancelled. I tried plugging it in to a Windows XP machine and received the same message. I last backed this up about a month ago. Is there anyway of recovering the files from this drive or have I lost the files that have not been backed up? Was hoping to find a freeware option as the files are not particularly valuable, just time consuming to redo.
    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Martin, Welcome to the Lounge. It's always nice to see a new poster.

    After you plug it in and close down the notice, does the drive show up in Windows Explorer? If it does I would suggest copying what you can onto your HD, then replacing the Ext HD with a new Ext HD. It does sound as though this may be on it's last legs. (heading toward the graveyard. May already be there) Hopfully these are not your only copies of this music. At the price today for Ext USB drives, 160 GB is very small. My 1 TB Seagate was about $100 USD when I purchased it almost a year ago. Prices have dropped since then.

    As a side note, it may be worth trying a different cable before doing anything else. I hope this helps.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  4. #3
    4 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    Welcome to the lounge Martin.
    You may wish to try RECUVA. Available free: here
    Let us know if it works. Good luck!
    (My Setup: 3,70GHz Intel Core i7-4820K CPU; MSI Military Class iii X79A-GD45 Plus Motherboard; Win 8.1 Pro (64 bit); 16GB RAM; SAMSUNG SD840 PRO SSD (6GB/SATA III); Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; GeForceGTX 760 2GB Graphics Card; Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2014 Premium, NIS 2014, etc). (UEFI-booted). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive)

  5. #4
    Star Lounger
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    This may be related, I run Win 7 and recently bought a WD Essentials 1.5 TB drive, after a while and at regular intervals I get the same "your drive needs formatting" message although it doesn't, sometimes I just click cancel and the message goes away immediately but on other occasions it just keeps coming back every few seconds. Rebooting usually cures this. At the end of the day there is nothing wrong with the drive and my suspicion is that this annoying message was introduced by a recent Windows Update.

    Graham

  6. #5
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Ted - Yes, after I close the notice down, the drive does show up in Windows Explorer, but I am unable to access any files on it. Every time I try to click on the drive I keep getting the messgae asking me to format it. I have tried another lead, but unfortunately this did not solve the problem. Think you maybe right about it being on it's last legs, as the last couple of weeks it has been dropping out unexpectedly whist connected and then reconnecting again.

    Peter - Thanks for the tip, I will give that a go tomorrow night and let you know if it works. Also noticed TestDisk which I will try if this does not fix it.

    Graham - Have tried rebooting the PC several times, but still get the message every time.

  7. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Perform a checkdisk from your Vista's drive manager. It's possible that the drive was not shut down properly the last time it was used and you have
    file errors or other issues that need to be repaired. Checkdisk is the simplest and cheapest thing to try first.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  8. #7
    New Lounger
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    Thanks Clint, did try this yesterday but just got a message telling me that the disk needed to be formatted before use.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    With what operating system did you originally format the drive?
    There are variations in NTFS between XP and Vista that may be a factor at play here, or there may be a complex series
    of interactions between the varying operating systems and NTFS types.
    You might minimize this sort of issue in the future if you limit access to the drive to similar NTFS operating system versions.
    (stick to NTFS Vista or later NTFS operating systems, or confine the drive to XP read & write access only)
    You may be able to recover your data but you will not likely recover the drive unless formatted, as the message says.


    Transactional NTFS (abbreviated TxF) is a component of Windows Vista and later operating systems. It brings the concept of atomic transactions to the NTFS file system, allowing Windows application developers to write file output routines that are guaranteed either to succeed completely or to fail completely.

    Transactional NTFS allows for files and directories to be modified, created, renamed, and deleted atomically. Using transaction ensures correctness of operation; in a series of file operations (done as a transaction), the operation will be committed if all the operations succeed. In case of any failure, the entire operation will rollback and fail.

    Transactional NTFS is implemented on top of the Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM), which is a Windows kernel component first introduced in Windows Vista that provides transactioning of objects in the kernel. The NTFS file system already supports journaling of low-level operations, such as writing a block of data. Transactional NTFS expands on this capability to include:
    Atomic operations on a single file:
    A common example of this is saving a file from an application; if the application or machine were to crash while writing the file, then only part of the file could be written, possibly resulting in a corrupted file. This would be a very significant problem if a previous version of the file was being over-written, as data would likely be lost.
    Atomic operations spanning multiple files:
    If an application needs to update several files at once with a set of changes, all the necessary file operations can be performed as a single transaction, preventing inconsistent updates in the event of a failure.
    Atomic operations spanning multiple computers:
    Performing the same operation on multiple computers is a fairly common administrative task in a corporate network; Transactional NTFS integrates with the Distributed Transaction Coordinator to ensure that the change is successfully applied to all machines.
    Using Transactional NTFS for transactions on Encrypting File System files is not supported until Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008.[1]
    A couple of other things to consider...
    You do not need 2 different operating systems indexing the drive every time it is plugged in for use. Make sure indexing is not active from at least one or either operating systems.
    Likewise, system restore should never be active on an external drive, especially between two different operating systems like XP and Vista.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  10. #9
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Martin, I think your drive is too full. A 160gb hdd usually shows as 149gb. Try emptying the recycle bin with the drive 'on' if that fails defrag it, if it still fails 'compress' the drive.
    George's PC Specs. / Laptop. Desktop.

  11. #10
    New Lounger
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    Clint - The drive had been pre-formatted, but I had been using it solely with Vista. I only plugged it into the XP machine after I recieved the error messages on the Vista machine in the hope that the problem might be specific to the Vista laptop and that I could retreive the files on another machine.

    Roderunner - I based the 150GB on the fact that I still had 10GB free.

    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am going to try Recuva and TestDisk on it tonight and will update tomorrow.

  12. #11
    New Lounger
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    Managed to recover the disk last night. Ran TestDisk (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step) on it. Problem was a missing partitiion table, which TestDisk managed to recover on a deep scan. Everything appears to be back to normal now. Took a backup immediately and ordered a new hard drive, so hopefully everything is fixed!

  13. #12
    4 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    Glad you were able to solve your problem, and thanks for posting back.

    Edit: I just had a look at the link you provided. TestDisk looks like quite a powerful, and useful, tool. Many thanks for introducing me to it!

    Once again, the value of the Lounge has been clearly demonstrated.
    (My Setup: 3,70GHz Intel Core i7-4820K CPU; MSI Military Class iii X79A-GD45 Plus Motherboard; Win 8.1 Pro (64 bit); 16GB RAM; SAMSUNG SD840 PRO SSD (6GB/SATA III); Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; GeForceGTX 760 2GB Graphics Card; Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2014 Premium, NIS 2014, etc). (UEFI-booted). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive)

  14. #13
    New Lounger
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    Peter - Thanks for pointing me to Recuver, it was while checking out the reviews of that, that I discovered TestDisk

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