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Thread: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

  1. #1
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    Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    I had a perfectly working Western Digital 250GB external usb hdd about 30 minutes ago. It has about 130GB of data I spent 3 hours copying to it yesterday from my Ubuntu laptop. Just to test it, I plugged it into an older Windows XP machine, and it seemed to work just fine. Then I tried to do the "Safely Remove Hardware" thing. It told me that it could not remove the external drive because another program was accessing it. So okay, I just wait a minute or two. Try again -- same thing. Tried it several more times, waiting a minute or two between each try -- same thing. Then suddenly a message pops up -- cannot write to drive. I also get another error: drive is corrupt, run chkdsk utility. Makes no sense. I was accessing files from the drive from within Windows just fine minutes before.

    So since it won't "unmount safely", I just unplug it (probably a mistake, but I didn't see that I had any other choice at the moment), then try mounting it using a LiveCD of Puppy Linux -- Puppy will not mount it, just gives an error but no details.

    My Ubuntu laptop, however, is no longer usable -- after I copied the 130GB of files I wanted to save to my external hdd, I attempted an upgrade of Ubuntu. It hosed. I'm still on that Puppy Linux LiveCD right now as I type.

    So then. I KNOW this external hdd should be recoverable. I didn't do anything to it except let Windows screw up its ability to be mounted/unmounted, somehow. But I do not know how to go about trying to rescue it. What are the tools I should use? Is there something I can download somewhere that I can burn to a bootable CD or something that can fix a broken NTFS drive/partition? It would almost have to be something bootable at this point since I don't know how to install anything new on Puppy. Wasn't there an "Ultimate Linux Bootable Rescue CD" or something like that a while back? I can't remember it's exact name now.

    If worst comes to worst, I suppose I could always reformat the external hdd and then copy the files over to it again. I still have all my files on my laptop's hard drive and Puppy can see them -- the Ubuntu upgrade I attempted did not overwrite all my stuff. But....I would just rather avoid having to spend another 3 hours or more today doing that. All my files are already on the external....I just want to fix it so that I can see them again.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    run chkdsk utility
    Have you tried this from windows?
    How did you partition the drive?
    I have had issues with Windows not wanting to play nice with drives
    formated to NTFS, FAT from linux.

    try chkdsk, really nothing to lose except time if it fails.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    Use whatever OS or desktop works for you. Dual boot or use VMs if you want. Backup your computer regularly, and definitely before upgrading, partitioning, or installing an OS.

    No support requests by PM please.

  4. #4
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    Quote Originally Posted by arpanaut View Post
    try chkdsk, really nothing to lose except time if it fails.
    +1. There is no alternative. There is no Linux tool that can repair a NTFS filesystem. The command line app ntfsfix merely schedules a chkdsk the next time the filesystem is used in Windows.

    Actually there is one alternative. I've not used it myself but there is a mini-XP with chkdsk on the Hiren's boot CD, except that I could not find a download link for this. Besides, you already have Windows XP even if it was responsible for the problem in the first place.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    woo! i'm a real winner today! (total sarcasm)

    just for kicks i tried the
    Code:
    # ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb1 -o force
    route on Puppy, got an error message basically telling me, "Use Chkdsk To Fix It."

    so ok, next on windows i
    Code:
    chkdsk g: /f
    and Windows sez:
    Unable to determine volume version and state. CHKDSK aborted.
    alrighty then! windows borked it and then tells me, "lol i dunno how to fix it". this is really pathetic but i'm laughing!

    looks like Project Format External HDD to FAT32 shall commence!

    but thanks for the pointers, guys. at least it helped me determine that i have a total meltdown on my hands. :3

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    Edit: sorry, I just read the part about using the Puppy Live CD. So this probably will not work.

    Try this by adding the mkdir command first

    Code:
    sudo mkdir /media/external
    and then enter

    Code:
    sudo ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/external -o force
    Last edited by Old_Grey_Wolf; November 13th, 2010 at 08:24 PM.
    Use whatever OS or desktop works for you. Dual boot or use VMs if you want. Backup your computer regularly, and definitely before upgrading, partitioning, or installing an OS.

    No support requests by PM please.

  7. #7
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    If you have a working Windows 7 machine you can repair it with its disk utility. And it's gonna take a long time but it usually fixes the problem.
    I repaired my external 1TB Simpletech drive with a windows 7 virtual machine. If anybody knows of another way let me know.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...isk-for-errors

  8. #8
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    b_k_chu,

    I guess you are busy formatting the disk. I'm glad you kept your sense of humor. Sometimes when you put Linux and Windows in the same playground sandbox they don't play nicely together.

    I have a persistent 4GB USB thumb drive with Ubuntu on it just for situations like this. Currently it has 10.04 LTS on it.
    Last edited by Old_Grey_Wolf; November 13th, 2010 at 09:09 PM.
    Use whatever OS or desktop works for you. Dual boot or use VMs if you want. Backup your computer regularly, and definitely before upgrading, partitioning, or installing an OS.

    No support requests by PM please.

  9. #9
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    @trellis2:
    sorry, i have no windows7 available to me.

    @Old_Gray_Wolf
    actually, no....because i'm stubborn, i'm currently using TestDisk off of the Ultimate Boot CD to run a deep scan on it looking for broken partitions. if this fails then yeah, i probably will metaphorically choke down that brick of cold, frozen spinach and reformat the external into FAT32 and copy over everything again.

    by the way, it wouldn't matter what mount point you used for the ntfs-3g command, so long as it was an existing directory. with Puppy /mnt/sdb1 just happened to be there already.

    (talking to myself here) woo, i've been on all kinds of OSes today....currently i'm on PartedMagic's OS while TestDisk runs....it looks pretty nice. nicer than my ubuntu did, to be honest. :3

  10. #10
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    Re: Windows corrupted NTFS external usb hdd, how to recover?

    You can download a Vista or & repair CD. From that you can run chkdsk.

    If your PC did not come with a complete Vista or Win7 installation CD, you can download a Recovery Disc at the following links:
    Windows Vista/7 Recovery Disc - for repairs only
    http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/window...disc-download/
    http://neosmart.net/blog/2009/window...-repair-discs/
    Vista will not repair XP (they create the boot sectors differently) but can run chkdsk.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927392

    Linux typically does not want to mount a NTFS drive that has the chkdsk flag set as then you may further damage the drive and chkdsk will not repair it. The force is as a last resort to let you copy your data to another device.

    If Microsoft's Checkdisk (chkdsk) failed to repair the MFT, run TestDisk, also rebuild boot sector
    http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Advan...and_MFT_Repair
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

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