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Windows 7: Can I recover lost files if hard drive is intialzed & space allocated?

22 Nov 2017   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Can I recover lost files if hard drive is intialzed & space allocated?

my WD 2TB ext. hard drive went silent. It happened after updating the Western Digital software that monitors hd functions. I laughed and cried at the same time. It has me wondering how useful "WD SmartWare" is? Or should it be removed?

-The HD is a little over two years old and almost completely full when it became unreadable.
-At least 15 different software/hard drive recovery app's found on the internet have been tried. The only thing found was an "error".
-Windows 7 lists the hard drive as healthy but "Unallocated" and wants to "initialize the drive" so it can be used again.

-Can files/folders/old partitions be recovered on a hard drive that's been initialized?
Even if it's only possible to recover half the files, that would be great.
Thanks for the help

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2017   #2

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

I have heard of cases where WD external drives became unreadable. In one case, the person told me that the drive was encrypted and therefore unreadable. My suspicion is that the drive's SATA-to-USB circuitry is faulty and therefore has left the drive encrypted, with no way to unencrypt it. But that is only a guess. I do know that WD external hard drives sometimes fail.

The only way I know of that you might be able to recover the files from this drive is to boot the computer to Linux (create a Linux DVD and boot to it -- go here to do it:, plug in the external drive, and see if you can copy the files from it to your internal hard drive.

Once you have copied off all your files from the external drive, you could try partitioning and formatting it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2017   #3

windows 7 64

it the hard drive does not contain physical issues such as bad sectors, you can retrieve data from it using hard drive recovery software; if your hard drive is physically damaged, no recovery software work on it. In that case, you'll have to send it to a recovery center. In some cases, the hard drive will be opened in a lab and then files can be recovered from platters directly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Dec 2017   #4

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

Here is something I found several months ago:
TIP: Heres - Level1Techs Forums

It is a tool to decrypt WD mybook drives if the enclosure fails. If encryption is the problem here, then this tool might do the job for you.

I've never used it myself, but perhaps it will be helpful for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I recover lost files if hard drive is intialzed & space allocated?

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