Testdisk – a tool for data recovery for an external usb hard drive

My 120GB Western Digital external USB hard drive is dying a slow death. I have suspected for the past few weeks that there was an issue as it would be detected on a haphazard basis my Windows and Linux.Scandisk and chkdsk had revealed bad sectors and these had been patched so as to not to be used.

Yesterday morning it decided to not cooperate at all and refused to display its contents. I downloaded the Western Digital Diagnostic software for the drive and it confirmed my worse fears when it displayed a status of fail for the hard drive. Extended tests revealed numerous bad sectors.
Some urgent research was carried out a number of apps were downloaded and trialed. Diskgator looked promising as it was mentioned on a website as being free, it worked with the hardware, analysed the file structure and offered to restore the data if I purchased a single app for 69 USD. I decided not to and used stricter search filters to indentify an open source app.
TestDisk by CGSecurity caught my attention, the interface is ms-dos/linux which suited me fine, the app analysed the drive and detected that the boot sector was corrupt but the backup boot sector was fine. I instructed testdisk to copy the backup boot sector to the original which it did. The drive then appeared under windows and I am copying all the files I possibly can from the disk.
I think my trusty western digital drive’s days are numbered and after 2.5 yrs of hard labour it may soon meet its just reward in sector heaven.
Update – Recovery of data is ongoing, have decided to name the task Project Lazerus – bringing a usb external drive back from the dead.

2 comments

  1. Catherine says:

    I have a hard disk problem with my own laptop. Its running on a Vista operating system. When i start up the computer, a minute later a blue screen appears and the computer restarts.
    Any ideas on what i could do to fix this?

  2. liam noonan says:

    Hi Catherine,
    It sounds like the boot sector is corrupt or some key files are missing.
    There should be an option to restore the computer from the startup menu look out for options such as press F12 for menu etc.
    An extreme solution would be to use the utlimate boot disk and try and fix the drive, not for the faint hearted.
    Liam

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