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  1. My Sister had a portable USB Slim Hard 2 TB Hard Drive that she had a lot of videos on. She had it plugged into her laptop and she says she was just playing a video and all of sudden something happened and now the hard drive appears to be empty. I plugged it into my Computer and it says 1.81 TB free of 1.81 TB. Are all her videos gone forever? What happened to cause this? Thanks in advance for any help you can be in this matter. I have all the videos as far as I can recollect backed up on other hard drives.
    Last edited by Tom Saurus; 22nd Aug 2018 at 15:08.
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  2. Member
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    You could give Recuva a try.
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  3. JVRaines: Thank you for taking the time to respond to the thread. This is teaching me a lesson, I need to buy more hard drives and make more backups.
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  4. Member
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    It's unlikely all the files were deleted unless you had malware. Most likely
    the partition is damaged. Take a look at Disk Management in Windows (diskmgmt.msc from the run box)
    and see what it says about it
    Also Easeus has a free partition manager on their site
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  5. davexnet: I ran diskmgmt.msc and it says "healthy primary partition" and that it is 100 percent free. Thank you for your advice.

    I notice when the hard drive is plugged in that it recommends it be scanned and to fix errors. I just tried error checking and it seems the files are all gone and it says the hard drive is in good shape. I suppose we should never trust this hard drive again. My Sister is going to try to come up with enough money to buy two hard drives, one for putting the files on and the other as a backup.
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  6. Member
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    Listen to the drive. Is it spinning continuously? Is it spinning then slowing down? Is it clicking? If it's slowing down or clicking, it may not be getting enough power. If you're not connecting the drive through a USB 3.0 port, try that. USB 3.0 provides 12v of power vs 5V on USB 2.0. Also add a dual USB 3.0 cable like this to your troubleshooting toolbox. https://www.amazon.com/Micro-B-External-Seagate-Toshiba-Hitachi/dp/B005M0ICG2/ref=sr_1...usb+dual+cable. Again, it provides additional power to the drive.

    Next step is to try to mount it is Linux. You can boot from a live Linux Distro like Unbuntu (you can install it and run it from a flash drive) and check the drive that way.

    Next give Easeus Data Recovery Wizard a try: https://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm and Partition Magic https://www.easeus.com/partition-manager/epm-free.html a try, Partition Magic first. They're better at diagnosing drives than the Windows utilities.

    If you still can't see the contents of the drive, remove it from case and connect it directly as an internal drive. Most portable drives have a standard SATA connector once you remove it from the case. Check for on how instructions on how to decase your drive as there are few drives (I know about older WD drives) that have the USB connector soldered directly to drive itself.
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  7. lingyi: Before I read your post I started a Recuva Scan. It is at 5 percent and it says it will take 23 hours and that there are 8861 files. I know we did not have that many videos on there but we will see how it turns out. Thank you for this advice that you have given me.
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    Hope you have success with Recuva!

    FYI, Recuva (and other recovery programs) lists everything, previously deleted files, partially overwritten files and fragments, that's why there's so many listed. Generally, only the ones in green are fully recoverable.
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  9. lingyi: Recuva says it has nine hours to go as this is a deep scan. If it can give me a list of all her videos and picture folders that will be helpful as I never wrote down what was all on that drive. That is something I better do for all our other drives and then make sure there are at least one additional copy on another drive. I think most of us back up to hard drives these days. If they invent 1 TB media that is reliable and not easily damaged or degradable that would interest me greatly. But as far as I can see hard drives per GB per dollar is the cheapest way to go. Thank you for the additional information and "the hope you have success with Recuva". These little portable hard drives are so convenient being so small and with the Android Box it is like having your own library of videos to watch.
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  10. Member
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    As I recall, files that are green are complete and should have the correct name. Yellow is incomplete and will have a scrambled name. Sometimes videos and images are partially playable/viewable, but still incomplete. Red means unrecoverable with a scrambled name. I think the scrambled names are generated from some hash from the file.

    Hard drives are currently the only choice for large 1TB+ storage. I've said this (too) many times, but based on my experience and reports from others, external drives* are highly prone to failure, usually the USB interface fails before the drive itself. I suspect the constant plugging/unplugging of the Micro B connector (on the drive) shocks (I've seen a spark arc across the gap when plugging it in) and wears the interface. I've taken to leaving the cable plugged into the drive and plugging/unplugging only the other end (A-Male).

    *I'm referring to prepackaged externals from the major manufacturers that are priced cheaper than the bare drive alone, indicating cost cutting on the USB interface. Some third party manufacturers like Fantom and LaCie sell externals with better quality interfaces at a higher cost (they still use major manufacturer drives inside).

    It will cost more, but I suggest getting an internal drive (or decasing a cheaper external at the risk of voiding the warranty) and placing them into a better quality case with a USB A-Male connector which has a more secure fit than USB Micro B. If the drive is used only the Android Box, you could get a couple of external docs and leave one connected to the Android Box and the other the PC, moving the drive from dock to dock for file transfer.

    Edit: Another option is a SATA to USB 3.0 adapter. Most don't require external power for 2.5" drives. Again, the advantage is a more secure connection to the drive.

    And of course, making at least one backup is a must!
    Last edited by lingyi; 23rd Aug 2018 at 10:41.
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    Whether you're able to recover the files or not, don't just toss the drive. 9 times out of 10, the drive itself if fine, it's the USB interface that's failed. Run CrystalDiskInfo and as long nothing is yellow or red, your drive should be fine. If it doesn't pass the test, decase it, connect it directly to a SATA connector and run CrystalDiskInfo again. I've done this on numerous "bad" external
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  12. lingyi: Well it had pretty heavy use and not always was it disconnected properly. She would disconnect the cable to put everything back in the box to protect the hard drive from damage. I will keep all this information in mind. I had a problem with a 16 GB Thumb Drive a couple of years ago where things would disappear or get scrambled up. I would reformat and eventually it was screwed up again. Thank you very much for the information you have provided.
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  13. Recuva has finally finished scanning.

    [J:] NTFS, 1,863 GB. Cluster size: 4096. File record size: 1024. Found 9011 files (48 ignored) in 18 hours, 39 minutes and 21 seconds.

    The Green is saying that many files are in excellent condition with no overwritten clusters detected.
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    Sometimes your issue is with the computer, not the drive.
    Try it elsewhere.
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  15. JVRaines: Recuva is a wonderful program. I have backed up some of the smaller folders to my Desktop's hard drive and that turned out very well.
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  16. lingyi: I just tested with CrystalDiscInfo and it is all green and white.

    I clicked something in Recuva and I think I would have to start all over again to get that information back. I backed up what I thought was necessary to my Desktop Computer. I am thinking I might reformat it and copy some stuff over and see how it all works.
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  17. lordsmurf: Thank you for your advice. I tried the drive on my Sister's laptop and my Desktop computer. I also tried my Sister's Android Box. I may try it on a media player I have to see if it shows up on there.
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  18. External USB hard drives are a failure waiting to happen.

    Do NOT repeat NOT, EVER, depend on them for backups. You need a backup of the backup, and if both are USB drives, you need a third one.

    Internal drives are cheaper, and far, far, FAR more reliable in anything approaching the long term.
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  19. Member
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    Originally Posted by Nelson37 View Post
    External USB hard drives are a failure waiting to happen.

    Do NOT repeat NOT, EVER, depend on them for backups. You need a backup of the backup, and if both are USB drives, you need a third one.

    Internal drives are cheaper, and far, far, FAR more reliable in anything approaching the long term.
    So...you're saying I shouldn't use an external HDD for backup? J/K!

    I agree with your statement, but a few points should be clarified.

    External drives aren't inherently bad. It's the cheap interface and poor power supply used in off the shelf drives which are oddly priced lower than internals (more about this below). Leaving little cost room or incentive to put a quality interface into the enclosure. As I've stated, a good third party external case or drive dock can make your drive as reliable as one connected internally (with care taken when moving or powering down the drive).

    There is no difference between the quality of an internal vs. external drive unless you're looking for a premium internal drive for higher performance or reliability. Generally externals contain the lowest cost internal drive in a manufacturers line.* There are exceptions, the biggest bargain being some WD MyBook externals through at least the end 2017 containing WD Red NAS drives which retail for $100 more as an internal drive.

    Which leads to price. From what I've read, it seems to be only in the U.S. are externals priced far lower than an equivalent internal drive, at least for 4TB and larger drives which are ~$20-25/TB for externals and ~$25-30/TB for internals. Take an external drive out of the case (at the risk of voiding the warranty), and you have the exact same internal drive to put in a high quality external case, dock or your PC.

    A bit of trivia, several years ago, Backblaze, a cloud storage provider, did an experiment decasing and using lower cost Seagate externals (which were 8TB Archive drives) in their racks because the cost was below their volume discount on internals (which BTW, they've disclosed in their Blog and it's not much lower than retail). I don't remember exactly how they faired, but IIRC, they didn't do too well primarily because they weren't meant for 24/7 usage and the vibration of the drive racks.

    *The earliest Seagate 8TB externals used their lowest price Archive drives which are notorious for poor write speeds (which is why they're labeled Archive). But there were reports that some contained the higher cost surveillance drives, which also didn't fair well because meant for 24/7 low write use. I haven't bought a Seagate external in years (I've stocked up on the WD MyBooks with the Red NAS drives), but they probably still primarily use the Archive drives because they're the lowest cost.
    Last edited by lingyi; 29th Aug 2018 at 16:42.
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