External Hard Drive Crash How to Recover Files
I have a Seagate 3TB External Hard Drive that all of a sudden tells me it needs to be formatted. All I did prior to this happening was restart my PC, the same way I do every day. I have 2.8TB of files, pictures, videos and more on that drive with no backups of it anywhere and I really need everything back.
If your drive has problems being recognized, partitions lost, RAW, or otherwise in a state that doesn’t allow you to access your files as you would normally, do not re-partition or re-format the hard drive right away. There could be different reasons for this to happen, e.g. corrupted filesystem, power surge or hardware failures.
Fix with chkdsk tool
Error messages like “You need to format the disk in drive G: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?” or “Drive not formatted. Do you want to format now” may indicate a corrupted partition or corrupted filesystem. Windows has a couple of built-in tools that can check the integrity of a disk and fix any detected problems. This includes chkdsk. There are several parameters for chkdsk command.
chkdsk /f fixes logical error on the memory cards such as file system corruption. cksdsk /x includes the functionality of /f but it requires the volume to dismount first if necessary, which invalidates all open handles to the drive. chkdsk /r fixes logical errors as well as checks for physical bad sectors. Chkdsk /r analyzes the drive and attempts to relocate data it finds to good sectors. It also marks the bad sectors so that these bad sectors will not be used again, which effectively removes the bad sectors from the system. If used without parameters, chkdsk displays only the status of the volume and does not fix any errors.
Click Start, select Run and enter “chkdsk drive_letter :/x” (quotes not included). Tab Enter to start the disk check process. This command requires your disk volume to dismount so do not use it on your OS drive. Never power off the computer while checking is in progress! Damage could be done to your disk if you do so. This interface will automatically close when the checking is done. Then, try to access your folder or drive to see if the problem has been solved.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW files
If you cannot run chkdsk and receive an error message saying “CHKDSK is not available for RAW files”, that mean your drive has become RAW. You can try to fix the RAW problem by fixing the Master Boot Record. Fixing the MBR and other boot problems in Windows requires installation disk or recovery disk to enter the recovery environment. Once you are in the recovery environment, you can access the Command Prompt to try to fix the MBR. Enter the following command and then press enter “bootrec.exe /FixMbr”. If it successfully repairs your MBR, you should be greeted with the message The operation completed successfully.
The Alternative Option
The alternative is to recover data from the inaccessible hard drive and then format to repair it. This option doesn’t require any knowledge about filesystem or command console. You can retrieve missing files using a professional data recovery tool. Data recovery software like H Data Recovery can be used to scan and restore lost data when hard drives or particular volumes become inaccessible.
To recover data from damaged or lost partitions, install and launch H Data Recovery Software and select the Hard Drive Partition recovery module. Select the problematic hard drive and click Next to proceed with the scan. The scanning process may take a while as the software will locate and collect every file that is stored in the lost partition. When the scanning is complete, you can choose from the listed files and save them to your desired safe destination.