Installed external HDD internally without backing up data, can I avoid formating?

Jan 26, 2019
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I was using an external Seagate HDD to store media. I just purchased a desktop and I dismantled the drive and installed it internally. I didn't backup my files (I know :( ). Now the PC, while it does recognize the drive, can't access the files. It says the drive needs formatting.

Is there a way I can save my files? I suppose there's always the option to reconnect the drive to the external box, backup, and then reinstall it but if there's an easier way please let me know.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
What is the exact model of the unit? Some of these external drives actually use hardware or software encryption, and without either knowing the encryption key or decrypting the information before removing the drive from the enclosure, they are useless unless you format.

You may well need to do exactly as you've outlined, by moving the data OFF the drive, with it IN the enclosure, and then formatting the drive once you've removed and installed it internally again, and then copying the data BACK to the drive.

Hopefully, nothing is changed and the data is still readable from within the enclosure.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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Model SRD00F2 (Older 3TB version, not the one currently on seagate's website under that model number)
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Looks like that drive is probably software encrypted. You'll need to put it back into the enclosure to gain access to the data on it and move it off the drive, then remove the drive, format it and move the data back on to it. And actually, you'll probably want to do more than just format it. You'll want to delete the existing partitions on it, then create a new, not encrypted primary partition, format that NTFS, and then move the data back onto it.
 

misar

Proper
Sep 25, 2018
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An external Seagate HDD will not be encrypted unless the OP encrypted it.

More likely the USB enclosure has a bridge chip which allows the drive to appear as if it is an MBR drive with a capacity above the normal MBR maximum. That allows it to be used with systems that cannot read GPT drives (eg 32 bit Win XP). Once removed from the enclosure it can only be used in Windows if formatted as a normal HDD - which is what Windows is telling the OP.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator


Yeah, that's 100% not trtue. MANY of them now ARE encrypted and can't be NOT encrypted without removing them from the enclosure. Some are software, some are self encrypting hardware. This is not the first time the rodeo has been to town.


https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=15150

https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2414512


 

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