Repair missing partition on hard drive w/ corrupted disk structure?
June 6, 2016 11:08 AM   Subscribe

The partition information for my USB hard drive appears to be missing. Is it possible to rebuild or recreate it? I'd like to keep the file structures and names without going through a data recovery process. The files appear to be intact when viewing through recovery software.

This is the message I'm getting:

Location is not available
F:/ is not accessible
The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.

CHKDSK results in this message:

The type of file system is NTFS
Unable to determine volume version and state. CHKDSK aborted.

(The device is a 500gb USB 3.0 Western Digital Passport hard drive.)
posted by Bushmiller to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
TestDisk is an excellent free tool for this kind of thing. Here's a step by step guide.

If TestDisk fails, the other tool in that package, PhotoRec should be able to recover your files.

Do be careful trying to fix this especially if your data is valuable.

posted by gregr at 11:53 AM on June 6, 2016

Are/were you using Western Digital's encryption features on the drive?
posted by churl at 4:51 PM on June 6, 2016

I had tried TextDisk, but it failed. I'm doing a recovery using QPhotoRec now. I didn't want to because file names are rewritten. I'm still hoping to figure out how to recreate the partition.

No, I was not using encryption on the drive.
posted by Bushmiller at 5:26 PM on June 6, 2016

MiniTool Partition Wizard has been good to me for this sort of thing.
posted by quinndexter at 10:58 PM on June 6, 2016

Looks like CHKDSK is seeing at least some indication of an NTFS filesystem, which it wouldn't do if it's actually the partition table that's damaged or missing.

My usual procedure in cases like this is to use GNU ddrescue to image the drive to a spare, then image that spare to a second spare, then run all my data recovery attempts against the second spare. When (not if) that results in some degree of accidental data destruction on the second spare, I re-image that from the first spare and start over.

I don't like needing to rely on being able to re-image from the original, because dying drives only ever get worse.

I also don't like running file recovery software directly against a failing original drive for the same reason, only more so; most such software puts a pretty heavy read and seek burden on the source drive, and that can often be enough to tip it over the edge into total failure.
posted by flabdablet at 11:47 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

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