How to access a HDD used for CCTV?


Jun 23, 2011

I have a HDD that was used as a storage for a DVR and need to back up the datas for it to be used as a proof.

I tried to use the option provided by the DVR itself, which was to insert an USB storage and save the recordings in it however

it was taking hours to just format the USB storage and still didn't finish the job after 3 hours.

Therefore, i replaced the primary HDD with a new one so the recordings we need won't be over written and came home

with the old one. I connected the HDD on my desktop and it was recognized both in bios and disk management.

I looked for it in My Computers but couldn't and later realized that the whole HDD was unallocated and wasn't given a

drive letter.

Because it is such an important data and I cannot dare try to format it..


1. Are there any way that I can back up the data without formatting, or risking to lose the information it contains..?

2. If i initialize the unallocated space and give it a drive letter, would I be able to access it through My computer like

any other partitions that i have (for example, C: and D:) and retrieve the informations without being over written?

The HDD is 320GB and was good for about 12 days.. so it has 12 days of recordings and is pretty much saturated..

I am new to this community and posting threads.. my apologies if I am at a wrong place to ask this kind of questions..

Thank you..
If this is for legal reasons, you need to not mess with the hard drive. You have to show a chain of ownership and it will be up to you (to make it easy) to show that you did not modify the data in ANY WAY, including allowing the system to write to it.

1.) buy symantec ghost and a 2nd hard drive of equal or greater capacity.
2.) use Ghost to clone the DVR hard drive to the new drive.
3.) get back with us after this point and let us know the brand of DVR
It could be that the DVR is using a proprietary file system.

Can you show us the contents of sector 0? That's where the partition table normally goes.

You could use HxD or DMDE for this purpose.

HxD - Freeware Hex Editor and Disk Editor:

DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software:

Whatever you do, please don't write on your drive. Don't initialise it, format it, allocate it, etc.

BTW, if you examine the first sector of your USB storage, after your DVR has begun to format it, then you will be able to identify its file system. This may not be the same as the internal file system. However, if it is FAT32 or NTFS, then you could probably quick format the drive on a Windows box.


Jun 23, 2011

I see.. it is for legal purposes, but I'm not certain if it's going to be used or not at the moment..

I kept it in a box and didn't bother it.. I suppose i was right to do that..

What i was trying to do was to keep a copy of the footage (about an hr long) or the copy of the whole HDD itself

just in case the original data becomes unable to use..

The brand of DVR is Lorex Technology and I believe the model # was LH-314000. (When I looked it up on the Lorex website

to find some kind of a manual, nothing came up..strange..)

I really appreciate your time and the effort helping me out. Thank you for your kindly reply.


Jun 23, 2011

Hello, fzabkar.

I actually had a labtop right next to me when i was formatting my USB on DVR and tried quick formatting the USB

for both FAT32 and NTFS and the DVR still wanted to format it.. so i assume you are right that the DVR is using a

proprietary file system..

Thank you for reminding me not to initialize it, format it, allocate it, etc.

If it was any other things that I stumble on, I would've poked it, chewed it, scratched it, etc but because the data inside

the HDD is probably the most influencial evidence that we can pull off for our defense(if the situation brings us to use it that

is..), I couldn't dare to mess with it.

Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge with me. I sincerely appreciate it.
So here is a question? Why do anything with it? Why not just bring in your DVR to play back the hard drive?

Anyway, if you want to persue this, I'd start with duplicating the hard drive via Symantec Ghost. Then play to your hearts content.



Jul 18, 2011
i would like to know if there is possible to change or to convert the HDD dvr to windows HDD coz i upgraded or i buy a new higher capacity HDD dvr so i want to use the older HDD to my windows HDD?? thank you for your kind and effort


Jan 24, 2014
I have a similar problem, I have to backup some footage, the problem is that my HDD in DVR overwrites on its own and auto format new HDD. I removed my HDD with footage and put a new on the DVR, then I put it on my PC and it does not show up, so I decided to put it back in the DVR.

Unfortunately, the DVR started recording on it, and I cannot find any old recordings.
I get the new one which started instantly when I put back the HDD.

It is very important for me to recover the Data.

I will be going with Acronid DIsk Director to recover the files.
ALready Purchase it, then came up with this post.

DO you think it will work?
Or Any other solution for me?




Dec 24, 2014
Vergift, thank you for your question. I was in a similar conundrum. I have about a solid weeks worth of very important video documenting criminal activity which I don't want to get overwritten, but I also don't want to simply turn all recording off in the meantime either. I am using a Honeywell HRG161 and I simply removed the 1TB drive and replaced it with a 2TB drive which I believe I formatted as a single basic NTFS partition. I don't know if that is how the disk is still formatted because flash based initialiazition software stored on the device took a bit of time in initializing the new drive, but when I mounted the original drive on my computer, it turns out the 1TB disk is formated into 4 equally sized FAT32 partitions. Like was suggested to you, if you want to keep it really simple, they sell very cheap dual bay HDD docking stations on Amazon for example. All you have to do is place a drive equal to or larger than the original in the other bay and press a button and in about an hour, voila! There of course are other ways of making an exact clone of of your drive using software. If you go this route make sure you are taking a bit for bit "clone" of your drive and not a compressed disk image or you will not have a exact reproduction. Since the new drive is an exact replica, it should require no initialization and you can allow the data to be overwritten now that you've removed the original. Be sure to protect it from static and other hazards when you store it.

If your DVR model is made by a company that doesn't make their device software/drivers available for public download, and insead keeps them password protected for authorized repair technicians only, then the hardware method should copy everything you need onto the new drive, propriatery filesystem or not, to make it swappable.

Right now I am trying to figure out how to view my DVR's files from the removed drive on my PC or Mac. I'll do a bit of research or post my own question. Good luck.



Jun 27, 2016
Dear All,

I wanted to know how to read DVR hard disk in PC . Since my DVR was not functioning properly & i needed the backup of DVR any how . Just download DMDE for windows from & it worked . It showed all data in normal format & i could easily copy paste from the DVR Hard disk into my PC within seconds.

Thanks to this forum.