A damaged partition - recover data unviewable?

Hi All

I have a Maxtor 300 GB external hard disc (using USB port) with all of my data on it. It has become unreadable on my laptop using WinXP and my LAN server Win2000. However, when I connect it to my brother’s computer, which uses Win98SE, it can view the files.

My brother tried using Norton disc doctor to fix this problem and now I can only view about 1/10th of my data on the hard disc on his computer. He said something about FAT32 being not recognised. He tells me that the data has not been deleted but is just not accessible (I hope he’s right).

I have viewed some software for data recovery on download.com and wondered if anyone has been in a similar situation and could recommend me a software to use? I was thinking of an alternative method which was to install a non-Windows OS and view all my files that way. Is this possible? I was thinking of either Mac or OS/2 (IBM OS).

I have several years of work on it so I’m not going to like it if I have to get rid of it all. I have approximately 230GB in total, which was why I haven’t used back-up with DVD burners due to slow burning amongst other things.

Am I totally lost? This failure to view my data has occured mainly because of Windows crashing apparently.

Here’s the search I did http://www.download.com/3120-20-0.html?qt=recovery&tg=dl-20&search.x=26&search.y=8

Any help will be greatfully appreciated.


hmm, you could try removing the drive from its case and installing it in your XP/win2k box (as an IDE device), but that might void your warranty (I am guessing you bought the retail external drive made by maxtor).

I don’t know much about data recovery software. As a last resort, or if the data is extremely important, you might try a data recovery service. You ship the drive, and they try to recover the data. Though that would be VERY expensive. If you go that route, look for a service that won’t charge you if the data can not be recovered.

For the future, consider a second HD, as a bare min. Also, partitioning a new drive into several smaller segments can make it much easier to backup to another device or medium. Set a regular backup routine, and keep up with it, once you fall behind it is tempting to say “it will take to long.”

Sorry I can not be of much more help, best of luck to you!

Thanks for the reply.

I’ve tried using Knoppix to see if I can access it this way and I can’t. Although I doubt I could have done because it’s still external. If it was internal I might have done. I will look to see if a Mac can get around this.

I have thought about data recovery companies and have heard they are expensive, but that will have to wait for a long while before I could use them.

I’m probably passed my warranty anyway, but nothing in the manual told me that this could happen, nor did Windows. I wouldn’t object to burning them all onto DVDs, I’d need to find out how to transfer my partial files from one medium to another and still work (as I was using eMule).

I have viewed some softwares on download.com and they seem to be of around £40 for data recovery. Not sure on their performance though. But I’m still looking for possibilities.

Thanks for your help. Anyone else with suggestions?

Norton disc doctor

I guess you now know what a bad idea that was.
Partition Magic can fix some issues with partition tables, but it sounds a bit like you may have a faulty drive. Run Windows ckdisc on it and also run the drive’s diagnostic software to look for bad sectors. Unfortunately, if Norton has been mucking around in there, you may well have lost some data.

I told my brother not to rush things.

Is Norton that bad a software? Just if it is I won’t bother using it anymore.

Yes, it is. NAV is fine, but most of the “doctor” tools have a huge potential for doing serious damage. Especially if you let Norton choose how to fix problems.

Do you have any other suggestions? I will look into the ones you’ve suggested. Thanks.

Start with checkdisc. Messing with partition tables is dangerous, so exhaust all other possibilities before trying Partition Magic or any other similar tool. Doing a straight disc-to disc cloning operation (sector by sector copy) to another HD is highly recommended to try to back up the drive before proceeding.


Will this be able to back up data that I could not view beforehand?

If you are willing to pay for it, check out the recovery tool Spinrite. It’s the number 1 tool for fixing corrupted drives - if you want to get the data back and the hard-drive readable again, this is the best solution. (Cost: $89 - but read the reviews)

I am willing to pay well into three figured sums to retrieve all of my data back. It just means that my plans for a few other peripherals will be delayed but my data is more important than the others.

Has anyone actually been in a siutation like myself? Hindsight seems like a wonderful thing now…

Update: my college was able to change the hard disc so that the Win98SE can recognise only 50 odd GB left and I can view some files. I can view more by copying and pasting to another hard drive. So it seems that it will be best to transfer all of my data onto another hard disc, refomat my original one and transfer back over. Is it better to buy another external hard disc (thinking of one larger than 300GB) or use my dad’s work’s one. Bearing in mind that I will refomat my external drive before seeing the results.

Thank you for all your help.

How ho not so fast :slight_smile:

Did you try GetDataBack? This product saved my @$$ a couple of times already. It scans harddrives for files (and missing/corrupted file tables) and it can copy all files found. The link I gave you supplies a free trial of the software. This trial features everything, except the actual restoration of the files.

I am looking into software for data recovery but I’m being very cautious so no more damage and problems will arise.

Has anyone else used this software then? Okay I understand limits on trial software but can’t you restore say a file under 1MB using it? Seems a bit pointless if you can’t, because you would want to show that it actually works if you get me.

You might also wish to look into backing up your data in the future. :wink: All drives fail at some point.

Sorry you can’t do that (legally). You’ll just have to take my word for it that it works pretty well (that doesn’t mean that nothing can go wrong). The program won’t damage your harrdrive or data btw, as it only reads from the drive (all to be restored data has to be copied to another disc/partition).

BTW… if you do a search on our forums (click on “search” in the second orange bar) on “GetDataBack” you’ll find some more info…

For less then 40 US$ you can get Active@ Undelete. :wink:

It saved data on my HDD last time when I f***ed up both MBR and boot sector (incl. partition table).
Yes, it took time, but I recovered all my data (32GB+) from 4 NTFS partitions.

Spinrite 6.0 using level 5 data recovery = restored and readable drive


Do what legally? I think there’s amisunderstanding here. Here’s an extract from a link someone gave.

To get a better understanding of the product, you can download free evaluation version. While having full functionality of the product, it has a limitation on maximum size of the file being restored.

This was what I was on about. The software people allowing you to have a limit on the maximum size of the file being restored for illustration purposes.

Thanks. I’m just trying to pick which software. Will carry on researching around.

You don’t really want to recover the data, just make the drive readable so that you can access the data correct? The data is all there, just inaccessible due to corruption, so you want something that can attempt to repair the disk (boot sector, partition info, repair bad sectors etc…). That’s why i suggest Spinrite - it will make your HDD readable again and so enable you to view and access your data.

Independant review: