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Windows 7: How do I recover data from external HD when there is a bad sector?

13 Nov 2015   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
How do I recover data from external HD when there is a bad sector?

After reading some more threads and using probable cause, these are my most likely scenarios and my reasoning for them as well.
-A week before I had the issue with the WD HD, my younger brother moved my laptop bag and it fell with my laptop inside. I turned it on after he told me so I could check it. Everything seemed fine except the hard drive was missing. The laptop is a HP dv7-3065dx with Win 7 x64. I could see it in BIOS but could not access it. I went into the diagnostics menu and ran the HD tests which it failed. I could not use start up recovery because it said there was nothing there. The recovery partition was not usable either. After doing some research, I thought the hard drive had died and needed to be replaced. I just found that to be unlikely and it was. With a little more searching and some luck, I found out what happened and is something that can happen to hard drives(especially Western Digital which it was). The hard drive had basically locked itself. After making the primary partition active again, it booted right up and has worked just fine.
-I had my WD 1.5 TB MyBook external hard drive in laptop bag. To be clear about this external hard drive, I had roughly used 1.3 TB of space for programs, movies, music, gaming, etc. This was formatted NTFS I believe and even though this drive was only used for storage, it was MBR and not GPT(I specify this for what I will do to it and have no idea if it matters). It worked just fine before I left with it. I was not rough or careless with my laptop bag. Even so when I reached my destination around 20 minutes away, it would not work. It would power on and you could hear the hard drive as usual. There were no strange sounds or anything else out of the ordinary. I was not able to view the hard drive in Windows at all and it was not an option in Bios under Boot Options(as USB drive). I put it to the side because I did not have time to look into it. Well I did not research much to be honest and have definitely did some interesting things. I took it out of the WD case and decided to put it in one of my desktops. I made it a secondary slave and plugged it in using SATA. I was able to see the drive in Windows after I did this...sometimes. Sometimes it would show in My Computer as drive N: and sometimes it was unable to be found. Of course the computer froze if I tried to access the drive. So I started to do a minimal amount of research. I ended up deciding to try a partition and data recovery software to fix my issue. I ended up coming across UBCD and used parted magic. At this point, the data showed that it was raw and so I was trying to figure out what to do without having used this program before. I ended up changing the MBR to GPT. Since then, the hard drive shows that it has 1.36 TB of Unallocated space. It is no longer showing as RAW. I have also been able to figure out a couple of things I think. I can see the hard drive anywhere in BIOS and in Computer Management and Device Manager. I tried to recover files from the HD and now laugh at myself after reading multiple threads. I currently am using R-Studio to do a scan of the HD. The first scan it did stopped rather quickly. Even so it now showed the drive having a logical partition. I could not scan the entire HD but I could scan the logical partition which shows as the 1.36 TB and is basically the entire drive except for the first sector. It is still scanning and yes it is progressing but it has now been scanning for around 24 hours. I did find some interesting stuff where the drive has already been scanned. There is a sector with NTFS boot files, NTFS MFT files and some other NTFS files. Besides that, I looked through some of the sectors after they were scanned and there is plenty of data there. I could read some of the information under the ANSI column as well in the editor. I could see names of some of the files, folders and programs as well. One thing for sure is that my actual data was completely visible in the editor. It looks like there is plenty to do but I don't know exactly what. I have read in other forums that one problem could be something I did see in one program I was checking out. It said that there is a "security freeze lock" that kept it from doing anything. I think I was using TestDisk. I looked it up on the internet and am still not certain about it at this point. "Just to make aware, this is my drive and I do not have or have ever had a password on it." I did find an article about this being a possibility of some hard drives when removed from their case and not using the USB adapter that was attached to the actual hard drive. In my case, SATA to USB. Also that the exact adapter has to be used in many instances. I then read another article and decided to try it's logic. Being that SATA can be hot swapped, I waited until after the BIOS POST and then connected the hard drive. The actual command for the hard drive to lock happens in BIOS and by hot swapping afterwards, you can avoid this issue. I did that and before I checked to see if it worked, I started the surface scan in R-Studio. I'm not sure what else I can tell you up to this point. I would really appreciate any help that I could get with this problem. Thanks again for reading and any future help, suggestions, comments, answers or whatever is greatly appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2015   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Welcome to Seven Forums mrkeebs,

I saw your post within hours of your posting, but honestly I did not want to put my fingers in it and was hoping that some good Samaritan who could decipher what all mischief you had done to untangle it will rise to deal with it. But 24 hours past nothing happened. So I thought I shall share my thoughts on it still hoping that someone else can pick it up from where I leave it in this post.

Your first mistake: taking the HDD out of the My Book enclosure. The SATA to USB bridge in the enclosure also contains the hardware encryption chip that encrypts the data before writing it to the HDD. It also holds the decrypt key.So if you take the HDD out and connect it directly to a SATA port on a desktop, even if the HDD is good the data you recover or read will be encrypted and absolutely useless.

The second mistake: converting the MBR Disk into GPT disk ( apart from trying many partitioning and data recovery software aimlessly and mucking up the drive further.)

Now we have to bring your HDD to its faulty but original state. I really do not know how far it is going to be successful but that is the most logical thing to do at this stage.

So, 1. Install Minitool Partition Wizard Free Edition 9.1 Free download Magic Partition Manager Software, partition magic alternative, free partition magic, partition magic Windows 7 and server partition software - Partition Wizard Online and convert the WD HDD from GPT to MBR back again.

2. After this conversion, put the HDD back into its original enclosure. ( I hope you have not damaged the enclosure and more importantly the electronics.)

Now connect it as an external drive and explain what problem you face. Let us see whether we can see any light.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How do I recover data from external HD when there is a bad sector?

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