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I use two external hard drives for my data, alternating every week or so. One of the drives suffered what appears to be a software related crash. :sob:

The disk is still spinning but is not being recognized by the system. See attached screenshot of Disk Management.

Is there a way to recover the disk without formatting and losing the existing data. This last week's data is not recoverable from the previous backup and would save a lot of work if I coud bring this drive back to life. :crossfingers:

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.


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David Baxter PhD

Late Founder

There are some tools by Norton and others who might be of help but have you tried simply disconnecting the drive, rebooting, shutting down, reconnecting, and rebooting? I'm not sure what kind of drive this is but sometimes, especially with USB devices, this will help.

have you tried the "searching for new hardware" option from Control Panel?

Have you tried to reconstruct the Master Boot Record or whatever it's called with NTFS drives? If it's also a Maxtor, your utilities disk that came with Maxtor (It can also be downloaded from the Maxtor website) may have something to do this; otherwise, I know it can be done from the XP install disk (just can't recall the steps to do that off the top of my head).

If none of that works, take it to a repair shop - Sigma Computers in the Kemtpville area (Raina's Mall) is excellent and very reasonably priced. Sometimes they can lift things off a drive that the rest of us can't find. In Ottawa, I'd recommend Mooney's Bay Computers off Riverside.


Thanks for the suggestions, David.

It is a fact it's an internal drive that I installed in a case to make it externall and it connects using either USB or firewire.

I'll check the Maxtor website; and as you know Dell computers don't come with install disks as the installation is on a hidden partition, so I'm out of luck.

I will call the places you suggested tomorrow.

Geez...all this makes me want to say a bad word, and then :panic: :hair:

Daniel E.
I searched Google for "healthy unknown partition" and this was the first result:

What does "Healthy (Unknown Partition)" mean?

"Healthy (Unknown Partition)" is the way hidden partitions typically show up in XP's Disk Management console. Although XP can "see" the partition, it will not assign it a drive letter and cannot access files on the hidden partition.

On occasion, a data partition may accidentally have its partition-type code toggled to "hidden" and any data on it may appear to be lost. To recover, simply toggle the partition-type back to its proper code. There are a number of third-party utilities that can easily do this, such as PartitionMagic, BootIt-NG, Partition Commander, Ranish Partition Manager, et al. If you don't have something like that, the easiest way may be to download the free utility Extract ptedit.exe from within the zipfile, boot from a DOS floppy (or Win98 startup floppy, or see if you don't have one), run, and change the appropriate partition-type from hidden-NTFS (or hidden-FAT32) to normal NTFS (or FAT32). Reboot into XP and see if the partition now shows up as it should.

I'm not sure if I have read your post right, only just got up:D If you have lost data and want to retrieve it there are two pieces of software available on the net, both are available on free trial but obviously limited, better to pay I and my one and only friend here have used both and they are brilliant heres the links to them:

They are both good in there own way but handyrecovery was the one that helped me when something happened to the hard drive on my old computer, it retrieved everything, even stuff I thought was gone forever, it even brought back stuff I had deleted and the drive had been formatted too many times, it was totally amazing what remains on the drive and is recoverable. I sometimes download the free version now if i delete something by accident, i hope this is the type of suggestion you wanted, hope it helps in some way.


I am of no help sorry, but I had a virus on my Computer last year that wiped all the files off it and well it was a struggle and a half. So I REALLY hope that you work it all out.



The situation went from bad to worse when both back up hard drives developed similar maladies.

They are now in the Cygma hospital in Kemptville, in intensive care. There will be an all night vigil and prayer service for their timely recovery.

We were told there may have been some physical injuries incurred, as well as some possible internal corruption of file or folder structures.

At this time the prognosis is indeed bleak, and we are preparing ourselves for the worst. I am, at this time on the lookout for a twenty pound sledge hammer, which would be used in the final act of returning these heroic workers back into the multitude of fragments from whence they came.

This experience demonstrates the fragility of computer components, one moment they are full of life giving us all the data they can muster, and the next moment they are not even recognized by the computer which moments ago was using their resources .

It's not a matter of if a hard drive will fail, it's a matter of when


As the day went along and the initial shock began wearing off, I began realizing that I could reconstruct much of what was lost, using prior backups to cd's (thank goodness I didn't clean those out).

Then there was my biggest concern which is my 5000+ tracks on my iPod. Doing some Google searching I found third party software which will allow me to re populate iTunes with my tracks, saving the ratings, playlists and notations.

This part of my collection represented about three years of work :yikes:

I'll be looking at the reasons for the simultaneous failure of two independent components, but though it's a real pain in :censored:, It could have been worse....YEAH...HOW???? :hair:
I hope you get this all sorted out. Are there pieces of software that can analyze the drive to tell you if its working proberly, forwarn you of any trouble, Im sure I read about them somewhere.



Thank you for all the helpful suggestions. I hope to get back the hard drives tomorrow when I'll know how serious is the damage.

I am in the process of trying to recover as much data as I can from older backups.
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