Question My external drive will not show in file explorer but does show in partitioner and Device Manager...help!

Mar 1, 2020
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Okay here's the situation I have a Seagate 3 terabyte drive that was taken out of the enclosure and added as an internal drive to my gaming computer everything worked fine except for Windows 10 has to split it into two partitions so that it can be read properly. I have over 2 terabytes of movies music and operating system isos on it that I do not want to lose however I am currently in a situation where I cannot use my PC because of power constrictions so I took the 3 terabyte drive and put it back in the enclosure and hooked it up through USB 3.0 to my laptop which is also running Windows 10, device manager reads the drive just fine and partitioner shows both partitions as unallocated, it does not show up in file explorer. I tried to remedy the situation by adding a drive letter but it won't let me I cannot use chkdsk and I even tried using mountvol to get the volume name and using chkdsk with the direct volume name but it does not show in mountvol. I tried easeus partition master to try to recover the partition it does not find anything on the quick pass and then gets stuck after that. I do not have another drive to use with Linux to move all of my data over and start anew, I usually fix this problem using fix MBR but even that will not detect it however I know that the volume is there because partitioner says so. Does anybody have any solutions?
 

RolandJS

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Mar 10, 2017
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DIY might kill your chances of partition and data recovery. Wait until data recovery persons take up your cause and guide you from this point on. I will listen in alongside you and learn from the others.
 
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popatim

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You put it back into the exact same enclosure?
When you first put it into your computer as an internal drive, did you have windows initialize it?

it isn't clear if that 2tb of data was on the drive before you installed it internally or if you put it on there during its time inside your pc.
 
Mar 1, 2020
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You put it back into the exact same enclosure?
When you first put it into your computer as an internal drive, did you have windows initialize it?

it isn't clear if that 2tb of data was on the drive before you installed it internally or if you put it on there during its time inside your pc.
Yes when I bought the drive it was basically a plastic case with a hard drive inside that has a tiny little motherboard attached to the power and SATA ports which turn them into USB 3.0 and power jack ports, I took the little motherboard attachment off and plugged it into the computer through a SATA connector and power ribbon and the computer recognized it as it should have, along the way I found need to reformat it and eventually refilled the drive with data the only thing I noticed is that because it is a 3 terabyte drive whether it is being used externally or internally Windows recognizes it as a separate 2tb + 1tb partition, all I did was shut down Windows remove the SATA and power cables put the little motherboard piece back onto it and plugged it back in to its original power and USB 3.0 cords, once I did this the laptop that it is plugged into recognizes that the drive is there through device manager and any partitioner that I read it through but will not show up in explorer. The only way that I can think to save the drive is to run it in Linux which usually works because it is not dependent on a drive letter and copy all the information over to another drive however at the moment I don't have another drive that big and would like to restore the drive without having to buy a second one.
Also I'm not exactly sure what you mean by initialize.

Edit: forgot to answer your original question yes it had data on it before I made it internal, the internal PC recognized the data on it as it should have, later on I reformatted the drive while it was still internal, so bringing it back to external should work the same way as it did in reverse I would assume.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
Ok , those little boards commonly only use 4k sector size, Windows can read those just fine.
Formatting the drive in windows would have resized the sectors to 512bytes unless you went to lengths to set it to 4k.
So once you put the drive back into the enclosure, that little board cant read the drive because it only 'speaks' 4k.

Well that's my theory at least.

Do you have a way to install it back into your PC, copy the data off, put it back in the enclosure & reformat it there, and copy the data back on?
 
Mar 1, 2020
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Ok , those little boards commonly only use 4k sector size, Windows can read those just fine.
Formatting the drive in windows would have resized the sectors to 512bytes unless you went to lengths to set it to 4k.
So once you put the drive back into the enclosure, that little board cant read the drive because it only 'speaks' 4k.

Well that's my theory at least.

Do you have a way to install it back into your PC, copy the data off, put it back in the enclosure & reformat it there, and copy the data back on?
Yes but I will have to buy a new drive to have a drive big enough to copy it over. That actually makes a lot of sense thank you, I've never understood sector sizes I know how to format and install operating systems but I usually leave the sector size on automatic, what I don't understand though is that drive manager can read the hard drive and it knows that the drive is connected but file explorer cannot read it does the sector size still explain that?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Yes but I will have to buy a new drive to have a drive big enough to copy it over. That actually makes a lot of sense thank you, I've never understood sector sizes I know how to format and install operating systems but I usually leave the sector size on automatic, what I don't understand though is that drive manager can read the hard drive and it knows that the drive is connected but file explorer cannot read it does the sector size still explain that?
Device Manager is detecting the interface, not the drive.
 

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