Question 4TB external hard drive being treated as 1000+ TB

Aug 9, 2020
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Hi everybody. I'm new here, so I apologize in advance if I do something wrong. I have an unusual issue that I couldn't find mentioned anywhere else, so I'm making a new thread to ask about it.

The issue
I opened up Disk Management in my Windows 10 Acer Aspire E 15 laptop and saw that my 4TB Seagate Backup Plus portable hard drive was being treated as having over 100,000 TB (here is a screenshot of it https://ibb.co/VW24ptG ). The external hard drive is also showing up as "unallocated" and "not initialized" and seems to have lost its letter D:, but I'll deal with that stuff later. A strange thing about this issue is that the external hard drive doesn't keep a consistent value in Disk Management. In the screenshot, it has 114,000 TB, but when I unplugged it and plugged it back in, it was then showing 3600 TB (and the next time it showed 250,000 TB). But even though the exact amount varies, it is always much, much larger than it should be. I've tried using the external hard drive with another computer and it didn't work properly there either, so it seems the problem is with the drive itself rather than with my computer.

Anyone have any ideas how to make the drive show the correct capacity?

Thanks.

Background (you don't have to read this part; I just wrote this stuff in case anyone wants some more context regarding this issue)
I have a 4TB Seagate Backup Plus portable hard drive. I transferred a lot of files to it a couple of days ago and used up almost all of its space (I think it has around 10 GB left). I then opened the page on the external hard drive which contains the largest amount of files (it has over 30,000 documents which add up to probably around 1.5 TB). I was able to work with the files normally for a few minutes. I then left my computer (which is an Acer Aspire E 15 laptop which was running Windows 8.1) for a few minutes and when I returned, I saw that the external hard drive was disconnected from my laptop (even though it was still plugged in).

This is a fairly normal occurrence for me (but usually the external hard drive only disconnects when I actually touch it or do something like bang against the table it is resting on) and when it happens I simply unplug it and plug it back in then it starts working again (note: the "Safely Remove Hardware" option for some reason often did not appear for me to use). But this time, when I plugged the external hard drive back in, it wasn't showing up in File Explorer. I then took a nap for a few hours hoping the problem would solve itself, but it didn't. I tried unplugging and plugging it back in several times, but it never worked.

I tried googling how to fix this problem and saw dozens of different articles, forum threads, and software that addressed the problem I had. After trying out several of the methods (such as plugging it in different USB ports, changing the cable, uninstalling various things in Device Manager, and rebooting my laptop), none of which seemed to make any difference, I came across an article describing how I could upgrade to Windows 10 for free. I decided to try that out, but my external hard drive still wouldn't show up.

Sometimes when I plug in the external hard drive, it doesn't show up at all in Disk Management (but it always shows up in Device Manager), even if I unplugged it properly using the "Safely Remove Hardware" option. I don't know if that is important, but I figured it was worth mentioning. I don't really care about this external hard drive, but I would like to recover the files that are on it (but those files aren't that important either so I wouldn't be too upset if they were gone forever). I tried downloading some file recovery and partition software, but all of those software treat the external hard drive as having the 1000+ TB, so they would all take thousands of hours to scan it.
 
Aug 9, 2020
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Thanks for the reply! I tried using Seatools but it wouldn't even let me scan. It would always give me an error and say "Test Failed" after a few seconds no matter which of the tests I tried running. And unfortunately, the drive is a couple of years past its warranty.
 
May 11, 2020
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That doesn't sound good. If the USB system icon doesn't show any disk the best thing to do is shutdown windows before unplugging, start windows and connect up again.

But in regards to the current situation, if your external hard drive is a small 2.5" portable, there might be a chance it is just the sata controller that is bad and you can crack open the enclosure to remove the hard drive and connect to a sata to usb 3.0 cable to the laptop. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

If Marcrium Reflect can see the drive you might be able to clone it but again I think it would be a slim chance of success.
 
Aug 9, 2020
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Thanks for the reply! I tried shutting down and unplugging, but unfortunately it didn't work. I tried Marcrium Reflect and yeah, it doesn't show up. I don't have a sata to usb 3.0 cable, but I'll look into getting one.
 

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