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External hard drive just came up 'unformatted' but I have 100+ gigs of data HELP

(23 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by jorgstyle
  • Latest reply from smann20
  • Topic Viewed 40404 times

jorgstyle
Posts: 8

I have a Western Digital external hard drive (model WD3200B007 RGB) that I have a lot of data, mostly family pics and videos, on. Yesterday I went to open the drive and got the following message:

Disk in Drive F is not formatted. Would you like to format it now?

Obviously I did not reformat since I don't want to wipe off the data. I read in another post that sometimes you need to restart the drive, or PC or switch USB cables so I did all of that (on two different pc's) but it's still getting the same result.

I also ran the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows that was recommended to download in the other thread from http://support.wdc.com/product.....8;lang=en. I ran the quick and extended tests and both came back 'PASS'.

I am hoping I don't need to shell out a bunch of cash to restore the data so please help me out. While we're at it if anybody has a recommendation on how to back up my external hard drive so as not to lose everything please share.

Thanks in advance!

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

I assume after the message (Disk in Drive F is not formatted. Would you like to format it now), you have a Yes/No option. What happens when you say "No"?

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

jorgstyle,

DO NOT do anything to that HD until you can try this. Go to HELP in XP and type in CHKDSK. Read all articles including the ones on the MS external links. If you feel comfortable and understand the CHKDSK switch parameters, then you probably will be able to fix the HD. Also if I remember correctly, there is some command line for repairing the drive MBR. I will search for that while you learn about CHKDSK. Also, do you have a Disk Imaging Backup Program such as Ghost, Etc., Etc., ? I WILL NOT give you Bad Information which might destroy your data. We are very careful here at HTG because we realize your personal HD data is extremely important. Post back.

Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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jorgstyle
Posts: 8

whs - if I click no then the drive just doesn't open.

raphoenix - I'll look into CHKDSK and let you know.

Posted 6 years ago
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jorgstyle
Posts: 8

raphoenix - I looked into CHKDSK and although I wouldn't say I have a perfect understanding I played with it a bit. When I ran it in cmd this is the error I got on the drive:

the type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

I have no idea what that means.

Any other tips for how I can restore these files?

Posted 6 years ago
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k9
Posts: 129

Sorry to say this jorgstyle, but your Western Digital external hard drive seems to be corrupted. Try searching in Google for tools that can recover files from a RAW partition. I'm not sure if there are free s/w that can do that.

Posted 6 years ago
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abhs94
Posts: 165

did you use the external drive with vista earlier?

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

jorgstyle and k9,

I realize you are not running Windows Server 2003 however one last ditch attempt although I (Strongly Agree) with k9.

Go here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822653

The registry entry may not even be in the registry on your machine but it's worth a try.

My reasoning is at the bottom of the page: "Some computer software manufacturers use raw partitions to store their data in" and it want hurt the HD data to try.

Please post back with results. Good Luck !!

Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

It could be that Windows is just saying it's RAW because it can't read the partition structure for some reason like a problem with the MBR. There was a topic on that recently where someone said they used a program to fix the MBR and it was fixed. Not sure though if that would apply here as I don't know much about MBR problems.

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

jd2066,

Here is an article on Fix MBR. Not sure if it applies as jorgstyle is not booting from the external HD BUT anything is worth a try. Good suggestion !! This is one of those situations where EVERYONE needs to contribute !! Loss of personal data is a really "bad" issue. This is one reason I dislike laptops with only one HD. Folks don't understand they are playing with "fire" so to speak. In this case, I think we have a member that even lost his back-up HD data. This machine I'm using tonight has (6) HDs; (4) running on the sata controller in Raid 5 plus (2) on another mass storage controller which I use for manual back-ups.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/termsf/p/fixmbr.htm

Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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jorgstyle
Posts: 8

Thanks for the replies everybody. I'm going to try the last ditch suggestions, cross my fingers, pray, light a candle, do a dance and hope it works. Otherwise I'm taking it to a data recovery place this weekend... any tips on where to go? This is all of our family pictures and videos from the past 3 years, so I'm very worried.

Any tips on how to triple back up my photos so this doesn't happen again?

Posted 6 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

I would certainly have one set of backups on DVD.

Posted 6 years ago
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jorgstyle
Posts: 8

K9 - if it is corrupted, am I totally screwed or is the data still there and I just can't access it?

I never used it on Vista.

Posted 6 years ago
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JKay
Posts: 78

I think abhs might be on to something, I also have a WD external that I use with Vista, my friends computer is running XP and I couldnt get anything on or off the HD when it was connected to the XP machine, jorg, if you have a Vista machine plug it into that and see what happens, can never hurt to try :)

Posted 6 years ago
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k9
Posts: 129

@jorgstyle - the data is still there in your hard disk, but your OS is not able to access it because the boot sector of that partition is corrupted. This link may help you - http://www.ptdd.com/fixboot.htm

Posted 6 years ago
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jorgstyle
Posts: 8

You guys are great. Thanks for all of the help. I have a Vista machine at the office that I'll take it and give it a try on. I'll also take a look at that last suggestions from K9 and raphoenix.

Posted 6 years ago
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farmerwardy
Posts: 1

i seem to have the same problem, altho slightly different.

i have 1 500gb hard disk with 2 partitions c: and d:
c: was for my windows xp install and programs (50gb)
d: was for storage (450gb)

i put a fresh copy of windowns onto c:
formatted and copied my backed up files onto d:

rebooted my pc and d: (storage) now shows as d: (local disk) and when i try to get in it asks if i want to format it.
i sat for 4 hours waiting for it to format last night and today i get this.

as im a music producer i need all that stuff back urgently.

any help would be excellent.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

farmerwardy, suggest you start your own thread. It is not nice to hijack another thread and you also may not get the neccessary attention.

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@whs,

You are right.

farmerwardy's problem will never be noticed under this mess above.

How are you today / night ??

Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Rick, I am fine. Still trying to see after a cataract operation. But it's getting better. Getting old is no fun. But I always was a tough cookie. So I manage. Thanks for asking.

Posted 6 years ago
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