Win10 Updates corrupting Partition Table external USB HDD's - to RAW

  1. Posts : 2
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit

    Win10 Updates corrupting Partition Table external USB HDD's - to RAW

    This is a recurring problem. I am looking for suggestions on:
    1. how to prevent this problem from recurring.
    2. how to repair my partition tables without formatting my HDD's.


    I run a Dell XPS-15 9550, internal 512gb SDD.
    My data is photographs and video files.
    I use external HDD's via a 2-Bay USB dock.
    See additional system details below.


    On some Windows updates, my external USB HDD becomes RAW after restart.

    This problem has occurred on and off for about two years now, I would say since Windows 1803. It took me several occurrences to figure out the problem was tied to Windows updates. Once I did, only a few months ago, I called Microsoft and the fix was to update drivers. From what the agent said, Windows was installing conflicting drivers on update. The problem recurred three more times, and each time, I could go in and update the drivers (USB Mass Storage Controller), and that fixed the issue. My drive showed up as NTSF again and I was able to access my data.

    On Saturday (Sep 21, I started my computer to find my two HDD's inaccessible: both had been turned RAW. I checked the update history and a Definition update had been applied on the 20th. When I tried to update the drivers, the disks remained RAW. I called Microsoft and they tried several different ways of updating the drivers without success. Finally, they started a Chdsk on one of the HDD's to see if that would work. Chkdsk completed successfully, but the disk was still RAW.

    I have not run any other process on the drives, not wanting to make things worse.
    I have most of my data backed up, but I don't want to plug those in, in fear that an update might come in and corrupt those HDD's.

    This problem has occurred too many times to be a coincidence. I have seen other similar references to this problem on other forum, but few solutions, other than tools trying to fix the partition table and data recovery solutions.

    A perfect-storm of hardware and software?

    I can only conclude that I happen to have a very particular combination of hardware and software that lets a bug corrupt the partition table on external HDD's. It doesn't seem to be a prevalent problem, so there is little chance that Microsoft will take care of it.


    I am looking for any suggestions on how to make changes to my system to prevent this from happening again?

    - The problem ALWAYS occurs on external HDD's plugged in on a USB dock.
    - It occurred on several (at least 3) different docks, different brands of docks.
    - ALL my HDD's are WD's, but some were Green, others were Red. HDD's ranged from 2TB to 8TB. so that might be one of the constants...
    - Some of the HDD's were as old as two years, and as new as two weeks.
    - The last occurrence had two HDD's in the dock: one was brand new (less than two weeks old), the other was about one year old. Both turned RAW.
    - The drives do not make any clickling or strange noise.
    - In earlier occurrences, after running data recovery on the drives, I have reformatted and they work fine.
    - The problem has NEVER (yet) happened to external HDD's that are "encased", like MyPassport, or other such drives.

    Plugging the dock in another Windows PC, with the drives - I could see the drives, but they also showed up as RAW.

    I am considering setting up a NAS Raid drive in place of my USB-dock, which would be a better solution. I do not know whether a similar problem might occur with that system.

    My specs:

    XPS-15 9550
    6th Gen i7-6700 GHzHQ Quad Core (6M Cache)
    16GB (2 x 8GB) 2133MHZ DDR4 Memory
    512 GB SSD
    NVIDIA GTX960M video card 2GB DDR5
    15.6" UltraHD 4K monitor

    2-Bay dock: Orico 6228US3-C (Capacity up to 8TB)

    Windows 10 Home 64bit
    Recent updates:

    Update that created the last occurrence of the problen:
    Definition Update:
    Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus - KB2267602 Version 1.201.1812.0

    Note: There were four new Definition Updates since, but no HDD were connected via USB.

    General recent updates:

    2019-09 Security Update for Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64based Systems (KB4516115) Installed 9/11/2019

    2019-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64 (KB4514359) Installed 9/11/2019

    2019-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64-based Systems (KB4515384) Installed 9/11/2019

    I can provide the full list of updates if necessary:
    The 1903 update was first installed on my computer in June
    And it created the problem.
    This update created one occurrence of the problem 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64 (KB44495620) Installed 6/6/2019

    HDD spec
    The two recent HDD's that were corrupted:
    WD RED SATA 6Gb/s NXHA500 NASware 3.0 8TB
    WD Red SATA / 64MB Cache WD40EFRX NASware 3.0

    Please let me know if you need any additional information or specifications on my system.

    I would appreciate:
    - Any suggestions of what component could be the culprit,
    - Any suggestions on how to update my system to avoid a recurrence.
    - recommendations on how to attempt to repair my partition tables without formatting the drives.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by LGFernando; 24 Sep 2019 at 11:33. Reason: additional details
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 6,979
    windows 10

    Welcome to the forum. Raw basically means the partition table is lost and normally be recovered by partition recovery software. Do you leave the drives plugged in during updates or remove them?
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 2
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit
    Thread Starter

    Thanks Samuria,

    Yes, my drives are working drives, so they are always on, or nearly always, so when an update is applied, they are connected.

    I just realized that I can "pause" the updates and do them manually, whenever I choose. I have turned on that option now, and I will actively check for updates and install them with the USB drives unplugged. Hopefully that will prevent any recurrence.

    As for partition recovery software, would you be able to recommend something? It's a little confusing when I see what comes up on a search, and I'm never sure what is reliable, and safe to use.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
      My Computer


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