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Windows 7: Laptop HDD Shows Folders but No Files

02 Jan 2015   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
Laptop HDD Shows Folders but No Files

After getting a couple of KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR screens my Toshiba laptop which I've had for four years, gave me a f3-f100-003 error screen.

I bought an enclosure for the hard drive and plugged it into my HP laptop, it views the drive and I was able to open it, it shows the folders for Windows, Users, etc. but it shows them as empty. My HP laptop is set to view hidden folders and files so I'm not sure if this is a security issue or what.

Both my Toshiba and HP laptops run Windows 7. My Toshiba was a 32-bit, my HP is 64.

Is there anything I can do to get my files back? I think it's encouraging that I can view all the folders and that the drive does show that data is on the disk, it's a 500 GB drive and only 23 GB was free, same as when I started getting the errors so I know it can find something on the drive.

I have tried running CMD as an admin and it will show the drive when I list all the drives but it won't let me switch to it, it just stays on C:.

Do I have hope? Thanks a lot!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2015   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi tennisnut36,

Welcome onboard.

Please post a screenshot in Windows Disk Management with your external drive plugged in. Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image

Please make sure that you hit on the "Show/Hide" icons in the top Menu bar to hide both Console Tree and Action Pane to present a full screen view.

Also In the Volume list on top, adjust the seperators, if need be, so that we can view Capacity, Free Space. % Free clearly.

Next, download, install and run MiniTools Parttion Wizard Home Edition v8.1.1 Free Partition Manager for Window PC | MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition

If your external drive is seen in it, select, rightclick on it and explore. Does it show all your files?

Post a screenshot.

Also tell us the manufacturer, and model of the HDD inside the external casing.

I am due to retire for the day in a few hours, but the screenshots will help others in your time zone to pursue and help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2015   #3

Windows 7 64 bit

Thanks for your help, unfortunately it may have gotten worse. When I plugged the drive in today, it's still showing the right amount of space left on the drive but in My Computer, it's not showing any folders.

I have attached the two screenshots.

Attached Thumbnails
Laptop HDD Shows Folders but No Files-diskmanagement.jpg   Laptop HDD Shows Folders but No Files-partition.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Jan 2015   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Yes, your hard disk is in a failure mode developing bad blocks. The Toshiba error message f3-f100-003 and the Kernel data inpage error was a clear indication of that. All the same I was hoping to see some good screenshots with basic information. It turns out to be a confirmation of that error.

Now stop plugging in or trying any data recovery on it forthwith.

Get another formatted external HDD with 500GB or more free space and start cloning your problem drive.

When cloning is complete - which may take quite sometime, even days - you may try data recovery on the cloned drive. Though ddrescue will make a good effort to recover data from the bad sectors, there is no guarantee that all your recovered data will be good.

Go through this post on cloning: WD EXTERNAL HARD DISK 1TB suddenly "unallocated" and "not initialized"

You may also read this thread Best method/tool for cloning a failing HDD for Data Recovery?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #5

Windows 7 64 bit

I have finally had the time to start your suggested repair. So far it is on the first pass and it says it has recovered over 400 GB, has found 3 errors in 300 KB total size. I'll let you know the final result.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #6

Windows 7 64 bit

It finished this morning and it found only 1 error, about 60KB wasn't copied to the destination drive, I plugged my new drive in to my laptop and everything is there. Thanks for all your help, I appreciate it!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Glad you could recover most of the files except that 60KB. Those 60KB might have been corrupted beyond redemption.

Actually I was expecting that you may need some data recovery procedures to retrieve data on the cloned drive and was gearing up for that. . I am doubly happy there was no such necessity and you could straightaway gain access to the files.

I may add that this is the first successful data recovery after the first successful cloning with ddrescue on this forum.( Our earlier attempts in one or two cases had failed.) The credit goes to you for having done that.

When I saw this thread, I had cloning in my mind and immediately sent a PM to Anshad Edavana to look into this and advise since should you experience any difficulty in cloning with ddrescue he is the best person with his hands-on expertise.( What I wrote and did on that topic were merely theoretical exposition. :)) Unfortunately he was and is busy with project deadlines and I decided to take the bullet. Anshad Edavana further delineated further data recovery procedures after cloning. I quote

"BSOD KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR is considered as a classical symptom of disk related issues - especially bad sectors. "Partition Wizard" will also mark a disk as bad if it has status "SMART Failed" ( any SMART value exceeded than threshold ). So the disk is definitely failing.

The best thing OP can do here is to take a full image of the failing disk and use a data recovery tool to extract all possible data from the image.

On the freeware side, as you already know "dd" is the best tool suited for the job. Then the image can be used with "PhotoRec" to extract RAW data.

Media Image - CGSecurity

But if there are lots of files and the OP wants original file name and folder structure, commercial tools will be best suited. I would suggest using "TestDisk" to create a disk image from within Windows and then using either "GetDataBack" or "R-Studio" to extract data ( working directly with a failing HDD is not generally recommended ).

TestDisk create disk image :
Image Creation - CGSecurity

GetDataBack for NTFS and disk images :

"R-Studio" has built in disk imaging and analyzing capabilities.

Emergency File Recovery Using R-Studio Emergency

If OP succeeds in creating a full image of the failing disk using either "R-Studio" or "TestDisk",he can try trial versions of "GetDataBack for NTFS" and "R-Studio" to inspect the images. Both has file preview features so OP can buy the one which detects more files."

I thank Anshad Edavana for providing this indirect support.

With this I am recommending the Mods/Admins to mark this thread as solved.

Have a good night and then a day.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Hey, has the OP actually checked out some of the files, to make sure of the success? I don't want to be a stick in the mud, however, checking by opening some of each type of files will confirm his success? :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #9

Windows 7 64 bit


I had no idea that I might have needed additional procedures, I had the destination drive in an enclosure and just plugged it in. If anything, I was surprised my source drive survived the process, I was sure it was going to die off but everything went pretty quick. On the one link you gave me it said that it could take days to complete but it was over in less than 16 hours.

The only thing I might add is that when you use ddrescue, I had to add --force or else a warning message is given. I had to Google what the message meant, it's there to make a user really really sure that it's what they want to do. Once I added it, it started no problem.

Thank you again for all your help, it was a huge relief.


When I connected the cloned drive, Windows 7 recognized it and I opened it. I was able to locate all my files no problem. I did get a couple of security messages when I tried copying folders to my other laptop but once I gave it permission, they copied no problem. Photos, Excel and Word files, PDFs, Videos of all formats opened no problem. I located my company file for Quickbooks on the drive, copied the files to my other laptop, opened Quickbooks and everything was as I hoped it would be. I copied over all my important files and will go back later to get my less important files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi Roland JS,

There is no need to worry about the data integrity on the cloned drive.( The OP may confirm.)EDIT: The OP has confirmed.

ddrescue in its first pass grabs and clones all the good sectors leaving aside the bad sectors. On the second and subsequent passes it tries to recover the data only from the bad sectors it had enumerated during the first pass. The number of passes that ddrescue should try can be set by the user.

But generally, if ddrescue cannot recover from the bad sectors in the 1+2 passes, further passes are unlikely to succeed and therefore considering that each pass takes quite sometime, 3 pasees are considered sufficient.

EDIT: Thanks tennisnut36, for bringing out the --force addition to the command. That should help others. The time taken by ddrescue will depend upon how badly mauled is your bad drive.In your case it so happened there were just a few at the most. The logfile should tell you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Laptop HDD Shows Folders but No Files

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