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Windows 7: 3 external USB drives to internal HDD on new desktop;all "Unallocated"

20 Sep 2015   #1
spanishflyer

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 
3 external USB drives to internal HDD on new desktop;all "Unallocated"

Dear friends,

Fed up of having so many scattered USB external drives around my laptop + monitor set up, I went and purchased a tower case with plenty of room, with the fine intention to open my USB 3.0 external drives and by removing the sata to usb powered adapter, connect them using the cables provided by the case manufacturer NZXT 820 Phantom.
I run on an SSD (Samsung EVO 1TB) with Windows 7 64 bits, have more than enough RAM (32 DDR4 GB), an ASUS 170Z Deluxe motherboard with the latest i7 6700 4-4.2GHz and a GTX 680Ti for my graphics.

Anyway, I opened three of my external USB drives and shoved them into case slots, connecting the power from the power supply and the data cables to the proper places on the M.B. The thing is that when I started the computer, not one of the drives showed up in my windows "My PC". Sure enough, I entered the disc management window and they were there, with the right size and all... but with a black line under them and stating them as "Unallocated" drives.
Searching the web I came across some great comments from Jumanji, and followed his instructions to try and sort out the problem.

But before searching for help, I tried as a last resort to re-plug the drives to their USB 3.0 to sata connectors, "knowing" that at least I could regain access to the drives.... Well NO, that did not happen, because I got the same result as with the internal test, that is, still "Unallocated" drives

Something must have happened when I removed the USB to HDD connector and plugged them to the PC directly. Biggest problem here is that these 3TB WD drives have almost all my backups and random data plus tons of photographs that I dare not lose.

Right not I'm in the process of running one of the drives with TestDisk 7.0, but it is such a slow process, that I decided to drop you a line and see if I could gather more information.

Oh, and one last thing, I have two ICY BOX drive cases, with 4TB drives, that I emptied and also dropped them into the huge Phantom case... and what do you know, they are running happily as ever inside the new PC... how can that be???

Best regards to all and specially to Jumanji for posting such detailed info on how to run TestDisk.

Spanish Flyer


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Sep 2015   #2
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

The catch phrase here is the three 3TB Western digital external drives..

Please specify the external drive model name/numbers.Desktop/Portable? Elements/My Book/Passport etc ?.as well as the model numbers on the external casing. ( I don't know much about Western Digital external drive models for I have none)

What I know about them:

1. All Western Digital external drives except Elements are hardware encrypted. The hardware encryption chip is inside the enclosure Electronics. The key to decrypt also embedded inside. You cannot take the HDD out and connect them as internal drives. Even if you manage to recover the data outside its external case you will only get the encrypted data.Wthout the key you cannot decrypt the data. And the key is embedded inside the external case as I already told.

2. The problem is further complicated by the Advanced Formatting employed in more than 2TB HDDs. ( This applies to more than 2TB drives of all manufacturers) If the Specifications of your WD external drive says it is compatible with Windows XP then it definitely came out of the factory as MBR initialised Advance formatted drives.

The safe procedure one should adopt in this case would be to copy all data into another drive, take the HDD out, put it inside the desktop case, format it as a GPT initialised drive and then copy all data back into it. The question: Have you at anytime formatted these WD external drives?

OK, now what should you do? Try to put each 3TB drive back into the same enclosure from which it was taken out.. Reason: the decrypt key in each external case may be different. Unless you put those back into their respective cases you may not see the data or so I think..

Now regarding your 4 TB external drives which you are able to read inside the Desktop: ( Just for my curiosity)

Install MiniTool Partition Wizard Free edition 9.1 Best Free Partition Manager for Windows | MiniTool Partition Free and post a screenshot of how your drives appear in it.- the very first screen when you launch the application.

Also mention the model Number of the ICY box external case and the 4TB HDDs' manufacturer and model No.( for my research )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #3
spanishflyer

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 

Thanks to all and now jumanji, who have tried to help me out with my problem that still haven't managed to sort out.
My main hobby photography is what takes most of their space, but have no clue on what exactly was in them. Still, I did carry out double backups, but that doesn't mean that I will recover everything; 9TB of data (say 7 in total) is a lot of data to be so lucky so as to have a double backup of all, but personally I just can't afford to pay a professional company to "try" and recover the lost data.
What surprises me most is the fact that USB external drive manufacturers encrypt them in such a way that doing something so logical as to install the drives internally, to clean-up the desk, you end up with a bricked drive; it should be illegal, or at least make them in such a way that following their instructions, you could remove them and install them elsewhere.
Some pics of the drives and my setup: Move external USB HDD to new Desktop

Jumanji, I hope you can gather the needed info from the drive's pics an adding to that, the fact that not only the WD's are encrypted but also the Seagate that came out of its external USB 3.0 plastic box (so it is actually 2 WD plus 1 Seagate). If it is of any consolation, I have not tried to format any of them, just run the Mini Tool Partition Wizard 9 and the EaseUS Partition Recovery 8.5

As I say, I haven't formatted any of them yet, since I still have hopes that I can bring them back to life.
Two WD 3TB green and one Seagate 3TB Barracuda still waiting for someone to guide me through the darkness....(TestDisk & EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard have been used, but I either don't know how to use them, or they just need "something stronger")
Best regards,

Spanish Flyer (Charles)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Sep 2015   #4
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Sorry, your pictures are of no help to me. Right now we shall take only the two WD 3TB drives.

Just answer these questions. Post only the screenshots I ask for and in the format we are used to.. Nothing more. Nothing less. ( The space in my memory is limited as also the capture and retention )

1. What is the Model Name of your Western Digital external drives ? Elements/My Book/My Book Duo

See this weblink External Desktop Hard Drives Overview (You can also see and confirm whether it is hardware encrypted.)

2. Look at the label on the external case and if there is a model Number specified on it, post the model Number. ( At the moment I do not need the details of the HDD inside which you have posted.)

3. Put both the WD 3TB HDDs back into their respective cases from which you took it. Plug them into the USB ports. ( Please remove all other external drives/pen drives which may confuse us)

4. Run Partition Wizard Free Edition 9.1. Post the screenshot of how these two drives appear in Partition Wizard - the very first screen when you launch PW. Use the Windows Snipping Tool to capture and upload it to Seven Forums Servers and attach it to your post.
Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums

5. Also post a screenshot of Windows Disk Managemnt. Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #5
spanishflyer

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 

Dear jumanji,

I can't thank you enough for the suggestions you gave me; the fact is that while I was responding to the last message you sent, I was carrying out one last try on the Seagate 3TB USB 3.0, using the MiniTool Partition Wizard in the background and IT WORKED!! Recovered 100% of my files and now has a new drive letter (H); My huge doubt is if I can try once more to connect it directly either in the ICY BOX (through its common USB 3.0-SATA adapter, capable of hosting 4 x HDD's), or not, the other option being installing it internally on the PC case.

The problem here jumanji is that when I removed the three drives from their boxes, I had to break all the plastic clips holding the box together and I have thrown them away. I can however connect the corresponding SATA to USB adapter, which I guess is all that I need.

Anyway, as you suggest, we can now concentrate on the two WD and go from there. They are/were.. WD Elements individual drives (thanks for the link), but sadly I cannot give you more info since as I say I trashed the cases. Again impossible to place them back in their cases, but can slide their USB to SATA adapter card and power them from there....

If that is fine with you I can plug both WD drives into two USB 3.0 available on mi Motherboard and run the partition Wizard Free Edition 9.1 and post the screenshot you need using the snipping tool. I will also post a screenshot of the Disk management.

Thanks again,
Spanish Flyer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #6
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Sorry again, there is huge communication problem. I do not understand what exactly you did with the Seagate drive.

1.Originally it was in its own branded case. Right?

2.You broke the case open, took the HDD out and connected it internally on your Desktop. Right?

3. You were not able to see any data in it when the bare Seagate HDD was connected internally in your Desktop. Right?

You have to explain what exactly you did to recover the data step by step. A statement like "with Partition Wizard running in the background I was able to recover the data" does not convey any meaning to me.

Did you take the Seagate HDD and put it back in its Original external case?

Did you use Partition Wizard to recover data? What exactly did you do in Partition Wizard to recover the data? Did you copy the data to another drive or you are able to see all the data in the same drive?

Where exactly is the Seagate HDD now with the drive letter H? Internally connected? Can you post a screenshot of Windows Disk Management and Partition Wizard showing the H drive?

Finally, if indeed your Western Digital external drives were Elements, those are not hardware encrypted.

Whatever procedure you adopted for the Seagate drive to recover it, the same procedure may work with the WD drives. However, this is only an inference since I don't know how exactly you recovered your Seagate 3TB drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #7
spanishflyer

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 

No problem jumanji, I'll do a bit of copy paste and add to your comments:

Sorry again, there is huge communication problem. I do not understand what exactly you did with the Seagate drive.

1.Originally it was in its own branded case. Right? CORRECT

2.You broke the case open, took the HDD out and connected it internally on your Desktop. Right? AGAIN CORRECT

3. You were not able to see any data in it when the bare Seagate HDD was connected internally in your Desktop. Right? ABSOLUTELY, I just got the "Unallocated drive" on all three external USB 3.0 drives I have mentioned.

You have to explain what exactly you did to recover the data step by step. A statement like "with Partition Wizard running in the background I was able to recover the data" does not convey any meaning to me. I'M VERY sorry here because I'm a bit of a novice with regards to computing, programming ASO; the truth is I followed your very detailed instructions on how to use Partition Wizard step by step.

Did you take the Seagate HDD and put it back in its Original external case? NO, I just connected the USB to SATA card (that comes with the HDD in the case); I then connected it to its power supply and the USB to a USB terminal on my new PC, a 3.0 USB.

Did you use Partition Wizard to recover data? What exactly did you do in Partition Wizard to recover the data? Did you copy the data to another drive or you are able to see all the data in the same drive?

Where exactly is the Seagate HDD now with the drive letter H? Internally connected? NO, it's lying on my desk beside the PC tower. Can you post a screenshot of Windows Disk Management and Partition Wizard showing the H drive? I CHOSE the letter (H) in the Disk Management, since it had none after the repair. Of course I can include a screen shot (if I can manage...)

Finally, if indeed your Western Digital external drives were Elements, those are not hardware encrypted. THEN I am totally baffled on what really happened, because "damaging one drive while extracting it from its plastic cover could be possible, but on all three... no chance. I am a very good mechanic, even with small items like this, have a full size workshop with plenty of tools I can use.

Whatever procedure you adopted for the Seagate drive to recover it, the same procedure may work with the WD drives. AS I SAID, I will keep you posted and send you all the screenshots you requested.

And sorry for the capital letters I used, but I wanted to make sure you got my reply at first glance.


Attached Thumbnails
3 external USB drives to internal HDD on new desktop;all "Unallocated"-disc-management-after-repair.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #8
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

OK. most probably I understand what you did.

You restored the original configuration. That is external case is damaged, However you have the electronics in tact. So you connected it back the USB to Sata Bridge card and also the power supply as before and connected to the USB port.

You do the same thing for the two WD drives. Connect those back to their original USB to Sata bridge card and restore the power. Connect through their USB cable to the PC. If the electronics and/or the Hdds have not been damaged during the breaking and handling process these should work as before and show you all the data as the Seagate drive did.

In other words it is as if theses are in their original external cases with the original electronics but only the case is not there.

Now a word of caution: Your ICY Box as I understand now is a 4slot dock. (In my first post itself I asked for the model Number, and throughout you never answered my questions to the point.) Older docks cannot handle drives more than 2TB. So check the specifications whether your dock can handle more than 3TB drive/slot. Incompatible docks will muck up 3TB drives and data recovery will be impossible. Unless you know the per slot capacity and total capacity the dock can handle, do not put your 3TB and 4TB drives into it.

Once all your drives are working in their original configuration but without the broken cases:

copy all data into three other drives, put these Seagate and WD 3TB HDDs inside the desktop case, format it as a GPT initialised drive and then copy all data back into it.

Good Luck. I am out of this thread now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 3 external USB drives to internal HDD on new desktop;all "Unallocated"




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