Storage HDD (D:) Disappearance -- I DARE you to figure this one out!

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  1. Posts : 43,245
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #11

    Hmm, sounds like you didn't have a backup- or a disk image...

    (N.B. the routine act of regular disk imaging also detects incipient drive failure- Macrium Reflect for example runs a CRC check on the data being imaged- so if you begin to experience some failure or corruption that doesn't stop the disk being used normally, that can alert you. Plus of course if the failure is catastrophic you have a means of recovery).

    Another useful thing to do is to have a 3rd party program continuously monitoring and set to alert you to degradation vs a threshold - e.g. Crystal Diskinfo (free), Hard Disk Sentinel...

    But only a backup helps guard against sudden failure.
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  2. Posts : 2,292
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11
       #12

    knight15 said:
    Yes -- and that is precisely what appears to have happened: last night I could read data off the drive when mounted in a dock, tonight I can only detect the drive letter -- with no access to the files. Not even my Data Recovery software (Reclaime) can access the disk without crashing. I'm hearing no sounds whatsoever, seems to be spinning without significant vibration -- so I'm hoping for no mechanical damage at this point. Professional data recovery at this point? Anyone have any other ideas?

    First thing.. How important data is it on it.... and do you have backup....
    If the answer is super important data you just can't afford to lose.... and no backup.... Disconnect the harddrive and do not try to fix it yourself.. go to a professional Data recovery company.



    Software like Reclaime, Testdisk, Photorec, EaseUS, Recuva etc. They all have one thing in common.... The hard-drive is physically intact..... Some of this can still read the disk IF track0 is destroyed(bad sectors)

    When working on a drive that is on its way to physically die.. The first thing is IF it spins up again, is to do a disk-clone of it instead of trying to run all those recovery software.
    It is always better to work on a clone and spare the failing drive to unnecessary move its heads like a flipper-ball(as it does reading file by file)

    The best free cloning software for home usage without access to professional stuff is Clonezilla Clonezilla - About

    Then running it under expert mode and tick in the boxes [ ] -q1 Force sector-by-sector copy.... And.... [ ] -rescue Continue reading next one when disk block read errors

    Save the disk to an image file and you can restore the drive to one or hundreds of new harddrives.. Or Disk to Disk if you have a new disk with the exact same size or bigger.

    working with failing hardware is only a 50/50 chance of success and with low to non electronic knowledge it becomes even less.
    The harddrive has a few TVS diodes and if they are broken the drive either wont spin up or it don't behave as it should. (to make it non-technical).


    So back to the first row in my post.... How important data is it on it.... and do you have backup....
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  3. Posts : 6,420
    Windows 11 Pro - Windows 7 HP - Lubuntu
       #13

    cereberus said:
    First thing I would do is backup all the data you can in case drive fails completely.
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  4. Posts : 11,629
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #14

    dalchina said:

    Maybe @jumanji can suggest something..
    Hmmmmm....................I arrived at Atlanta Georgia yesterday 1600hrs. With lots of travelling scheduled till 24th May, I may not be able to give my undivided attention to op's problem. My Itinerary US trip 2023 I am not carrying any laptop with me. Right now I am using my daughter's new Windows 11 laptop to login.

    What I guess from OP's posts so far: His HDD is generating lots of bad sectors. He was able to see all data in the dock. Now he only sees the drive letter and no data. Means the MFT is most likely corrupted by fast spreading bad sectors. I shall go by Mary SWE's suggestion to clone the drive immediately and then try data recovery on the cloned drive. He/she seems to be the right person to continue with or @MaloK if he is free to deal with it. For me "leave of absence" till 24th May .
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  5. Posts : 2,292
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11
       #15

    jumanji said:
    Hmmmmm....................I arrived at Atlanta Georgia yesterday 1600hrs. With lots of travelling scheduled till 24th May, I may not be able to give my undivided attention to op's problem. My Itinerary US trip 2023 I am not carrying any laptop with me. Right now I am using my daughter's new Windows 11 laptop to login.

    What I guess from OP's posts so far: His HDD is generating lots of bad sectors. He was able to see all data in the dock. Now he only sees the drive letter and no data. Means the MFT is most likely corrupted by fast spreading bad sectors. I shall go by Mary SWE's suggestion to clone the drive immediately and then try data recovery on the cloned drive. He/she seems to be the right person to continue with or @MaloK if he is free to deal with it. For me "leave of absence" till 24th May .
    I can give some recommendations, but data recovery questions is your thing in here, i know you are good at it ....... and yes "she" is right one. at least the last time i checked. *lol*

    But if it is really important data on that disk and no backup of that data..... then i strongly-strongly recommend a data recovery firm in that case....
    and before i know that answer. I wont say more then i already did say in my earlier post.

    Have a nice time over in US

    Edit.
    My experiences of data recovery was limited back in the 00's when i worked for a computer company specialized on hardware and those few times i did data recovery it was mostly on bad drives with some kind of hardware failure and with access to professional recovery tools with cleanroom and tons of spare-parts etc.. So home stuff as with Testdisk, doing rescue cloning with free software is limited experience for me as those tools can not control the disk in the same way.. so you is the true professional on home data recovery I have seen your posts in here and on seven forums.. I know you are good.
    Last edited by Marie SWE; 14 Apr 2023 at 23:41. Reason: bad spelling *lol*
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  6. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #16

    From Bad to Better . . . to Catastrophic?!


    I may have been wise to keep checking back for more replies over the past 24 hours -- particularly the posts about not messing with the drive without at least cloning first -- or just punting to a recovery specialist. FWIW, the drive is in a storage box -- not to be trifled with again by me without a VERY solid understanding of what's happening, and how to recover -- if that's still even possible at this point. The shame and regret of getting to this -- very avoidable -- point with my data won't be soon forgotten.

    First: the data is critical, and it hasn't been backed up in years. Yes, I've been an idiot.

    Things seemed to take a turn for the better today as I continued to research solutions: the more I diagnosed, the more I began to conclude the drive may not have gone bad -- it may have been more attributable to my directory system or Windows itself: I kept getting a "D:/ drive is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect." In the USB dock, Disk Management reported the disk with an active partition -- but with 100% of the space available -- as if I had no data on the disk. (frightening) Upon the advice of one website for the "parameter incorrect" error message, I ran a CHKDSK at boot up and -- presto -- the D drive "reappeared" in Explorer, Device Manager and Disk Management -- with the drive connected via the USB dock or per the original internal installation on the motherboard. (When all this started, I couldn't even see the drive letter with the HDD SATA-connected to the MB.) After trying a system restore -- which reported as being unsuccessful afterward -- I could actually open the D drive in explorer and see my folders! See "D-Drive Folders" screen capture, attached. But . . . there were some mystery folders on the root directory that weren't there before. Worse, the only files that seem to have survived are my music files. The all-important 'Documents' and 'Pictures' folders are EMPTY. Since the total amount of data on the drive seems unchanged from when this disaster started this week, I had to ask, "where's the data?" Then I opened one of the mystery folders -- the one at the upper left -- and found DOZENS of large, equally-sized files with no extension name. See "D Drive Mystery Folder" screen shot, also attached. I can only speculate that this is where all my unrecovered data is residing. The impression I'm getting is that my entire file/folder/directory system was altered by CHKDISK to get me access to the drive -- at the expense of access to most of my data.

    I am obviously a great danger to my own interests here. Years of work, vital records and photographic memories are on the line. If anyone has any insights on what's going on, where I likely stand at this point, best courses of action -- believe me -- I'm all ears. I'm definitely done tinkering.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Storage HDD (D:) Disappearance -- I DARE you to figure this one out!-d-drive-folders.jpg   Storage HDD (D:) Disappearance -- I DARE you to figure this one out!-d-drive-mystery-folder.jpg  
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  7. Posts : 11,629
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.3374
       #17

    knight15 said:
    I may have been wise to keep checking back for more replies over the past 24 hours -- particularly the posts about not messing with the drive without at least cloning first -- or just punting to a recovery specialist. FWIW, the drive is in a storage box -- not to be trifled with again by me without a VERY solid understanding of what's happening, and how to recover -- if that's still even possible at this point. The shame and regret of getting to this -- very avoidable -- point with my data won't be soon forgotten.

    - And yes, you seem to have bolted the stable after the horses themselves have bolted

    First: the data is critical, and it hasn't been backed up in years. Yes, I've been an idiot.

    - Haste makes waste.

    Things seemed to take a turn for the better today as I continued to research solutions: the more I diagnosed, the more I began to conclude the drive may not have gone bad -- it may have been more attributable to my directory system or Windows itself: I kept getting a "D:/ drive is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect." In the USB dock, Disk Management reported the disk with an active partition -- but with 100% of the space available -- as if I had no data on the disk. (frightening) Upon the advice of one website for the "parameter incorrect" error message, I ran a CHKDSK at boot up and -- presto -- the D drive "reappeared" in Explorer, Device Manager and Disk Management -- with the drive connected via the USB dock or per the original internal installation on the motherboard. (When all this started, I couldn't even see the drive letter with the HDD SATA-connected to the MB.) After trying a system restore -- which reported as being unsuccessful afterward -- I could actually open the D drive in explorer and see my folders! See "D-Drive Folders" screen capture, attached. But . . . there were some mystery folders on the root directory that weren't there before. Worse, the only files that seem to have survived are my music files. The all-important 'Documents' and 'Pictures' folders are EMPTY. Since the total amount of data on the drive seems unchanged from when this disaster started this week, I had to ask, "where's the data?" Then I opened one of the mystery folders -- the one at the upper left -- and found DOZENS of large, equally-sized files with no extension name. See "D Drive Mystery Folder" screen shot, also attached. I can only speculate that this is where all my unrecovered data is residing. The impression I'm getting is that my entire file/folder/directory system was altered by CHKDISK to get me access to the drive -- at the expense of access to most of my data.

    - If my suspicion that the MFT in the disk could have been corrupt is correct, running check disk would have completely wiped out all data that might not have been indexed properly in the Master File Table ( due to corrupt MFT).But then it would have put the deleted files in folders found.000 and the like. I honestly do not understand the creation of the mystery folder.I would elicit the opinions from other Windows 10 experts. To that end please post the chechdisk log,.
    Read Chkdsk Log in Event Viewer in Windows 10

    I am obviously a great danger to my own interests here. Years of work, vital records and photographic memories are on the line. If anyone has any insights on what's going on, where I likely stand at this point, best courses of action -- believe me -- I'm all ears. I'm definitely done tinkering.

    - @ Marie SWE I would elicit your opinion whether professional data recovery would help at this stage.
    My reply in bold.

    I am now running away to Georgia Tech to see my second grandson. So off for the day.
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  8. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #18

    CHK DSK Log -- am I really toast?


    Jumanji -- thanks for the reply -- foreboding as it is. I've attached the CHKDSK log. To your MFT point, I note this language, under "Stage 3" in the log:

    "The MFT mirror is different from the MFT.
    Correcting errors in the Master File Table (MFT) mirror.
    Correcting errors in the master file table's (MFT) BITMAP attribute.
    Correcting errors in the Volume Bitmap.
    Windows has made corrections to the file system. No further action is required."

    'Hard to believe a simple function like check-disk would destroy the majority of my data. There is no "found.000" folder on the drive that I can see -- only the "mystery folder" with dozens of extension-less, 221MB files, per my other attachments. Someone please tell me this is not beyond recovery!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm reading that if the MFT was corrupt upon initiation of CHKDSK -- and couldn't fix the MFT corruption -- CHKDSK would abort with error messages to this effect -- not just obliterate the data. This seems a logical fail-safe approach. My log indicates a mismatch between the MFT and its "mirror" -- followed by correction of the mirror. CHKDSK never aborted on me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Storage HDD (D:) Disappearance -- I DARE you to figure this one out!-chkdsk-log-4-15-23.jpg  
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  9. Posts : 2,292
    Linux:Debian, Kali-Linux... 2xWin8.1,1x7Pro, Retro:1x2003server.1xXPpro, 1xW2k,1x98SE,1x95,1x3.11
       #19

    oh, no... not chkdsk

    Do not do anything more at the moment before you have done a clone on that disk. do not hook up that disk to a windows computer.
    Windows is bad.. and i mean it is bad with its chkdsk and defrag even worse enemy as it runs in the background as scheduled activity..

    I just got home from a looooong day. so i feel a bit off and need coffee to try reboot my brain again.

    I totally agree with jumanji the files should have been under folders like found.000, found.001, found.002 and so on if chkdsk had recovered files.
    Windows has done that since win3.1 and MS-dos i think.

    After you have made an clone of that disk. Then we can start messing and testing to solve it.. and then we work with the clone, not the original disk... this way nothing you do will get worse.. if we solve it, everything is good.. if we don't solve it. the original disk is not messed with and that makes those who does data recovery less sad.

    Do you have another harddrive that is the same size or bigger then the messed up drive?
    Disk to disk cloning is easier to work with, without good image mounting software. Best is if the new disk is a bit bigger. That way is easier to separate the source and target disk in clonezilla.

    First step after the clone is done and your original drive is safe disconnected.. is to make had and tails of those mystery files on the clone drive.
    if you change to show all file-extensions... go in to... darn I have no windows computer in front of me Lets see if i can remember by memory.. no i need coffee to get my head working...... It has to be a tutorial in here............ Found it. Hide or Show File Name Extensions in Windows 10
    if you activate so you can see file-extensions. what does the files end with?


    - @ Marie SWE I would elicit your opinion whether professional data recovery would help at this stage.
    running chkdsk was not the best choice to make it easy.
    Short answer.. a professional data recovery firm has tools normal people don't have. as deepspar, pc-3000 and some others. They can scan the disk in a totally different way then this free ware Resuva, photorec and so on..

    For those who wonder why the difference.. It is an HDD. so it leaves magnetic traces/shadows.. for every time you write to it, they get weaker. That's why with secure erase you write 1 an 0 to the same sector multiple times to erase the shadow for possible data recovery. Governments and company's does it and some ordinary people.
    So even if the disk has been abused they do have a better chance then a home user has and even worse if they never done this before.
    Its like riding a bike.. it takes a wile to learn, before you get the feeling for it. and the feeling is hard to make in to a how to guide.

    Software i heard off being good on regular hardware without the special hardware you have with PC-3000... is R-studio R-STUDIO Data Recovery Software I have never used it, so i have no opinion what so ever, i just have heard of Rstudio from another that does datarecovery nowadays.... But it isn't free software.




    Edit.
    If you never have used Clonzilla we can make a step by step how to with print-screens.
    I have hardware and disks laying around so i can make a real cloning with the same settings as you should use with sector by sector cloning.
    I do need coffee before i look in in this thread..
    so I'm back in about 15minutes
    Last edited by Marie SWE; 16 Apr 2023 at 22:12.
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  10. Posts : 14
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #20

    Thanks to all for the inputs: I could fire the drive up to search for the file extensions in the mystery folder, but that would violate the admonition against running the thing on a windows machine before making a clone: I’m on my way to Geek Squad to see what they say. First request is to make a clone for me!
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