WD 1TB external hard drive, can't access

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Maverick52

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Well, this is my wifes external hard drive she uses to back up most of her photos, she's a hobby photographer.

Last night she told me that it stopped working and asked me to see what was up. She told me that for about the last week she would be using it and it would randomly "disappear" and she would have to unplug it from the USB 3.0 port, and plug it into the USB 2.0 port to get it working again. Now what it's doing, is not allowing me to access the files regardless of what port its plugged in to.

When I plug it in, it tells me I need to format it, which I say cancel. When I open up the file browser and go to the computer portion, it shows a external drive, with drive letter but when I attempt to access it, it says "E:\ is not accessible, the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"

So I did some googling and saw that some people were recommending a program called Active Partition Recovery, and that the boot sector on the hard drive might be damaged. So i downloaded the program and used it to look at the boot sector, which it said was a-ok.

So I googled some more, found some info about running chkdsk and I figured I could run that and find out what was going on, so i tried it out and chkdsk ran but as soon as it finished its scan the DOS window closed and I couldn't see what it said in time.

So I went back to the Active Partition Recovery program, and used its "super scan" to check the drive and hopefully see what was going on. It would get a few minutes into the scan, then the drive would "unmount" and the program would freeze, I tried this several times. I had the drive plugged into the USB 3.0 port so I switched over to the 2.0 and tried again, then the scan worked. According to the program all the "sectors" are ok and I can see all the folders and file names in it's file browser.

This program does have an option to "recover" the drive by copying all the data to another disk, however I don't have another drive with enough room to do this at the moment.

I did a little more googling and found some info about a program called Recuva and that it might be able to help me out. I tried that and when I tried to view the folders/files with that it gave me an error "unable to read MFT".

Now the error in windows has changed from what it was before and if I try to open the disk it says "E:\ is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect"


I think right now my best bet is to buy another 1tb drive and try to use Active Partition Recovery to copy the files/folders onto that drive, but I was hoping that maybe somebody may have some advice for me on how to fix this one, what the heck went wrong, or how to make sure my recovery goes ok.
 
Well your plan sounds potentially feasible for the immediate solution, though is high in the risk of failure category anyway. If the USB 3.0 cord is bent/broken or the USB/Sata board inside the case is defective, you still would be 'screwed' in this endeavour.

I would suggest the BEST solution to validate a few things is

1) try this drive in another computer do you get the same results
If NO then it is simply removing the device from the Device Manager, reboot and reconnect the drive to force Windows to use the correct Driver for it.

2) If yes then I would start unscrewing the case and physically remove the drive from the housing. Get a new USB/Sata connector, and try this in the 2nd computer. Does it still act the same bad way?
If no, success!, now try this in her computer and see what happens

3) If yes, then the drive has failed, you can ATTEMPT the Active Partition Recovery / Spare 1TB solution, but you now know your expectations are very low for 100% success (your goal). This will also validate for your wife where the problems is and allow you to have *2* 1TB drives, 1 Primary storage, 1 Backup storage, so this never happens again.
 

Maverick52

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1) I have tried it on her laptop and my desktop, same problem.

2) I did remove the hard drive from the case, because my desktop case has a hot swap bay on top, but the drive didn't appear to have regular sata connectors. There was the USB plug where the wire plugs in and several pins on either side of it.

3) So even though I'm able to see the folders and files with Active Partition Recovery you think the hard drive is completely toast? From what I had picked up googling it seemed like once I got the files off the drive I should be able to reformat it and it should work alright, except maybe this USB 3.0/2.0 thing its got going on. She uses this drive mainly for storage, but sometimes she does editing from it directly, I honestly didn't think it would fail this soon into it's lifespan with the amount of use it gets versus the hard drive on her laptop for instance. Even with that said I had been looking at storage options for her.
 

Maverick52

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No I didn't, I went into the start menu, searched chkdsk and ran it as administrator.

So I assume I didn't do it right then, so what would the way you showed do exactly?
 

Maverick52

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Looks like I could remove the board from the drive if I wanted to wreck it. Google images shows quite a few images like that, replacement boards perhaps?

I googled "wd10tmvw" which was the model number on the drive.

Here is one of the board without the drive, doesn't look like it would mate to a regular SATA connection.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6059/6235454304_be2e472b0e_z.jpg
 

Maverick52

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This is what it looks like on the bottom.

http://utils.ruggero.ws/WD10TMVW/back.jpg

In the picture those screw heads look like they have a torx in there, but what I'm seeing in front of me the screw heads look like a smoothed, dish surface. Almost as if after installing the screws someone used a drill bit to countersink them to remove the torx portion. Could just be my eyes though.

Even then, if it did come off, I'm not sure there is a regular SATA connector behind the USB connector on that board, it sure doesn't look like it.
 

paravione

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It could be the power supply to your Hard Drive. I just had this similar problem WD 3T . I was able to swap the power supply with one from Seagate 3T and that was the problem for me. Maybe for you too. Power supply = the power adaptor plug-in for the HD.
 

Maverick52

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This one only has a USB plug, no power supply. Thanks for the idea though.
 

paravione

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didn't know the smaller ones don't need the ext power! my first one was Seagate 2T. lol! now they sell 4T for the same price. smh! what next?
It could still be a power issue tho' so the suggestion to swap the USB cable might work, if you haven't already tried that.
 

Maverick52

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I think the cable might be proprietary, I will add it to the list of things to try to get it working again, but for now I'm going to try and retrieve what I can. I bought a internal 1tb drive to try and transfer this stuff, but before I go ahead and attempt that with Active Partition Recovery is there anything I should do to the new drive?

I know the external drive was NTFS formatted, but it shows up as RAW now in disk management. If I'm thinking correctly I should just format the drive in NTFS and run the recovery software?
 

Maverick52

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Active Partition Recovery didn't seem to be "recovering" so I tried some different software called Lazesoft Data Recovery, it looks like it recovered everything plus some. The "plus some" would be files that had been deleted off the drive.

My wife is going to go through and make sure it's all there, then when she gives me the OK I'm going to reformat the external drive and see if it works ok or not. My gut has been telling me all along this was just some sort of corruption with the drive and not hardware related, so I'm going to see if my gut is right.

So, does anyone have any suggestions for a backup solution for her so that this doesn't happen again? Like I said earlier we bought a 1tb internal drive so we could recover this 1tb external to it. I figure another 1tb drive and some sort of "auto mirror" would do the trick?
 
Eh. Really the norm 'home method' would be a internal drive you do your normal work, plug in a ext. drive equal or larger. Schedule Windows Backup to it, and do a file copy of the main folder (plenty of freeware to backup just your 'profile'). Normally Windows Backup is fine, so it recovered more then just that data but get everythng working. Used to be when you get these drives they include (for higher costs) backupsoftware, easy peasy but they were unique file structures, so if Windows went belly up, then you have to start windows reinstall first then get the backupsoftware running before you could restore Windows back. There was some other solutions (I recommend) that come with Boot DVD with the backup software on it to save all that time and hassle
 

Cummins45

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I have the WD 1TB connected to an iMac. It is in our kitchen and at night the screen was just too bright. So I put it in sleep mode. The next morning, the iMac was fine, but the WD External Hard drive was not. At first I thought it was part of the new upgrade to Maverick as there was a posted issue with the OS upgrade wiping the data from WD drives. The light would flash not he device but it would not show up on the screen. It was not being recognized. Took it into work and our office I.T. guy plugged it in to his PC and it popped right up but showed 1TB of available space! I thought I lost everything. Took it home and plugged it in and still nothing. Randomly a few days later it started working again and all my data was there. Then this morning, flashing lights once again (after sleep mode engaged). Found a new 12V power adapter and all was solved! Did a voltage test on the old adapter and sure enough it was not putting out the full 12V needed.

So, before you lose hope or start partitioning things, try a new power supply cord. Happy Holidays!
 

chinhi64

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I have the same problem not being able to access my external WD drive. I found this solution which worked so well for me. I hope it will work for your guys/gals.

Here is the link:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd637756.aspx

Good luck!

PS: I tried both commands, but the 2nd command worked for me:

To find and repair errors that are found in the E drive, use the following command:
chkdsk /f E:
(E can be any drive. Replace the letter E with the letter of the drive that you are trying to fix. For example, it could be G - H or I)
 


1) don't answer posts that have a SOLUTION, that means it was answered already
2) don't answer NECRO posts, a discussion from TWO YEARS AGO is long forgotten your 'solution' would be pointless and not timely
3) READ THE POST BEFORE YOU MAKE A ANSWER! This solution was the FIRST RESPONSE, so your just spewing the same answer again!
4) READ THE POST BEFORE YOU MAKE A ANSWER! If you BOTHERED to read this post you would see that the issue was a PHYSICAL problem, not your quick tip you googled for. So it was NOT the same problem you had (this case the drive itself was physically damaged / the USB 3.0 cable itself was faulty)>
 

321patrick123

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I was getting ready to pop open my toshiba 3TB external hard drive until I read this. I have several external hard drives and even more DC power supplies laying around so I just switched the power supply and it worked just as normal. Before, windows would not recognize the hard drive and I couldn't access its files. However, I could see it in the device manager so it was kind of strange. Thanks for the tip though! saved me a lot of (probably worthless) effort.
 
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