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Western Digital 320gb hard drive bios flash

  1. Nov 23, 2008 #1
    I have an external Western Digital 320gb hard drive that has never given me problems. However the only thing i can think of that has caused sudden problems for this external SATA drive is the bios flash that i recently updated. The drive is recognized in mycomputer, however it doesnt say how big it is or any details about the drive, and this drive has EXTREMELY important data on it. It asks me to reformat but I can't do this because it warns me that all data will be lost!! Any way to get this external drive to be read?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2008 #2
    Okay i went into disk management via control panel to view the external and as it appears, its bad news, the volume is healthy, however the file system NTFS somehow converted itself to a RAW file system which i have honestly never heard of until now. Is there anyway to convert it back to ntfs or more importantly read the data off of the drive? I have all my pictures and memories and mp3s and 5 years of college papers and assignments neatly organized in folders on this drive along with some good videos :-p lol yah so how can i get it back?
  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3
    30 people view my query, 0 respond.
  5. Nov 25, 2008 #4
    Your point being? Nobody here owes you anything.
  6. Nov 25, 2008 #5


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    My first thought is that you can disassemble the external drive which typically will consist of a regular internal drive connected to a controller/USB interface chip. You can then install the hard drive itself directly in your computer.

    If you can access it then fine, immediately back up your important files to your main disk and then make *multiple* copies to good quality DVD/CD's. If not you can search for hard drive recovery software which should work with the hard drive directly connected to your system. Such software can directly read your disk sector by sector and try to reconstruct lost files.

    If that fails or sounds too daunting you may consider sending the drive off to some data recovery company. Again Google for this. They often can recover most files and send you back a set of CD's or DVD's with the recovered data. You'll have to weigh price vs. the value you put on the data.

    And in future remember the old adage about eggs and baskets.

    Now that flash memory cards / jump drives are getting cheap and large I keep backups on both an external HD and on Jump Disks. Neither is infallable but both together gives a better chance to recovery if one or my main HD fails.

    BTW I also have two distinct HD's on my system to dual boot WinXP/Linux. I periodically backup my media to the Linux drive and when I'm using WinXP (most of the time) the other drive is inactive.

    [Edit] P.S. Check with your local computer store to see if they offer data recovery. I believe CompUSA does. [end Edit]
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  7. Nov 25, 2008 #6
    try plugging it into another PC?
  8. Nov 25, 2008 #7
    I am currently running a data recovery software which is trying to recontruct the data tree for my drive than reconstruct sector by sector, I am curious as to how a drive can randomnly (or no so randomnly) decide to alter its filesystem from NTFS to RAW without user discretion. It must be a safety feature of windows vista or something. Any thoughts?
  9. Nov 25, 2008 #8


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    It can't. Also, it's not a Vista feature.

    The change is most likely a result of physical damage rendering a part of the NTFS information unreadable, making the disk appear unformatted (RAW).
  10. Nov 25, 2008 #9
    So lets say i didnt have a magnetic external harddrive and I buy a static flash type drive with no physical moving parts, the only way it can get damaged is by water or crushing the electronics, right? I want to have an external harddrive that acts as a safety drive for EVERYTHING I have. i.e. i can bring the drive with me anywhere and plug it into a computer and virtually have all my stuff with me wherever I go, whether the U.s, germany, france, japan, singapore, u get the drift. lol I basically want a fullproof way of having all my data with me infinitely into the future, (til i die) rather than lugging a computer around.

    Anyone kno of a drive thats for military use, like hardcore abuse proof and water proof? lol thatd be sick.
  11. Nov 26, 2008 #10
    There's no data storage device that has life long fidelity. Hdd's have mechanical or magnetic failure, the process used to burn DVD's keeps going even after the DVD is burnt, meaning your data on the disc changes over time too. Flash drives work on solidstate electrical devices that fail over time. The best would be continous updates of your backup using a new DVD every year or a new flash stick/hdd every few years. There are also webhosts where you can upload your info to a server that stores it for you. For this you need an interent connection though. That would probably be the safest in terms of storage, but then your data is theoretically accessible by anyone.
  12. Nov 26, 2008 #11


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    Further to what others have said, external drives are also somewhat more prone to data corruption due to plugging/unplugging and/or power interruption issues (as compared to their non-removable counterparts). I've seen several flash drives get corrupted in the much the same way as what seems to have happened here.

    They (HDD versions) are also more prone to damage due shock and transport issues (getting dropped, toppled or even just knocked, especially in operation). Essentually you have to assume that HDD's WILL fail and make sure you have a backup. There is really no other way.

    Now your "take on the road" portable could also be your backup (meaning that you have a second copy of the data at home). So if you're portable failed you could restore all the data when you got home. While this would be far better than what you have I'd still consider it a bit risky. Personally I like to have my backup drives in a fixed safe place. The bottom line is that if you have only one copy of your data on one hard-drive then sooner or later you'll lose your data.

    PS. Optical storage, especially recordable DVD's are no better. They have different failure modes than HDD's but fail they do. I'd also think it's safe to assume that flash drives will sometimes fail without warning. There's no solution execpt redundancy.
  13. Nov 26, 2008 #12


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    Well that's not necessarily the reason. OP posts a heading as vague as "please help" and expects that anyone looking will have some answer to his dilema. Seriously 30 people might have not felt they had anything relevent worth mentioning!
  14. Nov 26, 2008 #13
    Which was precisely my point.
  15. Dec 1, 2008 #14
    Not sure if this helps, but here's an excerpt from the link:


    This may be the result of either your BIOS or OS not being 48 bit LBA compliant. First boot to the BIOS and check to see how the drive is identified there. Then watch the POST screens to see if the drive is identified by model. If so then your issue may be that you don't have SP3 or better installed. Others have had similar problems and have used various methods to attempt recovery. Look here for more info on 48 bit LBA. http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q305098#kb1

    Edit: The info is for Win2000, but might lead you into a direction. Not sure
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  16. Jan 10, 2009 #15


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    Pardon my butting in here, but does this mean one can make a complete copy of one's hard drive and store it in a memory stick? I'm afraid my drive might fail, and I want to make sure that when I replace it, I can have my current settings and my Favorites list, as well as all my family photos and songs I've recorded and so forth. I tried opening "my computer" and selecting "C:" and dragging it to my "F:" Drive, but it only copies the shortcut. How do I make a recovery disk (or stick) to return my computer to it's current state if it crashes and needs a "nuke and pave"?
  17. Jan 11, 2009 #16
    Lurch, to do this effectively one needs a program, such as Norton's Ghost or Acronis True Image. I've used both successfully.
    The issue of doing this from a "thumb drive" as opposed to a CD or external HD, depends on whether the computer can boot from the USB stick, and whether the imaging program can appropriately write to the stick. I've not tried that. With CD's or an external HD it works great.
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