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External Harddrive not formatted error

fran_weaver 11 44 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 7:17PM

I have an external hardrive and very stupidly have not backed my photos up.
I used it last night with no problem then today for some unknown reason it took 5 mins to show on my computer but when I tried opening it, it wouldn't open and came up with not formatted.
As you can imagine I am beside myself. Thousands of photos gone.
Is there anyone who can help or knows of someone who can help. I have tried "TestDisk" and some other photo recovery download. My husband tried connecting the hard drive to another carriage all to no avail.
If you can help I would be so very appreciative.

A sad Fran Sad
LensYews 12 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 7:25PM
I bought a new disc recently and was having problems with a not formatted error, which turned out to be an out of date driver. Once I had updated the drive the disc was recognised. So you could try rolling back the driver if its automatically updated.

Alternatively have you tried connect the drive to another computer and see if that will recognise the drive?

It might also be worth an internet search for the specific drive and error message, as the chances are its happened before and someone may have found a solution for that model.

If those don't work there are professional companies who specialise in data recovery. Someone like dataclinic maybe able to help.

Best of luck
fran_weaver 11 44 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 7:31PM
Many thanks for your reply. I have tried on several pc's. My hubby says he thinksthe files are on the drive but we just can't get to them. I'll have a look at dataclinic and in the meantime cry buckets and pull all my hair out!!

redsnappa 18 2.8k United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 7:42PM
A "not formatted" error messages is usually serious corruption of the disks file allocation table.
Your hubbies right about the files are still on the disk. They are almost certainly in good condition,not corrupted.
You need to find someone who knows how to build and use a linux recovery boot disk, Hopefully then your files can be copied to a different disk.
DOGSBODY 12 1.4k 30 England
22 Jun 2010 7:45PM
I use 2 external hard drives and keep my photos on both of them. I only use the hard drive on the computer for the images that I am working on and for downloading from the camera or memory card. I only switch one of the external hard drives on to copy something to the computer otherwise they are purely for storage.

External hard drives can fail so it's always worthwhile having a second one with important files and documents kept on both and on the computer.
fran_weaver 11 44 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 8:44PM
I guess it's going to be a trip to pc world. Thanks for your replies. It's been a lesson hard learned.

Toonman 14 1.4k 2 England
22 Jun 2010 8:48PM
Fran, try not make any more attempts to recover them. The more that you try the harder it is for the pro's to do as they can be over written. I have had dead drives restored before, alas, I have also had duds!

There are also specialist companies who can recover your files, but at a cost. Emphasise the importance of the files if you go to PC World. I am afraid some companies are more interested in selling you a new drive.
vetcameraman 16 147 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2010 11:20PM
I've used This Company to recover information from two crashed external hard drives. I was surprised with what I got back, and they appear to have done more development since I purchased. The software is fairly cheap to download, you can evaluate it, and they do respond to email questions. It may not be 'neat' in interface, but it seems to do what it says on the tin. Give them a call, and see what advice they can offer before you go to PCW. Hope this is of help.

fran_weaver 11 44 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2010 7:30PM
Thanks everyone, hubby took it to pc world while I was at work. They say it will be a week before we can collect it. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed.
Watch this space in a weeks time it will either be Grin or Sad either way I 'll let you know

featuredteacher 13 47 4 China
25 Jun 2010 9:06AM
What a nightmare!

In the future - a DVD (or CD) burner, with burnt DVD-Rs (not DVD RWs) being kept in hard plastic cases in a secure place are pretty unbeatble in terms of security (even better, two copies of each - one at work one at home!)

The other secure storage option is an online hardrive. You'll probably have to pay to store more than 2gb of photos, but you can use it to keep your prize pics (it'll still hold a good number if they're stored as high quality jpegs), or just bite the bullet and pay the $5 a month! (try mozy: , or Xdrive ). Upload times can be an issue here, though. But again, once it is up there your stuff should be safe - good companies back thier hard drives up several times.

I wouldn't even trust two external hard drives, personally. Photos (and other documents) are just too important. And hard drives have a number of vuneralbilities.

Good luck with getting those photos back!
MeanGreeny 15 3.7k England
25 Jun 2010 12:38PM


In the future - a DVD (or CD) burner, with burnt DVD-Rs (not DVD RWs) being kept in hard plastic cases in a secure place are pretty unbeatble in terms of security

A home burnt DVD-R is the last long term storage medium for prized files I would use.
lobsterboy Plus
17 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2010 1:06PM

Quote:A home burnt DVD-R is the last long term storage medium for prized files I would use.

Me too
Fujiconvert 16 1.3k England
26 Jun 2010 4:04PM
Ditto! I have had way too many corrupt on me. I have 2 externals with one that's with me 24/7 plus various flashdrives.
fran_weaver 11 44 United Kingdom
13 Jul 2010 8:32PM
The latest on my hardrive error. Sadly PC World could not retrieve my photos. However, they have said they can try one more option that would cost 700!!!!!
Someone in our IT Dept. have offered to have a look for me, I haven't got anything to lose so I'll let you know how he gets on.


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