UPDATED How To Fix: External Disk Drive Suddenly Became RAW

UPDATED How To Fix: External Disk Drive Suddenly Became RAW

DISCLAIMER: These examples use techniques that I actually employ in the real world to deal with real problems. They might be wrong or dangerous. They might be inefficient. If you try them yourself, it might cause damage or irreparable loss. I take no responsibility for anything you do based on my examples or the information that I provide here.

It has been well over a year since last updating my post on ‘Recovering an external hard drive that has suddenly become RAW’ and there have been some significant changes.

  • PartedMagic is no longer free
  • Hard drives larger than 500GB have become commonplace
  • TestDisk has become even better
  • Many many many comments from people have been posted that show common problems that are not directly addressed by the original post.

So with all of that in mind, here is a revised version that hopefully addresses some of the shortomings of the post that was originally released in January of 2013.

A common and befuddling problem with computers is the sudden and seemingly inexplicable disappearance of an external hard drive that has been functioning properly. It can be a breathtaking experience to suddenly be told that your data, often irreplaceable pictures and documents, might be gone forever.

As with many similar situations in life the appropriate response is “Don’t panic”. When approached sensibly and carefully, the situation can be resolved and the data saved more times than not. Here we will look at the causes, fixes and preventative measures for instances involving external drives being used with Windows XP and Windows Vista/7/8.

Error Messages

Common error messages associated with the sudden inability to access an external hard disk drive.

Windows XP Windows 7
DO NOT FORMAT THE DRIVE

When attempting to access the drive in Windows you may see a message asking you to format the drive DO NOT FORMAT THE DRIVE


You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it.
Do you want to format it?

Another error that you may see when trying to access the drive in Windows from a program or the command line is…



This volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.

Attempting to run chkdsk in an attempt to repair the problem will give an error also…



chkdsk can not be run on the drive
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

The Disk Management window shows the partition as either RAW or without a filesystem type.

Properties of the drive show that both used and free spaces are 0 byte in size for the raw drive
Windows XP Windows 7

What does RAW partition mean

A RAW filesystem simply means that it is a filesystem that is not recognized by Windows. Therefore all the available filesystem drivers are unable to mount the filesystem as a drive. This often happens when the records determining the filesystem type or location on the disk are damaged or corrupted, usually the partition table or the boot sector.

Since Windows sees no filesystem in the partition, it prompts you to format it in order to create a filesystem on it. DO NOT FORMAT IT.

Why does it happen and how to avoid it

The most common cause of external hard drives suddenly becoming RAW drives is if they are disconnected from a computer without using the “Safely Remove Hardware” option. This can happen in many ways such as a power failure, unplugging the drive from the USB port or from its AC adapter, a problem with the computer that causes it to temporarily disconnect the USB hubs and many more circumstances can lead to this occurring.
Always use “Safely remove hardware” to disconnect the drive. Left click the icon on the taskbar, select the device from the menu, and wait for the confirmation message.

How do you fix it

For this example, I chose the most heavily damaged disk with this issue that I could find in my collection of damaged disks. It has both of the most common problems. The partition table is corrupted and the boot sector of the main partition is also scrambled. The pictures of error messages above all came from this drive. The pictures of the repair process below are from the actual repair of this drive. Some images are from a virtual machine (simply to make it easier to get the screenshots) and some are from an actual desktop. This is a real repair not a manufactured example.

Before proceeding beyond this point, you need to be aware of the risks involved. If the problem with the drive is not simply a logical error but is a manifestation of physical damage then the more you use it and try to repair, the worse the damage may become. To minimize the risks, the drive can be taken to a professional who is experienced in this type of repair. The drive should not be making strange clicking or beeping noises. That means that there is definitely physical damage and it should be sent to a facility with the proper tools and environment to repair/recover it since trying to repair it as described in this post can make that situation worse. If you wish to continue on your own there are three important rules to remember.

1. Computer problems are variable. You may very well come up with a different situation than I outline below. Make sure that you stop and think things through carefully when the process becomes different than I describe.

2. You DO NOT WANT TO WRITE ANYTHING TO THE RAW DRIVE except for the repaired MBR and repaired Boot Sector if necessary. Any other writing can overwrite data on the drive that you would want to keep.

3. This repair does not apply to solid-state drives (SSD). They are very different than normal drives and can erase important data on a RAW partition just by connecting power to them.

BEFORE PROCEEDING YOU MUST TRY TO DETERMINE IF THERE IS PHYSICAL DAMAGE

If there is physical damage, then consider sending the drive to a professional recovery service since physical damage often continues to degrade the data and simply powering on the drive may make data become irretrievable.

Accessing and Assessing a Hard Drive’s S.M.A.R.T. Data to Determine if There is Physical Damage

Being able to effectively analyze the S.M.A.R.T. data on a hard disk drive (HDD) enables you to quickly identify problems that can aid you in recovering all of the data from it before it becomes irretrievable or requires significant expense to retrieve.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and is the hard drive’s record of its internal diagnostic monitoring and usage statistics packaged for being accessed externally. The primary purpose of S.M.A.R.T. is to alert us to an impending failure of the drive while there is still time to save the data. When a hard drive reports that the S.M.A.R.T. health is FAILED you must get the important data off of it immediately and not use the drive anymore.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS AND DIFFERENT DRIVE MODELS CAN STORE AND DISPLAY DIFFERENT SUBSETS OF S.M.A.R.T. DATA AND CALCULATE VALUES AND TOLERANCES DIFFERENTLY.

S.M.A.R.T. data is best used as a general guide. For specifics, the hard drive’s technical documentation must be consulted. Sometimes that information is difficult to come by and can be proprietary. For example, the formulas for how some manufacturers calculate normalized values for attributes can be very difficult to find.

Wikipedia entry for S.M.A.R.T.


Proper analysis of S.M.A.R.T. data

  • Can help determine if the problem is physical damage or just logical damage.
    • With logical damage, the drive can be trusted and continue to be used after being repaired.
    • With physical damage, you want to get any important data off of the drive and replace it.
  • Helps you choose the best method for recovering all of the data from the drive.
  • Prevents you from accidentally doing things that may make matters worse.


In order to check the S.M.A.R.T. data on a HDD

  • The drive should not be making strange clicking or beeping noises. That means that there is definitely physical damage and it should be sent to a facility with the proper tools and environment to repair/recover it.
  • The drive needs to be accessible by the computer’s BIOS during POST (responds to the ATA command IDENTFY_DEVICE). In other words, the drive should be visible in Windows.
  • In the case of external drives connected via USB they need to be detected by the computer’s Plug and Play software (responds to the ATA command IDENTFY_DEVICE).

After making sure that the connection between the drive and
the computer is correct and its quality is the best it can be, you need to
check the health of the drive itself. Then you can rule out physical damage
that requires repair with specialized tools in a controlled environment.

What We Are Looking For

·       
Does the drive make noises that it did not make before?

o  
Loud clicking or a periodic beeping sound may indicate mechanical
damage. Physical damage may require the drive to be sent to a facility with the
proper tools and equipment to recover the data.

·       
Does S.M.A.R.T. show any errors or bad attribute values?

o  
We look at the Raw Value of S.M.A.R.T.
attributes with ID#s 5, 191 and 197.

·       
Does it pass the S.M.A.R.T. Short Self-Test?

o  
We run the S.M.A.R.T.
Short Self-Test.

If it does not pass any of these tests, you need to take it to a data recovery lab and have it professionally recovered otherwise you risk making things worse.

View S.M.A.R.T. data with GSmartControl

Get a copy of GSmartControl for Windows

http://sourceforge.net/projects/gsmartcontrol/files/0.8.7/gsmartcontrol-0.8.7-win32.zip/download

Unzip it and run gsmartcontrol.exe

Double-click your drive and click the ATTRIBUTES tab.

  • If ID #05 Reallocated Sectors Count is listed and has a RAW VALUE greater than 5 then there is physical damage in the form of bad sectors.
  • If ID #191 G-sense Error Rate is listed and has a RAW VALUE greater than 0 then that means the drive has been dropped or bumped hard.
  • If ID #197 Current Pending Sector Count is listed and has a RAW VALUE greater than 5 then there is physical damage in the form of bad sectors.

Next, click on the PERFORM TESTS tab and execute the SHORT TEST. If it does not pass the test then there is physical damage.

Repair partition table and boot sector

This can take many hours, even days, to run on large hard drives bigger than 500GB
When I first wrote this guide, 1TB drives were very rare. Now they are quite common. Be aware that this can take a very long time to run. You can do other stuff on your computer while it runs as long as it is not something that tries to use the bad drive.

If there is physical damage, then consider sending the drive to a professional recovery service since physical damage often continues to degrade the data and simply powering on the drive may make data become irretrievable.

If there is no indication of physical damage then you can continue. In order to repair the most common problems that cause an external disk to suddenly become RAW we will use TestDisk.

Download Testdisk
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download
and run testdisk_win.exe

TestDisk is a console application so you have to use your keyboard to interact with it instead of your mouse.

Choose CREATE and hit enter

Make sure that your external disk is highlighted
Choose Proceed and hit enter

Select Intel and hit enter (there is a slight chance that the partition is EFI GPT if the drive is 2TB or greater in size and at the bottom of this screen it says that Hint: EFI GPT was detected. If that is the case, select EFI GPT instead and try that.)

Select Analyse and hit enter

The partition data looks incorrect (an explanation of why is beyond the scope of this article)
Select Quick Search and hit enter

Say ‘Y‘ if it asks if the disk was made in Vista/Win7 (even if it was made in XP say ‘yes’)

Now the Quick Search will run

When the Quick Search completes, we see one partition (if you only see the option to CONTINUE at the bottom of the screen press ENTER one time to continue to the screen that you need to be at).

Lets look at the data on that partition press
P
and you should see a list of files/folders in the partition.

Hmmm… This looks like a bunch of diagnostic tools but not our missing data. We’ll need to look further. Press
Q
to go back a screen and then press
enter

IF YOU SEE ALL YOUR FILES THEN SKIP THE DEEPER SEARCH AND GO TO THE STEP DESCRIBING SELECTING WRITE

To get to this screen, select DEEPER SEARCH and press enter.

Naturally, the Deeper Search takes longer than the Quick Search

When the Deeper Search completes we now see two partitions. The one we saw after the quick search and another one.

Select the new partition and press
P
to see the files/folders and now we see the data we want to make visible again.

Press
Q
to go back a screen and then press enter to get to this screen.
Select WRITE and press enter in order to write our new partition table to the drive.
DO NOT WRITE A NEW PARTITION TABLE IF YOU DID NOT SEE YOUR FILES/FOLDERS That means the proper partition table was not found and you will have to try a different technique to recover your data.

Press Y to confirm that you want to write the new partition table.

As I mentioned at the start of this repair, this disk also has corruption in the boot sector of the partition that we are trying to make visible again. When this is the case TestDisk will stop at this point and ask you to fix it before it finishes writing the new partition table. If the backup boot sector is good (as in this case) simply choose BACKUP BS and press enter. In the event that the backup boot sector is also bad then choose REBUILD BS.

Press Y to confirm the boot sector repair

Then choose QUIT and press enter

Regardless of whether a boot sector repair is required or not, you will end up at this screen where all you can do is press enter. Then hit Q until you are out of TestDisk.

Now reboot the computer to see if the drive is now visible.

DID THIS POST HELP YOU RECOVER DATA ? Please post a comment below and say “It worked” so I can guage the effectiveness of this post. You can use a fake email if you want, I’m not going to use this for marketing anything.
Thanks,
James

Here are the results for the drive used in this example…

Backup important files and run chkdsk

Now you should make backups of all important files on the drive in case it goes bad again and then run chkdsk to fix any other filesystem errors that may still exist.
After backing up important files, right-click the disk in Windows Explorer and choose PROPERTIES. Go to the TOOLS tab and click CHECK NOW. Check both options and click START.

This is my favorite external drive for making backups since it is reliable, rugged and does not encrypt your data without your permission. I use these myself.

Hopefully, this solves your problem. Please feel free to contact me through the contact form or comments if you have any questions or suggestions for this post.

DID THIS POST HELP YOU RECOVER DATA ? Please post a comment below and say “It worked” so I can guage the effectiveness of this post. You can use a fake email if you want, I’m not going to use this for marketing anything.
Thanks,
James

1,049 Replies to “UPDATED How To Fix: External Disk Drive Suddenly Became RAW”

  1. Hi James
    I have done what you mentioned in Smart steps, but I have warning as “No additional information is available for this drive” after double click my drive. What do you advise???

    1. Hi
      You can try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  2. Hi James,

    I’ve downloaded Testdisk and followed your steps though Testdisk doesn’t detect my external hard drive.

    What to do?

    1. Hi Matthias

      Did the S.M.A.R.T. data indicate any problems with the drive when you looked at it with GSmartControl prior to running TestDisk?

      James

  3. Hi James,

    I can’t retrieve data nor look at it’s properties with GSmartControl as it doesn’t recognize the external hard disk.

  4. Hi James,

    I’ve fixed this problem though now i’m dealing with a new one.

    Error 43; ”usb not recognized”.
    When i click on properties > hardware ID it shows me ”USB\UNKNOWN”

  5. Hi Matthias,

    If the drive is not appearing, how are you getting the error messages and seeing that it is RAW? Are you able to see it in Windows but not TestDisk or GSmartControl?

    If you can not see the drive then the problem is different from the problem addressed by this post and the techniques described here probably will not help.

    Wish I had a better answer,
    James

  6. Hi James,

    Thanks for all of your help

    I followed your steps, was able to find my files after the Quick search, wrote a new partition table and rebooted.

    After rebooting, the drive is still not visible and i still get the same error that “the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.”

    If it’s any help, my corrupted drive is a 32gb sd card.

    Also, when I ran GSmartControl the program was unable to retrieve SMART data.

    Thanks in advance,

    Joseph

  7. Hi, thanks for your tutorial. I got some problems. First off GSmartControl doesn’t see my raw disk but CrystalDiskInfo does. I followed all your instructions and I arrived to final screenshot “… reboot for the change…” but my disk is still raw. Bye

    1. Hi Pep

      If you look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  8. Hello James.

    I followed your instrustions

    I created a new log file
    I selected my external hard drive
    I selected intel
    I selceted analyse

    Then i get partition: read error

    what do i do now?

    1. Hi Jannelle

      When you did the step with GSmartControl, did you see any indications of physical damage in the S.M.A.R.T. data and did it pass the SHORT TEST?

      Typically, that error is an indication of physical damage and the data needs to be recovered instead of attempting to repair the hard drive. It should be done by a professional but if you must do it yourself, you should first make an image with Gnu ddrescue and attempt to recover the files from the image. I have an old post outlining this process at
      http://html5.litten.com/windows-file-recovery-series-part-4-recover-files-from-a-bad-hard-drive/
      but the the LiveCD that I use in it to make the image (PartedMagic) is no longer free so you would need to either pay for that or use some other way to access a copy of Gnu ddrescue like the Clonezilla LiveCD (which is free) or installing it on to a computer that is already running Linux.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  9. Hi James,
    I’m running W8.1
    I first got gsmartcontrol-0.8.7-win32.zip and unzipped in its downloaded location.
    When I run it I get
    This program can’t start because libatk-1.0-0,dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.
    I deleted all traces of it,repeated the above a couple of times and get the same error. I noticed Smarttools on the Sourceforge website so thought that might have what is needed so got that and installed it. There’s a drivedb update which worked and an admin program that opens a dos window, but nothing else that seems operational.
    Are the DLL’s that come with gsmartcontrol supposed to be placed in the windows 32 program file area someplace? That one its looking for is in the download and in the same folder as the exe file so I don’t get why the exe file can’t find it.
    Advice? Thanks! Jay

    1. Hi Jay
      You can try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

      EDIT: I attempted to run GSmartControl on a fresh install of Windows 8.1 and it ran fine so something on your computer must have changed.

  10. Yikes …I got lost there. When I went to that site and clicked download it gave me testdisk_win.exe
    I figured they just changed the name so ran it.
    It’s in a DOS window and id’d the partition as
    1 * hffs – ntfs with start and end noted and the size and brand name
    then a big blank area and at the bottom it reads [Quit] >[Deeoer Search] [Write] and below that
    Try to find more partitions

    Didn’t want to go further until checking in with Mission Control 🙂

  11. I note “bad relative structure” and when the deeper
    search starts there is a warning:
    “number of bytes per sector mismatches 4096 ! = 512 “

  12. Where are you located James? That ‘deeper search” has been running for like 2 hours and is 35% done but the time here is 12:49 PM although the last msg I sent above shows 3:53 pm. Hope you are someplace balmy. Crappy cold wet day here in central Canada. 🙂

    1. Hi Jay
      I’m in NJ in the middle of a bunch of horse stables and farms. Beautiful here but I tore a rib muscle clearing dead trees out of my woods so I’m upgrading Linux servers indoors all weekend 🙂

      James

  13. What ..a server for each horse?
    Sounds nice. Sorry to hear about the the tear.
    I shoot some sports and love anything with horses …especially Polo, including cutting, barrels, roping, busting ..and the rest of the rodeo. After those I have a little trouble staying awake for dressage …but do that too occasionally. What does everyone do with their horses around there?

    My deeper search is at 81% now
    It shows another message now …invalid FAT boot sector
    When it listed files earlier it looked like a lot of them were not readable …at least at that point. Sure hope this works. It’s a 3 TB USB drive with a lot on it. The older stuff I also backed up to DVD’s so not a total loss and I’ve had other USB drives I still have intermediately old files backed up on so it it doesn’t recover I guess I’ll just format it again and start fresh …and remember to use the ‘safely remove hardware’ option going forward. I’m sure that’s what did it. That or just shutting down with it connected …which I presume must be a no no as well

    1. Hi Cameron

      They may be found with a DEEPER SEARCH which will look at every sector on the disk to see if it can extrapolate a partition table (that’s why it takes so long).

      James

  14. My deeper search completed.
    the drive listing for that USB drive was highlighted in green and the program said “structure OK” . I hit Q and went backwards to get to the file listing I continued through and selected “Write” after which I got a message saying I’d have to reboot for the changes to take effect, so I hit re-start, and that drive still comes up as being blank and needing to be formatted for use.
    I started running that program again and the same partition comes up and the same list of files comes up, looking something like the screenshot you have further up after:
    “Lets look at the data on that partition press
    P and you should see a list of files/folders in the partition.”
    Except all my files show 0 bytes except those with -r–r–r– as the directory…which I presume is the root directory with the software that came with the drive.

    So is it safe to say my data is a goner?

    1. Hi Jay

      You can try to recover the files that you wish to recover with the free version of Recuva
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      You will need enough free space on a different drive to hold the files since you can’t (and shouldn’t) recover them to the bad drive.

      After that, if the S.M.A.R.T. data on the drive does not indicate any damage and it passes the ‘S.M.A.R.T. Short self-test’ and the ‘S.M.A.R.T. Extended self-test’ then it should be safe to reformat and reuse the drive.

      James

  15. I think I’m ok to just reformat the drive because as far as I can tell from the filenames …I have them all on my C drive anyway.
    I still haven’t been able to get to the program with the SMART SHORT TEST because of those dll errors I keep getting.

    1. Hi Jay

      This shows how difficult this is to do in blog comments. I made an assumption in my replies that apparently was incorrect.

      I assumed that you ran the alternate program to GSmartControl that I provided the link for when you stated having problems with it

      “You can try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.”

      I can not stress enough how important it is to DETERMINE IF THERE IS PHYSICAL DAMAGE BEFORE STARTING THIS PROCEDURE.
      It is one of the main reasons that I updated this post from the old version.

      Also, to anybody else reading this, make sure that your files and folders are properly listed in the step before choosing to WRITE the new partition table. If it is not correct then writing it is not going to change it and make it correct.

      Again, DETERMINE IF THERE IS PHYSICAL DAMAGE BEFORE STARTING THIS PROCEDURE. that is the most important step in this post.

      James

  16. I followed the entire process. The file structure is ok and my files were in the first partition search.
    When I was asked to reboot, I removed the USB HDD safely and then restarted the PC. However, after rebooting, I get the same problem.

    Perhaps the following will shed some light on what I should do differently:
    – I used to use this USB HDD in the past with my old WinXP PC.
    – I had it assigned a permanent drive letter : “Z:”
    – It always worked just fine.
    – Then I purchased a new Win8.1 PC and the first time I connected the USB HDD to the new PC, I got this problem (RAW).

    Should I change the parition type to just Primary? (It is Primary Bootable – 1 * HPFS – NTFS)

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Eduard,

      Try again but this time do not remove the drive. Leave it plugged in when you reboot. If that does not work, look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  17. James …HDDScan.exe starts and I ok making changes to the machine ..but that’s it …no window opens and the program does not appear in my list of open programs so there is nothing I can do with it.

  18. Hi James,

    Thank you for your inmediate response! I did reboot it without removing the USB HDD but still the same problem.
    I am sending you the log file…

    Many thanks!
    Eduard

  19. It worked! May God bless you! I’m very relieved now.
    The other day I accidentally removed my backup external hard drive while it was reading. When I reconnected it to my laptop, the format message popped-up. Tried it with different devices and same result. Of course, I did not format and sought help through the web when I came here. Downloaded Testdisk and followed the steps. After several hours of deeper search, my HDD is not RAW anymore and all my files are back as they were before! I did have trouble while using Testdisk, but after several attempts my hard disk is fine now. So if anybody have issues, I’d be glad to help where I can.

  20. Quick scan didn’t find anything, so I started a Deeper scan. Hope that works.
    Thank you for the tutorial!
    I’m recovering a WD 500GB internal laptop drive.
    Fingers crossed*

  21. Hello, i have the same problem that you described, but with an internal HDD (WD Blue 1TB). My files are found but i can get to write the partition beacause the partition with my files it is in another partition… And i can only write the first partition wich is only 350 mb, and the my file are about 800GB. I don’t know how this is possible but i`m asking. I’ve seen that there are other options like “copy selected files”. Do I need another hard drive for this?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Nathaniel

      Yes, you need another hard drive to copy files to. The process for doing this in TestDisk can be tedious so you may want to try using the free version of Recuva first.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download
      You will need enough free space on a different drive to hold the files since you can’t (and shouldn’t) recover them to the bad drive.

      If Recuva does not work and you want to try using TestDisk to recover the files to another disk, let me know and I’ll try to put some instructions together for you.

      James

  22. Hi James,

    I followed all the steps you mentioned and found all my files. I was in the “write partition table” and clicked yes but the next option was to reboot my pc. I did reboot but my drive is still RAW. Please help me with this. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Junex

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  23. No luck for me 🙁
    The disk passed the SMART test and was found in TESTDISK but no luck in finding anything on disc.Can anyone relate? Any ideas?

    1. Hi MikeCroatia

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  24. Hello James,

    I have tried the software that you recommended(Recuva) but no succes. So, please if you can guide through the procces of copying the files to another HDD with TestDisk.

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Nathaniel

      Get to the step where you see your files and folders in TestDisk.
      There are directions at the bottom of the screen in TestDisk. I like to do a test first and try to copy just one file or folder to see if it works.

      Select a file or folder that you’d like to try copying by highlighting it. (To go inside folders, highlight them and press the right arrow key on your keyboard. To go up a level highlight the line with two dots .. and press enter.)
      Press the colon key to select it
      :
      and then press upper case C to copy all selected files
      SHIFT-C

      Now it wants to know where to copy the file to.
      Highlight the second line which is .. (two dots) and press the right arrow key and it will take you up a level.
      Keep doing this with the line with two dots until eventually you will be at the top of the hierarchy and will see a list of the drives connected to the computer. Then you can drill down to where you want the recovered files copied to by highlighting and using the right arrow key.
      When you get to where you want them copied, highlight the row with one dot . and
      Press
      SHIFT-C
      and it should copy the files/folders there.

      Leave everything open and look in the Windows Explorer to verify that the file was copied. If it is there, go back to the TestDisk window and select more files and folders that you want to copy and when you choose to copy them it will put them in the location that you already chose.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  25. Hey,

    I’ve got a 3 TB eGo drive that’s giving me problems. There is no physical damage to the drive. I hit EFI GPT to analyse and after quick search AND deep search, no partitions were found. I tried to restart the whole process and then received a message saying, “Bad GPT Partition, invalid signature.” What’d I do wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve got a lot of data on this drive.

    1. Hi Anacleto

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  26. Thanks a lot, my parents had a PC running Ubuntu with no backup when the computer somehow died. The EXT2 partition with all their stuff on it was thought lost when I tried to access it with another computer, the filesystem was corrupted, it wouldn’t mount on a Ubuntu liveCD and Windows just saw it as a raw partition. Running TestDisk’s deep scan found the files and I was able to retrieve the important stuff. I didn’t bother repairing the filesystem because it was a 12 year old hard drive and I had a newly assembled PC set up and ready to replace the dead one.

  27. Heyy James,
    I am having 1 TB Seagate hard disk, from which i wan to recover data. I followed all your steps. After Quick Search, I was not able to find any partition in it.Then I performed Depper Search, still there is no partition in it. Please help me out. I have very important data in it.
    Thanks

    1. Hi

      If TestDisk does not find any partitions then your issue is different from what this technique fixes. In that case you need to attempt a data recovery since TestDisk is not able to see anything resembling a partition. If the data is still there, it can often require file carving and header identification algorithms since there is probably an issue with the file system data files. PhotoRec is included in the TestDisk folder and can find and piece together raw data pretty well but its use is beyond the scope of this post. More information can be found at
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

      If the data is important, I highly recommend using a professional service.
      James

  28. Hi James,

    So far the copying is good (0 files failed). The most part of the data is recovered. Thank you very much for your help and for your time ! God bless you!

  29. Hi James please help
    how to fix this?

    The harddisk seems too small! <
    Check the harddisk size: HD jumpers settings, BIOS detection…
    The following partitions can’t be recovered:

    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    FAT16 >32M 92244 177 34 274839 233 46 2933392216
    FAT16 LBA 247754 152 51 500284 136 15 4056893407

    [ Continue ]
    1501 GB / 1398 GiB

  30. Hi James,

    I ran the Deeper Search and it randomly came to a stop.

    I have a 1 TB Hitachi Touro Mobile external hard drive. It’s analyzing extremely slowly and sometimes gets stuck on a number. Below the analysis percentage, it keeps showing “Read error at _______/__/__ (number changes as it progresses)”

    Also, there are 5 partitions, not only two.

    Is there something that’s possibly wrong?

  31. Hi, James, i did everything you said, but the testdisc said that the partition found couldn’t be recovered. although the software found the HDD, and it said that the structure is ok. What can i do to recover my data? Or that is an impossible mission? Please help, the HDD contained only my irreplaceable pictures.

    1. Hi Eric
      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  32. Hi James,

    The SMART data indicates that ID #197 Current Pending Sector Count has a RAW Value of 11928, and the short self test completed without error.

    1. Hi Brent

      I’m afraid that the value for attribute #197 that you have is indicative of severe physical damage and needs to be recovered by a professional with the proper equipment. It could be an issue with the platters or an issue with the drive’s ability to accurately place the read heads over some areas due to a physical or electro-mechanical problem inside the drive.

      It should be done by a professional but if you must do it yourself, you should first make an image with Gnu ddrescue and attempt to recover the files from the image. I have an old post outlining this process at
      http://html5.litten.com/windows-file-recovery-series-part-4-recover-files-from-a-bad-hard-drive/
      but the the LiveCD that I use in it to make the image (PartedMagic) is no longer free so you would need to either pay for that or use some other way to access a copy of Gnu ddrescue like the Clonezilla LiveCD (which is free) or installing it on to a computer that is already running Linux.

      I know that I keep saying it but I’ll say it again. If the data is important then it should be recovered by a professional with the proper equipment.

      Wish I had better news,
      James

  33. I have an f drive, tried to reformat it but it said it could not reformat. I tried to use the GSmart Control, but it said “Cannot Retrieve SMART data Device Open failed, or device did not return an IDENTIFY DEVICE Structure”. Trying to retrieve data but it seems like I can’t get anything to work. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi James and Christie

      You can both try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  34. Hi James! I’m thrilled to find this site as I’m getting really desperate now concerning my downed HDD. It’s a Buffalo PNTU3 external 1TB hdd that I accidentally had formatted when I was trying to disable its built in password protection. I am an IT Support person myself and have done a number of data recovery operation on HDD’s before with very good results but I’m really bothered why I couldn’t fix my own HDD when ít’s time for me to help myself. 🙁 What happened is that when I tried using the Secure Lock Manager App of Buffalo to disable the password, i didn’t notice that there was a fine print warning that the drive would also be Decrypted and would be formatted. My finger was too fast on the left click that I was shocked to see the word “Formatting…”on the screen! I pulled out the usb cable out of panic and when I reconnected it again, the data is already inaccessible. What I did is I performed a clean format thinking that with the use of a number of recovery softwares I now have on hand like EaseUS Data Recovery, Icare data recovery, Recover my Files, and Unformat… I would easily be able to restore the folders inside. But after more than a week of trying to do so, I am unsuccessful up to now. I already tried running TestDisk and can now run chkdsk where before I couldn’t— reporting that the disk was RAW. Now that it’s Windows format,I ran the Unformat App after Test disk and after it’s done, it reported that the Partition is overlapped with another partition. I will continue running the other recovery software onto it until I received advice from you, which I would really appreciate whatever the outcome.

    1. Hi Robert

      It all depends on whether or not the data was completely decrypted and if the clean format was a quick format (rewrites the file system data) or a full format (writes a 0 to every bit in the partition.

      If it was completely decrypted and a ‘quick’ format was used then you may be able to recover it by removing it from the enclosure and attempting the recovery.

      If it is still encrypted then it must remain in the enclosure as the decryption software and keys are in chips in the enclosure.

      If it was ‘full’ formatted then the data has been overwritten.

      James

  35. Hello,

    So we are going through your instructions. We get to the deep search and it starts and looks just like your screen shot, but it never changes. Just stuck there. It never goes to the additional partition screen. Any ideas?

    1. Hi James ( nice name 🙂 )

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  36. Hi James, I’m not sure if you will be able to help me, but if not, maybe you can shoot me in the right direction. I believe I am having a lost or corrupted file system error cause from a sudden reboot of my system. The only difference, and it seems to be a big one, is that instead of an external drive, I am getting this error for a RAID 0 array made up of 3 hard drives. They are partitioned into one drive that shows up in my system. It used solely for storage. The drives them selves are not damaged. The RAID drive even shows up under my computer, but when I click it, it tells me I need to format the disk before I can use it. When I hit cancel I get an error that the disk is not accessible and that it does not contain a recognizable file system. I have used this RAID Drive for many years, and I usually have it all backed up to an external back up drive, but I discovered after this error that my last back up failed. So I am in a big bind here. I went through your steps above and it seems like exactly what I need but for this RAID instead of a single drive. I ran your software but it was seeing all of the drives in the RAID separately and would only let me analyse one at a time. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Brandon

      For RAID recoveries, I have had success with Restorer Ultimate. It can be a little complex to set up but the documentation is pretty good.
      http://www.restorer-ultimate.com/
      The free demo will tell you if it will work for you and then it is $50(US) to finish the recovery.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  37. Hi James,
    During Analyse Cylender of External Harddisk (Seagate, 1 TB), it shows below quoted lines in analyse step:
    – – -Quote – – –
    Disk /dev/sdb – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – CHS 121601 255 63
    Analyse Cylinder 140/121600: 00%

    Check_FAT: Unusual media descriptor
    Warning: number of heads/Cylinder mismatches 16 != 255
    Warning: number of sectors per track mismatches 32 != 63
    EFI System 40 409639 409600 [EFI]

    Stop
    – – – unquote – – –
    please help.
    Thanks in advance
    Kind Regards
    Pramod

    1. Hi Pramod

      Does it give you the option of DEEPER SEARCH when you choose STOP?
      If so, do that and see if the DEEPER SEARCH finds your partitions. If not, look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

    1. Hi Ahned

      I get a LOT of spam 🙂 so it probably got deleted by accident. Please try sending again and I will watch for it from your windowslive.com account.

      James

  38. Hi Admin,

    My initial screen advises partition sector doesn’t have an endmark, and when I go on to the quick/deeper search the files don’t look like the ones i’m expecting.

    Help!

    I’ve emailed you the screen shots and the log file.

    Can you advise what I should be doing and if overwriting the partition table.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Marco,

      Run TestDisk again and try selecting
      Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive3 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 243201 255 63, sector size=512
      instead of
      Drive J: – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 243200 255 63, sector size=512

      Sometimes that helps in cases like yours.

      Let me know if that does not give better results (if you need to do the DEEPER SEARCH it may take a long time)
      James

  39. Hi James,

    I am following your instructions, but it seems that the USB is not being recognised by the SMART test. I can see the drive in windows, but GSmartControl shows an error message (cannot retrieve SMART data) and HDDScan does not allow me to select SMART for the drive.

    Any other idea?

    Thanks for your post and your help!

  40. Hi!

    I’m wondering if this solution also applies to a corrupted Drive D.. not exactly an external one. The Drive D just suddenly turned RAW and I couldn’t access it anymore. Is there a way that I can send you a private email and perhaps some screenshots that I took last week when my laptop surprisingly “died”. I’m really on a panic state now because of the fear of losing my files.

    1. Hi Kai,

      If the files are very important, then you need to take it to a professional data recovery service. I can not stress that enough.
      Otherwise, what were the results of the S.M.A.R.T. tests and what happened when you ran TestDisk?

      James

  41. Hello James,

    Thanks for publishing this tutorial!
    I got stuck after the deeper search analysis. It didn’t come up with a 2nd visible partition. Testdisk says cannot read, filelesystem seems to be damaged. Hence i would need a different technique to recover my files. Would you provide me with some help?
    Regards from Holland, Micha

    1. Hi Micha,

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what the next step might be.

      James

  42. Hi Admin/James,

    I performed the quick/deeper search on the

    Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive3 – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 243201 255 63, sector size=512

    But no partition was found.

    Now im really stranded.

    Weird thing is that Disk internals does find files on the drive.

    Sent you the log and screen shot of the disk internals scan

    Can you help?

    Marco

    1. Hi Marco

      If TestDisk does not find any partitions then your issue is different from what my technique fixes. Luckily, you are able to recover the data with Disk Internals. If Disk Internals is too expensive for this data then you may want to try the free version of Recuva and see if it also can recover the data https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      Hope this helps
      James

  43. James,

    I would like to say thank you SO MUCH for this article.
    You have no idea the pain you saved me. I was able to recover the partition with your steps given and all my files with FileName and Folder (header information) was all intact.
    This was due to a EFI GPT (Mac partitioned USB Drive) not showing on my Windows laptop (was showing as a new HDD ready to be partitioned like new). So silly me in a rush I added a new simple partition to the hdd then it started formatting, within seconds I yanked it out of the usb plug (in the back of my mind I knew I was doing a wrong thing).
    Long story short, I paid for EaseUS Data Recovery; which was utterly crap. But came across your article, and add this to a “SUCCESS STORY”. Thanks again.

  44. Thanks a lot for this article but I am having problems like several others above. I did the quick search on my Seagate 1TB and was able to find all my files but when I tried to use to WRITE function it asked me to reboot. I have tried rebooting a couple of times with no success. Any idea on what went wrong?

    Thanks again

    1. Hi Andy

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to see if it shows any clues to what may have happened.

      James

  45. Good morning (your time zone) James

    I am having issue similar to others – 1 have Samsung S2 1 TB external drive (in fact it says it has Seagate inside) which is not recognize as message requesting formatting is displayed.

    Drive contains 600 GB od data. Using TestDisk I am able to copy any file from there and even a folder.(using c Copy function). However it is very tedious job and I do not have another place where to put existing 600 GB of data.

    Therefore I tried using Write function but after giving all required Yes-es and rebooting (with drive connected and then doing the same with drive disconnected after doing Write and connecting again) the drive after all this in identical state (not recognized by Windows)

    Any ideas ?

    However when I follow instructions as to fixing partition table and boot records I find no errors and data is identical. When

    1. Hi Lukasz

      I’m afraid that this technique won’t work for your situation and the best option is to get another hard drive to recover the data to.

      James

  46. I am very much thankful for this helpful post. I tried the steps accordingly. My hard disk is 2tb and it is corrupted and shows as RAW format. SMART is passed. I tried your steps, quick search did not give any of my folders later I did deeper search .it took some time but meanwhile I pressed some key and when it was at 51% it came out and asked for write option with a green background. now when I tried write it asked for reboot and then I rebooted but the drive is again the same .will I be able to perform the operation again or what should I do now? thanks in advance. this problem is same as the problem posted by mohammed in the start of the comments ”
    mohamed • September 17th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    hello james,

    when i press y for partition write .. it goes to reboot now directly … why ?

    1. Hi Achyut

      You need to wait for the DEEPER SEARCH to finish and verify that you can see your files and folders before selecting the option to WRITE a new partition table.

      James

  47. Hi James,
    I have a 1tb WD HDD. TestDisk didnt ask me to search for partition under vista or later, so I proceeded to quick search and then after I write the partition table it just asked me the Y/N part but not the BACKUP BS part and proceeded to ask me to reboot my PC. After the reboot an error appeared and says, “E:/ is not accessible. The request cannot be performed because of an I/O error.”

    PS.I cannot just format my HDD because my other drive is too small for the recovery.

    Thank you, James.

    1. Hi John,

      Did you do the DEEPER SEARCH?

      Did you see your files and folders listed correctly before writing the partition table?

      James

  48. I use this command when my ext hdd al the sudden became raw. It helped me everytime and saves a lot of time.

    run cmd
    Dos window will appear

    should show something like
    C:\Users\CKW>

    continue to type in the following command
    chkdsk /f f(ext hdd drive letter):

    example:C:\Users\CKW>chkdsk /f f:

    Press enter

    after everything had been completed, see whether yor ext hdd will pop up with all the data inside

    1. Hi KW Chew

      Please note what I say about chkdsk in my post.

      It is important to understand that the purpose of chkdsk is to repair file systems and it will do that even if it means deleting data in order to make the repair.

      James

  49. Hi James this is Joshua here..,MY Passport Westeren digitals hard disk have been converted to raw but I tried all your steps above but it still shows No Partitions were found I tried to rebuild the boot sector it says error reading boot sector…(your file system is damaged)..,When I insert it in my Windows Machine it asks me to format the disk…it’s in NTFS format…Please reply ASAP with a Solution Thank you

    1. Hi Joshua

      If it did not see the partition(s) after the DEEPER SEARCH then this technique will not work for you. You will need to try a data recovery. I recommend doing so through a professional service.

      You do not mention it but if you are removing the drive from the enclosure then it will not work and must remain inside the enclosure. Passport drives use encryption by default and the key is kept in a chip on a board in the enclosure.

      James

  50. Thank you for the response,James. I did not run the Deeper search because I already saw all my files by running the quick search.

    1. Hi John,

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  51. Hello, I have run the GSmartControl and has the following result.
    === START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
    SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

    However, when i execute TestDisk, it just says “please wait….” and holds up there(after option Create log file step). Is it normal and does it usually take long?

    1. Hi Moorthy

      Sounds like it is having a hard time seeing all of the hard drives connected to that computer.

      Can you try plugging the hard drive into another computer and running TestDisk?

      James

  52. Hi James,

    I have a problem with my external hard drive, when I try to open it its say I must format it before I can open it. How could I resolve the problem. The external its about 1TB.

  53. Hello James,

    I had this problem due to a power surge and followed the above steps. When i reached the section to write the partition and chose Y it skips right away to “reboot for change to be viable” message.

    Even after rebooting my PC the drive still shows up with the error message asking me to reformat it…i have tried this process 3 times in a row now and have no idea whats wrong or what else i can do (drive has no physical problems/errors with it

    1. Hi Satveer

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).

      You should be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help,
      James

  54. Hello James,
    Thank you very much for the speedy reply, i have started copying files over and so far it seems to be working (copied over 6bg of music as a test now for the rest of my pics/music).

    Once everything has been copied i will run chkdsk and let you know how it goes.

    Yet again thank you very much for your assistance.

    Satveer

  55. Hello James,

    Just updating to let you know that i copied over all the files i want to keep and they are now secure. Tried to run a chkdsk but i received a message saying that Windows cant access the disk.

    Should i just reformat the drive then for use again?

    1. Hi Satveer

      If there was no indication of physical damage when you did the S.M.A.R.T. tests mentioned in my post then it should be safe to reformat the drive and continue to use it.

      I recommend doing a full format so that it looks at every sector to make sure that there is no damage. Remember, this will completely erase all data so make sure that you got everything you need.

      James

  56. Hai James.,

    I followed the procedure You mentioned.In the midst of deeper search,it stopped and it appeared as follows:

    The harddisk (750 GB/ 698 GB) seems too small <>
    Check the harddisk size : HD jumpers settings, Bios detection….

    The following partition can’t be recovered:
    FAT16 <32M 58152 253 57 152571 230 44 1516839774

    what should i do now?? Please help me

    1. Hi Prasanna,

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  57. Brilliant!

    I had various issues on my portable hard drive including “Must reformat before use” and also “the paramenter is incorrect”

    I believe the gist of it was that my hard drive had not been safely ejected resulting in all my content being written in RAW format as apposed to NTFS so I couldn’t access the hard drive.

    In the end I found this thread and did as instructed in the step by step process above, I found this kind of worked but ended up doing the quick search which resulted in the partitions so I could see my work listed.

    I was only interested in one folder listed in the partitions so never tried to rescue the others as I had them saved elsewhere so I simply selected the folder and hit Shift and C to copy the folder then it prompted me to choose a destination folder (Test Disk\testdisk-7.0-WIP) and hit C to basically paste into your chosen area.

    I then checked the folder outside of the TestDisk (as in on my desktop) and the content was there – EVERYTHING!!! I guess if you needed to you could go in and manually choose the other folders and do the same for them.

    Found this thread very useful so thanks for all the previous comments. Saved me a lot of extra work. I hope this helps at least somebody else rescue their work.

    Cheers

  58. Thanks for the clear directions. However, I was unsuccessful with a Seagate Goflex 500GB after running the entire procedure including deeper search just to make sure. S.M.A.R.T with HDDSentinel indicates no physical damage. It’s as if TeskDisk is not writing the partition table because the disk appears the same after re-booting. Win 7 64bit. I can’t understand the log so any tips would be appreciated.

  59. Hi James and thanks for your reply. Yes I did see the folders listed but I could not drill down in them within TestDisk to see if there were any files in the folders. Later I tried the TestDisk Advanced tool to try to copy out the folders to another disk but no luck there either.

    1. Hi ROJ

      Do not write the partition table if you do not see all your files and folders.

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  60. sir james, i think i accidentally damaged the system file of may passport external 1TB, because ive been trying to mount it on a raspberry pi b+, when i start the QUICK SEARCH the partition says LINUX ,i dont know what the hell did i do to make that happen 🙁 , and when i press P no file found. clicking deeper search will make a list of long linux list.im sure that it is not physically damaged,
    pls help me , got some really important files 🙁

    1. Hi Justin

      Email me these two things and I will see if I can help you determine the next step…

      1. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com

      2. In the email, please tell me the commands that you executed while trying to mount the drive.

      James

  61. Hi! I ran the SMART test on my failed 2TB WD Hard drive and the following attributes came up:
    ID #5, but raw value is 0
    ID # 191 not listed
    ID #197, raw value is 313

    I understand that this indicates physical damage and professional recovery is needed. Do you have any recommendation on the professional recovery services? Would online services such as iCare recovery or Easeus work or would it make things worse?

    Before this, I did attempt usb bootable parted magic to read the hard drive. While the hard drive was detected, I was unable to mount it. I am not keen on trying Testdisk now for fear of making things worse.

    Any recommendation would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

  62. Just wanted to add to my above post
    that during the SMART test, ID#1 attributes came up and was highlighted as red.
    Failed = now
    Norm-ed value = 1
    Worst = 1
    Threshold = 51
    Raw value = 28198

  63. Hey James, thank you very much for your time and efforts making this tutorial.

    You mention “DO NOT WRITE A NEW PARTITION TABLE IF YOU DID NOT SEE YOUR FILES/FOLDERS That means the proper partition table was not found and you will have to try a different technique to recover your data” Do you have a link describing that outlines the “different technique”.

    Also, my log file has a ton of characters that look like script you’d see in Star Wars, that’s probably not good, or normal.

    Thanks,
    Trevor

    1. Hi Trevor

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  64. James,

    I have 3 drives in my computer and the third drive showed up today as RAW. GSmartControl showed #5 Norm-ed 200, worst 200, threshold 140, RAW 0. No 191 and #197 Norm-ed 200, worst 200, threshold 0 Raw 0. The short test passed. When I ran TestDisk analyze, it shows 2 invalid FAT boot sector listings. I did quickscan and it showed nothing. So I did deepscan and it found 1 listing. List files showed SOME of my data, but there were 2 lines listed in RED. What does that mean? Is some of this recoverable or do I just need to send for recovery?

    Thanks,
    Doc

  65. Update to my last post…

    I didn’t realize that all the files were not listed and could scroll down with the arrow key. So I scrolled down and see all of my data in white, but there are a lot of red listings as well. I am thinking these are deleted files but not sure how to proceed. Am I ok to hit Q and then write the partition table or does the red mean I should not do this? Or, if I am correct, I can just hit the : for each of the white entries and then when they are all green, then hit Q and proceed. I hope that made sense. Will wait for a response before proceeding.

    1. Hi Doc

      Yes, those red files are recently deleted files that you can undelete if you wish.

      It sounds like you are set to write the partition table and see if that fixes it.

      If it does not fix it, then the problem is probably within the file system data and you will need to recover important files and then try chkdsk to see if that fixes it as I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-195322

      Hope this helps,
      James

  66. Hi James,

    I downloaded testdisk and I am at the step of “Quick Search”. However, below the “Analyse cylinder…” there is “Read error at…”. I would like to know if this is normal or is this a bad news for me?

    Looking forward to your kind reply. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Art

      That message occurs often for many different reasons and you should be safe to proceed with the Deeper Search.

      James

  67. Hi James,

    At the point of around 87% of the quick scan, the scan suddenly became really fast and I heard a sound that a USB is connected or was it disconnected. After the quick scan is finished, I can not see any partition. The options available are “A: Add partition”, “L: load backup”, and “Enter: to continue”.

    Another thing, the drive (external) at My Computer is gone and the drive (external) at the disk management is “Unknown” and “Not Initialized”.

    What should I do at this point?

    Looking forward to your kind response.

    1. Hi Art

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  68. Toshiba external hard drive is not working. Ran Gsmartcontrol.drive infomation pd5 (scsi), 1.00 TB, StorE HDD. Basic Health Unknown. Ran PartMagic and it see’s drive but not sure how can recover data. Help Please. Paul

  69. hi admin
    i tried the above method but failed, Gsmartcontrol.exe was not able to get any S.M.A.R.T at the beggining but i continued anyway. i do not notice any physical damage to the drive. will email you my testdisk.log and some identity data file i saved from HDDScan.com utility .please help

  70. Hi Paul,

    Firstly, you are awesome for providing such detailed step by step guide.

    My 1 TB WD Passport went corrupt with very important data. Till now, I was unaware of TestDisk and was very tensed but your post has given me some hope.

    After Analyzing my HDD it showed “no partition is bootable”. I then followed your mentioned steps, Quick Search > Write> Reboot. But even after re-booting I am not able to access the HDD. Is there any other options to recover? (I heard about something that I need to do through advanced options but I am not sure how, and I dont want to take the risk of losing all my data by mistake)

    Secondly, while listing my files through “P” I can see my required folders. I heard that there is a way to copy the listed files directly into another drive through “C”. Again, could you please provide instructions on how to go about it?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ankur and Amir

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).

      You should be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help,
      James

  71. Hi James,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I tried going into each folder, but it seems that only the folders are present and the files inside it are absent.

    For example, when I select the main folder X which had over 100GB data, copy-pasting it just copies and empty folder X.

    Also, I told you about how reparing partition did not work earlier. I though I will give it another shot. This time when I tried the same steps I now get the error – Writing failed.

    What do I do! Help Plz

    1. Hi Ankur

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what is happening.

      James

  72. Hi there! So glad to find this, however I’m still having difficulties. I tried to run the Smart test, but I received the error “Device open failed, or device did not return an IDENTIFY DEVICE structure.” So I went to your HDD step, even with that I’m unable to run a Smart test. The USB is showing in the computer drives, but as no media. Any other steps I can take? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jamie

      What is the manufacturer and model of your hard drive?
      I may be able to suggest a different way to access the S.M.A.R.T. data if you can give me that information.

      James

  73. hi James, the other method you mentioned is working, currently I am copying all(reqiured)folders and files. thank you very much for the extra help.

  74. hi can u help me out with this pls my drive whent to raw and i my a D.J i have all my songs and videos and pics in this drive that whent to raw if u have teamViewer pls help me to sve my drive i will pay to just tell me how much u need pls thank you keith

  75. my external drive is not showing in testdisk after selcting create only showing internal hdd 🙁

    what should i do now. plz help

    1. Hi Nik

      If you can not see the drive in TestDisk then this technique does not apply to your problem. If the data is important, please consider taking the drive to a data recovery professional.

      James

  76. Hi, i hope you can help me. i have an external hard drive sony 500 gb, that i only use to watch movies and series in my tv, yesterday i dont know how it loose the partition, when i try testdisk, i use CREATE, INTEL, ANALYZE, and two ntfs partition show up, i press quick search and then… only one partition was there (in green colour) but it said LINUX, when i press p, the files that list are not the data i have. What should i do? please forgive my english, and thanks in advance

  77. I dropped my external hard drive and now when I plug it in, although I can see the contents, I cannot open any files or copy them. Looks normal otherwise, but nothing is accessible any more. I tried the gsmartcontrol but the only drive in there is my internal hard drive. I tried testdisk, I can find and select my drive and after I select analyse it says “read error”. I then select quick search and there is no partition found. The same happens after the deep search too. Any thoughts????

    1. Hi Lizzyathan

      This technique does not repair physical damage.

      If the data is important, please consider taking the drive to a data recovery professional.

      James

  78. Hey James

    Every time I do the process, no files are found. I’ve tried it on every program I could find and still says no files were found.

    1. Hi Braedon

      Could you be more specific? Was there any problems with the S.M.A.R.T. data? Did you do the DEEPER SEARCH?

      James

  79. Hi James,
    Have run all the check/tests as described above with no errors (physical) and completed the quick test, but the FAT’s identified ‘MS Data can’t be recovered, the drive is a WD 3TB and I used EFI GPT for the quick search.
    Quick search identified the drive as 801GB/746GB, which is incorrect as its 3TB, do I need to resolve this first, I am currently re-running the quick search as I inadvertently closed the window down after the first search complete (1.1/2 days to do, a lot of data) and guess if I get to a deeper search it’ll be much longer, patience is all I have at this stage.

    1. Hi Mike

      If it is an external drive for use with a Windows system, there is a good chance that it is INTEL instead of EFI GPT unless you set it up that way yourself. You may want to try that but as you noticed, looking at every 1 and 0 on a 3TB drive can take an extremely long time.

      James

  80. Hi James, yes indeed, the deep search found a non bootable corrupted fat12 and several times the same linux one that i mention before, also one more small corrupted linux. desperate i try with easeus data recovery wizzard and fourtunally i can see that my data is intact. im in the process of recovery (i dont have enough space in my computer) but after get all that i want to ask you, how do i recover the disk? i try to rebuild the bs but testdisk can´t do it after ten hours!
    the original and the backup are bad. should i format from windows? or should i use an especific tool, such a partition magic or hdd regenerator or such? many thanks in advance. realy your page save a thounsands of lifes! thank you very much

    1. Hi Pedro
      Since the boot sector and backup boot sector are both bad, there is probably corruption in other hidden file system files. A data recovery is probably your best choice.

      If it passes all the S.M.A.R.T. tests in my blog post then it is okay to format it and use it again AFTER YOU RECOVER YOUR DATA.

      If you have difficulty with the data recovery, Send me the TestDisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.
      James

  81. The Drive is not external, but installed Sata, Western Digital green 3TB, currently at 51% of the EFI GPT and still responding with, Warning number of heads/cylinder mismatches, guess this is not working, I will let the process finish before trying Intel, though I recall being prompted previously that EFI GPT was identified, can this be ignored and continue to use Intel, is that what you mean.
    And thank you for such quick reply, this has taken up my weekend and feel it’ll been some time yet to go.

  82. Hi James

    I recently lost my wd2tb ears which started showing up recently as raw. Did a quick search as well as deeper search but it still could not list my files after hitting P. Does it mean that my data is gone ?

    Can you help me in any way on this ?

    Thanks in advance.

  83. ON a side not my WD20ears is connected to a HDD dock. Can the hdd dock be the cause of my drive suddenly going RAW ? Also the HDD dock was connected to my ASUS AC68 router when this issue happened. Really bummed and dont know what to do.

    1. Hi Nikunj

      With very large drives like yours there are a lot of things that can cause corruption because the data is so densely packed on the disk and thus it takes very little to cause a mistaken write operation that corrupts the file system.

      Your setup is a little complicated so trying to connect the drive more directly to a computer may help but typically, not finding any partitions after the DEEPER SEARCH is a sign that a data recovery needs to be performed rather than fixing data corruption with a program like TestDisk.

      Wish I had a better answer for you,
      James

  84. I guess it would be an obvious and even stupid question but here goes, If I interrupt the process at 60% complete it’s back to the start again when I switch back on? This being the case, is there another tool that is faster? 60800 cylinders to check 36,525 done!

    1. Hi Kurt

      Just got your email. I’ll reply to you there.

      And NO, that is not a stupid question as I hope that someday TestDisk has an option to continue from where it left off like other command line utilities can do via a text file that keeps track of the progress but I understand why it is hard to do.

      James

  85. Hi james,
    i got following mss after deeper search. Pls advise what to do.

    Disk /dev/sdc – 640 GB / 596 GiB – CHS 77825 255 63

    The harddisk (640 GB / 596 GiB) seems too small! ( HPFS – NTFS 77823 254 63 105929 253 62 451522827

    [ Continue ]
    NTFS, blocksize=4096, 231 GB / 215 GiB

    1. Hi Toufiq

      If you only see the option to CONTINUE at the bottom of the screen press ENTER one time to continue to the screen that you need to be at. I know that I may be too late but wanted to post the answer so anyone else with the same problem sees it.

      Sorry not to have answered you sooner
      James

  86. Hi James,

    i got a 1.01GB flash disk and tried the GSmartControl but it says there is “no additional information available for this drive”
    when i get a look to the output it says the device supports SMART and is Enabled but that “Error Counter logging not supported Device does not support Self Test Support”

    This is my first problem.
    Here’s my second. I tried testdisk anyway but obv it did not work. When i analyse the partition structure and search for lost partitions, i got an invalid FAT boot sector with two “FAT16>32” partitions +
    Warning: Bad ending cylinder (CHS and LBA don’t match) No partition is bootable.

    Can I do something? does this mean all my files are corrupted and unusable? and that my flash disk might have had some sort of physical damage?

    Thanks in advance for your answer and your time,
    Adrien

    1. Hi Adrien

      Flash drives are not really hard drives though they look like them in your computer. They actually have software on a chip inside them that pretends to be a hard drive.

      TestDisk is not a good tool for them. You should try a data recovery program or if the data is very important then send it to a data recovery professional that can examine the memory chips and extract any data from them.

      Hope this helps
      James

  87. i left my pc on for qhole night for deeper search and then what hapened i couldnt understand … help .. am redoing the processes again is it okaay ??

    1. Hi Abhinab

      If you still have problems after the DEEPER SEARCH finishes and you check the partitions to see if your files are visible then send me the TestDisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.

      James

  88. Hi,
    I was running TestDisk and everything was running well untill i came to the “quick search”. After the search i hit the “p”-button. Then the program quits. I also run the “seeper search, nut when I hit the “p” the program quits.
    Someone got the same prob?

    My system: windows7, 2TB werbatim drive (NTFS).

    1. Hi Kjetil

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.

      James

  89. Hi James,
    i have never had a problem with my usb for 2 years and suddenly my usp says it needs to be formtted so i looked it up and found this and followd the steps and when i got to the SMART thing i ran it and it said cannot recieve SMART data, device opened failed or device did not return an IDENTITY structure. i went ahead and did the testdisk thing anyway and before i ran the quick search i noticed it said no partition is bootable but i still ran the quik search and at the end it didnt show any partition listed like in the picture.i still ran a deeper search and whn it fnished it said no partition found or selected for recovery.
    WHAT DO I DOOOOOOO?????????????????????? PLSSSSS HELP MEEEEEE

    1. Hi Harry

      If it did not see the partition(s) after the DEEPER SEARCH then this technique will not work for you. You will need to try a data recovery. I recommend doing so through a professional service.

      James

  90. Worked like a charm. I had a1TB external hard disk, and it had turned raw during usage. So, since I had almost 600GB data stored on it, I was terrified. But not losing calm, I quickly searched the net. And yours was the first sickie I found. Followed your article to the T. Did not succeed in the first try, but succeeded in the second.
    I to had trouble in detecting my hats drive through gsmart, but THANX in the end.

    1. Hi Smart_notsomuch

      Happy to hear that it worked. Not detecting S.M.A.R.T. data is a common problem but I know a lot about GSmart Control and I know that it is very safe so I always suggest it first. Often when it does not work, HDDScan does or the tools made by Seagate or WD work. I am not sure that those programs do not do other things to the drive that may increase any damage so I always try them last.

      Wanted to use your comment as an opportunity to explain that.

      Thanks
      James

  91. I used your tool and it found my files but when I run the write it told me to reboot to finish repairing. I did the reboot and the drive still show up as RAW. Any help is appreciated.

    I have sent the testdisk.log to you.

    1. Hi Andy

      I apologize for not replying sooner but this is the time of year that I do annual backups and maintenance of many servers so I am very busy. I did not receive your testdisk.log file but here is the answer for your situation…

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).

      You should be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help,
      James

  92. Hi James, thank you for your generous time, I have a RAW data, need to format problem on my 1 TB Seagate, I did not bother you as you provided all the info in the answers in these post as I painstakingly worked through the different senerios, I eventually was able to copy the key important data onto another drive following your well written instructions and the rep formatted the drive which I am now using again without a problem.
    Just wanted to say a big thank you to you and let you know you do make a difference to allof us on this site with your unrelentless help.
    Big Thanks George

  93. Dear Sir,
    Thank you for your efforts, I could not interpret the findings of my WD 2TB in GSmartControl, would you kindly help?
    – ID #05 Reallocated Sectors Count is listed and has a RAW VALUE: 2
    – ID #197 Current Pending Sector Count is listed and has a RAW VALUE: 1435
    – ID #191 was not listed
    – Short Self test: Completed with servo/seek failure.
    thank you in advance for any help.

    1. Hi Fadi

      It appears that your problems are caused by physical damage that probably can not be fixed by the techniques in this blog post.
      The drive should be recovered by a professional with the proper tools.

      I wish I had a better answer.
      James

  94. U have the same problem of raw file system on my microsd card. I don’t care about the data. I just want to make it usable again. The file system is raw. I tried formatting but it wont work. Can anyone help me? Its a 32 gb micro sd.

    1. Hi Sneha

      I recently had the same problem with a 32GB micro SD and I understand the frustration. It is probably no good and even if you do manage to fix it, it will not be reliable.

      James

    1. Hi El

      That is a sign of physical damage so you should take that to a professional recovery service where they have the proper tools for recovering data from it.

      James

  95. James,

    I Think I am having the same problem as “Mike” above.

    Here is my scenario:

    3TB Seagate Barracuda SATA Drive installed in a workstation as a secondary data drive (Q:)
    Drive (Q:) Was Formatted as NTFS, MBR upon installation.

    Initially received the Error “Drive must be Formatted” after initiating a reboot of the workstation.
    Windows 7 Pro can see the drive in Drive Manager
    Drive Manager reports RAW formatting, 2.8GB of 2.8GB available.
    Properties of drive show 0% utilization.
    Installed and ran GSmartControl, results as follows..
    ID #05 Reallocated Sectors Count RAW = 0
    ID #191 G-sense Error Rate RAW = 0
    ID #197 Current Pending Sector Count RAW = 0
    Ran short test, result was passed with no errors. Although I was seeing an error regarding internal temperature.
    No obvious clicking, screeching or grinding, excessive head travel or beeping so I proceeded with TestDisk phase of process.
    Downloaded and installed TestDisk
    Followed step-by-step to create log file and select damaged drive (Test Disk found drive immediately
    TestDisk reported “EFI GPT Was Detected” (very sure it is actually NTFS)
    Selected EFI GPT per process
    Selected Analyse
    Results showed two #1 partitions and two, #2 partitions
    Initiated Quick Search (was NOT asked if the disk was made in Vista/Win7)

    Quick Search is currently running and reporting the following series of similar warnings (sample of many):

    Should be marked as FAT12
    Warning: number of heads/cylinder mismatches 2 (FAT) != 255 (HD)
    Warning: number of sectors per track mismatches 23 (FAT) != 63 (HD)
    MS Data 170236008 170239687 3680
    Should be marked as FAT12
    Warning: number of heads/cylinder mismatches 2 (FAT) != 255 (HD)
    Warning: number of sectors per track mismatches 23 (FAT) != 63 (HD)
    MS Data 170241320 170244999 3680

    Question_1: Should I be concerned with these errors, and what might be causing them?

    Question_2: Should I stop the test and re-initiate using the Intel option instead of EFI GPT?

    Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Jonathan

      You won’t know if it will work until the Quick Search or even the Deeper Search are done and show your files and folders. Even then having TestDisk repair the partition table or boot sector may not be enough to make the file system unreadable.

      That is an absolutely huge drive and TestDisk must look at every sector on it so it takes a looooong time to try this method on a drive that large.

      If you still have difficulty after the DEEPER SEARCH completes, send me a copy of the TESTDISK.LOG file and I will try to determine what you can try next.
      James

  96. Hi James thanx a lot 4 being so helpful ….
    I should say I followed your steps 1 by 1 but when I reached the quick search step I had a problem saying :
    invalid fat boot sector …
    can U help me man I’m desperate I have a 800GB of games stored & I can’t lose them !!

    1. Hi Wibi

      Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  97. I followed all your steps until Analyse Cylinder but not patrician is found. I get the option to create patrician but which option to take ( I have Windows 7, 2TB HDD)? If I use FAT32 LBA (as seen in your screen shot) it loops me back to Analyse Cylinder. Please help?

    1. Hi Al

      If no partition is found after the DEEPER SEARCH then this technique will not work for you.

      Wish I had better news,
      James

  98. Hi James,

    My initial problem started when my laptop powered off during a file transfer. I have tried the above process a number of times to recover 16 years of family photos and video from an external 2.5″ 320gb usb HD without success.

    When running SMART, in the device attributes it shows a RAW value of 736 in #05 and 03 in #191.

    When I perform the short test it says completed without error.

    Test disk gets me to the stage at INTEL then ANALYZE when no data can be seen. It says that there is a “Warning:Bad Ending Head
    No Partition is bootable”

    It will perform a quick test but doesnt take me any further from then on. Hop you are able to assist?

    Many Thanks paul

    1. Hi Paul

      Have you run the DEEPER SEARCH?

      If you have and it did not help, look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.
      James

  99. hi dear james, i have a 750gb WD hdd. in the process if i select “EFI GPT” option what will happen? is there any possibility to perform Analyse faster? i have started Analyse 12 hours back but now its showing only 17%. its too slow. could u tell me about it? thanks in advance 🙂
    brinto

    1. Hi Brinto

      That will only work if the drive is using GPT instead of MBR. A 750GB drive ob a Windows PC is almost always MBR (INTEL).

      James

  100. Brinto,

    Maybe James can shed some light on why the EFI GPT Quick search is so slow (1 cylinder per second) but I can say that the slow pace seems consistent with what others have been experiencing.

    The Analysis highlighted my 3TB drive as being an EFI GPT (GUID) partition. When I started the Quick search I saw how slowly it was going and stopped the search. Since I was pretty sure the drive was set up as an NTFS partition, I attempted both a Quick search and a Deeper search using the Intel setting. End result after the Deep search was that it found an NTFS partition but showed NO files.

    I then started a new Quick search, except this time using the EFI EPT setting that TestDisk had determined. As like the first time, the EFI EPT based quick search is very slow and I have no idea if it will even work. I am now on hour 29 of the quick search and at approximately 66%. At some point the search must have sped up and then slowed back down again because if the search rate had remained constant I should only be at 29%.

    In my case I have no choice but to be patient as the data I am trying to recover is nearly priceless.

    1. Hi Jonathan
      A direct SATA connection or USB 3.0 connection may make it faster but there is nothing else that I know of that can make it faster.

      Hope this helps
      James

  101. Hi James,

    I have performed the GSmartControl.

    On the attributes tab my results are :

    ID #05 Reallocated Sectors Count – RAW VALUE = 0
    ID #191 G-sense Error Rate – Not listed
    ID #197 Current Pending Sector Count – RAW VALUE = 1

    On the short test it says “Completed with read failure”.

    Does this mean there is physical damage or can i proceed with the rest of your instructions?

    Thanks

    1. Hi DC

      Yes that means there is some physical damage but it does not sound really bad so TestDisk probably will not make it worse. As always, though, if the data is very important I recommend taking it to a professional data recovery service.

      James

  102. Hi James,

    First of all your tutorial was very helpfull, thanks for that. But there is one problem. I got problems with my SD Card after doing all you steps i found the partition, but it says there are no files on it.
    In you’re tutorial you say “DO NOT WRITE A NEW PARTITION TABLE IF YOU DID NOT SEE YOUR FILES/FOLDERS That means the proper partition table was not found and you will have to try a different technique to recover your data.” but what are these different techniques?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sorry for my bad english im from the dutch.

    1. Hi Frank

      This technique isn’t very good for SD cards.

      Sometimes with SD Cards I get lucky if I put it in a device like a camera then hook the device to the PC. For some reason, devices like cameras can often read an SD Card better than a computer or phone can.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  103. i face some problem with my wd elements 2tb hard disk .. i transfer some file from my lapy to external hard disk .. there are several storage used show on hard disk. but when i open folder. files are not there. so where is the files gone? please solve my problem

  104. hi james,
    when I am running the deeper search,i had a read error at 7021 and after,the percentage bar is moving very slow,is this normal?

  105. i run TestDisk but it is not showing anything with quicksearch and deep search…is their any alternative??help me out..asp

  106. Hi James,

    I am a Linux only user. In far past I bought 2TiB HDD and formatted it as ntfs, because I thought I would use it from time to time in windows machines(which I never did). It ended up being the largest drive I have. I did know that it is better to use etx4 rather than ntsf on Linux only machines. Finally I have allocated time to convert it to a proper filesystem. Unfortunately I was waiting for to long and on attempt to mount got the following error:
    ntfs_attr_pread_i: ntfs_pread failed: Input/output error
    Failed to read NTFS $Bitmap: Input/output error
    NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it’s a
    SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows
    then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very
    important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate
    it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g.
    /dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the ‘dmraid’ documentation
    for more details.

    I have spend quite a lot time to find a windows environment with available “chkdsk /f” command(it is command prompt from win7 install DVD). It said my partition is raw… After tremendous amount of searching I was finding the same solutions over and over again:
    1) Use testdisk to get your partitions back. (most instructions stop here)
    2) Use testdisk to restore/rebuild you boot sector. (some people add “and check your MFT”).
    3) Run chkdsk.
    Well, in my case testdisk says my partition table is perfectly fine as well as the boot sector. I can access all the files through it. But windows’ utilities like diskpart and chkdsk see it as a raw partition. Testdisk complains only about MFT and says both MFT and MFT mirror are bad, so it can’t recover them. Diskpart sees almost all fields correct(partition size, hexidecimal type, offset, etc…) except only two:
    1) partition filesystem – raw(should be ntfs)
    2) partition label – empty(should be “Nick Storage”)
    I can’t be the only one who got in this kind of situation! I really want to avoid copying all the files. My second largest HDD is also ntfs(it has its own story), so it can potentially end up in the same situation. I have more than 200 000 files on that drive. The machine itself uses usb2 ports to operate with sata drives, because it has only IDE ports on the motherboard. And now this machine is 10 thousand miles away from me – seriously, on the opposite side of the Globe! What could possibly go wrong?
    Anyway, is there a way to force chkdsk consider this partition as ntsf or to recalculate the MFT?

    Best.
    Nick

    1. Hi Nick

      TestDisk will only repair corruption in the first sector of the drive or in the boot sector(s). It sounds like your problem involves corruption in one of the other areas containing data for the file system.
      Failed to read NTFS $Bitmap: Input/output error
      $Bitmap is one of those files that TestDisk does not attempt to repair but chkdsk does if you can get chkdsk to see it. Sometimes the corruption is too much for chkdsk to be able to sort out where it should start making repairs. This usually results in chkdsk claiming there is no recognizable partition aka RAW.

      In this case, I always recover the files to another disk since this kind of corruption typically spreads and a the files can become unrecoverable.

      Sounds like you are able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk again. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  107. Hello,

    My 2tb external hard drive has stopped working and was forcing me to format it. I used Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery to recover some of my files to my laptop and before reading more articles I clicked the Windows default message to format the external hard drive. It said it could not complete it and it remains the same, showing 0 bytes in ‘Properties’. After the format though I checked again on Stellar Phoenix and it did not have my folders which is fine as I have recovered the important files onto my laptop.

    I tried to use Testdisk but did not understand how to use it so I installed HDDScan. The ‘005 Value’ is 94 so is more that 5 but the ‘197 Current Pending Errors Count’ is 001. However, when I did the SMART short offline tests, they are completed and seconds and status is finished.

    I was just wondering if you would have any idea whether this external hard drive can be restored back to a working NTFS hard drive rather than a RAW.

    Thanks.
    SK.

  108. Hello …
    Please i need help , i try this solution for my hardisk and it’s didn’t work ?
    and i try many other solution it’s the same didn’t work ?
    my hardisk was master and this doesn’t work .. i don’t want to delete it cause i have value data … !!
    so !!

  109. Hi James,
    Thank you for publishing this tutorial! I followed all the steps you mentioned. However I got stuck after Deeper Search and got the following mess :

    The harddisk seems too small! <
    Check the harddisk size: HD jumpers settings, BIOS detection…
    The following partitions can’t be recovered:

    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    > HPFS-NTFS 60800 254 63 121601 253 61 976768001

    I already sent my TestDisk.log file to you at james@litten.com .
    Please help me .
    Thank you very much .
    Ann

    1. Hi Ann

      If you can’t see your files and folders in the partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  110. Hi

    After run gsmartcontrol, double click but come up message
    : no additional information is available for this drive:
    Which show also the basic health check : unknown.
    Please advise what is the situation? do i need to run the testdisk?

    Thank you
    Ruslan

    1. Hi Ruslan

      You can try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  111. Hey,
    I have the odd problem of the partition I need turning up in Testdisk along with the files i want but re-writing the partition table does nothing, I reboot to find the same raw drive in my computer. I’m copying the files out via test-scan but it’s slow… very slow.

    1. Hi James

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).

      Not sure what “test-scan” is but you should be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help,
      James

  112. Dear James,

    i have a problem here when i process the step which we have to select Analyse and then it just pop up a message that said partition sector doesnt have the endmarks. and i was trying to recover my falsh disk (Sandisk)
    any help?
    pardon my English, its not my first languange
    Thanks
    Vidya

    1. Hi Vidya

      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  113. Whoops, meant Test Disk, and that’s what I’m doing right now, it’s taking forever because it was my download drive but at least I can get them all of before I format the drive

  114. Hi James,

    Thanks for the responses and thank you though for this wonderful tutorial and your enthusiasm for helping everyone with questions. It has definitely inspired me to get serious about preserving my data in the future.

  115. Hi!
    Thank you for your post 🙂
    I have a “wd my passport slim” of 2tb. I had it only for 4 months and yesterday it suddenly stopped working. I use it every day. I cant see it in “my computer” i do see it in disk management. When i clik on it in disk management i got this message: “The request could not be perfomed because of an I/O device error”. It appears as “disk 1”, “unknown” “not initialized”. I used so many things, I tried recuva to try to get back the data, but recuva doest recognize my external hard drive. I downloaded GSsmart and HDD, GSSMART says “cannot retrieve smart data. Device open failed, or device did not return an IDENTIFY DEVICE structure.”. HDD recognized my hard drive, but it didnt allow me to do any smart scan. I then downloaded WD drive utilities, which it allowed me to perfom a test and said “smart status failed”. I used testdisk but it doesnt show my hard drive. When i connect the hard drive, my computer makes the sound it usually makes when i connect a device to it, the light in the hard drive is turned on, but nothing happens. I am travelling around, but im in the middle of nowhere basically and i move every day to a different place, i dont know where can i take it for fixing or how long they will last, thats why i really need to solve it by myself. Do you have any idea on what might be going on??? I am now in france, do you know someone i could send it or an online page where they can fix it online?
    Thank you for reading my annoyingly long email

  116. Hi James,

    Will it work on CHK files (files recovered from CHKDSK scan)? SD became RAW after CHKDSK scan recovery. Any advice what to do next? I’m worried the Testdisk wont be able to read .CHK files.

    Thank you and looking forward.

    1. Hi Sam D

      Yes you will still be able to see the CHK files after using TestDisk but TestDisk isn’t really made for SD cards. It is for mechanical hard drives. SD card problems are usually due to a damaged or malfunctioning chip.

      There are companies that have the equipment required to remove the chips and attempt to extract the data.

      Wish I had a better answer for you.
      James

  117. I get this error message

    “partition sector doesn’t have the endmark 0xAA55”

    after quick search and deep search, still no partitions are found.

    1. Hi Dan

      I hate to say it but that message along with not finding any partitions after the DEEPER SEARCH (assuming the S.M.A.R.T. data showed no damage) usually means that the drive has been wiped clean and has no data on it.

      What were the events leading up to it becoming RAW?

      James

  118. Hello, It’s lovely to see your quick and kind replies to people.

    I have a problem with the password protection of my device (virtual drive of drive unlocker). In other word, I couldn’t see the raw drive since it keeps asking me for a password which I can’t decrypt even by using the right password. This unlocker thing prevents me from accessing the raw drive for either disk management or SMART performing.

    I tried to run the testdisk and the real drive was showing fine through the screen. However, after going through the ‘Analyze’ Option, it then just keeps sending me an error and I can’t find any partition.

    Do you have any advice to go pass through this kind of encryption, so I can perform those steps provided by yours properly?

    Thank you for your attention sir, I hope you can help me to get my precious data back 🙂

    1. Hi Ares

      It is odd that it requires a password to access the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      1. What type of encryption is it? Bitlocker, TrueCrypt, ATA ?

      2. Did it complete the DEEPER SEARCH?

      James

  119. First off, thank you very much for this guide. It has been a real life saver, HOWEVER, my Seagate drive still needs to be formatted according to Windows 8.1.

    I managed to actually copy all my information off the drive in question thanks to TestDisk, so I have all of my data backed up on another drive now.

    The issue now is how do I make this hard drive usable? It’s a 3TB drive, but when I try to format in Windows, it only shows 1.99TB to format.

    In “Disk Management” it shows the drive as follows:
    8MB Unallocated; (G:) 2048GB RAW; 746.51GB Unallocated.

    I tried Extending the RAW partition, but I got an error saying this:
    “Only the first 2TB are usable on large MBR disks. Cannot create partitions beyond the 2TB mark, nor convert the disk to dynamic”

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  120. I’m sorry James, maybe my explanation was confusing. I’ll try my best to make it clearer:

    A1:
    I’m using ‘WD My Passport Ultra’ 1 TB Harddisk with an embedded password protection feature. It’s a built in software created by the manufacturer called ‘WD Unlocker’ for this device.

    The harddisk has 2 partitions:
    1. WD Unlocker Virtual Partition,
    2. Your Data Partition.
    Basically you have to type the right password using the Unlocker software inside ‘WD Unlocker Virtual Partition’ so ‘Your Data Partition’ will show up.

    Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t unlock my drive because the device keeps asking for a password. When it was unlocked (after so many attempts), I could pass through the password and I could see the RAW drive that asks for format. But now I can’t unlock the drive again for unknown reason.

    Assumption:
    The real drive (not unlocker) is shown at both the SMART and Testdisk. The real drive is shown on the screen of SMART but it couldn’t be accessed.

    A2:
    No, I couldn’t find any partition after clicking ‘Analyze’ on Testdisk. There was only an error message showed up on the Testdisk’s screen. couldn’t go further from this point.

    I believe I might be able to do all those procedures after the real drive show up on the explorer (Unlocked). Have you ever dealt with an external harddisk that has password protection before?

    1. Hi Ares

      The encryption software and keys for that are stored on a chip in the enclosure. It sits between the computer and the hard drive. You’ll need to go to a professional data recovery lab to get that recovered since it requires special tools and knowledge.

      Wish I had a better answer for you,
      James

    1. Hi Fadi

      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  121. I am following your instruction from many days and there was only one problem which I am facing in the initial steps .

    When I use Parted Magic to open my drive it takes a little while to mount the drive and when the drive gets mounted then when I browse in files and folders .

    The contents within the folders does not show up what does that means and why is this happening whereas in the properties it is showing exactly the same free space and used up space but still no contents within folders are listed .

    I get the error of Slicing input / output error for the files when I copy.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Aviral

      I no longer support the PartedMagic method. Please try following the directions in this post and let me know if it does not work.

      James

  122. I was trying to recover a WD external USB HD. I followed the steps above and then rebooted twice. Each time the drive still showed up as raw.

    I could see my files but there are maybe 65,000 of them and several copies of backups so I did not have a hard drive big enough to handle copying all, so I moved the 10 that I really cared about and then ran chkdsk d: /f. That took about 20 minutes and I think it corrupted about a dozen files but now the drive is readable again.

    I’m currently copying the rest off. Thanks so much for the help!

  123. Dear Admin

    I had already done the DEEPER SEARCH and it show many MS Data. I am searching by Intel. Some MS Data said that “Can’t open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged.” May I know how can I send the log to you? I will appreciate if you can help me.

    Please forgiving my bad english.

    Regards
    Rocky

    1. Hi Rocky

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.

      James

  124. hey! thanks for the help! I’ve a 1tb hd and following the instructions, after long hours of deep search the new partition is not shown and also the files are not seen. so how do I fix that?please let me know! thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Eyueal

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  125. Hi James

    ID #191 isn’t listed. Both ID’s #5 and #197 seem to be ok. But the short test says completed with read failure. This HDD is used with a Wii Console, I don’t know if there is any problem with that.

    Happy Holidays,
    Nacho

  126. Hi James,
    the first of all I want thank you for your a big patience and unselfish help. If was more such people the world would be much better…

    I have a little another question – is it normal that after 3h there is still 0% ? One cylinder take 2,5 sec, and 4TB disk has aprox. 487000. So 100% will take around 2 weeks… And it is only quick search! For deep scan I will need half year 🙂 I think PC I have rather good with i7 4770 and msi MPower…
    What do you think about ?
    And sorry for my poor english

    1. Hi Jessy

      I need more information before I can answer you…

      1. Did the S.M.A.R.T. data and tests look okay?

      2. What is the model and manufacturer of the drive?

      James

  127. Hi there!

    I’ve done the short test and it says completed with unknown failure.

    in the testdisk, I can see all my files and folder. but I dare not take the next time to write as im not sure if this is considered physical damage, as I should leave it to the expert to recover the files instead.

    appreciate your advice! thanks!

    Benson

    1. Hi Benson

      That S.M.A.R.T result does indicate some physical damage in the form of bad sectors.

      The files listed in red are files that were recently deleted but can be recovered/undeleted.

      If you can see the files/folders then you should attempt to recover any important ones before proceeding.
      Sounds like you are able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      After you get your important files, you can proceed with trying to repair the drive but with so many bad sectors it is probably not wise to trust the disk anymore. Bad sectors often spread and the disk’s integrity begins to degrade in an unpredictable manner.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  128. Hi James

    Thanks. The reason why I asked is because you mentioned not to proceed if there’s physical damages.

    I shall give it a try then!

    Benson

    1. Hi Benson

      LOL! You have already proceeded. You should not have run TestDisk with that S.M.A.R.T. data result for attribute 197 plus failing the short test if you were trying to recover very important data. Those bad sectors can multiply at any moment so you might as well grab the important stuff while you are there as this may be your last chance.

      Since you are at that screen, the best chance of getting important data is right now. If you are no longer at that screen in TestDisk and are planning on rerunning it, I advise against it and recommend that you take it to a professional data recovery lab.

      James

  129. Hey there computer cracks, yesterday when I tried watching a movie, the loudspeaker fell on my computer and my external hard drive. since then the external hard drive sounds like it wants to rev up but it can’t, instead it tries by repeating the pattern till it stops, my computer recognizes the USB but says storage is unavailable. what is the problem and how can I save my data? I really need it.

    thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Diego

      I’m fairly confident that your problem is due to physical damage. This technique is not for fixing that kind of damage.
      You need to take it to a data recovery lab that has the proper equipment for dealing with a drive in the condition that yours is in.

      Wish I had better news for you,
      James

  130. Hello, can you please Help me to solve my problem.

    I have a problem where my HDD external can be read, “only” in device manager, but in explorer, the HDD external arent show up.

    it’s ejectable to but not show up @ the explorer.

    Help me Please 🙁
    and Thankyouu soooo much !!

  131. Hi James,

    I found your post today and followed it after loosing access to my drive yesterday (drive shows up as RAW) No damage found and the files seem to be there (as reported by “Testdisk”) but when I hit “write” to write the table (and responded with a “Y”) and then rebooted, the drive still said RAW. Here are the specifics:

    The drive is a 4TB Seagate (ST4000DX001) that is strictly used for image storage. The drive is formatted as exFAT with just one large partition. I access the drive on both Windows 8.1 and OSX 10.9. Yesterday I was upgrading the MAC to Yosemite and then mucking around with some of the kext files to change some of the bootup preferences. When I switched back to Windows, I could no longer read the drive. It was reported as RAW. I did not Format it.The drive had been working fine and there was no evidence of physical damage and all errors were reported as “0” on the Smart test.

    I followed your instructions carefully and I did not do a deep scan since the quick scan showed me the directory structure that I was expecting. Hit “Q” then scrolled over to “Write”, said “Y” then rebooted. The write took almost no time (which seemed odd) and came back right away with the reboot prompt.

    Can you tell me if I am doing something wrong. Do I need to do the “Deep Scan” to register all sub-directories and files? Do I need to also rebuild the BS even though it was not reported as damaged?

    Thanks for your help.

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike

      The write should be quick because it only writes a very tiny piece of data to the drive’s first sector.

      Does it show up when you access it from OSX now? OSX is often more forgiving than Windows.

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      If you can not see it in OSX then you should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help,
      James

  132. Hi James,

    I found your posting and follow your instructions from A to Z. I managed to see my external WD My Passport 1TB when I do Disk Management it’s show RAW. But still I cannot see the details. After that, I reboot my laptop and start in Safe Mode and run Chkdsk. But when during the chkdsk /f/r, it’s took me 2 days and I need to travel back to my house which is in the car I only managed to run the laptop or process using battery. Unfortunately, after 2 hours, it’s ran out of battery and shutdown. After 4 hours journey, I managed to reach home and continue plug in the laptop with the electrical source. And I can see the whole things nothing. So I ran again the chkdsk, and it’s seem fines to run the process. So I left the process whole night. When I checked the process today, it’s completely stop by it’s own. Then I check again the Disk Management suddenly shows to me Uninitialized Unknown Disk 1.

    Is this a signed I lost everything ? Ohh my goodness.. please help me !

    1. Hi Nizah

      It is important to note that chkdsk prioritizes file system health over data so it will cause data loss if that is what it needs to do in order to repair the file system. You can attempt TestDisk again to see if it finds anything and if some of what it finds are files ending in .CHK
      Those would be the files created by chkdsk to try and save anything it had to remove from the file system.
      Here is a link to help you view .CHK files…
      https://www.raymond.cc/blog/how-to-recover-chk-files-created-by-chkdsk-and-scandisk/

      Hope this helps,
      James

  133. Hi James,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I expect another 4TB disk to arrive tomorrow and this will give me enough space to begin transferring the files to. (The old disk was 90% full.) I will proceed very carefully since I don’t want to make things worse. Will keep you posted on the progress. Greatly appreciate your help.

    Mike

  134. Hi James,

    When running gsmartcontrol, the software did not recognise my External HDD(of Seagate). However, I still decided to go with testdisk. When running testdisk, there is a message saying that: “Partition: Read error” and there was no partition shown up. Then, I hit Quick Search. Another message was popped up:
    Disk/dev/sdb – 500GB / 465 GB – CHS 60801 255 63
    Read error at 60799/254/63
    What should I do now?

  135. After that, the testdisk stopped and another message: No partition found or selected for recovery.

    Can you help me to fix this problem?

    1. Hi Tu,

      Did you run the DEEPER SEARCH also?

      Oh, and you can try HDDScan to see the S.M.A.R.T. data. It often works on Seagate drives when gSmartControl does not.
      HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  136. Hi James,

    I received my blank new drive today and I have selected ALL files (a key), then hit SHIFT-C to select my G drive as the destination.

    It is continuing to copy now for about 5 minutes. It says about 10,000 files have copied ok with 3 failed copies. Do I need to worry about this?

    BTW, the old disk was exFAT and I formated the new disk to NTFS. Is that ok or should I stop the process and go back and reformat the new drive as exFAT?

    I did this since I thought it would be safer for the drive not to be recognized by OSX.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Mike

  137. Hi James,

    Good news/bad news. I started Testdisk about 7:30PM yesterday to copy my files from the old 4TB drive to the new one. When I went to bed at midnight, about 150,000 files had copied ok with 11 failures. When I woke up this morning, Testdisk was still running but was reporting 155,309 ok files and 511,600 failed files and still growing. 2 of the 3 folders that I set to copy appear on the new drive in Windows Explorer.

    I suppose I should let this continue until it says completed even though it appears that only file failure numbers are growing while the ok files remains the same.

    I’m thinking that from here on out I will only see failed files which are of no benefit. So my question is should I stop Testdisk or let it keep running. Would there be any penalty for quitting Testdisk prematurely to the files that have been correctly copied?

    My questions:

    1) What happens if I stop Testdisk and what is the best way to stop it?
    2) Can I peek into the folders on the new drive with Windows Explorer while Testdisk is still running.
    3) What’s next: Do I run Chkdsk on the new drive? With the /f flag?

    Thank you!

    Mike

  138. Hi James,

    The problem is looking bleaker than I expected. I stopped Testdisk since so many errors (file failures) were being generated. I restarted Testdisk then looked in specific folders for correct filenames. It appears that most of the filenames and other file-info shown in Testdisk are corrupted with all sorts of weird dates and characters including some Chinese symbols and allot of punctuation symbols. Is this typical for a corrupted drive?

    I will loose some photos since I don’t have up-to-date backups of the most recent files. Lesson learned – Back up often!

    I tried copying some of the weird filename data to a new drive and it looked weird there too. Nothing looked correct once copied, not even the filesize.

    Is there anything else to try to recover any of the most recent image files?

    Thanks again for your help.

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike

      First let me answer your list of questions…

      1) What happens if I stop Testdisk and what is the best way to stop it?
      You can kill it any way you want. It will not hurt anything.

      2) Can I peek into the folders on the new drive with Windows Explorer while Testdisk is still running.
      Yes

      3) What’s next: Do I run Chkdsk on the new drive? With the /f flag?
      chkdsk prioritizes file system repair over data and will destroy data if necessary in order to repair the file system.
      DO NOT RUN CHKDSK UNTIL ALL IMPORTANT DATA IS RECOVERED

      Now, I’d like to mention that it sounds like you did not try this with one file first and then verified that it worked as stated in my instructions. I understand. I battle tunnel vision all the time.

      Try running TestDisk, go to ADVANCED instead of ANALYSE and choose your partition if it is listed and select LIST at the bottom of the screen. Then follow my previous instructions to see if you can successfully recover ONE file.
      Then try 5 then 10 and so on until it starts wigging out again.

      If that does not work, you can try PhotoRec which you already have in the TestDisk directory on your computer (it is included with TestDisk).
      Here are some instructions for it…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

      Hope this helps,
      James

  139. Hi admin James,

    I’ve followed all your steps above.
    Quick search then saw my files, go to write then reboot. However, after rebooting still my external 1TB seagate is still RAW and I still get the error “Format thing” and cyclic error, not accessible.

    I will email you my testdisk log file. Hoping to hear from you. Thank you so much! Happy new year in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi Christian
      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help and Happy New Years to you too 🙂
      James

  140. Hi James,

    I have a imation 4GB password protected flash drive. After I enter the password I get the following error: “E:\ is not accessible. Volume doesn’t contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.”

    Would your above mentioned instructions work for my USB stick? please advise.

    Thank you much in advance.

    Sincerely,
    Khalid

    1. Hi Khalid,

      No, I am sad to say that it will not help you. You will need to take it to a recovery professional who has the proper tools.

      James

  141. hi james

    I have a problem, testdisk shows me the message “(partition sector doesn’t hace the endmark0xaa55)”!!!
    WHAT I HAVE TO DO TO FIX MY SDCARD 32GB! WHEN actualy have 0KB!!! sorry my bad english!

    1. Hi Ricardo

      TestDisk isn’t really made for SD cards. It is for mechanical hard drives. SD card problems are usually due to a damaged or malfunctioning chip.

      You should contact a company that has the equipment required to remove the chips and attempt to extract the data.

      Wish I had a better answer for you.
      James

  142. No sir. It won’t it says taht and gives me the option to quicksearch or so. I’m trying to do the quicksearch now.

  143. Let me clear that. It wont even let me choose a partition. It only gives me the option to quicksearch and stuffs. I’m quicksearching right now.

  144. Update: After the Quicksearch no partitions were found should I continue the Deeper search? Oh and what a bout the Sector problem?

  145. Whenever I’m in explorer and I plug in my external HDD, it shows the correct free space and full size of drive. It will allow me to double click on the drive and see the root directory, but after that it will freeze. Chkdsk reads it as RAW. I’ve tried Testdisk, but when I select my external HDD, it just freezes there and never advances to the next screen. It’s a 5 TB HDD, so maybe I’m not waiting long enough, but I’ve let it sit 3 hours. I can confirm that there is no physical damage to the HDD also. Any help would be appreciated, I’ve searched for 6 months for a way to fix this and have struck out everywhere. I’ve found more help on your page so far than I’ve received anywhere else. Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Shaun

      This technique is not appropriate for your situation. It is surprising that it passes the S.M.A.R.T. tests. In that case, it may be some sort of connectivity issue (loose wire) or perhaps a conflict of some sort (does it work when connected to a different computer?)

      Afraid that’s all I’ve got,
      James

  146. hello James,

    My old 1TB internal HDD had the same problem, my computer could not recognize the partitions in it. May it be because i connected the HDD to the pc while it was running?
    So after that i thought making the whole HDD into 1 partition would help but it still did nothing. I was wondering if what i did harmed my HDD and if your instructions could help me fix my HDD and recover all files?

  147. And also this might have happened because my HDD failed. I wanted to repair windows on it but it didnt let me so i got a new HDD. Then i wanted to transfer the files to the new HDD but the computer did not recognize it. Before it had 7 partitions, but it only read it as a raw drive without partitions. So i made the entire drive a partition with one letter without formatting and then it told me it needs to be formatted to be used but i didnt format it. So back to my previous question again then.

    1. Hi Fbeer

      If this technique did not work for you then it sounds like a format did occur. If it was not a ‘Quick Format’ then it may have overwritten all of the sectors with zeros which makes it impossible to recover with conventional equipment.

      Wish I had better news,
      James

  148. Hi! I have a problem, There is no physical damage on my hard drive, all test passed, so i did quick search, and was able to see my files so i skipped Deeper search and write, so i press Y but i didn’t see any backup afterward, just to reboot, so i did restart my computer, and it still didn’t work.. what can i do?

    1. Hi Alex
      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  149. Windows was just reinstalled on my PC, i had a secondary 240 GB SSD drive I use for some data I access frequently. It’s a work laptop so the tech removed the drive he said while the laptop was powered down before reimaging but now i get the the raw drive system after reinserted. I know it’s handled differently than a HDD, is there any good way to attempt to get this data back? All scans with testdisk failed to see anything, i’m running find and mount now on a thorough scan since the quick methods did not find anything.

    Thanks, i had roughly 100GB i’d had to lose of data.

    1. Hi Dave

      SSD’s handle deleted or unmapped data very differently from a hard drive and will zero it out randomly just by being powered on. This is in order for it to use its memory cells efficiently and for long life.

      A recovery specialist with the proper tools may be able to access data on the chips in the SSD but once the file system falls apart, an SSD can self destruct the data on it.

      Wish I had a better answer for you.
      James

  150. Hi, I have a Seagate Freeagent 500GB external HD which when connected to my PC prompted the above error messages the post indicated at the beginning.

    “You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it. Do you want to format it?” and “This volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.”

    Tried using TestDisk with your instructions but as it runs QuickSearch midway, it indicated INVALID FAT BOOT SECTOR. After QuickSearch ended, there was no partition for me to select to go through any files.

    No physical damage from the look and sound of it.

    any advice on how to proceed from here? Thanks

    1. Hi Kuro

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  151. Hi James, sorry for delay, i was doing copy files (take whiles)
    i cannot find chkdsk, i mean , go to computer, right click RAW drive and click tools tab and check now, but it said “The disk check could not be performed because Window can’t access the disk.” is there other way i can do?

    1. Hi Alex

      Try rebooting with the disk connected and see if it automatically runs chkdsk when it reboots. If not then the file system may be too corrupted. You can try connecting it to another computer running a different Windows based operating system (for example if your computer is Windows 8, try it on a computer running Windows 7 or XP). Sometimes one will not run chkdsk on the drive but others will.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  152. Hi James,
    I been following instructions:
    Did the GSMART Control – Attributes passed and Scan passed.
    After Analyze on TestDisk, I got the Partition: Read Error message.
    But it is now running the Scan, and has “Read error at XXXXXXXX). Do I just wait for the scan to complete and then see? Or is it going to be a waste of time and need to try something else? Thanks so much.

  153. ^^sorry, i make error post

    I do not know what you mean about rebooted with disk, do you mean leave hard drive plug to PC and restart?
    And secondly, i try run on it on window 10 (first time was on window 7) It seem didn’t work, what should i do?

  154. Hi James,

    I brought my dell ext HDD just a week back. So i presumed that there was no physical damage to the disk. But on running testdisk, i have reached quicksearch and deeper search but still none of my drives are visible. I have very important data which i shifted from my laptop to the HDD. Now i don’t have any backup of anything at all. Is there any way we can retrieve the data? Please help!!!

    1. Hi Shekhar

      Unfortunately, if you do not see any partitions after the QUICK SEARCH and the DEEPER SEARCH then this technique will not work for you. You will need to attempt a data recovery instead of a repair. Since you say that the data is very important I recommend taking the drive to a data recovery professional.

      James

  155. James:
    Hellllpppp!!! I am desperate … my external hard drive is only 320 GB. Seagate. I lost my info about a year ago and I know is in there. I bought ease us data recovery and i was able to retrieve some files bit not all of them. I run their scan again and then when it was ongoing i saw even more files. I went to bed. this morning I looked and it says it recovered only one file.
    I haven’t restart the computer. I run the quick search. you explained here because I am for sure my disk has no physical damage. and after running it show a HPFS-NTFS partition and a message that says:
    The following partition cant be recovered.
    OMG! what should I do.?
    Please. Help!. I appreciate your kindness … I am so sad….

    1. Hi Aura

      What did the S.M.A.R.T. data look like?
      Did it pass the S.M.A.R.T. Short Self Test?
      and, did you see the files and folders when you looked at the partition and pressed P as described in the instructions?

      James

  156. After the deeper search, my files still aren’t listed. It says filesystem cannot be accessed/corrupted (something like that). Is there still hope for my files or are they a goner now 🙁

    1. Hi Roni

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service. If you are determined to do this yourself then you can try data recovery software. If the file system is indeed badly damaged then your best bet is to use a raw recovery tool like PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. It takes a bit of extra work to get the data since filenames are not recovered. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

      Hope this helps,
      James

  157. I think I’m going to just bring it to a professional. If I did it on my own I’m scared I might make the situation worse than it already is. Anyway, thanks James!

  158. Hi James…
    I did all the steps, found my files. did the write BS thing and rebooted, but still have an alert saying my disk have no format and I should format it.
    What else can I do ?

  159. Hi, If you have put an internal hard drive into an external caddy for testing purposes using a different PC, ensure the caddy can support the size of the hard drive, my 1TB disc was showing up as raw during chkdsk and I did loads of testing before I decided to open my main PC and take the drive out of the usb caddy and put it in there to try the repairs.

  160. Hello James,

    First of a very big thank you for your selfless act! May God richly bless you and reward you a thousand fold!

    I followed every instruction to the letter. Even ran the HDDscan app and the S.M.A.R.T short test finished (which i assume is a pass?) although extended said error??

    However, per your instructions I came to the part where you had to reboot before the new write changes could take effect and unfortunately nothing happens after that.

    What to do??

    1. Hi Derek and also Leo

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  161. On my WD Passport…its making some clicking noise at an Interval and does not show the storage space in My Computer. I scanned it in GSmart Control but it is not enabled to perform the test…in right click it is not enabled to do the test…What should I do?

    1. Hi Tan

      This technique does NOT fix drives that are clicking. Clicking drives must be disconnected and taken to a data recovery lab where they have the proper tools to recover the data.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  162. Hello James,

    I have been followed all your steps, i am getting an error “No partition is bootable” even i started for quick search and it strucked there. need i want to wait or can i go for data recovery.

    1. Hi Balaji

      Sometimes on large drives it can take a long time for the QUICK SEARCH to complete.
      What size is the drive?
      How long did you wait for it to finish the QUICK SEARCH?

      James

  163. I have a stack of new Seagate Barracuda ST250DM000 sata HHDs (so I know the HD is fine). I’m treating them like an external HD via USB adapters. I have 1 win7 64-bit and 1 xp 32-bit machines. I’m trying to transfer data from one machine to another. I format a HD on the win7 but when I move it to the xp, it detects it as RAW. When I do it in reverse, format on xp and move it to the win7, I get the same thing. On occasion, testdisk allows me to recover files off the HD but I have been unable to get it to correct the HD to make it NTFS. I have a feeling that it’ll work if I install it as an internal HD, but that would be extremely annoying. Any ideas? thanks, chris

    1. Hi Chris

      That does not sound like a hard drive issue as much as a ‘file system’ or NTFS issue. When you format a drive on one OS and then see it as RAW on the other, what happens if you connect it to a Linux or OSX computer?

      James

  164. After deep search when I select p to display files,it brings a message can’t open the file system. file system seems damaged. What do I do

    1. Hi Lanina

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service. If you are determined to do this yourself then you can try data recovery software. If the file system is indeed badly damaged then your best bet is to use a raw recovery tool like PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. It takes a bit of extra work to get the data since filenames are not recovered. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

      Hope this helps,
      James

  165. sir my hard drive is raw some time show unalocated
    i dont want my data i want to format my hard drive and boot secter back

    please reply me

    1. Hi Asif

      Have you checked the S.M.A.R.T. data on the drive as I describe in the post?
      Let me know what those results were or if it did not work and I will try to make suggestions as to how you can proceed.

      James

  166. U are a life saver.. thanks a million times Mr James… after the quick search… it didn’t show the files and folders but I want further with the process and it came out perfect….. I appreciate sir.

  167. Hi James,

    I followed (or at least tried) your instructions, and I got the following msg when hitting P to list files on primary partition found after quick search: “can’t open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged”.
    I went ahead with a deep search that located another partition but got warning about size discrepancy and the files listed were a bunch of unrecognisable characters that didn’t resemble my folder structure…(or rather I couldn’t decipher it)….
    Should I continue with the “write” section of your instructions or it’s a different kind of problem that you described and should try to solve it in a different way?
    Cheers, hedi

    1. Hi Hedi

      Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Send this file to me at james@litten.com and I will look at it to try and determine what to try next.

      James

  168. Just to say thanks..

    this rescued the data from a NTFS USB external hard drive that was accidentally formatted ext4 for a rasbian install !

    1. Hi Chris

      Thanks for letting me know it worked for you.
      This technique has saved many who have been in similar situations.

      I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on this for others who may find your comment via search.
      If a quick format is done then this technique works. However, if a long or destructive format is done then this technique does not work. If the long format is interrupted then some data may still be salvageable. The reason is that the long format checks for bad sectors and sets everything to zero which destroys all the data while the quick format simply sets the pointers to zero and leaves all the old data on the drive. With security becoming more important to the average computer user, more and more operating systems are defaulting to the long format on the assumption that the user wants the old data destroyed so someone else can not recover it.

      James

  169. Hi James,

    In quick search i got an error Like “No partition is bootable”, So i started deeper search for this process it is taking long time started 14 hours back still the process not even reached 1%, what should i do.

    Thanks in advance.

  170. >
    >admin • January 19th, 2015 at 5:07 pm
    >
    >Hi Chris
    >
    >That does not sound like a hard drive issue as much
    > as a ‘file system’ or NTFS issue. When you format a
    > drive on one OS and then see it as RAW on the other,
    > what happens if you connect it to a Linux or OSX
    > computer?
    >
    >James
    >

    Alas, I do not have readily access to a unix based system. I agree that it is more of a `file system’ issue but I was hoping that TestDisk would fix that. I’m going to breakdown 🙂 and try installing the HD as internal and see what happens. -chris

  171. Hi James.

    A few days ago I copied an avi file overtm to my ext hdd. it was the last thing I did. Woke up the following morning to Find my drive stated as RAW. I used easeus data recovery and partition recovery to no avail.

    I then found your tutorial and started going through the initial testdisk steps. However it does not find any partition at all. During the scan/search eveey sectorbit triea to read is listed as unreadable.

    If possible, could you perhaps email me?
    Would be much appreciated.

    regards
    Jean-Pierrè

    1. Hi Jean-Pierrè

      Unfortunately, that is an indication of physical damage and a recovery needs to be done by a professional data recovery lab with special tools.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  172. HI James.

    No there is no indication about physical damage. when i am doing S.M.A.R.T i did’t find attribute ID # 191 the other two attributes shows good.

    1. Hi Balaji

      All I can suggest is that you attempt connecting the drive to a different computer or if it is using USB then make sure that it is using the fastest USB that it can like USB 3.0.

      Large drives can take a very long time because the deeper search looks at each individual sector and examines its contents and on a large drive this can be a very large number of operations. It is not uncommon for a large external drive to take over a day to run a deeper search.

      James

  173. Hi,
    I first used this methode and got no result,then used the outdated method and i could once again see my files in test disk through pmagic … and i just selcted quick search and i could see my files so i din’t use deeper search… i chose Write and i had it done and now i can’t see my files… but wheni connect it to my TV i can view and play all of my files…
    what do i do

    1. Hi M878

      Different operating systems will tolerate different levels of damage to the file system. For example, as you saw, Linux is much more forgiving than Windows and often a RAW drive in Windows will be readable by Linux (your TV likely uses a version of Linux).

      Regardless of that, TestDisk should work just as well on a ‘file system’ problem in ANY OPERATING SYSTEM. It is only when there is physical damage that it is sometimes advantageous to run TestDisk on an OS that does not automatically mount the damaged external drive.

      The fact that you were not able to successfully see the files/folders in TestDisk after running the DEEPER SEARCH in Windows but could in Linux is a strong indication that there is serious physical damage to the drive that may continue to get worse with time. Make sure that you have copied all the important data from the drive.

      In addition to the apparent physical damage there is file system damage that is not fixed by this technique. After getting all the important data off of the drive, try to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk. Even if chkdsk works, do not trust the drive as it has strong indications of physical damage since TestDisk did not work on the mounted drive but worked on it when it was not mounted.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  174. Thanks a lot james, But how do I actually get my data back if i can’t see my files anywhere (even Linux or pmagic) except on my TV? and Test disk gives me an error like “Read Error” when I’m about to quick search

    1. Hi M878

      I’m sorry, I misunderstood and thought you saw them in TestDisk under PartedMagic. If you can find out what version and distro of Linux is being used by your TV then you might be able to find a comparable version that has a LiveCD that you can download and boot from to see if the files are visible in that.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  175. I just want to say THANK YOU for this guide, I’ve managed to save approx 200GB of vitally important data from my old MyBook by this method. I cannot say how much I apprechiate this post of yours.

    I wish you all the best!

    Regards,
    T.

  176. Hey Jamer,
    I read this article shortly after you released it and man am I grateful. I scratched out all those old drives and started recovering data I don’t even remember.
    Thanks man – You’re Awesome =)

    I do have a question though…
    Firstly my 3TB SCSI external wouldn’t be read by GSmart and I found that strapping it straight to the motherboard fixed that right up. No physical damage of any sort. However, my pc now shows 2 new drives (G: & F:) but only 1 partition is found by testdisk. I noted quite a bit of my data but I can’t be sure its all of it. Do I write a new table on this partition anyhow or is there something I missed? (I did do a 13hour deep search)

    Once again man – You Are Awesome – 1 cookie for you 😉

    1. Hi Snoopy

      Thanks for the kind words and the cookie ( another cookie always makes me feel better 😛 )

      Since it is over 2TB, Windows probably is splitting it into two drives automatically because of the size of the sectors and the 2TB limitation that can apply if the sectors are too small and the OS is an older one. If the single partition is almost as big as the whole disk and you see data in it then TestDisk is probably correct.

      If you aren’t sure, feel free to send me the testdisk.log file at james@litten.com

      Hope this helps,
      James

  177. Dear James,

    Its really nice to see that you are helping so many people and so quick as well.
    I am using the test disk program and it is about 50% complete on my hard drive.
    Actually to start with problem I was experimenting with managing and creating a new pool space. My external hard drive stop displaying on screen. I deleted that pool space and when my drive came back on it was empty.I tried recuva but it recovers about 65 GB of 1 TB and these are files which I have deleted long time back.Now when a deep search is on at test disk it displays about 3 partition and bad number of sectors per cluster/bad number of entries in root dir.

    Will be able to recover my data?

    Thanks in advance
    Regards

    1. Hi Amit

      There are often many messages displayed as it runs that can be disconcerting but you need to wait for it to finish as many of those messages often turn out to be innocuous and are simply the result of TestDisk trying to make guesses about the structure of the drive that are inconsistent with what it is seeing on the drive. After TestDisk completes, let me know if you still have difficulty seeing your files and folders.

      James

  178. Dear James,

    Thanks a ton.its 61 % done.will update you once completed.I work on a ship and m not sure will be connected till tomorrow or not but thanks.U brought hope.

    regards

  179. Hi there,

    I tried the steps and i did the deeper search and when i press P there is no files there and u said “That means the proper partition table was not found and you will have to try a different technique to recover your data.”
    I hope u can tell me what can u do then because i really need my data on that external disk and if the answer was at one of the comments i’m sorry but i couldn’t read all that x.x Thanks.

    1. Hi Zekus

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      The alternative, of course, is to try various data recovery programs yourself but since you state “I really need my data on that external disk” I can not recommend that route in good conscience.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  180. Hi James,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this guide.

    I have a 2TB external Seagate drive. I ran Testdisk and found the folders and files with the quick search. did the Write, rebooted PC and disk is still RAW.

    Went back and repeated with Deeper Search but accidently quit halfway through. Now when I try to run it comes up as NONE at the partition table selection type which I changed to INTEL and then at ANALYSE it turns up with several Bad Sector errors which it did not the first time I ran it. The QUICK SEARCH took ages to run. Came back with no data under the headings this time and message No partition found or selected for recovery. Option at bottom to do Deeper Search but it looks same as the Quick Search.

    Please help. I have several years worth of photos on this external drive. Please tell me I havn’t lost them for good.

    1. Hi Jo

      You can stop TestDisk at any point without it causing a problem. I suspect the drive has some physical damage.

      If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      Also, I need to know if you saw a raw value greater than 0 for SMART attributes #5 or #197. If you haven’t checked those, it’s okay, just let me know.

      Send the log file and your answer about SMART attributes to james@litten.com and I will try to help you determine your next step.

      James

  181. James,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Testdisk_win did not find any partitions, so I used photorec_win to recover the files.

    Cheers!

    –Marshall

  182. SMART test raw values for #5,191 and 197 are all still 0 (just checked again to make sure).

    I ran testdisk again with partition table set to NONE (as prompted) and I got to where I can see the files listed, but I can not WRITE the new partition table because no partition exists?? I will send you the logfiles.

    Thank you James 🙂

  183. hi James I used test disk to repair my EHD.
    I performed till deeper search, it shows the message the data is damaged.
    what to do after this step..??

    1. Hi Deeptanshu

      I am not familiar with that message. If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send it to me at james@litten.com

      James

  184. Many thanks, James.
    Any recommendation of what distro of Linux should I get that has no porblem reading RAW drives?
    Also my tv’s model is LG LD460 ….

  185. Also, considering I may not be adble to read my drive again, I’d still be able to recover my data right? If so, could you name a good recovery software please?

    1. Hi M878

      I’m still not very clear on your exact situation. It is a problem with diagnosing complex situations via blog comments 🙂 Once something out of the ordinary occurs, it can be very difficult to communicate it.

      My recommendation at this point is to take it to a data recovery professional.

      James

  186. Hello,

    I followed the steps in the tutorial and after running Quick Scan, I was able to find my files. I wrote a new partition table and rebooted. After I rebooted, the drive is still not visible

    After rebooting, the drive is still not visible and double clicking on my HD gives me “E:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect.”

    I’m not sure what I should be doing. It’s a Seagate 3TB Drive, but the files are found almost instantly after initiating the Quick Search. Because I was able to find my file system, I have some hope. Any ideas on how to make the drive visible again?

    Thanks in advance,

    Vinny

  187. To add to my previous comment, one thing that I find suspicious is that when selecting a hard drive, I see my Seagate drive 3 times:

    Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Backup+ Desk

    Disk WW.WPhysicalDrive1 – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Backup+ Desk

    Drive E: – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Backup+ Desk

    I have been able to find my file system with the first and second, not the third one.

    1. Hi Vinny

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  188. First let me start by saying that I wasn’t very careful with the drive…I have dropped it several times … ( twice while it was connected) but I’ve had absolutely no problem with it until one night … my computer was infected by some virus so I installed Kaspersky antivirus and took care of them…

  189. (it’s M878) Im extremely sorry I won’t let me post comments that’s why I put them in short sentences….

    I put it again

    1. Hi M878

      I did not mean anything about you personally when I said …

      “It is a problem with diagnosing complex situations via blog comments 🙂 Once something out of the ordinary occurs, it can be very difficult to communicate it.”

      I meant it in general.

      For example, now you elaborate and mention that the drive was dropped and had a virus. In doing this elaboration to make your unusual case more clear you are encountering my draconian spam protections. I get spammed unmercifully all day and all night on this post an in my email attached to it. I have no alternative but to tighten the spam controls. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience it causes.

      My recommendation at this point is to take the drive to a data recovery professional.

      James

  190. Thanks a lot man…
    But I just rather not to do that…
    Isn’t there anyway that I could fix it in home? and can you please tell me Did I do something wrong to the drive or The drive was going to end up like this anyway

    1. Hi M878

      I suspect that there is serious physical damage that would not be addressed by this technique.

      Any further attempts to repair or recover the drive could result in irreversible damage and loss of data.

      My recommendation at this point is to take the drive to a data recovery professional.

      Wish I had a better answer for you,
      James

  191. Hello James,

    I have copied the files that I was able to find from Quick Search to another Hard Drive. However, the files aren’t perfect. For example, some are pictures and are slightly discolored. Some videos have blurry parts in them. I’m sure this is caused by some corrupted bits… but I’m unsure if it’s OK to keep these files or not. What would you recommend? Thanks for helping so much.

    1. Hi Vinny

      I’m afraid that I do not have a simple solution for repairing corrupt files. The latest photo and video editing software may have solutions or if you are into hex editing you can dig into it yourself and see if you can spot patterns in the corruption. That is waaaaaaaaay beyond the scope of this post not to mention extremely time consuming.

      James

    2. Vinny, I forgot to add that you SHOULD keep the corrupt files because one day there may be a simple point and click solution that fixes them.

      James

  192. Thank you, i thought my hard drive is broken, but after following your step above, my drive is back to normal again, and the data is not lost, it’s there all of them, thank you very much, this article help me a lot and saving me a lot of money, thank you…

  193. Hi James,

    I have a WD HDD. When I run the Testdisk for the Analyse and Deep Search, it didn’t detect any partition.

    When i run the GSMARTControl short test, it passed the test. However under the attributes ID for #5 and #197, the raw values are 0. I am not able to find #191.

    It seem to be able to pass the HDDScan.

    But i am not sure how to proceed from here. I will also send you the testdisk log and the Smart log. Hope you can advise me from there.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Matthew`

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      You can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

    1. Hi Pawan

      You can try HDDScan http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  194. Hi James,

    I’ve got some problem, after write testdisk told me to reboot my computer, and after reboot , my problem is still there, not change at all,
    and it continue like that,I cannot make any partition, can you help me?

    Thank you

    1. Hi REI

      You can email me at james@litten.com

      Tell me what happened and what data you do not see in TestDisk.
      Also, attach the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows).

      If English is not your primary language, use a translator program like https://translate.google.com/ and I will ask more questions if I don’t understand.

      James

  195. Hi James,

    I ran SmartControl only to get the Test result “Completed with unknown failure. Check the self test logs for more information”.

    Have taken screen captures for each of the screens if it helps. ID 5 shows a Raw value of 1265!!!
    I don’t have an ID 191 = doesn’t show
    ID 197 Raw value is = 0.

    Please help as I’m not sure how to proceed without a successful test result. I’m trying to recover a 2TB WD my book drive that keeps asking me to re-format the drive.

    Thanks in advance.

    PS : Not sure how to or if I can, attach a word file here showing the screen captures.

    1. Hi Charles

      That is definitely an indication of physical damage. This kind of damage can often get worse with continued use. Your best chance of getting your data is to take it to a data recovery professional.

      A professional would probably make a careful image of the drive with a program like Gnu ddrescue and then attempt recovery of data from that image to avoid degradation of the data that would likely occur if working directly on the drive.

      I wish that I had a better answer for you,
      James

  196. Hi James,

    Thanks for the quick response.

    Since I don’t want to go down the route of professional recovery, is there anything else that I can do like say copying an image to an undamaged drive? And then recover from the undamaged drive?

    Failing all else, am I still able to use the drive safely again if I choose to reformat it?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Charles,

      Here is a post that I wrote 3 years ago that describes the technique as it would be done outside a laboratory. It is still a proper way to do it but the tools are no longer free. PartedMagic now costs a small amount of money.
      http://html5.litten.com/windows-file-recovery-series-part-4-recover-files-from-a-bad-hard-drive/

      The drive can no longer be trusted for continued use and should only be used for things that would not be a problem if it suddenly went bad. It is very close to complete failure due to the reserve of extra sectors being almost completely used up.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  197. Hi James,

    Firstly thank you for great tutorial!!

    Please assist me not sure what I am doing wrong, my disk is not accessible after I followed steps?

    History: my HDD is Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB, I removed it from its external housing because Adaptor was damaged, and no trying to install this directly on my PC..

    I followed all the steps and cannot find anything physical wrong with the drive, I then continued to follow steps provided in the tutorial, see below for steps.. When I try to write partition table I get prompted directly to cfm Y/N and then when I reboot drive still not accessible?

    Please assist, I tried to send you e-mail with test log and screenshots but it being returned.

    REGARDS

  198. Hi James

    When I tried to run quick search in the Analyze, it didn’t find any partition. Same is the result even after running Deeper search.

    It is just prompting as ‘bad relative sector’ and ‘can’t read FAT boot sector’ after the analyze.

    Can you please guide me to recover the HD or atleast to back up the data. I can send you the screenshots if you wish to see

    1. Hi Ravi

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      You can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  199. Hi James. I am pretty sure that the damage to my USB is physical- 3 year old twisted it, but don’t think it is worth it to pay to have it repaired. Should I try your recovery method anyway? USB still appears to be intact. Thanks.

    1. Hi Leigh

      Can you give me some more details? Manufacturer/model, what piece is broken, what the drive is doing, etc…

      James

  200. Hi! I have a 32gb SD card that is all of a sudden giving me this issue. It’s prompting me to format, i haven’t, everything pretty much matches up to your descriptions except when I get to the scanning screen it finds nothing. Then I go on to the deeper scan and both yield “no partition found or selected for recovery.” I would greatly appreciate some assistance. Let me know what you need!

  201. Also, to my knowledge there is nor has there been any physical damage to this card. I am a photographer. I have used this card consistently over the past year with no issues at all.

    1. Hi Ali

      This technique isn’t very good for SD cards.

      Sometimes with SD Cards I get lucky if I put it in a device like a camera then hook the device to the PC. For some reason, devices like cameras can often read an SD Card better than a computer or phone can.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  202. Hi James,
    I have a 3TB Seagate drive that went RAW. I ran the GSmartControl on my external harddrive and got the following message: “No additional information is available for the drive”. I save the output in case it is needed.
    I ran Seatools and performed Short Drive self test and Short Generic. They both passed. I have not tried Long Generic or the Advanced Tests. I ran Testdisk and after selecting “Create”, I see the following what looks like is for my external harddrive:

    Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Expansion Desk
    Disk \\.\PhysicalDrive1 – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Expansion Desk
    Drive H: – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Expansion Desk

    Is this correct? Why am I see 3?
    If I select the first, then select “Intel” and select “Analyze”, I see the following:
    1 P HPFS – NTFS 0 32 33 45600 23 55 732563456 [Seagate Expansio
    No partition is bootable

    When I Do a “Quick Search”, I see one “Partition” (highlighted in green). When I select “P” (List files), I see some of my files, but not all of them.
    The same is true for the second.
    If I select the third, It says that the partition table type is “None”.

    I started doing a deeper search on the first, but it was almost 3 hours and only reached 20% so I stopped it.

    Anyway, sorry for the long winded post, but I am wondering why I see 3 representations of my external drive, and why I only see some, but not all of my files.

    Thanks for any help on this.

    1. Hi Stan

      Those are three different existing interfaces to the same drive. I always have the best luck with the *nix style one which in your case is…
      Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Expansion Desk

      3TB is HUUUUUGE!!!!! it will take a long time to run a DEEPER SEARCH on that. Especially if there are any issues that were not detected by the stuff you did with SeaTools.

      Let me know if you still have problems after the DEEPER SEARCH completes,
      James

  203. Thanks James for the quick response.
    Even though the quick search gave me some of my files, you think the deeper search should find the rest?
    I’ll run the deeper search sometime this weekend and let it complete.
    I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Thanks!

  204. I tired hard to scope through comments for solutions as well as follow ALL instructions listed above… I am thinking my USB may just not be working at all.

    I download and attempted to perform both the gsmart control scan and HDD scan. Both scans did not work. The smart scan gave me this error ” CANNOT RETRIEVE SMART DATA” and underneath “device open failed, or device did not return an identify Device structure.”

    HDD scan did not give me the option to even do the SMART and short option scan… The icon was just faded.

    Still decided to try and download the testdisk utility and no partition was found (at all) after the quick and deeper search…. So, back to square one.

    I actually tried the free trial of the EASEUS Data Recovery and in the reports it shows all my file names… But obviously I have to buy the full program in order to recover my files. Not even sure if the files will be good, it only lets you see the titles in each folder…

    Do you think my only options is to go with a paid provider now or is there something else I can try?

    I just have a simple 4GB PNY external drive… pretty basic and cheap but still would be nice to recover some work and personal files.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Mimose

      A 4GB PNY external drive does not sound like it is a hard drive but some kind of chip based device like an USB key or SD card.

      TestDisk isn’t really made for those devices. It is for mechanical hard drives. Problems with those devices are usually due to a damaged or malfunctioning chip.

      You should contact a company that has the equipment required to extract the data from those devices.

      Wish I had a better answer for you.
      James

  205. Okay I figured out how to get the testdisk.log but now it just takes be straight to “reboot for effects to take place” and does not take me to the page I have the option to “BACK BS” what do I do?

  206. Hi James,
    I am running the deeper search now, hopefully it will be done in the morning. Like I said before, I see some of my files in the Quick search, but not all of them. If I run the deeper search and get two partitions will I be able to recover all my files on both partitions?
    Your example only shows you recovering the partition from the deeper search.

    Thanks,

  207. Hi James,
    My Deeper Search Completed. This looks bad.
    Below are the results:

    Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 45600 255 63

    The harddisk (3000 GB / 2794 GiB) seems too small! ( FAT16 LBA 91586 99 59 355172 95 24 4234508804

  208. Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 45600 255 63

    The harddisk (3000 GB / 2794 GiB) seems too small! ( FAT16 LBA 91586 99 59 355172 95 24 4234508804

  209. Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 45600 255 63

    The harddisk (3000 GB / 2794 GiB) seems too small! ( 23 TB / 21 TiB)
    Check the harddisk size: HD jumpers settings, BIOS detection…

    The following partition can’t be recovered:
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    FAT16 LBA 91586 99 59 355172 95 24 4234508804

    1. EDIT: BE SURE TO SEE MY OTHER COMMENT WITH SOMETHING TO TRY

      Hi Stan

      It is very hard to diagnose a problem like this via blog comments because there are so many details that need to be considered. For example, it sounds like you may have removed the drive from the external case and connected it directly.

      If that is not the case then this technique is probably not appropriate for the type of damage/corruption that has occurred to your drive.
      If the drive was removed from its enclosure then you need to put it back in it and try again so the computer can see the full drive properly.

      At this point you can try to connect the drive (while in its original enclosure) to another computer and see if that computer is able to see the drive properly when running the QUICK SEARCH
      OR
      You can move straight to attempting a data recovery.
      If the data is important then you should contact Seagate and arrange to send it to them to be recovered.
      If you wish to attempt it yourself for some reason, there are free tools that you can try for recovery if you cannot use a professional data recovery service. Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      PhotoRec is more complex than Recuva. You can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions… http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only the file types that you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have look at and rename any recovered files.

      3Tb is so large. It is almost inconceivably large when you are looking at it bit by bit so anything you do on that level is going to take a very long time.

      Hope this helps,
      James

    2. Stan

      Try this, it should be quick.

      Run TestDisk
      choose CREATE press enter
      select
      Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – Seagate Expansion Desk
      with PROCEED highlighted press enter
      Highlight EFI GPT press enter
      select ADVANCED press enter
      select TYPE press enter
      Select MBR
      press enter
      Select NTFS
      press enter
      Highlight the partition called MS DATA
      at the bottom of the screen select LIST and press enter

      Do you see your data?

      James

  210. Hi James,
    Thanks for the quick response.
    I haven’t removed the drive from it’s case, it is still intact. I wouldn’t even know how to open it up.
    I am not sure what could have happened. The drive is not making any noises, so I don’t suspect physical damage. I’ll try some of the tools and see where it gets me.

    At this moment, I don’t have much hope for this. Lesson learned. Always make backups.

    I saw about 30% of my files during the quick search. If worse comes to worse, will I be able to recover those?

    Thanks,

  211. yes. INTEL is what I used initially.
    The one thing I noticed is that the partition says it it NTFS, yet when I did the deeper search, it looks like tried to analyze it as FAT16.

    Should I continue your steps as “INTEL”?

  212. Disk /dev/sdb – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 45600 255 63

    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    > 1 P HPFS – NTFS 0 32 33 45600 23 55 732563456 [Seagate Expansion Drive]

    1. Hi Stan

      When you select LIST for that partition do you see all your files?

      Don’t forget to use the right arrow key to look in highlighted folders.

      James

  213. If choose INTEL, ADVANCED and LIST, I see some of my files, but not all of them.
    Only the first two directories show up.
    I do see files in those directories.

    1. Hi Stan

      732563456 * 4096 = 3Tb so that partition is the correct size.

      Unfortunately, since you do not see all the files that means that there is file system damage or overwritten data.

      See my previous comment about data recovery options for you to try.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  214. Thanks James,
    I read somewhere that there might be a limitation (2.2TB) and when I was writing to the drive, I may have gone past that limitation and started overwriting existing data. This could be what happened to me. I was using a 5 year old computer that may not have supported hard drives this large. You think there may be hope to recover most of my data if I can fix the file system?
    How do I check if my BIOS supports large drives and do I need to find another computer that does support large drives.
    Thanks again for all your help.

  215. First of all a big salute to you man!!!You saved me.I backed up my 4 year files in 2tb hard disk..Today I came with this problem..Within a matter of ten minutes I solved this problem…Really a great article

    1. Hi Renee
      I get a ton of spam via this blog so I have very strict filters set up. Please state your question succinctly without any links or references to other web sites.

      Hope this helps,
      James

    1. Hi Kapil
      This technique isn’t very good for SD cards.

      Sometimes with SD Cards I get lucky if I put it in a device like a camera then hook the device to the PC. For some reason, devices like cameras can often read an SD Card better than a computer or phone can.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  216. Hello, my old computer Win7 crashed and now i’m on an older dell with xp. i read this above and have a question

    Jan 15, 2015 Chris …
    “I’m trying to transfer data from one machine to another. I format a HD on the win7 but when I move it to the xp, it detects it as RAW. When I do it in reverse, format on xp and move it to the win7, I get the same thing.”

    My situation is not the same as i’m not formatting externals, but i’m wondering if there is any correlation to the fact that all my HDs were formatted in Windows7. i have a bunch of HDs and this is the second one that has come up RAW when i hook into the computer. Sorry as this is kind of off topic, but if it is gonna persist, i will just buy a better computer that can use win7 as the dell in it’s present form cannot support win7 (not enough ram, etc… so i’m told), so i’m kind of just asking for your expert opinion. Is above what is causing this or is it just luck of the draw in that 2 of the 8 HD so far ive connected have done this … most are 3TB … luckily so far, i’ve had everything backed up and can with this one just reformat and copy back but i am trying the testdisk first… thanks, one of the most informative help sites i’ve seen yet .. and recent too. NO physical damage as never been dropped, bumped, nada .. they don’t move from where they are stored.

    1. Hi Borharris

      Make sure that those drives are capable of overcoming the XP limit of 2TB. Typically, they use a circuit board to do this.

      James

  217. Hi there,

    First off thanks very much for this article, it’s really great to have a simple walk through of using Testdisk for this purpose.

    Second I have a question which I wondered if you or someone else might be able to answer. I have recently upgraded my tower PC with some USB 3.0 ports, during this I have also upgraded my HDD and the old 2TB I was using as both boot drive and data drive has now become corrupted and the 1.4GB data dynamic partition is now showing as RAW.

    I intend to follow this articles advice to attempt to regain access to my files but I wondered if having it accessed through a USB 3.0 port would be any quicker during the above processes? As if not I would rather use my laptop to complete the process but it lacks USB 3.0.

    Hope that makes sense and look forward to hearing peoples thoughts.

    All best,
    Will

    1. Hi Will

      USB 3.0 is faster only if the device is built to use USB 3.0 otherwise in most cases it is simply USB 2.0 going through the USB 3.0 port.

      James

  218. Hey sir,
    1. for me @after deep search there was no partition found again and then quit,.. and fat32 LBA error why ??

    2. the program i am using is different from the program above where Test-disk is 7.0 and disk /dev/sdb but u (test-disk 6.14 and disk /dev/sdc). my flash disk is “Transcend jf v30 / 32 GB”.. is it the problem of application or what?

    i see my flash disk(RAW) @ disk mngmt but it can`t not retrieve SMART data @ GSsmart control. thx

    1. Hi Twistin

      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  219. Hi James,

    Thanks for your quick reply, much appreciated.

    The device in question is a HDD caddy that is USB 3.0 but I was unsure if this in itself impacted on the process above or whether it was set to a fixed speed? I guess this in some way depends on the HDD specifications? Will do some digging around and see what the internet says.

    All best,
    Will

  220. Hi James,
    I have run through this process, verified that there is no physical damage to the disk with the S.M.A.R.T. analysis and used TestDisk to find the drive partition (1TB internal drive). The Deeper Search found the drive partition and I recognized the files as the ones I am trying to access. After choosing to ‘Write’ the partition table and rebooting, my drive is still not accessible. Please help as I will have a lot of work to do if I can not recover this data. I can send you the log file if that helps. Thank you in advance.
    -Scott

    1. Hi Scott

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  221. Hi James,

    Thanks a lot for providing such a great tool and guide to help people in need, you saved me from disaster.

    I had two bad drives, first one 250GB WD and second one 80GB Segate laptop’s internal drive. I was able to fix the first one with the help of “Test Disk” and your step by step guide, however all the screen shots were not same in my case but still I was able to fix the drive.

    But unfortunately I couldn’t fix the second drive, I was getting totally different screens and messages, anyways the good thing was that I had entire backup of my laptop on this 250GB WD which I was able to fix.

    Once again thanks for your selfless help I really appreciate. I would like to donate to support your generous work, let me know the procedure of donation to my email ID.

    1. Hi Abhay

      Thanks for the kind words.

      If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file that is generated after attempting to run TestDisk on the 80GB drive. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send it to me at james@litten.com

      I have never gotten a donation for any of the thousands of drives saved by this post over the past couple of years.

      I gave up on that looooong ago 🙂

      Ooops! It seems I do have a bitcoin address for donating at the bottom of the article which I had forgotten about.
      Bitcoin Donations
      1EvpkeuMiFpWQSiUjj18ku7VW9M4c6aEVU

      Let me check that to see if it ever got a donation….
      Nope 0 transactions 0 bitcoins. Oh, well.

      I get lots of people wishing me well here and in emails everyday and that has been enough for me to keep helping people out.
      James

  222. k, i’m a little confused i read up and it says xp 32 bit is not capable of using more then 2tb .. now i have just filled a 3tb (2.72) with the xp 32 bit and just one partition. I dont understand unless xp service pack3 fixes this problem as i am on service pack 3 … as well the original HD i was inquiring about i just recopied and it’s a 3tb too, . i had no problems with re copying to the 2.72TB limit

    or should i just install win7 to be safe

    1. Hi Borharris

      In addition to circuit boards that allow XP to see drives greater than 2.2TB there are special drivers that can be installed that use some tricks to allow XP to see large drives. If you installed one of these in the past it may be active.

      James

  223. Hi, my 500gb ide harddrive when placed into an ide to usb caddy was suddenly been seen as two partitions in stead of one and both in a raw state. I have just done a 2hr plus deep clean and I get the following message:

    Disk /dev/sdd – 500 GB / 465 GiB – 60801 255 63

    The harddisk seems too small! <
    Check the harddisk size: HD jumpers settings, BIOS detection…

    The following partition can’t be recovered:
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    > HPFS – NTFS 60800 254 63 119825 253 61 948236561

    [Continue]
    NTFS, blocksize=4096, 485 / 452 GiB

    1. Hi Jim

      If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send it to me at james@litten.com

      I’ll look at it and try to tell you what to do next.
      James

  224. Hi James,
    Thank you very much! I was able to copy all of my files from the drive to another drive and everything is there. I can’t thank you enough for this advice, it saved me a ton of work and heartache!
    Thank you again!
    -Scott

  225. lol, no idea what on this computer as just a backup i’m using cuz my main one just went kaput … but i thank yu very much for all your time and patience and putting up with all my stupid questions …. thanks again.

    1. Hi Boharris

      LOL Trust me, what seems like a stupid question often gets hundreds of visits from Google searches and helps many many people who were not brave enough to ask.

      Let me know if you have more questions,
      James

  226. Hello..
    I have the same error message with my HDD, and I followed your steps till the end (Only that after the “Write” part it only asked to reboot), but no luck!
    After It rebooted the same message appeared “Need to format”.
    Thanks Anyways !

  227. Ooooh it worked ! Yay
    At first the format message appeared then the whole pc was unresponsive, but then I opened My Computer again and it was there Alive again !
    Thank you so much ! You saved +450GB of personal data that I could never get back 🙂
    Thank you !

    1. Hi Arwa

      YAY!
      Since it did not work right away, make copies of your important files immediately in case it has trouble again.

      James

  228. Thanks admin…. its worked for me…
    Process took so much time during deep search…but at last win…

    thanks alot…. 🙂

  229. I hope this will help someone.
    In command prompt as Administrator run “chkdsk x: /f”, without the quote marks, and where x is the drive you trying to fix.
    That’s it, it recovered my files on a RAW H/D.
    I am running window 10 pro.

    1. Hi Desertfox

      CHKDSK may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      The reason is that CHKDSK is written to prioritize repairing the file system as opposed to saving data so whenever it has to make the choice…

      Destroy data
      OR
      Repair file system

      It chooses “Destroy data” and tries to save it in a .chk file which is not always recoverable.

      Hope this makes it more clear,
      James

    1. Hi Desertfox

      No apologies are necessary. It’s a great thing to discuss that there is a lot of confusion about due to incomplete documentation on the subject.

      Thanks
      James

  230. Hello! I pressed P when the Quick Search completed but it said “Can’t open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged”

    1. Hi Indigo

      Did you try the DEEPER SEARCH? Sometimes it will work if the problem is due to corruption in the boot sector. You could also try looking directly at the boot sector for problems.
      In TestDisk choose ADVANCED instead of ANALYSE and then select BOOT at the bottom of the screen. If the boot sector is BAD then If the backup boot sector is good choose BACKUP BS and press enter. In the event that the backup boot sector is also bad then choose REBUILD BS.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  231. I ran testdisk and got through to the quick search after which it turned up no partitions. Its for a 4Gb USB stick if that helps. What would you recommend I next do?

    1. Hi Alex

      TestDisk isn’t really made for those devices. It is for mechanical hard drives. Problems with those devices are usually due to a damaged or malfunctioning chip.

      You should contact a company that has the equipment required to extract the data from those devices.

      Wish I had a better answer for you.
      James

  232. Hi James,
    Thanks a lot for your reply. I followed your instruction by choosing Rebuild BS and it said SEARCH MFT 123456/1234567890. I have to wait till it finishes right?

    1. Hi Indigo

      As long as both the ‘boot sector’ and ‘backup boot sector’ said BAD next to them it has a good chance of working. If the boot sectors said ‘OK’ next to them then this is not going to fix it.

      James

  233. EAR JAMES
    I followed the procedure You mentioned
    I got the following partition can’t be recovered:
    I Sent you the testdisk.log
    can you help please, thanks.
    Taw

    1. Hi TAW

      It appears that there are multiple partitions on the drive. Were you able to see any of your files or folders when you highlighted any of the partitions and pressed P as I describe in my instructions?

      James

  234. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. My 2TB movie drive suddenly stopped working reading raw etc. I know data is good. (Ran on WD TV module) but my unit computer guy can’t get it to work on a computer. Following your steps all good on SMART but been running for 48 hours only 31% and stuff appearing saying “invalid fat boot sector etc.” Is this normal?

    1. Hi SFC

      That is not unusual though it is slower than normal. Contact me at james@litten.com if you have more questions or if you do not see your files/folders.

      If you email me, identify yourself as SFC. I have aggressive spam filters and I will punch a hole for your address.

      James

  235. Hello James,

    Thank you for writing this guide and helping so many people! I have a drive that passed all the SMART tests and I can see all the files before I write, but as soon as I hit “write” it says I must reboot. I then reboot and it still says the drive needs to be formatted. I have followed your guide and done this three times with the same result. Any ideas here?

    1. Hi Matthew

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  236. Thanks a lot
    I can’t see any files using testdisk
    but i can see it with EaseUS Partition Recovery
    i am trying it now
    hope me good luck

  237. James,

    Appreciate the assistance. I have been trying to copy the files needed for a few days using Test_Disk. The copy keeps failing. I also tried doing a chkdsk /r /f and it keeps telling me that CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. Any ideas?

    I should also mention that in Test_Disk when I hit create, on the next screen it not only shows the “Disk /dev /sdc – 500 GB / 465 GiB – ST500DM0 02-1BD142” But also 4 more lines that reference the HDD: “Disk \\.\PhyscialDrive2 – 500 GB / 465 GiB – ST500DM0 02-1BD142”
    “Drive E: – 1572 MB / 1500 MiB – ST500DM0 02-1BD142”
    “Drive F: – 485 GB / 452 GiB – ST500DM0 02-1BD142”
    “Drive H: – 12 GB / 11 GiB – ST500DM0 02-1BD142”

    1. Hi Matthew

      If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send it to me at james@litten.com

      I’ll look at it and try to tell you what to do next.
      James

  238. Hi James,

    First let me thank you for this wonderful website and information you have shared.

    I have 1 TB WD Essentials HDD that went dead over night while I was trying to transfer over large files. I believe when the laptop went into sleep mode this disconnected the power and I believe this maybe the reason why HDD got corrupted.

    Long story short, I followed your instructions and came to the following road-blocks. I sent you an email with screen shots, details, and logs. Would you kindly look over my diagnostics and let me know what is the best option for me right now or my next steps?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dennis

    1. Hi Min

      I get tons of requests related to this post everyday so unless I specifically ask for you to email me it probably won’t get through to me since my spam filters have not white listed you. I looked through my spam folder and I think I found your email but all attachments were stripped off because it was flagged as spam.

      I’m sorry to say that it appears that your drive may be physically damaged.

      Since gSmartControl did not work, then you can try HDDScan
      http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      If everything passes then let me know here in the comments. Otherwise, you will need to take it to a professional data recovery lab.

      I wish that I had a better answer for you,
      James

  239. Sir, I sent you an email with my current issues. I really appreciate your support and you are really Paying it Forward. My email will be the one I entered above. Thank you again your helping an Old Soldier to pass the time.

  240. Hi James,

    I sent you an email with my questions. I very much appreciate if you could let me know if it is safe for me to run the Testdisk before I proceed. I sent you results from the GSmartControl test. Thank you very much!

    Tin

  241. Hi James,

    I’d like to know if you had a chance to read through my email or did it get into your spam. I really appreciate if you can help out with my questions. Thank you!

    Tin

    1. Hi Tin

      I did a search of my spam folder and found an email that appears to be yours. It looks like there are a lot of bad sectors on that drive which can indicate physical damage. You should take it to a professional data recovery lab to get the files from it. That drive should not be trusted anymore even if you do format it again after getting your files back.

      Since the S.M.A.R.T. data shows a value of 16 for attribute 191 it may not be covered by the warranty but it does not hurt to try. Typically, a damaging drop or bump results in a value much higher than 16.

      The problem with attempting to recover your files with programs like TestDisk is that in a situation like yours it is common for the bad sectors to grow and increase with more use to the point that recovery becomes extremely difficult even in a professional lab.

      Wish I had a better answer for you,
      James

  242. Hi James,

    Thank you for your response. I never dropped or bump the hard drive, so I’m not sure why there would be any physical damage. But it passed the Perform Tests result. I thought with physical damage, it won’t pass the short self-test?

    Anyways, I was told that professional data recovery could cost hundreds to thousands, so I’m trying to see what I can do to prevent going there. I guess even if I can recover part of the data on the drive, it’s not usable anymore even after reformatting?

    Again, thank you for your time in looking at my questions and responding. I really appreciate it.

    Tin

    1. Hi Tin

      The drive is in bad shape and needs to be recovered not repaired. That drive should not be trusted anymore even if you do format it again after getting your files back.

      Your values for the attributes that indicate physical damage look like this…

      #05 Reallocated Sectors Count Raw value of 2280
      That means that 2,280 sectors had to be replaced with sectors in the reserve pool because not only were they incapable of being read but they were also incapable of being written too. The reserve pool will run out soon.

      #191 G-sense Error Rate Raw value of 16
      That means the drive was bumped while it was spinning. Typically, if it was dropped that number would be huge but normally it is zero.

      #197 Current Pending Sector Count Raw value of 4600
      That means it was incapable of reading those sectors and once it tries to write to them and fails it will attempt replace them from the reserve pool. That is probably more sectors than is in the reserve pool for that drive.

      My dilemma is that I do not know how important the data is on your drive. I have recovered things for people that literally made me cry when I saw how valuable and irreplaceable they were. Things like images of loved ones who have recently died. So I have to err on the side of caution. When I do not think my technique is safe I throw my hands in the air and say “Take it to a professional!”
      🙂

      Now, you can choose to ignore me and take a chance. I will still answer your questions and help. I just can’t make a recommendation or suggestion that I think might hurt you.

      I have added your email to my spam filters so if you email me more questions, they should get through to me.

      I hope this explains my suggestion that you take it to a professional recovery service,
      James

  243. Hi James,

    Thank you for this tutorial.

    Unfortunately I’m stuck at some steps:
    – The HDD isn’t making any noises

    – GSmartControl is stating the drive as ‘unknown model’, when I double click I get an error message saying ‘cannot retrieve SMART data, device open failed, or device did not return an identify device structure.

    – When I try testdisk, hit [create] it show the drive and the capacity (1000GB / 931GB).

    Then I hit [proceed] [intel] and [analyse]

    It says: Partition: Read error

    Now I can’t advance with anything anymore.

    Any thoughts on this problem?
    Thanks in advance!

  244. Hi James,

    It says ‘No partition found or selected for recovery’ and will go back to the ‘partition: read error’.

    Then, after a minute or so I tried [deeper search], but still no partition or whatsoever whas found.

    1. Hi Luke,

      If no partition is found after the DEEPER SEARCH then this technique will not work for you. You will need to contact a data recovery professional who has the proper tools to attempt a recovery.

      Wish I had better news,
      James

  245. hi james,

    the quick search show nothing to me, so i continue to deeper search, and d only see HPFS – NTFS partition.
    so i press P, and i see my file,everything just fine until [backup BS], when i press Y, it says write error :cant overwrite NTFS boot sector. do you have any idea what happen to my hdd? please help.

    thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jo

      In my experience that often means that there are bad sectors at the location that the boot sector wants to be written too.

      Did the drive pass the S.M.A.R.T. tests and attributes that I mentioned in the post?

      If it did pass S.M.A.R.T. criteria as I described it then the file system may be too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state.
      You may still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      If, however, it does not pass S.M.A.R.T. criteria as I described then you should take it to a professional data recovery lab that has the tools to work around the damage and recover as much data as possible.

      James

  246. i run testdisk on my harddrive and wrote a new partition table. Now the error message says it can’t be read because “the disk structure is corrupt and unreadable”.

    PLEASE HOW DO I FIX THIS OR PERHARPS RETURN IT TO ITS FORMER STATE WHEN IT JUST ASKED ME TO FORMAT.

    1. Hi SG

      That is usually a connection issue. Did the drive pass the S.M.A.R.T. tests and attributes that I mentioned in the post?

      If the drive is an external drive, you can try …
      Shut down computer
      Disconnect drive
      Turn on computer
      After it boots, reconnect the drive.

      That may help it resolve connection issues.

      James

  247. Hi i have done all the steps but i find problem when i found my files by pressing P.the files are coloured red and they are not getting open and can not be written.now what to do?

    1. Hi Jinal

      Red files are files that were deleted but still exist on the disk so they should be able to be undeleted.

      Did something happen that would have caused all the files to be deleted?

      James

  248. James,
    I cannot thank you enough for sharing your fix. My WD 3TB drive was no longer recognized by Win7 and had become RAW. After a week of trying many things, I found your site and am back in business! I followed your instructions to the letter, starting with the gsmart test. The whole process took about 10 minutes. After restart, the drive was visible again and all files intact.
    Thank you again,
    Carol

  249. Thanks for sharing the fix… I would like your thoughts on my case… When I run the gsmartcontrol it identifies my drive, the one I’m trying to fix, as “unknown model”. should I be doing something else?
    I appreciate your help on this…

    1. Hi Mike

      Since gSmartControl did not work, then you can try HDDScan
      http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Let me know if that does not work,
      James

  250. hi….Thank you for posting this online.

    I tried it and I found the files with the quick search and then selected the option to Write partition.

    It asks me to reboot…which I try, but then my computer seems to freeze at the beginning of reboot. does it take a while for it to write? this is 4 TB hard drive.

    1. Hi TR,
      All it writes is a tiny line of data to sector 1 on the drive. Even on a large drive like yours it happens quicker than you can blink.
      The data it writes is not executable, it simply says with number codes something like “Hi, the partition is an NTFS one and it starts at this sector here and is this big.”

      The vast majority of RAW drives are created when that little piece of data gets slightly scrambled so that is the main thing that TestDisk tries to fix.

      How is it doing now?
      James

  251. Hi there!
    Thanks so much for going to all this trouble.
    I’ve done the Deeper Search and it tells me

    ‘The following partition can’t be recovered
    FAT32….etc.’
    The only option I have at the bottom is [Continue]

    I’m scared to hear the answer :-/

    1. Hi Paul,

      If you’d like, you can email me the testdisk.log file. Look in the folder where testdisk_win.exe is, you should see a file called testdisk.log (or maybe just testdisk if extensions are hidden in your version of Windows). Send it to me at james@litten.com

      I’ll look at it and try to tell you what to do next.
      James

  252. Hi James,

    Thanks for that offer, very kind. There was no file titled either of those that you mentioned…before I posted on your wall, I went through the above process again, in case I had missed something. It’s currently running another Deeper Search, maybe the file you mentioned will appear after this?

    Thanks again,
    Paul

  253. hello sir,

    I own Thinkpad X300 and Dell external HDD 1TB.
    Thank you very much..it worked like a charm for me fabulous..
    only Repair partition table and boot sector, all data files and folder not moved and still exist superbbb..
    Thanks god I found this article.

    Kind Regards
    Nando TD

  254. thanks for repsond James,
    as i see, from the test ID # 005, #197 , #198 has been demaged (id with exclamation mark).what is that mean?
    my HDD become like this after i copy a 1,8GB folder to my friend using my external.when my friend want to copy the folder, his notebook can’t reconize external. my external read as local disk.
    so, is the best option for me is go to service center?can they really help with my problem?( from the demaged ID)
    thanks again james

  255. Hi:
    Have a 1 TB that stopped booting on my wife’s computer.
    Took it out and connected to my computer as an external HD.
    Downloaded and used GSmartControl. Short Test got “Completed without erros”
    Attributes showed ID#05 Raw Value 0
    ID# 191 not in the list
    ID#197 Raw Value 0
    Downloaded and used DiskTest.
    Followed instructions got to Quick Test and several partitions showed.
    So I did the Deeper Search which took 4hours and someodd minutes.
    A listing of about 5 appeared with “number of bytes per sector mismatches 4096 ! = 512 “ under each one.
    I am not sure where I went wrong because all of a sudden I read through the disk again telling me I had read errors
    I will send you the .log file
    I hope you have sometime to determine if my wife’s files can be saved.

    Thanks so much.
    Hunter

    1. Hi Hunter

      I have very strict spam filters on my email since I post it publicly and get tens of thousands of junk messages sent to it daily so I probably will not get any email from you until I whitelist your address.

      What is the drive’s manufacturer/model and were you able to see the files/folders in any of the partitions listed after the DEEPER SEARCH (by highlighting each partition and pressing P)?

      James

  256. didn’t see any partitions. I’m trying to repurpose my tails os persistence drive. I finally got it to show up in my computer, but that’s all. I should probably give it up as it’s only 4gb:)

    4gb pny usb 2.0

    1. Hi DV Tate Testa
      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  257. I have the same problem with my HP 16gb pendrive as mentioned above.I followed above solution, I got following message :

    *after this step”Select Analyse and hit enter”

    >>i got a message”Partition Sector doesn’t have the endmark 0xAA55 “

    1. Hi Raju
      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  258. Many thanks for brilliant piece of software,I was checking out an old drive from a laptop with a dead screen, on another pc to see if my old plc programming software was still ok,when windows ran a chkdsk routine on it and wiped out one of the partitions AAARGH!!! a quick search on the net for info on the “raw”statement revealed your software, so downloaded followed the instructions,Viola the partition has been restored!!!!!
    many many thanks

    regards
    big john

  259. system is not formatting my Kingston flash drive, i applied many utilities also try through cmd but couldn’t do this i have windows 7 operating system,some times file not found error comes and some times after 5% formatting error come “media is being formatted has been removed” please help me

    1. Hi Saira
      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      James

  260. Hi James,

    I’ve gotta really thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into helping others with a similar problem as the one you try to address with this page. Just scrolling through your instructions and comments alone shows your dedication and hard work.

    Anyways, I’ve had a similar problem as to some who have commented previously; I come across the ‘following partition can’t be recovered’ error with my drive. Should/Can I email you my log to see what’s going on? Thanks so much James!

    1. Hi Andy
      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      If you proceed on your own then you should attempt a data recovery instead of a repair. There are lots of data recovery products out there. Recuva has a free version that is often effective.

      You can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  261. I have a bitlocker encrypted drive that suddenly shows up as a RAW drive per your post.

    Can your procedure be used in this case?

    1. Hi Steve

      Yes, it can fix Bitlocker encrypted drives but there is often a lot of decisions that need to be made as the repair moves along and is far too complex and individually specific to write instructions for you in a blog comment or email. A mistake can cause the data to become irretrievable.

      I advise you take the drive to a data recovery professional with Bitlocker experience.

      James

  262. Like many others after confirming the write partition table I get the quick request to re-boot, with no change. Where I remain confused is at the step of selecting the external drive. I see my 1tb drive (e:) but also see 2 other devices with the same device name. Which do I select, as I see my folders under each one?

    Disk /dev/sdb/ -1000gb /931 GiB – WDC WD10 EZRX-00DC0B0
    Disk \\PhysicalDrive1 -1000gb /931 GiB – WDC WD10 EZRX-00DC0B0
    Drive E: – 1000gb / 931 GiB – WDC WD10 EZRX-00DC0B0

    1. Hi radar_ca

      Sometimes the corruption is in a place that renders the file system too damaged to bring it out of the RAW state by simply repairing the partition table or boot sector (which is all TestDisk will do).
      Since you chose to WRITE new partition data, I’m assuming that you saw your files/folders in TestDisk. You should still be able to recover the files from TestDisk using the technique that I describe here…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  263. Hi james,
    Hats off to u for making the effort to help us out.
    I have done the following:

    Disconnected the hard drive (Buffalo ministration- portable Hard drive with encryption”- 500 gb) by pulling out the usb cable directly.

    gsmart – “Cannot retrieve SMART data”.
    Seagate tools- passed the short dst/short generic/long generic test. No noise in the hard drive.
    The drive has a partition and is seen as g:/ and h:/ in my computer. H: hass all the data that needs to be recoverd.

    chkdsk – show disk is raw.

    Computer management shows:
    h: layout- simple / Type- basic/ File system – raw/Stauts – healthy(primary partition)
    g: -layout- simple / Type- basic/ File system – cdfs/Stauts – healthy(primary partition)
    I can see g: files.

    Ran test disk on h:
    analyse showed:’
    Partition Start End Size in Sectors
    1 FAT32 LBA 0 1 1 60721 254 63 975498867
    1 FAT32 LBA 0 1 1 60721 254 63 975498867
    No Partition is bootable

    Ran quick search
    shos:
    The hard disk seems to small! << 2606 Gb/2427 GiB
    Check the Hard sisk size : etc etc
    The following parttion cant be recovered
    Partition Start End Size in Sectors
    HPFS – NTFS 244538 92 15 316905 252 20 1162585941
    Pressing contineue twice yields:
    No partition found or selected for recovery.

    started deepr search – got same result as quick search
    The hard disk seems to small! <*FAT32 LBA 0 1 1 60721 254 63 975498867 {HD-PXU2]

    PRESSED P
    Could see almost all my folders bu only 3 folders had data. the rest were empty (marked as drwr-xr-x

    I recopeied whatever data I could find.

    However I still require all the remaining data.

    Trying testdisk again till analyse shows the same result. Should I try the advanced option intead of analyse or should I just try and recover individual files using recuva or photorec?
    Sam

  264. I have screen shots of all the steps and can mail you the word file if required. My testdisk.log file is 30 gb. I have saved an earlier log file which is 296 KB.

    Sam

    1. Hi Sam

      I hate to say it but I have never been able to repair or fully recover one of those because of the software they typically use internally on chips in the enclosure.

      Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer and see if they have any tools that will assist you or see if they provide recovery services.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  265. Thanks for the prompt response james. Do you mean a recuva or stellar or any of these other softwares would also not be able to get me all the files?

    1. Hi Sam

      I’ll try to be more clear.

      When I say…
      “because of the software they typically use internally on chips in the enclosure”

      I am talking specifically about 2 things…

      1. The default encryption that is designed to prevent you from removing the drive from the enclosure (they say it is for your protection but does nothing to prevent anyone from decrypting it. It’s not like it ever asks you for a password.).

      2. That interesting G: partition
      g: -layout- simple / Type- basic/ File system – cdfs/Stauts – healthy(primary partition)
      This is actually a fake CD-ROM that is in a chip on the circuit board. It is used as a gatekeeper between you and your hard drive. Again to lock you in (they say it is for your convenience).

      Then you mention that
      “My testdisk.log file is 30 gb”
      Which indicates that it is either physically broken or one of the aforementioned software on a chip systems is blocking TestDisk from reading sectors.

      Can you recover some of your data? Maybe. I can always get the files from the fake CD-ROM (g: drive) because that is on a chip not on the hard drive.
      Can you recover all of your data and use this drive as a trustworthy data storage solution in the future? I highly doubt it.

      Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer and see if they have any tools that will assist you or see if they provide recovery services.

      Hope this makes it more clear,
      James

  266. thanks have sent them a mail. They don’t have a tele helpline in India. The uk office asked me to send a ,ail to the relevant office in our region. I guess I am stonewalled for now. Stellar phoenix is working in the hard drive for now. Funny that data recovery option stopped saying a particular cluster is bad but photo recovery has crossed that cluster, Neways shall not disturb on this thread as it deals with a particular problem. will send u a mail once i am thru successfully or once i give up. But hats off to u. i think the info u shared here is very specific and was like a lifeline for me for the last 3 days.
    Sam

  267. You are still putting effort into this page which I appreciate a lot. Thanks for the tool links, looks like its going to work for me.

  268. Hi, I have a question.
    Turns out my micro SD card happens, does this method also worked in my case?
    It happens that in this micro SD card has 2 partitions, one for files and one for applications, I would not mind deleting a partition but what steps to take to resolve my problem would be the same?

    1. Hi Angel
      This technique isn’t very good for SD cards.

      Sometimes with SD Cards I get lucky if I put it in a device like a camera then hook the device to the PC. For some reason, devices like cameras can often read an SD Card better than a computer or phone can.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  269. Hi James,

    Thanks for maintaining this webpage. I guess I’ll have to join one of the many who sends you request daily as I am at wits’ end on how to solve my problem. I tried for 2 whole days but finally a Good Samaritan led me to your page.

    The problem is this : I was copying some files from my PC to an external HDD (500GB Buffal0 HD-PXU2) when the PC suddenly shut down due to power cut. When I switched on the PC later, everything works fine except the hard disk.

    It is now shown as RAW in Disk Management, and I use Easeus to try to recover data, and seems like all or most of the data is in tact, just that its RAW format is not readable by my PC.

    I tried doing chkdsk i:/f or chkdsk i:/r but both returned with the answer chkdsk is not able to check RAW drives.

    Easeus scanning is taking a looooong time. Already scanned for 7 hours and only 10% completed. Could you kindly help me out with some solutions, please?

  270. Hi James,
    I’ve followed your instruction and when the Quick Search completed i pressed P but it said “Can’t open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged”. I’ve also tried the deeper search with the same result.
    I also tried the rebuild bs one, and when the process finished there’re some option showed up. I don’t know what to do afterwards.
    Pls help
    thanks

    1. Hi El

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      At this point you need to do a data recovery instead of a repair.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake or if the drive is damaged.

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  271. when i copied back my data from pc and mounted my card in my phone at that time this causes error which u have mentioned.and the files showing in red coloured right now.than how to fix that do u have any idea?

  272. Hi James, i need your opinion please…
    I have an external 2tb drive (WD my Book),
    with non OS on it, just my studio and mix stuff.
    Everything was created under 32 bit Windows XP SP3,
    and it was connected via usb 2.0 (back port).
    Then, i’ve changed my PC components (better, faster),
    and also moved to 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate…
    Now my new motherboard have the USB 3.0 ports,
    and when i connect My Book, it’s faster, works, BUT;
    every few minutes i am having constant popup message:
    “You need to format the disk in drive H: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?”. NO WAY, OFC!!!
    I repeat, everything working, install, copy…etc,
    but that annoying popup message is driving me crazy.
    So, my question is: how can i fix this problem?
    Do you recommend this tutorial even in (for) my case?
    So, this steps with Test Disk, or something else…? Please help me, and thank you in advance…
    PS. You are doing great job, hat off!

    1. Hi Demian

      Sounds like the connection on the drive is starting to go bad. It might be something else but the connection is what I usually see causing that sort of intermittent problem.

      Back up the data on that drive and check the S.M.A.R.T. data on it like I mention in my blog post. If there are S.M.A.R.T. errors then I would not trust the drive anymore and replace it.

      If the S.M.A.R.T. data is okay then backup the data and try running chkdsk on the drive.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  273. Hi James…
    I’ve followed the same steps as u hv mentioned above. But in the backup boot sector it says sectors r not identical nd the status shows bad. It says it cant read backup boot sector. Please help me out in this.
    Thank You in advance.

    1. Hi Virinchi

      If both boot sectors are BAD then all you can try is the option REBUILD BS.

      If that does not work then you can recover the files from within TestDisk.
      Go to the screen where you see your files and folders and follow the steps in this comment…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  274. Then, i suppose it is safe to quit the test disk?
    I’m not so sure though, ’cause i accidentally pressed the a button sometimes ago, and the tesk disk has been searching for root cluster since then..
    Giving me some more headache..

  275. Hi James,

    I have a Seagate 2Tb external that, like so many other folks’, went RAW after being removed from the computer without using Safely Remove Hardware. (Seems it’s just way too easy to destroy the entire thing, no?)

    I ran the short test and it passed, so I’m running the long test but it’s 10% from completing and looks like it’s hanging.

    For the short test:

    SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
    Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
    ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
    1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x000f 114 099 006 Pre-fail Always – 70746424
    3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0003 094 092 000 Pre-fail Always – 0
    4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 098 098 020 Old_age Always – 2891
    5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 100 100 036 Pre-fail Always – 0
    7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x000f 072 060 030 Pre-fail Always – 19662361
    9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 096 096 000 Old_age Always – 4205
    10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0013 100 100 097 Pre-fail Always – 0
    12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 100 100 020 Old_age Always – 504
    183 Runtime_Bad_Block 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 0
    184 End-to-End_Error 0x0032 100 100 099 Old_age Always – 0
    187 Reported_Uncorrect 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 0
    188 Command_Timeout 0x0032 100 099 000 Old_age Always – 1
    189 High_Fly_Writes 0x003a 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 0
    190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022 072 036 045 Old_age Always In_the_past 28 (11 55 28 23 0)
    191 G-Sense_Error_Rate 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 0
    192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 366
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 098 098 000 Old_age Always – 4739
    194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 028 064 000 Old_age Always – 28 (0 19 0 0 0)
    195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered 0x001a 024 008 000 Old_age Always – 70746424
    197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0012 100 100 000 Old_age Always – 8
    198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0010 100 100 000 Old_age Offline – 8
    199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x003e 200 200 000 Old_age Always – 0
    240 Head_Flying_Hours 0x0000 100 253 000 Old_age Offline – 246221885148848
    241 Total_LBAs_Written 0x0000 100 253 000 Old_age Offline – 336295834
    242 Total_LBAs_Read 0x0000 100 253 000 Old_age Offline – 2036646757

    SMART Error Log Version: 1
    No Errors Logged

    SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
    Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
    # 1 Short offline Completed without error 00% 4205 –
    # 2 Short offline Completed without error 00% 1521 –
    # 3 Short offline Completed without error 00% 1483 –

    I’m curious as to why it says “old age” because from the time I bought it to the time of the RAW was maybe a year. (Is that considered “old”?)

    I ran the testdisk and ended up with this message:

    Disk /dev/sdb – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 243201 255 63

    The harddisk (2000 GB / 1863 GiB) seems too small! ( FAT16 >32M 63513 82 4 296597 117 34 3744496696
    FAT32 LBA 203623 178 63 460948 197 26 4133927286
    HPFS – NTFS 380019 212 50 539501 92 44 2562070765

    Any idea what this means? Thank you very much for your time.

    Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen

      Looks like you have a handful of bad sectors that may cause a hang in the LONG TEST so you can close it. Otherwise, it looks okay to proceed with trying TestDisk. Did you see your files and folders after running the DEEPER SEARCH?

      Oh, and OLD-AGE just means that attribute is expected to degrade over time while PRE-FAIL means a degradation of that attribute is indicative of an imminent failure of the drive.

      James

  276. I tried to make another post with my test log but not sure you got it (did it go to moderated?) I don’t see it here. I’ll email you the log FWIW. Thank you!

    1. Hi Maureen

      My spam filters will block your email. I have to whitelist you before you can send me anything, I get thousands of emails a day 🙂

      What I need to know is “Did you see your files and folders after running the DEEPER SEARCH?”

      James

  277. No, no files or folders.

    Results of deep search:

    TestDisk 7.0-WIP, Data Recovery Utility, March 2015
    Disk /dev/sdb – 2000 GB / 1863 GiB – CHS 243201 255 63

    The harddisk (2000 GB / 1863 GiB) seems too small! ( FAT16 >32M 63513 82 4 296597 117 34 3744496696

    [ Continue ]
    1917 GB / 1785 GiB

    1. Hi Maureen

      You need to select [CONTINUE] on that screen and press enter in order to see the list of partitions found and then you highlight each of those and press P to see if it can list the files and folders.

      James

    1. Hi Maureen

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      At this point you need to do a data recovery instead of a repair.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake.

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  278. Thanks, James. I’m using the PhotoRec tool to recover many of my files. Once all is said and done, I’m gonna ditch that drive. What a waste. I have a new (WD) external but I’m pretty scared to even use it. I also have an online backup just in case. I don’t trust anything anymore.

    By the way, my husband has a much smaller external drive, I think it is either 500 gigs or 1 Tb and all of his files are corrupted. He can retrieve them and open some of them but for example a word document will show a bumch of gobbledegook instead of actual text. Is there any way to save any of those files? He’s pretty crushed because they are scripts and stories he doesn’t have anywhere else (I know, I know. I’ve chewed him out about that already.)

    Thanks again,

    Maureen

  279. Hi James…
    I’ve done the REBUILD BS and it says that both the boot sectors are identical. The previous day it said that it cannot boot because the sectors are not identical. Now what should I do next, I mean what is the next step I should perform?
    Thank You.

  280. Hi James…
    Thanks a lot. It worked really well. I tried that copying files to the PC and it had worked out. Thank You once again.:D

  281. Hi James…
    A small doubt actually. Now that I’ve recovered all my files, I want to format my hdd and start using it again.
    Now how shall I convert it into ntfs form from raw?

    1. Hi Virinchi

      If it still gives the error asking to format it then choose OK. Otherwise, right-click the drive in Windows Explorer and select FORMAT… from the menu.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  282. All I get when I start the program is

    The terminfo file ‘/testdisk-7.0-WIP\63\cygwin’ is missing.
    Extract all files and subdirectories before running the program.
    Pres Enter key to quit.

    the subdirectory “63” is there and a file with that name is there as well.

    Any ideas?

    It is fully extracted.

    1. Hi Gord

      All I can suggest for that is you can try it on a different computer with the bad drive attached to it.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  283. Hi,computers says my external hard drive is raw but my tv that is LG LM67100 can open it and play everything on this hard.i’ve checked it with other computers or loptops. now only USB3 ports can read my hard,in computers it says its raw.i can access to my hard only with tv, nothing else.in my opinion the cable has a problem but i haven’t check it with another cable.and i can’t access to anything in my hard with my computer,i mean computer can’t recognize it.so thers no s.m.a.r.t and checkdisk.what’s problem?

    1. Hi Parham

      I don’t understand what you are asking. If it sees it as raw then you should be able to see the S.M.A.R.T. data.
      If gSmartControl did not work, then you can try HDDScan
      http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Let me know if that does not work,
      James

  284. Hey Jamies. Just wanted to thank you for this info. Even if I do not manage to recover everything I have already recovered all my films. 1/3rd back, lets hope i get my music and downloads too. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Steve

      I got your message that Recuva worked for you.
      For others reading this…
      Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      PhotoRec is more complex than Recuva. You can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions… http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only the file types that you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have look at and rename any recovered files.

      James

  285. Hi james,
    I tried what you mention step by step.
    My 1 Tb WD hard disk clear the SMART TEST and in test disk after dipper search i can see my files but when i press to write its directly asking to reboot ?
    After reboor also my ext hard still is not accessible. …..still showing Raw…
    Kindly advise further
    Thanks in advance
    Brgds,
    Ashok

    1. Hi Ahok
      Sometimes the damage to the file system is more than TestDisk can repair.

      Go to the screen where you see your files and folders and follow the steps in this comment…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  286. I have a desktop PC with two internal SATA drives.
    The first, boot drive, is 2TB in two 1TB partitions.
    The second is a 3TB WD Caviar Green.
    I use the 3TB for storing media — photos, videos, etc..

    Earlier today I was copying photos to the 3TB drive from an assortment of older drives to some new folders when I chanced to visit the folder that contained the majority of my recent pictures. The folder was empty. The Recycle bin was also empty.

    I rebooted the computer and afterward that drive was “not found.” I checked using Disk Management and it displys as a RAW “Healthy (Primary Partition)”.

    I’ve followed the directions on this page.

    I downloaded and ran GSmartControl and confirmed that the drive was not physically damaged.

    I then downloaded and ran Testdisk. I followed all of the directions through “Quick Search.” When it finished the scan (approx. 5 hours) there was no partition listed.

    It showed:

    Drive P: – 3000 GB / 2794 GiB – CHS 364784 255 63
    Partition Start End Size in sectors

    Then at the bottom of the Testdisk window was:

    Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, Enter: to continue

    It’s not clear what I should do from here.

    Please advise.

    Thank you, Tom

  287. After exiting Testdisk and re-entering I noted that the panel after I selected my drive and then “Analyse” it reported “Partition sector doesn’t have the endmark 0xAA55”

    Is this helpful?

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      At this point you need to do a data recovery instead of a repair.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake.

      Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format/data eraser or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  288. Hi James,
    Currently i’m using windows 8.1 and my d drive got an exact same condition as you mentioned(raw and it keep asking me to format it everytime i tried to open it).
    i downloaded GSmartControl and it shows
    ID #05 48% and pop up “Read error at 17300/1/1 ”

    and everytime i deepsearch it, my laptop suddenly shows a new type of blue screen with 🙁 from windows and it happen after it reached >50%, restart the laptop and reboot the d drive shows “scanning and repairing drive d is 100%”.
    it also mentioned about Kernel data inpage error and sometimes bad pool header on the blue screen state.

    Cheers..

    1. Hi Jimmy

      It sounds like your drive has some physical damage. You will need to take it to a professional data recovery lab.

      If regardless of my warnings you insist upon trying to recover the data yourself, I have written on a technique for this that may work for you BUT THERE IS A DANGER THAT YOU WILL LOSE THE DATA FOREVER. Hope I make that clear 🙂
      Here is the post…
      http://html5.litten.com/windows-file-recovery-series-part-4-recover-files-from-a-bad-hard-drive/
      It uses PartedMagic which is no longer free but is not expensive.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  289. Hello James,
    It showed:
    Drive F: – 1000 GB / 931 GiB – CHS 121601 255 63
    Current partition structure:

    Partition: Read error

    Keys A: add partition, L: load backup, Enter: to continue

    1. Hi Janine

      Did you press ENTER to Continue? After that it should proceed as I describe in the blog post.

      Let me know if that does not help,
      James

  290. Hi James,

    I’m running Win8.1, when on testdisk and asked if the disk was made in Vista/Win7, do I click Y or N? Thanks

  291. Hi James,

    Thanks for your valuable advise. I able to recover data but after trying for check disk (hard drive folder properties/tools)I am getting still error
    “The disk check could not perform because windows can’t access the disk”.

    please help

    1. Hi Ashok

      I am happy to hear that you got your data back.

      You can try this to see if it helps allow you to run chkdsk…
      In TestDisk choose ADVANCED instead of ANALYSE and then select BOOT at the bottom of the screen. If the boot sector is BAD then If the backup boot sector is good choose BACKUP BS and press enter. In the event that the backup boot sector is also bad then choose REBUILD BS.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  292. Hey James.

    I bring back to the table the same error as many have had before. Firstly, I have checked for hardware issues, and have found none. The only issue listed in my S.M.A.R.T what that the drive has had a few hard bumps in the past, which is true, and never mattered before.

    From here, it gets a bit more complicated. As a few others have mentioned, I have multiple drives shown that are the drive I am looking to fix. Bot;
    Disk /dev/sde – 1500 GB / 1397 GiB
    Drive U: – 1500 GB / 1397 GiB
    are the drive I am trying to fix, and are being shown.

    If is select the line that starts with “Disk” and run the quick search, it finds a partition called “HPFS – NTFS”. If I open this with “P”, I can see a list of all my data. All seems well, so I press “Q”, then “Enter”, then select “Write”, it asks “(Y/N)” and I press “y” and then it asks me to reboot. I reboot, and the drive is still not fixed. I would try the solution you posted for this many times above, but for the following.

    If I select the option that starts with “Drive”, then the quick scan finds two drives, one of which is “FAT12” and the other is Linux related. Opening the “FAT12” drive shows me a list of files that have a bunch of random letters/numbers/symbols for names. If open the Linux partition, it says something about it being unreadable or corrupt. If a run the deeper search, it finds a second Linux partition with the same stats, and the same “Unreadable” response. The “FAT12” partition remains, and has the same garbage in it. It then says something about the size of the drive being wrong, and that it is “Not Recoverable”. (sorry this last example is a less specific, I have reproduced the output of it twice now, and don’t want to have to do it a third time just to get error message quotes exactly correct.)

    I think the best option at this point is to chkdsk the drive, but I wanted to post here and get your opinion first. I do not want to murder all my data if I don’t have to.

    p.s. thanks for all the effort and time you put into this. The internet needs more people like you.

    1. Hi Nicole

      It sounds like the file system is too damaged to be repaired simply by writing a new partition description to the partition table (that is what you did when you selected WRITE).

      Have you done the DEEPER SEARCH yet? If not, that is the next thing you should try. See the instructions in my blog post for details.

      If that does not display the partition with the data in it then you need to do a recovery.

      If you see the HPFS-NTFS partition and look inside it by pressing P that is where you can apply the recovery technique that I mentioned in previous comments. As described here…

      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      In the event that you need to do a recovery, if the data is important, I recommend that you take it to a data recovery professional.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake.

      Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  293. Running testdisk, mine does say “NONE” I see that it recommends not to run with NONE if only one partition, I don’t remember if it only has one or not, its from a WD My book and I have several of those, if I do run this with NONE I guess I’m risking losing everything??

    1. Hi JamesB

      Selecting NONE won’t cause you to lose anything. It is an indication that it found nothing in the first sector of the drive. Was there any S.M.A.R.T. data that indicated physical damage?

      James

  294. hello James,

    I have 1TB HGST Touro Mobile. The disk is not recognized and is not initialized. I checked disk management. The disk is there but has 0 memory. Can you help me with this?

    I tried using HDDscan but when I selected the disk all the SMART features are greyed out.

    1. Hi Lily

      If the drive is having difficulty accessing the S.M.A.R.T. data stored on it then it probably has a problem that is not addressed by this blog post. You should take it to a professional for repair/recovery or you can contact the manufacturer and see if they have a program you can run that is specifically designed to view the S.M.A.R.T. data on their drives.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  295. Hey James

    I have problem with scanning my drive (to be honest RAID array isn’t longer detected as formatted by PC).
    It’s 6TB of data so I left it overnight for quick scan but when I woke up testdisk was closed which surprised me…
    After I wanted to do deeper scan instead so I stopped quick scan and started deep scan, but soon after on 16. cylinder program closed himself.
    Another strange thing is that, that quick scan jumping from 0% (8. cylinder) to 66% (486393. cylinder).

    Submitted log to dropbox so you can check it or I will send you email if you want.
    DROPBOX LINK REMOVED NO LINKS ALLOWED

    Looking for your help,
    Greg

    1. Hi Greg

      The primary purpose of consumer grade RAID arrays is to help you deal with the failure of a drive without losing data. It should tell you which drive is bad and then you buy a new drive and replace the bad one in the array. Then the array rebuilds itself and everything is back to normal. If you are not sure how to do this then you should contact the manufacturer of the RAID array for instructions.

      If your situation is different and the damage is too great for RAID to automatically recover then you need to consult a data recovery professional. There are tools for recovering data from RAID arrays but they get complex very quickly. The problem is that there are so many different variations of problems, setups, firmware and tools that it is nearly impossible to tell you what to do via blog comments.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  296. Hey

    I think you got me wrong.
    My RAID array is working and detectable but Windows see it as unformatted.
    So I thought that your solution will work because all of files are visible and accessible via software which rebuilding array (like. DMDE or File Scavenger).
    Just need new partition table or boot sector from what I read last few days..

    Please think about it one more time if you can.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    1. Hi Greg

      You have to wait for the QUICK SEARCH and DEEPER SEARCH to finish before you can get any indication of whether or not this technique will help.

      The problem is that you have a 6TB drive and that will take days to complete the searches. That is such a HUGE drive!

      I understand that you stopped the QUICK SEARCH without allowing it to complete and then attempted the DEEPER SEARCH but the program mysteriously closed. All I can suggest if the program continues to crash and close on the DEEPER SEARCH is that you try it with a different computer. Problems with the a connected RAID should not be causing it to mysteriously close.

      Also, the jump in cylinders in the QUICK SEARCH is normal behavior when it thinks it has found a partition it then moves to the end of that partition to continue searching for more. It is guessing and not looking at the details (hence the name QUICK) so it may not find the correct partition structure and that is where the DEEPER SEARCH must be used.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  297. Hi James,

    First I want to thank you for this detailed tutorial. I was able to get past the first few steps and determined my drive did not have any physical damage. However after completing the quick scan and deep scan in TestDisk I cannot see any files when I select to list files and the message says cannot open filesystem. Filesystem seems damaged. I’m not even sure what happened as I have this external drive connected to my work PC at all times as I have ALL my work related things one there for the company. Today while the computer was on I saw a pop-up message to “Format” the drive which of course I cancelled. It WAS working a bit earlier then this happened out of nowhere. Please email me and let me know what you recommend. These are very important files and templates for marketing and advertising materials so I need to figure out how to recover them. Please Help!

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Alex

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      At this point you need to do a data recovery instead of a repair.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake.

      Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format/data eraser or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  298. Thanks James. I do have Recuva previously installed on my PC so I will try another method. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    1. Hi Alex

      PhotoRec does not require the MFT to be intact but it is a much more complicated process to use it for recovery than a tool like Recuva is.

      James

  299. Hi James,

    My Seagate 3TB external drive suddenly pop out, asking to format it today… So I followed the steps… for the HDDScan SMART Report:
    Num Attribute Name Value Worst Raw(hex) Threshold
    001 Raw Read Error Rate 087 086 0000000709-31CB 006
    191 G-sense Rate/Servo tracking 100 100 0000000000-0000 000
    197 Current Pending Errors Count 088 088 0000000000-0820 000 (this one is /!\, the first two is green. )

    other ones that are /!\:
    190 Airflow Temperature 049 040 51 C 045
    194 HDA Temperature 051 060 51 C 000
    197 Current Pending Errors Count 088 088 0000000000-0820 000
    198 Uncorrectable Errors Count 088 088 0000000000-0820 000

    I’m at a deep search right now,

    Disk/dev/sdc – 3000GB/2794GiB – CHS 45600 255 63
    Analyse cylinder 4543/45599: 09%

    HPFS-NTFS 0 32 33 45600 23 55 732563456 [Seagate Backup Plus Drive]

    I’m going to let it run for the night to get to 100%, but from the SMART test looks like it has a physical damage…? Should I still do the back up?

    Another thing is, so my PC have about 400GB, but my external hard drive is more than 2TB, do I need a place to backup the files or it will do it on its own?

    Thanks,
    Sherry

  300. An update after it pass the 100%

    I saw the green bar when I was at the quick search, but after the deep search, it jumps to this following:

    Disk/dev/sdc – 3000GB/2794GiB – CHS 45600 255 63
    The harddisk seems too small! <
    Check the harddisk size: HD jumpers settings, BIOS detection…

    The following partitions can’t be recovered:
    Partition Start End Size in sectors
    FAT16 <32M 60961 80 38 284240 73 15 3586976672
    HPFS – NTFS 163459 127 30 226533 177 49 1013286980

    [CONTINUE]
    14TB / 13 TiB

    Should I continue? If so, which one should I select?

    Thanks,
    Sherry

    1. Hi Sherry

      I assume that you hit CONTINUE by now. Did you see your files and folders in the NTFS partition after highlighting it and pressing P ? Did you see your files when you checked the GREEN partition after the QUICK SEARCH?

      James

  301. My Dell’s Laptop HD (Samsung 1TB) went into the RAW condition post switching it off as a response to the blue screen syndrome.

    I took it out putting it in a HD enclosure then ran the above, though the P wasn’t showing any files! Just logging me out to the prompt.

    I then launched the files manager GUI from the same utility and I was able to see the files and copy them!

    WHAT A RELIEF, thank you so much for this post.

  302. Hi there, did as you said. Had to choose none for partition. Found the file names listed after quick search but unable to write as no partition.
    What should I do? Please help, really need to save my WD My Passport 500gb HD.

    1. Hi X

      I have 2 questions…

      1. Do you know what happened to cause the disk to become RAW?

      2. What happens if you choose INTEL for the partition type?

      James

  303. It says for me that no partition found after quick search and i m having a big hard disk of 320 gb
    plz tell….

    Regards
    AHMED FAIZAN

  304. I’m trying to save data on a flash drive. I tried your testdisk program and after I hit analyse I got the following message: “Petition sector doesn’t have the endmark 0xAA55.” What does that mean? It doesn’t show any partitions. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I really want to save this data. Thanks. Carol

    1. Hi Carol

      This technique is for hard disk drives. Often a bad flash drive needs to be disassembled and placed in special machinery to recover the data. Your best bet is to try a professional that has these tools.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  305. Hello James

    I have a 3TB external drive. My computer lost power when it was using a stored file. It now shows up as a raw drive in windows. Ive tried all the programs you’ve mentioned in this blog. The only program that can see the drive is HddScan. It shows it as having a bad block in the first block. When I tried Testdisk it doesn’t see the drive. Same with Revival. Please help.

    1. Hi Jason

      Unfortunately, the first block is the most important block on the drive. You need to take it to a data recovery professional to get your data off of it. If you are not sure where to find one, start by contacting the manufacturer of the drive. They may have a solution that fits your budget.

      Wish I had a better answer,
      James

  306. Hi
    PLEASE REPLY EARLY I NEED YOUR HELP
    I’m done writing after that Quick Search (I can see my files which means they’re fine). I didn’t see the Back-up BS
    Is there something I should do?

    Thanks in advance James

    1. Hi Francis Gabriel Javier

      Sometimes the damage to the file system is more than TestDisk can repair.

      Go to the screen where you see your files and folders and follow the steps in this comment…
      http://html5.litten.com/updated-how-to-fix-external-disk-drive-suddenly-became-raw/#comment-165809

      You will need to have enough space on another disk to copy them to.

      Afterwards, attempt to run chkdsk on the disk. That may fix it and make everything work fine but there is a chance that it could make things worse and you won’t be able to recover the data at all. That is why you should recover important files before trying chkdsk.

      Let me know if this does not help
      James

  307. Hi James!

    I’m doing quick search at the moment. It’s been 3 hours already. Should Quick Search take this long?

    It’s for a 1TB WD external HDD. I haven’t even gone into Deep Search yet. It’s still at 00%.

    1. Hi jasaugust

      There are many factors that determine the speed of the scans. You can try connecting it to a different computer. Or perhaps it is a drive that can use USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 and it is connected to a USB 2.0 port. In that case plug it in to a USB 3.0 port.

      Hope this helps,
      James

    1. Hi Kishor

      Yes, it also applies to platter based internal drives. Not SSD’s though.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  308. Hello,
    My deep search got to about the 44% mark in about 3 hours, but since then has been moving at a rate of about 2% a day (I’m now at 50% since I started 3 days ago). Is this normal?

    As it runs it also keeps giving me the error “Read error at ####/#/# (Iba:#########)”
    What do you think is going on here?

    Thank you

  309. HELP! HELP! HELP!

    Vendor: Seagate
    Product: FreeAgent Go
    Revision: 0148
    User Capacity: 2,199,023,255,040 bytes [2.19 TB]
    Logical block size: 512 bytes
    Serial number: 2GE6ZED9
    Device type: disk
    Local Time is: Mon Jun 01 13:04:53 2015 MDT
    Device does not support SMART
    Error Counter logging not supported
    Device does not support Self Test logging

    1. Hi Carol

      If gSmartControl did not work, then you can try HDDScan
      http://hddscan.com/
      Run it and select your drive from the dropdown list.
      Then click the round button and choose S.M.A.R.T. to see the attributes.
      Then click the round button again and choose S.M.A.R.T. OFFLINE TESTS and choose SHORT TEST to run the Short Test.

      Let me know if that does not work,
      James

  310. James,

    I was never able to access the SMART data. It was unclear if this is because the drive is so old (about 10 or 11 years), or for some other reason. It is a seagate barracuda 7200.7 160GB.

    This drive first went bad about 3 years ago, however I kept it for this entire time occasionally trying it out again to see if it would start working again. One time about a year ago it did! I was able to get about 2 home video files backed up off it before it stopped working again. It doesnt make any clicks or anything like that, all that happens when I plug it in is it shows up in my computer as “Local Disk D” and when I double click it it freezes for a bit, then tell me it is not formated and that I need to format it. And that’s how I ened up at this page showing how to fix it.

    Right now it is on day 3 of the “deeper search” and is currenlty on at 50% of the search.

    Thank you for your time!

  311. thanks admin but id say the best way to work on this is to remove the hdd and fix it off with a usb interface it would be a sureshot fix .
    id say techs @acronis need to take noe that a fail safe for status of drives are to be saved in case of interrupted and forced reeboots the partition has to return to a fail safe /memorized restore point instead of being rendered unusable its really easy
    thanks again

  312. hi admin

    after i finished the Quick Search a partition came up and i pressed P to see the file list but a message came up ” no file found, filesystem may be damaged “

    1. Hi Yazan

      If you can’t see your files and folders in a partition after the DEEPER SEARCH and pressing P then this technique will not work for you. If the files are important then you need to contact a professional data recovery service.

      At this point you need to do a data recovery instead of a repair.
      There are many data recovery programs that you can try if you want to take a chance and try it yourself but you may lose the data forever if you make a mistake.

      Recuva has a free version.
      https://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

      For a very advanced data recovery tool, you can attempt to run PhotoRec which is included with TestDisk. Here are some instructions…
      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step
      Remember to choose FileOpt and press s to deselct all file types and check only these file types where you’d like to recover.
      It does not recover file names so you will have to rename any recovered files.

      If it does not see any files then the data has likely been overwritten with zeros due to a format/data eraser or there is a physical problem that does not show up in the S.M.A.R.T. data.

      Hope this helps,
      James

  313. Hello Christophe,

    Thanks very much for making this available. I have spent hours attempting to recover a 320 GB HDD that came inside a Western Digital MyBook without being able to get the the drive to accept formatting to NTFS.

    I tried several alternatives with TestDisk and finally just deleted the partition table. On rebooting the disk showed up and I was able to format it using the Disk Management tools (Windows 7 x64).

    Thanks again for helping me solve this problem.

    Richard

  314. Hi
    firstly,thank you for your time
    But i’ve faced a small problem,,,,The program stops while Quick Searching esp. at 38% and completely lags
    I’ve trid anothe program that’s also lags at the same point
    what’s your advice?
    Thanks in advance