external drive not recognised+wants to reformat!?

  theDarkness 18:17 06 Apr 2011

Everything was working fine beforehand, but earlier today one file showed as corrupted, and now my Maxtor 500Gb external hard drive now shows up as merely "(F)", no longer showing its custom name.
It was an almost full drive, but now all files are completely gone - if I click on the drive, Vista will not show any content, instead tells me that it "would need to reformat the drive to use it" as if its a brand new drive! :(

How can I fix this issue and get all my files back? The system is virus free. Thanks for any help

  rdave13 18:40 06 Apr 2011

Do you have access to an XP machine? Had the same problem once,so connected to XP, and worked ok. Don't know why though.

  theDarkness 18:56 06 Apr 2011

The disk did not require any defragging. I dont know why vista would suddenly not be able to read it. I think part of the problem may have been due to the system being almost completely full (500GB) and not doing enough frequent error checking on the disk itself. I forgot to mention that after the corrupt messages on a couple of files, I right clicked on the drives properties in vista and chose to "check the volume for errors". The system told me that it had to restart before it would work, and it was only then (after the restart) that the drive came up as empty and asked me to format my new hard drive, even after reinserting the usb cable :(

Ive done another restart now, the content is showing again, and I have finished error checking. The content that was corrupted beforehand is now copying and reading ok, but I dont know if that will be the case with the rest of its content. I always insert+remove the usb cable correctly, so aside from the lack of error checks I cant think of any other reason as to why it would have suddenly occurred. thanks

  Terry Brown 19:26 06 Apr 2011

It could be the start of the drive breaking down, unfortunatly there is no warning with USB drives (no SMART option checking).

Download cdcheck click here

select the recovery option and select your external drive.

select a Different drive to where the files are located, if you use the same drive you may overwrite the files you are trying to recover.

Depending on the damage to the drive(if any) and any corruption this may take from a few hours to ???

The program is free and fully functioning for a trial period.


There used to be a program called RECUVER,which was also very good, but I cannot find it now.


  robin_x 19:54 06 Apr 2011

Recuva is here
click here;1

That CD Check looks good. I have some damaged CDs and clones (also damaged but in different places)

Been thinking about sorting them out for ages.

  howard64 15:04 07 Apr 2011

I have recovered several external drives with the same problem. I use Easus data recovery. Once everything is off the drive to a different one I have reformated the drives and put everything back on. So far and this is after at least 2 years non of the drives I have worked on have failed.

  theDarkness 19:47 07 Apr 2011

I have just realised that I may have posted this before a few months back for the same hd on vista, and had tried a hard drive scan before to check for corrupt files. I will do it again, but the last time it came back ok. For deleted files I have r-studio and an old version of easus I can use, thanks. If its not the hd on its way out, I do wonder how likely the problem could be related to vista simply having a problem with the usb cable/slot (problematic related drivers?) or a firewall related issue with the hd causing it not to connect (unlikely im sure!) I think the files that showed as corrupted may have been due to the entire disc not being able to be read by the vista system for a split second, as Ive connected the drive to another pc and the files now read with no problems. Im going to back up the most important data to dvd, but I find it odd that the most reliable storage format may well be pen and paper after all :)

External hard drives are becoming so large, but who wants to buy one and find out in 6 months time that it has suddenly become corrupted, all data is non recoverable and youve lost absolutely everything? Im sure its happened before to many, which is probably why we should always back up important data onto more than one drive or format. The thought of ever losing 5 TB of data on the hds of the future would be shocking (although ive no idea what you would be filling up such a drive with in the first place!). I get lazy and tend to leave everything on the hd until its full, since even dvd (and arguably blu ray) are such slow methods for backup, if filling up an entire disc.

thanks :)

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