How to tell if a drive has been used before?

Underdog1234

Commendable
Nov 2, 2016
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I have a 3TB Hard Drive that I'm not sure has ever been used. When I hook it up to my PC, it asked to format it but I don't want to do this if it has been used before and data on it. How can I tell if a drive has any data on it or has been used before I format it?

Thanks,
 

anort3

Titan
Moderator
Any program that reads SMART attributes will work. It will tell you not only power on hours but the number of times the drive has been powered and shut down.

This is an easy utility.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/smartmontools/
 

Underdog1234

Commendable
Nov 2, 2016
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Here is the screen shot from Crystal Disk Info. The power on hours could be from it being hooked up but never having even been formatted before, right? What do I need to look at on this to tell me if data has been put on this drive?

 

Pramethius

Commendable
Nov 2, 2016
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If its wanting you to format, most likely its bean used in another PC, or if you have the proper connectors you could do Diagnostics externally on another machine already running, Good Luck
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Was the disk in a sealed package? If not, it was likely used.

It has over 4,000 hours of power on time, that is half a year of 24/7 running. I doubt it was connected to a system for half a year of solid up-time and not have had anything copied to it.

It could be partitioned but not formatted or have errors on it if it was formatted but is saying it needs to be formatted.
 

Underdog1234

Commendable
Nov 2, 2016
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It was not in a sealed package, it was actually installed in one of my computers but not sure if it was ever used that is why I don't want to format it if I'm going to lose something on there that might be valuable. Is there any way to check for data on there if it is saying it still needs to be formatted first. I have tried Recuva and others but no way to do them without first assigning a drive letter and formatting so it hasn't much use to me on this.

 
Yea a NEW drive you would have to go into Disk Management and Initialize the drive FIRST then partition it. Too bad it isn't showing data writen (two upper right boxes) then we would know if they were used or not
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Well..there's a condition like this:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-3231287/hard-drive.html
"Despite having my computer built for probably close to 9 months, i have only just realized that my 1TB hard drive (...) has never been connected "

tl-dr...it was just unallocated.
For 9 months
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


What does it show in Disk Management?
Unallocated?
Or maybe just no drive letter?

If it was installed int he PC for some time, but you personally never used it...it may simply just have never been formatted for use.
 

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