The disk in Drive M is not formatted

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Dobermann, Jan 7, 2006.

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  1. Dobermann

    Dobermann Registered Member


    I have an external Maxtor HD in a generic USB HDD enclosure. This HD holds my precious backups which I need to get to. When I turned it on, I was able to see the directory to confirm the backups I need are on that HD. Time was pressing, so I turned it off with plans to come back to it and use it. As best I remember, it turned off just fine (after doing Safely Remove).

    Now coming back to it, I get, "The disk in Drive M is not Formatted. Do you want to format it now?" Of course I always choose No.

    In Explorer it shows as simply Local Disk (M:), but I always get the above message when I click on it. In Computer Management, Disk Management it shows as just the (M:) (no longer has the name I had given it). Everything shows okay for it with the exception of the volume name missing and no entry in File System. It says the Status is Healthy. This was an NTFS system if I remember correctly. I have done nothing further to it except turning it on/off in various attempts to get it to be recognized.

    I remember from days long gone by that there used to be software that I could load up and have a look at the MBR of a HD, make the appropriate changes to the missing fields (in this case, apparently the file system byte), save it, and all was well. Problem is, I cannot remember the name of the software that did it.

    What would be a proper tool to use to try to fix this? I would obviously prefer a freebie, but would be willing to pay a reasonable amount for the software that would actually fix it. It also has to be reasonably user friendly, in that I do not know the byte number to check to reset the File System -- it needs to help me do that.

    Appreciate all help,
  2. Have you tried it with another computer? Can you hear the disk spinning?

    This is obviously not good. It is one of the the most frequent symptoms of a dead drive. However, I would give it a shot with Easy Recovery Pro or at least use something like PC Inspector or Directory Snoop to see if you can actually view the raw data.

    Depending on how valuable the data is, the next step would be DriveSavers. They are very good, but a bit pricey.
  3. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG Registered Member

    Try putting your Windows install CD with the USB drive attached. And look at the partitions. See if you can see the drive with still some space free (i.e the same size free space you had before the problem). Then you will know the info is still on the drive and not lost.

    I would personlly use a Linux Live CD to look at the drive with nothing being written. Knoppix or Helix are good.
  4. Dobermann

    Dobermann Registered Member

    Same effect on different computers. I did some more searching and found a product called R-Studio NTFS. I tried their demo, and it was able to see all the files, so I sprung for the $50 (much cheaper than recovery services). My guess is that the MBR was trashed.

    Presently it has been in the process of recovering 189GB of files via USB 2.0 to the notebook computer that has the least problems with the bumb drive, from there wireless-G to the AP, then to the switch, up and over via Cat-5 to my main computer where so far, the recovered files look fine. It's going to take it a while, but hey, it's not like I have nothing else to do while this processes!

    I have another drive, a notebook drive, that I think is really dead. It starts, stops, starts, stops. No computer is able to see it, so R-Studio cannot get to it. I even tried the trick of freezing it, then giving it a try. Freezing it only managed to give me about 5 seconds of connectivity. I'll play around with that one when I have more time.

    When it is done recovering the files, I'll either play around with trying to reset the MBR or else just reformat the drive and see how it works. It is a fairly new drive - might even be under warranty still, in which case Maxtor will be getting it back. It's hard to trust a drive once it's done this to you.

    Do you agree it is worth trying to replace under warranty under the situation as explained? It's so ironic that this drive was my drive for my backups (and that two of the computers backed up to it both had either a hard drive failure or software corruption requiring full restores). What are the odds!

  6. Dobermann

    Dobermann Registered Member

    Update time. I have in my hot little hand the replacement drive from Maxtor. My 30 day return period clock has started ticking. I have recovered pretty much all of the files using R-Studio, but have not had a chance to check their integrity.

    I've also found my Norton Utility 2002 CD which contains Norton Disk Doctor that boots and looks just like the original DOS on diskette version I used to work with 15-20 years ago. Supposedly Notron Utilities 2002 supports XP (so the box says), but when in Disk Doctor, it only shows FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32. If I remember correctly, the drive is NTFS formatted.

    I ploped it into a box as the second HD. When I view it with NDD, I find that I can no longer remember what to change to make it recognize the MBR (or generally how to use the software anymore). My wish was to have one last go at the HD, both as a final fix attempt and also as a refresher course in fixing such problems as I can obviously do no further harm than what already exists per se.

    If this HD is NTFS, am I correct in presuming that NDD will not work on it?

    Am I on the wrong track here and should be using something else?

    It's been so terribly long, how do I know what I need to change to what? o_O

    Enquiring minds want to know.....

    Thanks ever so much,
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