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  1. #1
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    Hard drive missing partitions

    At first the problem seemed fairly simple, the USB connector to my drive broke so I needed a new one but, when I connected it to a new adapter I found that my drive read as being completely unpartitioned. I figured OK so when the drive connector snapped it corrupted something so I started looking into repair options.

    I tried using Easus partition recovery software, if couldn't find the old partitions.

    I tried using Recuva (which meant reformatting the drive). Still nothing, it found 256 useless files out of nearly 2TB worth of data (probably well over a million files).

    I then tried Testdisk which claims to be able to find old deleted and even reformatted partitions even if they've been corrupted. If detected only the new partition I made for Recuva.

    So I'm now I'm stuck. If I can't find a way to recover my data soon I'll have to give up and start recovering the files from their sources (which could take a very, very, very long time). It's as if the files never existed at all.

    The original hard drive was a: WD MyBook 2TB. Can't remember which variation it was (might be an essentials).
    I've since moved the internal drive to an Acro??? case (Acrodata I think, don't have it with me). I'm wondering if the original MBR was written to some sort of cache in the now broken interface.

    Edit: The final solution was that it was impossible to get my data back. The original interface encrypted the entire drive and after much searching I found no solution for getting the data back aside from taking it to a company and paying at least 500USD (not worth it in the least for me). Even if I took it to such a company there's no guarantee they'd be able to unformat and decrypt my drive. An identical drive wouldn't work as each drive has it's own unique hardware encryption. My advice is to get an internal drive then find a case for it. Doing it this way I can't imagine you'd run into encryption issues.
    Last edited by grnorris; 2011-04-18 at 12:16.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    You really need to connect the drive directly rather than use a USB adapter/drive - not all software can 'see' through all types of USB adapters.

    Once you have the drive connected internally to a PC, try the same scans again - try TestDisk first, it might just popup and tell you exactly what the problem is, it's diag system is pretty good.

    Another potential problem may be that the WD (silently?) installed some kind of auto encryption during it's initial connection - basically storing all your files in one zipped and encrypted file - the drivers it would have loaded in Windows would have allowed you to see through to the contents as if they were on a normal drive. Without those drivers - just 1 big file or a bunch of little files and some 'hidden' entries that might look like some kind of rootkit.

  3. #3
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    When I can I will try connecting it to a regular computer but I won't have a desktop at my disposal for a while. The only Desktop in my house is an old Dell which should be able to handle the drive (assuming it doesn't have any power issues) but that computer is currently buried while we slowly fix up my house. As for my friends and close family they either: Don't have a computer (much of my family), don't have a desktop with SATA support, or I barely ever get to see them anymore.

    Perhaps on Friday I'll get a chance to try it with one friends super computer (liquid cooled beast that he's put way to much into).

    Thanks for the info and any other suggestions would be great (It's on my list of things to do to get the actual product ID's then I can search for drivers and such).

    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    You really need to connect the drive directly rather than use a USB adapter/drive - not all software can 'see' through all types of USB adapters.

    Once you have the drive connected internally to a PC, try the same scans again - try TestDisk first, it might just popup and tell you exactly what the problem is, it's diag system is pretty good.

    Another potential problem may be that the WD (silently?) installed some kind of auto encryption during it's initial connection - basically storing all your files in one zipped and encrypted file - the drivers it would have loaded in Windows would have allowed you to see through to the contents as if they were on a normal drive. Without those drivers - just 1 big file or a bunch of little files and some 'hidden' entries that might look like some kind of rootkit.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

  4. #4
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    The drive was apparently encrypted and since Recuva required me to reformat the drive it's apparently impossible to recover the data (at least that's what the 10 or so useful post I read told me). If anyone knows otherwise I'll wait a few more days before manually replacing the data.

    Summary of my research:
    The entire drive was encrypted via hardware. This is one of the few cases where I think WD did a horrible job, they made the drive have a unique hardware enryption with a flimsy (at best) USB adapter.

    If the drive hadn't been reformatted it may have been possible to get the data back with a decryption program (though I didn't see any mentioned so either way it's probably a lost cause).

    A company called Matronix (or something like that) MAY be able to recover the data for 500 to 1,000 USD. I'd rather just buy a new computer with a bigger drive in it for that much...

    Again I'll wait just a little longer for advice before I completely give up and start replacing the data. Thanks.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

  5. #5
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Your research summary ties in pretty well with my research and resulting thoughts in the earlier reply. I've only ever had to deal with these WD MyBook problems remotely so I've never had the opportunity to do any 'post mortem' analysis directly and have had to rely on Q&A sessions online, reading the resulting logs, screenshots, etc. and, like you, Internet research. If it's any consolation, it's still happening to others; the last case I tried to help out in was less than 48 hours ago. Luckily, she had other backups and data loss was of no real concern and was already less than pleased with the invasive software and virtual disk that were installed on first connection to the drive.

    I've not read of any decryption method that's been successful in my travels on the 'net, usually, formatting and/or repartitioning does not stop most good recovery software from doing what it says on the tin. Once encryption, compression, etc. are brought into the equation, costs are likely to leap from free-$70, up into 3-4 figure costs, as you've already discovered.

    I really hope someone can chime in and prove us both wrong, I think that's a forlorn hope though.

  6. #6
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    I'm almost guaranteed to go over a friends house today if there isn't any new solutions by then I'll consider this a hopeless cause and begin repopulating the drive.

    To be clear I did actually try a direct mount as you (satrow) suggested but again because of the encryption it couldn't see the original. (Looking back at my last post it doesn't appear I was clear with this).
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Here's the other recent thread I was referring to, not that it helps much.

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    Might be worth noting my older hard drive (same type just a 1TB instead of 2) recently lost about half it's capacity because when I ran chkdsk (/R /X I believe). I'm guessing that a few sectors got screwed (I also removed the extra partition they including via their software then I just removed the software). I think from now on I'm going to buy a new internal drive then find a case for it. This way I can separate the two types of issues and don't have to worry about voiding warranties as much.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

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    I've now started regathering data. I'll edit the first post to reflect this.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

  10. #10
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    Hard disks are not encrypted by the USB hardware - this only adds expense to the USB adapter and no manufacturer is going there.
    The most likely scenario is the broken connector caused an intermittent connection that badly corrupted the disk. Connecting the disk directly to a computer is the only method likely to provide an answer.

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    @ Paul T: Did you read the full thread, particularly post #6?

  12. #12
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    Your reply assumes the manufacturer is logical and won't charge a premium for this feature. Somewhere in the description of the drive I'm sure there was something about protecting data even if I don't have a password. Turns out crappy hardware encryption is what they meant. I did actually do a lot of research on this subject as well (Trust me I wanted the data back). At this point I've recovered about half the data I lost, I'm currently looking at an alternative backup solution that I think will better fit my needs (Since I lost the data anyway I may as well update my methods to be more efficient/effective).

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Hard disks are not encrypted by the USB hardware - this only adds expense to the USB adapter and no manufacturer is going there.
    The most likely scenario is the broken connector caused an intermittent connection that badly corrupted the disk. Connecting the disk directly to a computer is the only method likely to provide an answer.

    cheers, Paul
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

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