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Windows 7: Files & Folders Are Gibberish?!

18 Sep 2014   #1
Mulsiphix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
Files & Folders Are Gibberish?!

I took a USB HD from one machine and plugged it into another. When I tried to view it the files and folders appeared as gibberish. I tried a quick data recovery program I had on hand just to see if the files were still there. The program doesn't return path names or proper files names (ex. instead I get 0000001.zip) but the data appears to be there and uncorrupted. Any ideas what happened or if this can be fixed?




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Sep 2014   #2
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Was the USB drive written by a different language version of Windows? Either that or it is encrypted perhaps.
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18 Sep 2014   #3
Mulsiphix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Neither. English and not encrypted. Regular Windows drive. Could that be data corruption? I just ran a file recovery thing and its finding plenty of intact files, though no proper names or path names remain intact.
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18 Sep 2014   #4
Berton

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17, Windows 10 Pro TP
 
 

Sounds to me like the drive is corrupted, probably not much to do with it except reformat it. But first I'd try it on a different computer.
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19 Sep 2014   #5
Mulsiphix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

I went ahead and formatted it last night. So far all diagnostics pass with flying colors and I have no doubt the surface and read/write tests will pass a-okay as well. Was this a sign the drive is dying, despite positive test results (ran all of these about two weeks ago with perfect results)? If these tests turn up positive again, should I still consider tossing the drive?

My biggest worry is I have no idea what caused this to happen.
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19 Sep 2014   #6
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Is there any chance it was stored near a strong magnetic field? I don't think I've ever seen exactly this problem. Files corrupt and missing data but usually the directory entries are intact. A strange one.

Edit: It's like what I would expect to see if someone put it through one of those magnetic eraser donuts like they used to do with tapes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2014   #7
Mulsiphix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

It is connected as a storage device for my Wii. That area is full of different electronics because the Wii is smack dab in the middle of my home media center. I've been talking to other folks about the possibility that the Wii did this but their response is the same, they've never heard of or seen anything like this happen before.

This HD is in a pretty decent enclosure. At this point in time I suspect the Wii had to have something to do with it, but given nobody else shares that opinion and my knowledge of the Wii is so basic and limited, its not much of a theory. Three of these folks are moderators on Wii forums who have pretty much seen it all. Not very reassuring .

EDIT
It is worth adding that the Wii generally only reads from the HD. Last night I was playing a game on an NES Emulator and attempted to make a Save State, which would write to the HD. The drive had been performing without issue all day long. Though attempting to create Save States had been causing the Wii to freeze, requiring a hard reset. When it died I was attempting to create a Save State.

I received an error saying it could not write to the HD, followed by an error it could not find the directory (dir listing, for me to select a new location to create a save state). I then hopped out of the emu, and nothing else was working, as if the drive had been disconnected. I took it to Windows and was greeted with the screenshot provided in my first post.

Note that the freezing while creating a save state is a known issue with the emulator. It is recommended you have an SD card inserted and that save states be stored there, not on the HD. This would have fixed my freezing issue, but I didn't learn this was a known problem until after this fiasco began. Considering the only write to the HD happened during the save state, I have a hard time dismissing that as the culprit.

Either way there is no fix or remedy. What happened, happened. My only concern now is whether the drive needs to be tossed into the garbage or whether I want to assume the save state was the source of the problem and the HD is in fact safe to store data on. I hate to throw it away, especially when I cannot find any problems with it through testing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2014   #8
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Only way to know is use it and build up a track record. Until confidence is restored I would have everything backed up to another storage.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2014   #9
Mulsiphix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Solid advice. Thank you very much for your help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2014   #10
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
Solid advice. Thank you very much for your help!
You are most welcome. Now that I think of it, if they recommend against saving to a HD it could be that they are just copying binary data to raw memory. If that's the case then the file system data structures would be totally overwritten. In such a case one would expect the filenames, sizes and other info to be completely invalid. The good news being there's a good chance your HD is fine.
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 Files & Folders Are Gibberish?!




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