Hard Drive Issues and Data Loss. Please Help!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DesperSeekiSusa, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. DesperSeekiSusa macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2013
    I have been having issues with my Toshiba 640 GB USB 2.0/eSATA Desktop External Hard Dive PH3064U-1EXB, working on a Macbook Mac OS X Version 10.6.8 Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo Memory 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 Startup Disk Macintosh HD and a Windows7 partitioned on part. I am in no way an expert.

    The hard drive is unreadable, unpartioned(now) and the data is extremely valuable so i need to figure out how to fix this with out loosing the data.

    The hard drive was refurbished when I bought it and I have had small issues here and there since. It would have a problem ejecting but it always showed back up when mounted again. (It might have been the cable) Then, it wouldn't let me copy files to and from. I repaired the disk and it ran fine for a while. After awhile, it had the same issues with copying again and right away with ejecting issues, as a result I believe it wasn't ejected properly. When I plugged it in again, My computer says Disk Inserted is Unreadable and on windows it says similair and that it may be corrupted. It didn't show up in my computer and disk utility didn't give me the option to mount. The message that came up said eject, ignore, initialize at the bottom. I was told in a forum that the computer wont work with the drive untill it was initialized. So after trying every basic available options I hit the initialize but it didn't do anything. I did not reformat or erase as I know these things will ease my data.
    Also The Drive sounds like it is running just fine.

    I'm not sure if this so far has caused the problems but to move forward I skimmed through countless forums to where there was no one with all the same issues as me.

    I bought a hard drive enclosure hoping it was the casing's issue but I came up with the same messages and still didn't mount. In windows I tried disk management and it showed all the drives and just like in disk utility it showed toshiba but as 2TB drive and not 640 GB anymore. Then in Diskdrill it showed it as 2047gb unallocated space. I'm sure that means it needs to be reformatted but again I don't want to loose the data. Also It shows that it is now Unpartitioned.

    In Diskdrill I tried to recover data and just like in a couple other programs it stayed at 0% for a long time, and I wasn't sure if this was normal (If someone could enlighten me) so I moved on.

    I read that in Mac you can partition without loosing data in Disk Utility so I figured that should be my first step.I went to Disk Utility and the only thing that shows up for the external hard drive is Toshiba TB when it used to have under that the 640GB drive. I've Uploaded a Snapshot. So Selected one Partition and left the format and capacity as it was and selected apply, I get this : Partition failed with the error:
    POSIX reports: The operation couldn’t be completed. Cannot allocate memory

    I tried Freezing The Hard Drive. It showed no re.sults at all
    Through Test Disk and Disk drill and a couple others it has remained at 0% (one of them couldn't even find it (MaybeDiskwarrior) but I'm going to go ahead and keep it scanning for as long as I can; I have about nine hours. I will let you know my results

    Untill then, can someone please offer me some insight. Whats gone wrong with this thing and how to fix it >_<

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You've messed with the drive considerably since the initial problem. You should know that by doing all these things, you have lessened the possibility that you can get the data back.

    RULE #1, when a drive may be damaged and you're trying to do recovery, is: DON'T MESS WITH THE DRIVE except in carefully-thought-out ways.

    Here is what I would do if you handed the problem drive to me. I'm not saying this is without risk, but the procedure described below is how I recovered hundreds of mp3 files from a drive partition that refused to mount.

    First, you will need "a scratch drive" to serve as your recovery platform. It can be either your internal drive (if it has room enough), or you will have to buy ANOTHER drive to serve in this capacity. I suggest that you DO NOT buy a "pre-built" external drive. Instead, get yourself a USB3/SATA dock. I recommend either of these as being usable (and they will deliver high speeds if at some point you get a Mac that is USB3 equipped):



    After you have the dock, you need a "bare" SATA hard drive to go into it -- pick one from the vendor of your choice (do you know anyone who has a spare, older one laying around?).

    Once you have these, connect the dock to the Mac, put the bare drive in, turn it on, initialize with Disk Utility.

    You now have a "scratch drive" that is ready to receive recovered files from the problem drive.

    Now, connect the problem drive and turn it on.

    I don't know what condition it's in, but one of two things will happen:
    1. It will mount on the desktop, or
    2. It will NOT mount on the desktop, and you'll get an error.

    I'll assume that as of now, it WON'T mount.

    In this case, I would choose to re-initialize the drive into a single partition.
    Do not, repeat, DO NOT choose to "zero out" the drive. YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS!

    When you re-initialize the drive, you replace the old directory with a "clean" empty one. However, the data out on the sectors of the platters is NOT TOUCHED by a simple re-initialization. (this is why you don't zero the drive out -- that WILL wipe the data clean).

    The result is that the drive will now be mountable to the finder and "see-able" by data recovery utilities. It will appear to be "empty", but disregard that.

    Now it's time to start up your data recovery software, and "aim it" at the problem drive.

    Choose "deep scan" (or something like that) and let the DR software do its thing. Be aware that this could take hours, sometimes many hours. The DR software will skip over the directory and "go right to the platters". It will scan and scavenge for data, then re-assemble it and place what it finds on the "scratch drive" (this is why you need the second docked drive).

    Be aware that with data recovery software (particularly when you do it this way) you are going to lose most (if not all) of your folder hierarchies and file names. They were "constructs of the [old] directory, which is now lost. It may take much time to work your way through the recovered files, renaming and reorganizing them, but that's the price you pay for data recovery. The consolation is that you get the files back.

    Data recovery has a learning curve and it WILL cost you additional money.

    Hope this gets you started.
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    DropBox, SkyDrive, iCloud, an extra HDD, a NAS even an SD card.

    If your data is important to you why don't you have a backup?

    The I've lost my valuable data on my only copy is far to frequent.

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