External HDD TERROR ERRORS - Help, advise, opinions?

Had a Seagate expansion desktop HDD which was rebooting constantly and stuck in a reboot sequence. No idea what was the problem. Fact was that I couldnt access the drive anymore and there was valuable data on it (which in fact I havent backed up, yeah, big idiot, I know). Came pretty unexpected since health was 99%. Anyway, I decided to break it open and build out the HDD inside and connect it via SATA to my PC. Hah, promptly worked and was accessible. Well, not entirely since there is a big problem. It says it needs to be formated. I have NO idea why. If I have bad luck I can say my data goodbye. However, I made a fast scan with DMDE (Program) and it showed me that all my files seem to be in ok condition but something seems to be screwed with the partitions? I have no idea. Its very odd. Windows Diskmanager shows me that 300gb is formated and then 2x partitions that are unformated... RAW formation. Ehm... I have the feeling that something with the partitions is screwed? Bootsector maybe? It looks like it doesn't know where its partitions are. Can this be due to the fact that it was connected via this USB adapter before and now via SATA on a mainboard? Can I do something? :(

Right now Im trying to get all my files back via CMDE which is a ugly way since I dont know whether everything will be there (~50.000 different files) and also folder and filenames are just numbers... Im able to look through it all. Also for example Flac or MP3 files have good tags which I can use to make proper filenames with MP3Tag but still. Its a very "meh" way if you know what I mean. Also the question is whether some are corrupted or not. The best thing would be if I could make it readable again for windows and just copy the stuff down. After this I wanted to format it clean anyway. I also noticed I didnt try to actually try to connect it to the built out USB 3.0 adapter. I tested it with an old unneded HDD and it worked perfectly?! Which lets me wonder what exactly was the reason for it to reboot all the time... Maybe the HDD is screwed after all... God please no. Furthermore I didnt try chkdsk D: /f. I didnt because I worry that it might screw my disk even more, if it can even do something. I saw one part of the HDD is formated as "RAW" which means chkdsk can probably do shit with the drive. Thats at least my experience with the command... However, CMDE says its not RAW, its NTFS. Or both. No idea. I spent already 2 whole days with this shit since the scans always need like 20 hours and once it was aborted because I dared to actually sleep and some error popped up which I wanted to "ignore all". Happened while I was sleeping. In the morning the error was still there and I clicked it away but NOPE, the HDD went into sleep mode or something because it was unused for hours. And decided to NOT wake up anymore, until I rebooted the PC. Now it runs again and I passed the error already since I dont dare to fucking sleep. So, yeah. I will be awake for like 20 hours today.

Also as sidenote. Making a image of the drive is actually not really possible since 3TB size (lets say 2TB compressed in a iso, maybe) and I have no similar sized medium beside of 1x 1TB and some SSDs. I will use that 1TB HDD to backup my stuff with a USB SATA Adapter/Transformer. My 3TB disk was maybe 1,5TB full since I deleted quite a few things some weeks ago because of cleaning reasons. Means I will somehow be able to backup the most precious files that I cant just leave behind. Like a lot of Vinyl and CD Flac rips... TONS of hours of work went into those.

Why all this work you might wonder... Well, lets just say that there is TONS of lifetime work on it. Private mostly (luckily, having my career/ITjob stuff on 2 other drives) but this stuff was not backed up at this moment. Why? Well, my backup HDD for this external HDD died 2 months ago and I was a lazy fuck which decided to buy one later. See what I got for this... Yeah, I deserve it. Boohoo... Learning the hard way.

Fuck me. I tried to keep it short. Sorry for writing this abomination of a wall of death text. If you guys even bother.
Any help, advise, thoughts, opinions, etc would be much appreciated. Maybe similar experiences? Anyone built out a HDD from a external HDD transformer yet? Also connected it via SATA? Anything like that would be helpful.

2 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Welcome to the TH Community, @DataT3RR0R!

    This sounds pretty unfortunate for you! :( However, trust me we've all been there.
    If your files are so important to you, you should definitely consider contacting a professional data recovery company for assistance! They would be your best bet on getting any of those files back! Any data retrieving attempts you do by yourself are potentially dangerous to the data!
    You mentioned that the HDD is recognized by the system, so you should definitely check its health and SMART status, using its manufacturer's brand-specific diagnostic tool. This will help us determine to what extend the HDD might be damaged. Make sure you take a closer look at the SMART attributes. Posting some screenshots would be really helpful, too.
    Since the HDD is recognized as RAW format, you won't be able to run CHKDSK. Moreover, I'd recommend you stay away from it for now, as it could potentially corrupt your data, if there are bad sectors on the drive. You could also try to access the files using a Ubuntu Live CD at your own risk and see if that will help somehow.

    Keep me posted!
  2. Best answer
    I was able to fix the problem luckily.
    The tool DMDE was able to restore EVERYTHING of it. Had to buy a express license though since it would have taken ages to get everything back with correct filenames and folder structure. Worked fine. Took 1-2 days for scan + recovering of 2TB Data.

    The tool is really amazing but only for specialists it seems. Was able to figure everything out with my background knowledge. So if people run into similar hardcore problems try DMDE. Maybe the free version is also enough for you. It has all basic funtions with scanning + recovering files. Not folder structures though. In my case with like 5000 folders on the drive (not joking), it would have been way to much work to recreate everything... Was worth the 16 euro I paid for a 1 year standard license.

    The HDD itself isn't in a good shape but didnt plan to use it anymore anyway. Health status is 5%. Heh. I might still try to format it (long formating) and use it as a "secondary non important" backup drive. I dont rely on it anymore though.
    Just backed up everything of my data on 3 drives now. ^^

    Lesson learned. Thanks for the input. I guess people with less knowledge would have needed a specialist. Tough, dangerous and difficult stuff working with broken HDDs.
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