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  1. #1
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    External HDD Restoration

    Please note this item is cross-posted. I also asked for help on Eileen's. I hope I don't raise anyone's ire doing so, as I'm just trying to access the best knowledge bases I know of to get advice on my next steps.

    Well, I've finally gotten off all the files I could from an external 500GB HDD. I've recovered 346,774,970,368 bytes of files of 420,759,625,728 bytes used on the HDD, so I'm only missing 74 GB or so. Now for the next step, I'd like to solicit some advice from the others who may have experience with this before blindly stumbling on.

    The situation: I have a white-box running XP SP3. After shutting down yesterday while some of Florida's famous thunderstorms rolled through, I rebooted the PC. My explorer of choice, xplorer2, threw the following alert:

    Code:
    Event ID = 26
    Description = Application popup: xplorer2_UC.exe - Corrupt File : The file or directory F:\$Mft is corrupt and unreadable. Please run the Chkdsk utility.
    After googling what the heck that meant I stopped doing anything that would write to F: and started copying files off the HDD. I backed up all the files that could be copied by using standard Windows copy within xplorer2, which logs the errors but continues copying, and got the files onto another external HDD.

    Ran CHKDSK /I F: and received about 60 of these ...
    Code:
    Deleting corrupt attribute record (128, "")
    from file record segment 373930.
    ... and about 1500 of these ...
    Code:
    Deleting orphan file record segment 376728.
    ... before CHKDSK stopped with ...
    Code:
    Errors found. CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode.
    I purposely did not use options /F or /R for CHKDSK as I'm still in discovery mode and don't want to muck things up more than they already are.

    For what it's worth, FSUTIL DIRTY QUERY F: also returned that F: is dirty.

    Which sums up where I am now.

    My questions are:

    1. Will running another file recovery program like RECVUA, PartedMagic or Easus Data Recovery be worth the time spent to try to get some more of the file off the drive before moving on to trying to correct the corrupt $MFT file? Perhaps the obvious answer of "It can't hurt" is the answer, but I don't have enough additional storage to save duplicates of the 340 odd gigabytes already saved. Perhaps if there's a method to copy only files that haven't already been copied, then it may make sense to give it a try.

    Although I'd like to recover as much as possible, I also need to finish this and move on in a reasonable time, thus my desire to get some feedback.

    2. Does anyone have comments or experience using TESTDISK from http://www.cgsecurity.org? It proclaims it can fix the $MFT using the mirror $MFT. Anyone actually use it or another utility successfully?

    Thanks in advance for reading this, and for any suggestions offered.
    PJ in FL

  2. #2
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    I haven't used this but the reviews are good and the author is well regarded.
    SpinRite

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    I haven't used this but the reviews are good and the author is well regarded.
    SpinRite

    cheers, Paul
    Thank you for the reference. The last time I had a copy of SpinRite, my HDD was 40 Megabytes and I received the copy for evaluation for our local PC User's Group!

    At this time my budget is closer to $0, so SpinRite is probably going to go on the back burner. I'd be very interested to know if you can also recommend a freeware program that offers similar functionality.

    Thanks again for your input!
    PJ in FL

  4. #4
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    Data recovery always costs money - sigh!

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
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    I have had success with Easus on a drive that had been hit with lightning and the geeksquad said was unrecoverable. (I was the second opinion shop). The drive was recognized in windows but would not boot and showed errors when I tried to access it. The free version is limited to 1gb if recovery so unless you have most of your files off already and know exactly what you need to recover yet, you will need to purchase the full version.

  6. #6
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    I personally liked test disk since it already saved me before when i had that failing drive but a bit of advice, this software is much for the advance 1. goodluck with this. I've been using a good utility for backing and creating image of my drives and it's acronis true image. And Oh if successful yes it is.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions!

    Sorry for the delay responding. Yesterday was a full day of thunderstorms and tornadoes in central Florida, so everything was unplugged for safety.

    I'll be posting the complete process I've used in case someone else finds it helpful.

    I did make a full image backup using Macrium Reflect, then recovered all the files I'll probably want off the drive that didn't copy off in my original file-by-file copy.

    Turns out I had many, many files from old HDD back-ups that needed to be lost (old \WINDOWS, \INTERNET\TEMP, etc. folders). RECUVA was helpful, if a bit awkward to use unless you let it scan the entire drive.

    Now I'm off to solve another "windows" problem - a broken window pane yesterday. Didn't happen during all the storms, but after the storms passed. Did I ever tell you the one about the neighbor and her tiki torch? It was a "smashing" failure.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and advise!
    PJ in FL

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