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Hard Drive Recovery Solutions?
Error Message - "the disk structure is corrupt and unreadable"

 12:26 am on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Anyone have any experience recovering data (photos) from external hard drive that spit out "the disk structure is corrupt and unreadable" when you try to use the drive? I think the cause was putting the computer to sleep instead of turning it off, then swapping drives in the same port before bringing the computer back from its nap. There were no problems until I started using Toshiba Canvio 1.5T drives. 1TB and down never had any issues.

Is something like this - [cgsecurity.org...] likely to work or is there anything else anyone would suggest? There should be no physical damage to the drive just a corrupt disk structure.



 12:43 am on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

TestDisk will work..or ..Simple remedy ..download a linux distro that will run as a "live disk"..burn it .. set the problem machine's ( yes I know that in your case it is an external drive problem ..but frequently it is a machines internal HD that has a problem, laptops are good at HD won't boot) BIOS to boot from the CD/DVD player..insert burned disc..

Boot into your linux live environment..

Explore the problem HD ( via "computer" )..copy the files you want to another HD ( don't use the same HD that has the problem ) or to an USB key..

When you have your files safely copied onto another HD or USB.

Then you can begin seeing if you can repair the disc structure of the failed disc..

[edited by: Leosghost at 12:47 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2013]


 12:46 am on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Search for SpinRite. I've used it for nearly 20 years and it's never met a hard drive it couldn't fix.


 1:14 am on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Given that in your case it is photos that you wish to recover from an external drive ( don't install anything on an HD etc that you are trying to recover data from ) ..you may find it easier and faster to download PhotoRec ( from the same place as you have TestDisc) ..install it ..and follow the "step by step".


 1:11 am on Apr 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've also been a long time SpinRite user. I have found some hard drives that SpinRite wouldn't recognize due to the size, but if you can get around that, in my experience, it will recover what's there.


 7:50 pm on Apr 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the ideas! Looks like Spinrite would be great if the drive was internal or if I was confident in hooking it up without the USB. A local service got some (about half of the) data back and said there was nothing physically wrong with the drive but there are still about 600 gigs not recovered. Hopefully PhotoRec will work some magic. Linux is not something that is at all familiar so won't be able to dive into that option.


 2:38 am on Apr 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

And it looks like PhotoRec just may retrieve the other 600 Gigs the local place said was no longer on the disk!


 6:55 pm on Apr 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

PhotoRec 6.13 pulled all the JPG files off the drive but missed all the .CR2 files, it looks like PhotoRec 6.14 will pull all the .CR2 (Canon Raw) files off the hard drive. .CR2 isn't listed as a file type in the list of files to select but falls under the .tif extension.

The recovery of about 22,000 .JPG files took about 14 hours and the RAW file recovery looks like it may take about the same amount of time.

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